During a gander on TED this morning I came across something pleasantly shocking…the name of person I knew from highschool. Trust me when tell you that you really feel humbled when you suddenly discover that a person who sat behind you in some random Lit class senior year is now speaking at TED conventions on topics as controversial as the overestimation of global AIDs figures. lol. I’m going to quote liberally here just because I’m so in awe of her accomplishments. We all knew she was brilliant, but who knew she’d be changing the world at 26? Way to go Emily.
Here’s a smidge from her page on TED:
Emily Oster, a fellow at the Becker Center at the University of Chicago, has a history of rethinking conventional wisdom.
Her Harvard doctoral thesis took on famed economist Amartya Sen and his claim that 100 million women were statistically missing from the developing world. He blamed misogynist medical care and outright sex-selective abortion for the gap, but Oster pointed to data indicating that in countries where Hepetitis B infections were higher, more boys were born. Through her unorthodox analysis of medical data, she accounted for 50% of the missing girls.
She’s also investigated the role of bad weather in the rise in witchcraft trials in Medieval Europe and what drives people to play the Powerball lottery. Her latest target: busting assumptions on HIV in Africa.
“At just 26, economist Emily Oster may have the highest controversies-generated-to-years-in-academia ratio of anyone in her field.”
Here’s the TED Post on AIDs overestimates (link below) if you’re curious to read the entire post. It’s completely fascinating.
The New York Times reported yesterday that the UN’s agency on AIDS dramatically overestimated its count of current and new infections:
The agency, Unaids, will lower the number of people it believes are infected worldwide, to 33.2 million from the 39.5 million it estimated late last year.
Much of the difference comes from new reporting methods in some African countries and in India — an idea dovetailing with the work of economist Emily Oster. Oster’s 2007 TEDTalk takes a critical look at global AIDS figures — and how they drive the world’s approaches to stemming the disease.
My final thought here is that it’s interesting and incredibly ironic that I found this today, not even 48 hours after I opened the formal invitation to my high school (’98) 10 year reunion. I can’t help wondering who the movers-and-shakers are turning out to be.
Here’s Emily at TED…