Everyday Dangers

Dangerous Risk Adrenaline Suicide by Fear of F...

Dangerous Risk Adrenaline Suicide by Fear of Falling (Photo credit: epSos.de)

Jared Diamond of The New York Times provides an interesting lesson about how people in the modern world perceive dangers.  After witnessing friends in New Guinea refusing to sleep under an old, dead tree due to the risk of it falling he realised that people have begun to worry more about the bigger, more unlikely risks such as terrorist attacks, nuclear radiation, plane crashes and so on and be less vigilant towards smaller risks that are taken or encountered very often – risks that are ignored because people think “that’s not a problem, I’m careful” while often not being.

I personally have this “hypervigilant attitude towards repeated risks” or “constructive paranoia” – I watch what I’m doing when I’m descending the long flight of stairs outside, I wear well treaded shoes on snow and ice and I’m particularly careful when handling sheet glass; which can literally be lethal, or at least painful as the scars on my hands from unavoidable accidents attest.

As the article states, with access to emergency services and the assumption that help is only moments away the awareness of real dangers has become diminished and unlikely ones exaggerated.

Have a read of the full article, then be careful out there.

[NYT]

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Online Democracy: Death Star Edition

Death Star Memorial

Death Star Memorial (Photo credit: sabertail)

Both the UK and USA have websites where the populace can start e-petitions to highlight concerns on subjects as diverse as immigration, the health service, troops in Afghanistan and whether the US should build a Death Star by 2016.  Er, pardon?

To quote from the petition:  “By focusing our defense resources into a space-superiority platform and weapon system such as a Death Star, the government can spur job creation in the fields of construction, engineering, space exploration, and more, and strengthen our national defense,”

Admittedly noble sentiments but a Death Star, really?  Seems some people just can’t let go of the Star Wars programme.

I’m reminded at this point of the end of Dr Strangelove…

[Washington Post]