Terrorist attacks like those on Sept. 11, large-scale industrial accidents like Three Mile Island, hurricanes like Andrew, or earthquakes like the one in Northridge, Calif., that killed 60 people--these are all what economists call low probability, high consequence events. Making economic decisions about how to prepare for such "extreme events" is a difficult process. Under what circumstances are the benefits of strengthening a building against explosions or earthquakes worth the costs? A new study sponsored by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) offers strategies for finding answers to such questions.
Conducted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, the study* found that preparing for extreme events requires an understanding of risk "interdependencies." A security plan, for example, is only as strong as its weakest link. It also requires cooperation between public and private organizations because individuals and organizations often don’t take actions to mitigate low probability risks unless there are incentives to do so.
Ultimately, the study authors concluded that dealing effectively with extreme events depends on a complex interplay between risk assessment, perception and management. Risk assessment for a power grid in Ohio needs to include possible negative effects from domino-like failures throughout the northeastern United States and Canada. People perceive risk more clearly when they understand its cumulative effects. More people will wear seatbelts, for instance, if told they have a 33 percent chance of an accident over a 50-year lifetime of driving than if they know there is 0.00001 percent chance for each trip. And risk management is more likely if the economics are attractive. A $1,500 loan to prevent flood damage is more affordable if payments are divided over the life of a 20-year mortgage and if insurance premiums drop as a result of the improvements.
John Blair | EurekAlert!
Researchers simplify tiny structures' construction drip by drip
12.11.2018 | Princeton University, Engineering School
Mandibular movement monitoring may help improve oral sleep apnea devices
06.11.2018 | Elsevier
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly
The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
13.11.2018 | Life Sciences
13.11.2018 | Life Sciences
13.11.2018 | Awards Funding