[ExI] Two Japanese reactors on red alert

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Sat Mar 19 10:22:34 UTC 2011

On Sat, Mar 19, 2011 at 8:04 AM, Kelly Anderson wrote:
> Our recent discussion of rogue asteroids is a great example. We have
> about a 1 in 3 chance of dying of heart disease, a 1:20,000 chance of
> dying of an asteroid, but we spend lots more money on the 1:50,000
> things like airplane crashes and the like because they are
> "interesting" to our brains.

As`an aside, can I suggest that you treat the 1:50,000 airplane death
risk figure with great suspicion.  The airline industry is very
careful in their methods of calculating risk.

Most people drive every day but comparatively few fly and then only
occasionally, so using total population in the risk calculation is
Most aircraft crashes happen on take-off or landing, so using deaths
per mile travelled is misleading. It is better to use deaths per trip.
Some airlines are more risky than others. First world airlines have a
much better safety record.
There are many other types of aviation as well as the big airlines.
Small planes, small commuter turboprops, chartered planes,
helicopters, private planes, etc.are more risky than big airlines. Do
you include *all* aviation deaths in the calculation?

This article makes the point that the statistics are confusing -  :)

Choosing "mile to mile" as the more appropriate comparison for
differing modes of transportation (and overlooking that small planes
often takeoff and land at the same airport, without ever really "going
anywhere"), let's review the fatality rates:

    * driving: 1.32 fatal accidents and 1.47 fatalities per 100 million miles
    * airlines: .05 fatal accidents and 1.57 fatalities per 100 million miles
    * General Aviation: 7.46 fatal accidents and 13.1 fatalities per
100 million miles

So mile per mile, General Aviation flying has about 5 times as many
fatal accidents, and 9 times as many fatalities, as compared to travel
by motor vehicle. The airlines have about the same fatality rate as
driving, but a much lower fatal accident rate (by virtue of a large
number of fatalities per accident).


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list