Why we're crap at gauging risks

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Why we're crap at gauging risks Empty Why we're crap at gauging risks

Post by Ben Reilly on Sun Mar 23, 2014 4:52 am

From the video linked below:

Imagine a world in which cigarette smoking itself is harmless, but in which one in every 18,750 packs of cigarettes contains a dynamite-laced cigarette which explodes and kills the smoker. What would we do about cigarettes in that scenario?

Probably more than we do now -- even though that's just about the exact rate of deaths caused by our real-world, non-hypothetical, non-exploding cigarettes.

We always rate things as riskier when they're more exotic and dramatic:


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Post by Guest on Sun Mar 23, 2014 8:01 am

I am looking at those figures and thinking hell is that all - I thought smoking was far more dangerous than that.

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Why we're crap at gauging risks Empty Re: Why we're crap at gauging risks

Post by eddie on Sun Mar 23, 2014 9:28 am

Lone Wolf wrote:Laughing 

HAVE a look at how squeamish people are towards maggots and grubs, weevils and ants themselves (rather than the spoilage that they cause..), within foodstuffs   ~ and yet they will eat highly toxic  foodstuffs (e.g. mouldy cheeses, puffer fish, 2-day-old chicken or fish leftovers, stale foods..) with relish.

People will throw out perfectly good food because it has "reached it's 'use by:'/'best before' dates.." ~ and then gorge themselves on fatty, sugar-laced and salt-filled junkfoods, washed down with soft drinks !   pale 

People are terrified of sharks, crocodiles, snakes and spiders ~ and yet the deaths from each category can often be counted on one's fingers, and maybe toes..

HERE in Oz, many people are quite terrified of animal attacks, spider and snake bites, and natural hazards ~ and yet the annual death tolls from such causes are only about 27-30 deaths a year in total, (and less than 400 a year over in the USA..) collectively..    ::-3::  :.3chuthluL/:  elephant  pig  cat  alien 

With the #1 animal/nature-based cause being lightning strikes ~ averaging 11-12 deaths annually in Oz, (and only about 100-120 a year in the USA..).


Cigarette smoking, excessive consumption of fatty/salty/sugary foods and drinks, alcohol, suicides, and car accidents, remain among the leading preventable causes of deaths in Western countries..

Malaria remains the #1 'preventable' disease/infection in '3rd World' and developing countries.    cyclops


Good post. I agree with all this, and I've never understood how adults also gage the amount their children eat either!
I've seen parents give a biscuit to their children and then another and another.... I'll say "No wonder they don't eat their dinner!"
And the parent says "It's only three biscuits?"

Bit look at the size of the biscuit in the toddler's hand! It's the size of their whole hand! So that's the equivalent of an adult eating three hand-sized biscuits!! I wouldn't eat a dinner an hour after that either!

Seriously, the crap I see parents feeding their kids! Whole packs of crisps at 8months old....I kid you not!

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Post by Ben Reilly on Sun Mar 23, 2014 4:43 pm

sphinx wrote:I am looking at those figures and thinking hell is that all - I thought smoking was far more dangerous than that.

Don't make the mistake of thinking one of every ~ 19,000 smokers dies -- it's one person for every ~ 19,000 packs sold. Most smokers don't limit themselves to one pack in their lives Smile

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Post by Guest on Sun Mar 23, 2014 6:27 pm

Oh I am aware of that - and I still thought the risk much higher

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