Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Long odds?

People generally live, in the Western world, for somewhere between 70 and 80 years. It's getting longer, but that's not significant as far as what I have to say goes.

80 years is on or around 29,220 days. Within a couple, depending on how you sort leap years and centuries.

So, making some flying assumptions including a grotesque one of flatness, any odds worse than 1 in 30,000 are worse than your chance of dropping dead tomorrow.

So when some idiot says that something you enjoy "has a 1 in 200,000 chance of giving you cancer", for example, you know which finger to give them. Especially as cancer survival rates are improving. Remember, your chance of dying is 1 in 1 ...

Update: Swine flu, which was greeted with massive panic and, in the end, resulted in a resounding "Meh!" actually had, in the UK, a death rate of about 1 in 3850.

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