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Playing against Nature: Integrating Science and Economics to Mitigate Natural Hazards in an Uncertain World by Seth Seth Stein Stein, Jerome Jerome Stein Stein

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4Uncertainty and Probability

“I can live with doubt and uncertainty. I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong.”

Richard Feynman1

4.1    Basic Ideas

The examples in the previous chapters show that our biggest challenge in mitigating natural hazards comes from their uncertainty. We do not know where and when a major hazardous event will happen and what will result when it does. Thus instead of preparing for a known future, we have to prepare for an uncertain one. This means using our best guesses based on a combination of what we know about how the earth works and what we think about how the earth works. However, there's a lot that we don't know and some of what we think we know turns out ...

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