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Re: The Friendly Atom

Kent N. Lambert wrote:

> On 14 Apr 98 at 15:07, Ruth Weiner wrote:
> >      if the weather man predicts 10% chance
> >      of rain, do you think it's going to rain?  No.  If you have a
> >      disease with a 95% recovery rate, do you think you are going to
> >      get well?  Of course.
> Would you go shopping in an area where 1 out of 10 cars in the
> parking lot were stolen?  ... Would you take a trip to a foreign land
> if only 95
> out of each hundred people that made the trip survived terrorist
> attacks? ...  Would you
> go swimming at the shore  if 1 in a 1000 (0.001) swimmers were
> attacked by sharks?

There is a major difference between Ruthīs and Kentīs examples: You
canīt help the weather or your chances to recover from illness, so why
not beeing optimistic? But at Kentīs examples you have the choice to
face the risk or avoid it.

Ruth makes a very good point in a later contribution about the benefit
linked to the risk, which improves the perception.

But there is another important factor concerning risk perception. Itīs
about personal taste and fun. The public accepts the risks of
car-driving better than other comparable risks for two reasons: first,
everyone thinks, his risk is smaller because he is a better driver (he
can influence the risk and isnīt delivered to it) and second, driving is
fun! Very few people would be willing to work in a job that is equally
dangerous as skiing or playing football.

Harald Weiss                 weiss@ki.comcity.de
Preetzer Strasse 263         Tel  +49 431 7859659
D-24147 Kiel                 Fax  +49 431 7859658