Risk Analysis

I’ve been thinking about risk analysis recently. The Times Online has an interesting story on teaching risk analysis in schools. People need proper tools to assess the deluge of information given to them. They tend to blow emotional stories up (like one person in the US getting mad cow disease) even if their personal risk is very low. It doesn’t help that it’s so easy to lie with statistics either.

Speaking of a risk analysis deficit, there must be a major one on the interstate. Every time I’m driving along, I notice when going from a 65 mph zone into a 55 mph zone most people seem to maintain their previous speed. People who wouldn’t go over the speed limit, or were only going 5 mph over had no problem with suddenly going 10 or 15 mph over. Hello?! What’s wrong with people? Maybe it’s just because I’m sort of in that risk mindset, but it seems rather silly.

Of course, if you’re being really risk adverse you’d probably take the bus instead! 🙂

  • Shane S

    I’d suggest reading “Make it Stick” or “Influencer.”
    Both of these books outline how such unlikely and sometimes untrue ideas can become an important part of culture. After the multitude of school shootings and statistics I told a principal, “More people die in hog confinements each year.” Does that make national news? As you’ve said- It’s easy to present data to make any case one way or another. School Bus safety statistics may appear far better than actual. http://www.ncsbs.org/testimonies/fatalities_and_injuries.htm Oh, my gosh! It’s not all about stats- but the ability to tell a good story as well.