Monday, June 14, 2010

The Sum of All Our Fears


(via Newsweek)

4 comments:

thinking said...

It seems the more sensational but lower incidence threats are the ones that get the most media attention.

Of course one reason contributing to this could be precisely because they are more rare, and thus more notable...more sensational.

It's ironic, but the more common threats we become accustomed to and thus do not seem as frequent. In a way we have to become more emotionally numb to them in order to carry about our daily lives.

The more rare threats can provoke more of a visceral reaction; we haven't developed any psychological or emotional defense mechanism for it.

Of course other factors are at play...such as the fact that a plane accident usually involves far more people than a typical car accident, or the fact that a shark seems to be an especially menacing creature.

Clint D said...

Number of abortions per year: 1.2 million

坤郁 said...

認清問題就等於已經解決了一半的問題。 ....................................................

Anonymous said...

These figures seem staggering--4.5 million dog bites, on average, relative to 28 shark bites; 34,017 fatal car accidents, relative to 321 fatal airline accidents; 27,531 deaths from accidental poisoning, compared with 50-100 deaths by peanuts--but we have to consider the fact that these are absolute values. People certainly encounter dogs more often than sharks and travel by car more often than plane. Poison encompasses all sorts of noxious substances (cyanide, carbon monoxide, over-the-counter drugs if consumed in excess of the prescribed quantities); it is natural that more people would die from exposure to poison, in general, than from allergic reactions to peanuts. My point is, these figures doesn’t tell us anything unless they are in relative terms (for example 28 shark bites out of 1600 people that swam in shark infested water in 2008, versus, 4.5 million dog bites out of 150 million Americans who encountered dogs during 2008).