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ENGINEERING vs. DISASTERS

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There are many other extreme events besides storms that cause widespread harm. The degree of success in predicting their occurrence and behavior varies more widely than it does even for the weather. Science and technology can help greatly in predicting the course of certain types of disasters. Science and technology can also help to control the severity of a disaster, but here the achievements to date are much less spectacular than those in the prediction arena. In contrast to natural disasters, man-made ones are generally somewhat easier to control, but more difficult to predict. The war on terrorism is a case in point. The prediction of weather-related disasters has had spectacular successes within the last few decades. The painstaking advances made in fluid mechanics in general and turbulence research in particular, together with the exponential growth of computer memory and speed, no doubt contributed immeasurably to those successes.

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