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David Roodman
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Freelance consultant, former senior economic advisor at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation & senior fellow at CGD; father; husband; son; dancer; piano hacker
Freelance consultant, former senior economic advisor at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation & senior fellow at CGD; father; husband; son; dancer; piano hacker

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Second of two posts on the controversy over whether we should mass deworm children in poor countries.

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It seems American cities had a murder boomlet, but it may be passing.

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We are remarkably ignorant of the determinants of long-term crime trends.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is developing a regulation that will require utilities to assess and redress their vulnerability to severe geomagnetic storms (which are actually caused by solar storms). Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory published a report last month (http://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2015/09/f26/TPL-007-1%20Review_LANL_2015_09_14.pdf) questioning the conservatism of the scenario utilities are supposed to simulate. FERC asked for public comment within 20 days. I submitted comments last night.

I think we need more independent scrutiny like this--national-level regulation electricity regulation in this country is actually industry-driven--but I conclude that as a statistical exercise, the Los Alamos report falls short.

http://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/common/OpenNat.asp?fileID=14020606

In the process of writing this, I decided to do my own analysis. So last week I downloaded the entire IMAGE magnetometer network database (scraped with Python). It's 1.8 billion data points. My laptop handled it OK. I used SQL Server, but maybe it would have been best to work directly with the raw data files the old-fashioned way.

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My third post on geomagnetic storms for GiveWell. I again challenge a prominent risk estimate as probably too high. http://blog.givewell.org/2015/07/13/geomagnetic-storms-using-extreme-value-theory-to-gauge-the-risk/
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