Problem Statement

One of the bigger challenges that nations, cities, and local governments face is dealing with natural disasters. Natural disasters, including flooding, droughts, tornadoes, hurricanes, among others, can produce substantial property damage as well as loss of life. Were government better able to forecast the occurrances of disasters, these goverments could better prepare for traumatic events or they could relocate their populations out of predicted disaster zones.

While the science of climate prediction has enjoyed a tremendous improvement in accuracy and efficiency over the past decade, the prediction of natural disasters still remains somewhat fragmented. In other words, different groups provide forecasts on different types of disasters, such as meteorologists providing forecasts on hurricanes while earth scientists provide forecasts on earthquakes. To simplify the planning process for leaders, it would be nice to have a single source that combines the predictions of all disaster types into a single forecast. In so doing, government officials and planners could better understand the total risk that any particular location faces.

The goal of this project is to help governments understand the risks associated with natural disasters, and how those governments should recover from these disasters.


Currently, the literature on natural disasters is fragmented between different disciplines working on different types of disasters. For example, earth scientists predict earthquakes but Meteorologist and climate scientists predict floods while ecologist predict forest fires. Unfortunately, there is no single repository that allows policy makers to comprehend the total risk of any given location within their jurisdiction.

Case Studies

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Statement of the Problem


Methodological Approach

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Climate change as related to natural disasters.

Will pay attention to political boundaries, populated areas, frequency of disasters/ historical changes in frequency of natural disasters, bodies of water, elevated regions, and other natural boundaries, to determine where to place aid. This will also look at natural barriers and demographics to determine feasability of affected people reaching aid resourses and protection sites. Economic, physical, political, government corruption taking that aid.

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Alaric, about the fifth century king of the Saxons and Western Goths, is said to have actually died on his wedding night from drinking too freely of the honeyed beverage,--at least he died before morning,--and it certainly would seem to be a charitable inference to draw, since he partook very deeply of the "festive drink." It was certainly a sweet oblivion, "yet it should be a warning to posterity, as showing that even bridegrooms may make too merry."

Dr. Blanchet recently read a paper before the Academy of Science, Paris, relative to some cases of "long sleep," or lethargic slumber. One of them related to a lady twenty years of age, who took a sleeping fit during her _honeymoon_, which lasted fifty days.

"During this long period a false front tooth had to be taken out in order to introduce milk and broth into her mouth. This was her only food; she remained motionless, insensible, and all her muscles were in a state of contraction. Her pulse was low, her breathing scarcely perceptible; there was no evacuation, no leanness; her complexion was florid and healthy. The other cases were exactly similar. Dr. Blanchet is of opinion that in such cases no stimulants or forced motion ought to be employed.

"The report did not say whether the husband was pleased or not with her long silence."

There is too much talk in the world about woman's "_jaw_." As for me, give me the woman who can _talk_; the faster and more sense the better.

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East Indian Sea (Typhoons), Yucatan Peninsula (Hurricanes), California Coast (wildfires)

From "The Funny Side of Physic" by A. D. Crabtre

Commencing practice

From that excellent work, "Scenes in the Practice of a New York Surgeon," by Dr. E. H. Dixon, I copy, with some abbreviation, the following, which the author terms "Leaves from the Log-book of an Unfledged Æsculapian:"--

"In the year 1830 I was sent forth, like our long-suffering and much-abused prototype,--old father Noah's crow,--from the ark of safety, the old St. Duane Street College. I pitched my tent, and set up my trap, in what was then a fashionable up-town street.

"I hired a modest house, and had my arm-chair, my midnight couch, and my few books in my melancholy little office, and I confess that I now and then left an amputating-knife, or some other awful-looking instrument, on the table, to impress the poor women who came to me for advice.

"These little matters, although the 'Academy' would frown upon them, I considered quite pardonable. God knows I would willingly have adopted their most approved method of a splendid residence, and silver-mounted harnesses for my bays; but they were yet in dream-land, eating moonbeams, and my vicious little nag had nearly all this time to eat his oats and nurse his bad temper in his comfortable stable.

"In this miserable way I read over my old books, watered my rose-bushes,--sometimes with tears,--drank my tea and ate my toast, and occasionally listened to the complaint of an unfortunate Irish damsel, with her customary account of 'a pain in me side an' a flutterin' about me heart.' At rare intervals I ministered to some of her countrywomen in their fulfilment of the great command when placed in the Garden of Eden. (What a dirty place it would have been if inhabited by Irish women!)

"And thus I spent nearly a year without a single call to any person of character. I think I should have left in despair if it had not been for a lovely creature up the street. She was the wife of a distinguished fish merchant down town.

