How Safe Are We?: How We Got Homeland Security Wrong

THE FORTIFICATION OF WYOMING, AND OTHER STRANGE TALES FROM THE NEW FRONT LINE

When researcher Karen Clark developed the first probability-based model for measuring the threat of natural disasters in the U.S. in 1987, almost no one cared. Clark, then 30, started her own company in Boston and used tens of thousands of data points--from the wind speeds of hurricanes to the lengths of fault lines--to help insurance firms estimate how often a disaster might strike and how much harm it might do. Then, in 1992, Hurricane Andrew struck, wreaking more havoc than anyone--except Clark and her small team at AIR Worldwide Corp.--had ever imagined possible. As the toll climbed past $15 billion, AIR's...