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Proceedings of a Workshop on Statistics on Networks
DR. CARLSON: I think there are cut offs partly because of physical sampling, and in some cases, if you look at data for a particular region, like Los Padres National Forest, there is a larger size that is a constraint in that particular forest based on terrain, and where we have got urban areas, or where you hit desert or where you hit rivers and so on. But the tails are really important. There is again, this very broad span. There is a cut off at the low end, too, of fires we just don’t bother to measure, and so it’s the fact that there is this broad span and natural cut offs at the two ends.
DR. BANKS: This goes a bit outside the purview of the conference, but I wonder if you have any comments on the following. When you have a country like the United States, which basically is self-insuring against natural disasters, one can usually look at the historical record, and one of your early slides did that, to sort of give you a forecast of what the total costs are going to be in any given year. That sets the level at which money must be collected in order to maintain a balance on that. But then one might very well use some of that money to invest in efforts to harden areas against disaster. I just don’t know about the economic theory that drives self-insured agencies. Do you know if anybody is looking at that type of thing?
DR. CARLSON: I don’t know about that, but I think it falls within this category of 100-to-1 reactive spending, where we don’t invest very much in research, and we don’t invest as much as we should in building stronger barriers against these kinds of events. I think that’s huge. We know in many cases that we are operating at or near capacity. So, with things like the power grid, we know that we are operating at or near capacity. If we put more resources in, we would be okay, but instead we have power failures. It's going to get worse instead of better because of increased population, increased demand.
DR. SZEWCZYK: So, why do you live in California?
DR. CARLSON: Yes, I think that’s a really good question. I grew up in Indiana, and I was afraid of tornados in Indiana. So, in Indiana you would watch the news, and there would be these tornados that come through, then I went to school on the East Coast, and I went to California. I think the first earthquake that occurred after I moved to California was the one in Canada that people felt in New York. California is a little bit crazy but it’s beautiful though.