Wednesday, August 19, 2015

What Are The Odds You'll Be Involved in a Catastrophe?

Big news events stir worries, but chances of dying in plane crashes or shark attacks are slim
When an unusual event occurs—an airliner crashes into a mountain or a meteor hits a house—people start to wonder: What are the odds of that happening?
This summer, after a lightning-strike survivor won the lottery, press accounts couldn’t resist speculating on the chances of that lucky coincidence (1 in 2.6 trillion, one mathematician figured).
But the odds machine really went into overdrive when eight swimmers were bitten by sharks off the coast of North Carolina and video of a professional surfer fending off an attack in South Africa went viral.
So let’s just say this up front: You are exceedingly unlikely to be attacked by a shark, as the Journal reported last week. But we’ve seen some disparate figures regarding the chance that a cartilaginous menace may take a bite out of us, and it made us wonder about the numbers, and about odds in general.
For example, according to preliminary 2014 statistics from the National Transportation Safety Board, there were no fatal accidents on U.S. commercial airline flights—the ones that cause white-knuckled travelers to tremble. But 419 people died in general aviation crashes, a figure that inflates the average American’s odds of dying in a plane crash, even though most of us don’t travel in small, private planes.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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