"This lovely woman was Mrs. Mackerel. I will explain how it was that I was summoned to her ladyship's mansion, and had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Mackerel, of the firm of 'Mackerel, Haddock & Dun.'

"One bitter cold night in January, just as I was about to retire, a furious ring at the front door made me feel particularly amiable! A servant announced the sudden and alarming illness of Mrs. Mackerel, with the assurance that as the family physician was out of town, Mrs. M. would be obliged if I would immediately visit her. Accordingly, I soon found myself in the presence of the accomplished lady, having--I confess it--given my hair an extra touch as I entered the beautiful chamber.

"Mrs. Mackerel was not a bad-tempered lady; she was only a beautiful fool--nothing less, dear reader, or she would have never married old Mackerel. Her charms would have procured her a husband of at least a tolerable exterior. His physiognomy presented a remarkable resemblance to his namesake. Besides, he chewed and smoked, and the combination of the aroma of his favorite luxuries with the articles of his merchandise must have been most uncongenial to the curve of such lips and such nostrils as Mrs. Mackerel's.

"I was received by Mr. Mackerel in a manner that increased observation has since taught me is sufficiently indicative of the hysterical _finale_ of a domestic dialogue. He was not so obtuse as to let me directly into the true cause of his wife's nervous attack and his own collectedness, and yet he felt it would not answer to make too light of it before me.

"Mr. and Mrs. M. had just returned from a party. (The party must be the 'scape-goat'!) He assured me that as the lady was in the full enjoyment of health previously, he felt obliged to attribute the cause of her attack and speechless condition--for she spoke not one word, or gave a sign--to the dancing, heated room, and the supper.

"I was fully prepared to realize the powers of ice-cream, cake, oranges, chicken-salad, oysters, sugar-plums, punch, and champagne, and at one moment almost concluded to despatch a servant for an emetic of ipecac; but--I prudently avoided it. Aside from the improbability of excess of appetite through the portal of such a mouth, the lovely color of the cheeks and lips utterly forbade a conclusion favorable to Mr. Mackerel's solution of the cause.

"I placed my finger on her delicate and jewelled wrist. All seemed calm as the thought of an angel's breast!

"I was nonplussed. 'Could any tumultuous passion ever have agitated that bosom so gently swelling in repose?'

"Mackerel's curious questions touching my sagacity as to his wife's condition received about as satisfactory a solution as do most questions put to me on the cause and treatment of diseases; and having tolerably befogged him with opinions, and lulled his suspicions to rest, by the apparent innocent answers to his leading questions, he arrived at the conclusion most desirable to him, viz., that I was a fool--a conviction quite necessary in some nervous cases....

"So pleased was Mr. M. with the soothing influences of my brief visit that he very courteously waited on me to the outside door, instead of ordering a servant to show me out, and astonished me by desiring me to call on the patient again in the morning.

"After my usual diversion of investigating 'a pain an' a flutterin' about me heart,' and an 'O, I'm kilt intirely,' I visited Mrs. Mackerel, and had the extreme pleasure of finding her quite composed, and in conversation with her fashionable friend, Mrs. Tiptape. The latter was the daughter of a 'retired milliner,' and had formed a desirable union with Tiptape, the eminent dry goods merchant. Fortunately--for she was a woman of influence--I passed the critical examination of Mrs. T. unscathed by her sharp black eyes, and, as the sequel will show, was considered by her 'quite an agreeable person.'

"Poor Mrs. Mackerel, notwithstanding her efforts to conceal it, had evidently received some cruel and stunning communication from her husband on the night of my summons; her agitated circulation during the fortnight of my attendance showed to my conviction some persistent and secret cause for her nervousness.

"One evening she assured me that she felt she should now rapidly recover, as Mr. Mackerel had concluded to take her to Saratoga. I, of course, acquiesced in the decision, though my previous opinion had not been asked. I took a final leave of the lovely woman, and the poor child soon departed for Saratoga.

"The ensuing week there was a sheriff's sale at Mackerel's residence. The day following the Mackerels' departure, Mr. Tiptape did me the honor to inquire after the health of my family; and a week later, Master Tiptape having fallen and bumped his dear nose on the floor, I had the felicity of soothing the anguish of his mamma in her magnificent _boudoir_, and holding to her lovely nose the smelling salts, and offering such consolation as her trying position required!"

Thus was commenced the practice of one of the first physicians of New York. The facts are avouched for. The names, of course, are manufactured, to cover the occupation of the parties. The doctor still lives, in the enjoyment of a lucrative and respectable practice, and the love and confidence of his numerous friends and patrons.

Quite as ludicrous scenes could be revealed by most physicians, if they would but take the time to think over their earlier efforts, and the various circumstances which were mainly instrumental in getting them into a respectable practice.

From "The Funny Side of Physic" by A. D. Crabtre

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