SHAKE IT OFF ... With the drought and pandemic dominating the headlines, it's all too easy to forget about earthquakes, the Bay Area's ever-present threat. This week, the Palo Alto City Council and Ken Dueker, director of the city's Office of Emergency Services, did their part to remind residents what to do when the ground shakes. Donning T-shirts with the words, "Drop," "Cover" and "Hold On," council members started their virtual Monday meeting by taking part in a simulated earthquake. The event, which supports the International ShakeOut Day campaign, aims to drill into participants the steps they need to take in the event of an earthquake: drop, cover and hold on. "Those are the things one ought to do as soon as one feels the earth shaking," Dueker said. "The worst that can happen I suppose is that you're embarrassed that it's a large truck coming by." Council members did their part by scurrying under their desks for a brief period before reemerging for a "welfare check" roll call by Mayor Tom DuBois. Most survived the drill unscathed. Council member Lydia Kou was the sole exception. "I hit my head on the table when I was going under, so I have a headache right now," Kou, a longtime emergency response volunteer, said after the drill. Dueker encouraged community members to take earthquakes seriously. "It may be tempting to ignore it as we deal with the global pandemic, and people are dealing with many other things that are perhaps more front and center, but at any moment we may be confronted with a pretty severe shake," he said. For more tips on natural disaster planning, visit cityofpaloalto.org/preparedness.
ALL IN THE FAMILY ... Stanford University professor Guido Imbens' household was buzzing with excitement during the wee hours of Oct. 11 when they learned he won the Nobel prize in economics. "I woke up around 2:30 in the morning. Everybody was running around," his son, 17-year-old Carleton Imbens, told Stanford News Service. The award was so momentous that Imbens' wife, Susan Athey, gave their three children the option to stay home from school that day. Imbens and Athey (the economics of technology professor at Stanford's Graduate School of Business) have discussed their work with their three children. "Mostly they want to talk about other kinds of science, but occasionally they'll indulge their parents with econometrics," Athey said in the Stanford article. Imbens is sharing half the prize with Joshua Angrist, his colleague from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, "for their methodological contributions to the analysis of causal relationships." It's a topic that Imben and Athey's children seem to understand. "It's very interesting how you can take data from things that were not intended for anything and then use it to draw these outstanding conclusions," Sylvia, 10, told her father in a Stanford video. In the same video, Imbens sat down with his middle son, Andrew, to elaborate on the applications of his work, which can be used in social policy such as guaranteed income.
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