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Old 06-20-2011, 04:47 PM   #221
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My that is a wonderful talk.
Really? Are you being sarcastic? I thought parts 1 and 2 (all I listened to) were obtuse and stupid. If you find that people generally don't judge risk according to chance of death, what should you conclude? Should you continue to assume that death is all important and people are just being dumb, or should you question your own assumptions? Sandman is clearly incapable of the second. But where is the evidence that people are, or should be, concerned with death? Wars lead to the deaths of hundreds of thousands, yet people seem quite willing to go to war. Many die in traffic accidents, yet we continue to drive with no real misgivings. The obvious conclusion is that what Sandman calls hazard is just not that important to people. And why should it be?
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Old 06-20-2011, 05:22 PM   #222
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Splendid talk. Fully explains without actually mentioning the famous "random fudge factor" judiciously applied in fear-mongering.
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Old 06-20-2011, 05:50 PM   #223
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Good talk.
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Old 06-20-2011, 05:52 PM   #224
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Really? Are you being sarcastic? I thought parts 1 and 2 (all I listened to) were obtuse and stupid. If you find that people generally don't judge risk according to chance of death, what should you conclude? Should you continue to assume that death is all important and people are just being dumb, or should you question your own assumptions? Sandman is clearly incapable of the second. But where is the evidence that people are, or should be, concerned with death? Wars lead to the deaths of hundreds of thousands, yet people seem quite willing to go to war. Many die in traffic accidents, yet we continue to drive with no real misgivings. The obvious conclusion is that what Sandman calls hazard is just not that important to people. And why should it be?
I found it pretty illuminating that the correlation between real risk and perceived risks were so low R=.2 and so consistent. For example wars aren't even in the top 20 leading causes of death. Smoking, over eating, drinking, and having sex, and driving, kill way more people. So I think rather than trying to convince people that a given activity like say going to war is safe. I'll just try and convince people that other activities are more dangerous.
So for instance smoking or living near a coal fired electricity plant makes your lungs look like this
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Old 06-20-2011, 05:57 PM   #225
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Many die in traffic accidents, yet we continue to drive with no real misgivings. The obvious conclusion is that what Sandman calls hazard is just not that important to people. And why should it be?
I think that you have totally missed the point. What he calls "Hazard" is what the Risk Management industry calls "Risk". He gives it that name precisely because we know that what the industry calls Risk, and what he calls Hazard, *is indeed not important* to most people. That's why we drive cars and smoke cigarettes, although these are highly dangerous things to do.
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Old 06-20-2011, 06:36 PM   #226
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Many die in traffic accidents, yet we continue to drive with no real misgivings. The obvious conclusion is that what Sandman calls hazard is just not that important to people. And why should it be?
Precisely. This lets us do things like operate very hazardous transport infrastructure at minimal cost, or sell hazardous but widely accepted products, without having to worry about outrage or retribution from the public at large.

I personally don't care for it, but I appear to be some sort of freak who does consider actual risk to be important. So it goes, so it goes...
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Old 06-20-2011, 07:08 PM   #227
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Precisely. This lets us do things like operate very hazardous transport infrastructure at minimal cost, or sell hazardous but widely accepted products, without having to worry about outrage or retribution from the public at large.

I personally don't care for it, but I appear to be some sort of freak who does consider actual risk to be important. So it goes, so it goes...
MP, just forget all of the math you learned after 6th grade. You'll be much happier. Ignorance is bliss.
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Old 06-20-2011, 07:51 PM   #228
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MP, just forget all of the math you learned after 6th grade. You'll be much happier. Ignorance is bliss.
Also, if you ever try to run your life in accordance with the true risks rather than what people are afraid of, you may be branded as a crank or a freak.

Personal example. I lived in the country, 12 miles of scenic two lane road from the town and the freeway.

After I got whacked by not one but two drunk drivers in the same 3 car crash, and met lots of other people in rehab who had been hurt more severely by other crazy drivers I decided that I was saying goodbye to 2 lane roads forever, if at all possible. I moved to the city on a bus line. Now if I had been able to just apply reality risk assessment before getting a physical demonstration I would have been better off. I still drive, but less than 1/4 of my prior distance. And if it involves a 2 lane road, I pass, no matter what wonder is at the other end of the road.

Ha
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Old 06-20-2011, 08:33 PM   #229
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Really? Are you being sarcastic? I thought parts 1 and 2 (all I listened to) were obtuse and stupid.
That's what I love about a good discussion board: objective, thoughtful, and constructive criticism...
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Old 06-20-2011, 09:35 PM   #230
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That's what I love about a good discussion board: objective, thoughtful, and constructive criticism...
Really are you being sarcastic?
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Old 06-20-2011, 09:57 PM   #231
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The obvious conclusion is that what Sandman calls hazard is just not that important to people. And why should it be?
No reason that I can think of! I am much more afraid of devils and black cats and being buried alive and the dangers of vaccines than of the ten most likely causes of premature death in America.

Ha
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Old 06-20-2011, 10:24 PM   #232
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I am much more afraid of devils and black cats and being buried alive and the dangers of vaccines than of the ten most likely causes of premature death in America.
It is the continuation of our genetic lines that evolution provides our concern for. It is the continuation of societies and cultural traditions that civilization depends on. There are things more important than minimizing the number of premature deaths of individuals.
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Old 06-20-2011, 10:36 PM   #233
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"The risks that kill people and the risks that upset people are completely different" - Peter M. Sandman.
Excellent, thank you for posting. The follow -up video was important also.

