If you need proof that the American populace is terrible at assessing risk, then look no further than the current ebola hysteria. Is ebola a serious disease? Yep. Is it scary that it’s spreading like never before? Yep. But is it worth all the hysteria that we’re seeing, what with the CDC holding press conferences seemingly every half hour to calm America’s nerves? Well, let’s put it in perspective:
# of people in America who die each and every day from the flu or pneumonia: 147
# of people in America who have died of ebola in the history of the country: 1
Orange County Lt. Jeff Hallock told KTLA that the pattern was “creepy or very unusual” so they began collecting the dolls and interviewing the affected families…
“Following conversation and questioning of several parents, information was learned that focused on a female adult who lived in the local community and attended church with many of the impacted families,” according to a release from the police department…
“Investigators have concluded that her motivation was out of goodwill and that she intended it as a kind gesture,” police said.
This truly says something about our society these days. You can’t blame the parents for being a little spooked by it, or the police for doing their jobs, but it’s hard to believe that a generation ago the first thought wouldn’t have been “I wonder who’s leaving these gifts around?” instead of, “Holy crap some creep’s stalking our daughter.” Again, not blaming the parents, just pointing out that it’s just one more way our society has changed. After all, who lets their 10 year old play outside all day unless they have some sort of GPS enabled locator in his pocket?
Technology – Year of the Glasshole – Excerpt – “An anecdote: I wanted to wear Google Glass during the birth of our second child. My wife was extremely unreceptive to this idea when I suggested it. Angry, even. But as we got a bit closer to the date, she began to warm to it and eventually landed somewhere in the neighborhood of bemused hostility.”
One of those polls that show exactly how uninformed we are has hit the newswires. It reaffirms, once again, that the average adult in the United States has no idea what's going on in the world unless it appeared on Oprah or Entertainment Tonight. Normally I'd have ignored it but then I saw the graphic titled "Party Identification and News Awareness" that shows the breakdown by political party of what percentage of respondents answered each question correctly. What it shows is that if you want to know what's going on in the world your best bet is to ask an independent since they were right more often in nine out of eleven categories. (h/t to John Robinson for the pointer to the poll)