“Apocalyptic claims do not have a good track record. And arguments that statistics support such claims—particularly arguments that simple, easily understood numbers are proof that the future holds complex, civilization-threatening changes—deserve the most careful inspection.”—Best (2004)

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Earthquake hazard maps that predict that portions of the central and eastern United States are more hazardous than California result from a number of crucial assumptions. One of these is that the recurrence of large earthquakes is time-independent, such that a future earthquake is equally probable immediately after the past one and much later. An alternative is to use time-dependent models in...

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