The two bullets I got were:

1) People tend to think of something as dangerous because they are outraged about it. To a much lesser extent, people are outraged because something is dangerous.

2) Outraged people will resist data, they don't want to learn.

In the hypothetical example, when the factory presents convincing data that their output is not carcinogenic, and the people actually are convinced, their outrage increases. The data didn't address their outrage, it only addressed one outlet for the outrage, so it will just get redirected elsewhere.

I took a quick look at one other video, he did give a method to deal with one aspect of the outrage.

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Also, if you ever try to run your life in accordance with the true risks rather than what people are afraid of, you may be branded as a crank or a freak.

Personal example. .... I decided that I was saying goodbye to 2 lane roads forever, if at all possible.

Ha
Yep, I experience this in two distinct ways. Like you, I see cars/roads as dangerous and I actively try to minimize my exposure. No long commutes for me when I was working, etc. I don't take it to extremes, but I do what I can. I'm conscience of it (one life threatening accident re-enforced this for me).

But as Peter Sandman points out - I have good data that shows expressways to be ~ 4x safer than the alternate routes (no cross intersections, less chance of head-on collision), but the data does not change DW's perception. She is just 'outraged' at the thought of zipping along expressways with big semi-rigs, and she wants to take that 'safe' country road.

The other is on the opposite side. I will do small, simple things to reduce small probability risks. Since it is a small effort, it isn't 'overkill', it's just something I do. Example: If we are going to be gone a few days, I shut off the water heater. Takes no time, and I figure there is some small chance that it could burn down the house when we are gone. Pilot keeps things warm, so you have hot water in a short time after you get home. But if I mention it, people look all quizzical and say "I never do that!". Fine, don't do it then, but don't look at me like I'm crazy because I do.

There's dozens of little things like that - I do them so automatically now I can hardly think of them - Like setting things down or on their side so they can't fall and break, rather than setting something on the edge of a counter where it might fall, like I see so many people do. It's like I'm mentally computing the risk of that thing falling. With some gadget that gets plugged in and out, I consciously think about which socket is most likely to wear or break or be the most expensive to fix, and I'll unplug the other side. Like that.

To the point of this thread, I think the outrage toward Nuclear power is understandable. This technology isn't understandable by the vast majority of us (unless we go get educated), and it is scary since the dangers are mostly 'invisible' and likely even delayed. It's tough to be comfortable with something we can't understand. But like what I think clifp was getting at, I guess the way I look at is that all the data is saying the other stuff is worse. So I direct my outrage there.


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Old 06-20-2011, 10:50 PM   #234
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It is the continuation of our genetic lines that evolution provides our concern for.
But as we gain knowledge over time, our concerns can more closely align with reality.

Not so long ago, people were not concerned about drinking unsanitary water, as they had no knowledge of germs. Now we do, so our concerns are more closely aligned with that knowledge (is this water safe from contamination)? Knowledge is an ongoing process.

I think our current society would benefit from a greater understanding of risk assessment. Most people simply do not know how to prioritize things involving risk. One of the things that comes to mind is people who drive 40 miles out of their way (round trip) once a week to buy organic milk or whatever. Is there any reason to think that any benefit of organic milk outweighs the known risks of a 40 mile trip, 50 times a year?

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Old 06-21-2011, 02:09 PM   #235
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I took a quick look at one other video, he did give a method to deal with one aspect of the outrage.
I'm working my way through the entire site...

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Is there any reason to think that any benefit of organic milk outweighs the known risks of a 40 mile trip, 50 times a year?
I have a colleague who does more or less exactly this. He also smokes 25 cigarettes per day.
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Old 06-21-2011, 02:31 PM   #236
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I have a colleague who does more or less exactly this. He also smokes 25 cigarettes per day.
But, are they... like organic tobacco cigarettes?
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Old 07-13-2011, 01:30 PM   #237
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I mentioned naturally-occurring nuclear reactors earlier in this thread, and the subject finally came up again on Scientific American:

Guest Blog: Nature's Nuclear Reactors: The 2-Billion-Year-Old Natural Fission Reactors in Gabon, Western Africa

I'd heard of the phenomenon, but I didn't appreciate why it happened or how long it could continue or how widespread it actually was.

The writer also greatly simplifies the concept of reactor physics.
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Old 07-14-2011, 01:07 AM   #238
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Excellent article - thanks for posting - also interesting that there was a 'great oxidation event' which contributed to the development of these natural nuclear reactors. I'm sure that oxidation event also contributed to a lot of other changes on the earth wrt life.

Also, I agree, a very well written article - easy to follow and explains nuclear fission very well.
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Old 07-14-2011, 09:40 AM   #239
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The writer also greatly simplifies the concept of reactor physics.
You might also be interested in http://www.physics.isu.edu/radinf/Files/Okloreactor.pdf, a comparison with modern nuclear reactors, in case you didn't see it, which I found referred to in the Wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_nuclear_fission_reactor.
SA also had an article on this in 2005: The Workings of an Ancient Nuclear Reactor: Scientific American.
And here's a picture at http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap021016.html
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Old 07-14-2011, 09:46 AM   #240
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I'm sure that oxidation event also contributed to a lot of other changes on the earth wrt life.
It sure did. The oxygen was produced by life, and made our form of oxygen-consuming life possible. It's been suggested that we might seed Mars with cyanobacteria to produce an oxidative event there as well, as a preliminary to human colonization.
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