It has come to my attention as I watch TV and listen to the radio that many people have lost the ability to understand numbers. Specifically keeping things in perspective.
Recently on the Drudge Report there was a giant bold 120 dead concerning this Pig Flu nonsense.
120 isn't hardly news. In fact more people died around the world in the time it took me to write this sentence from AIDS.
The media likes to scare people. They like to throw around numbers. I am going to help you. Buy a bag of Jelly beans. Seriously.
Ok Now count how many J-Beans you have (you chocoholics can use M&Ms if you perfer). Regardless of how many you have this is you POOL. The pool is all mighty in separating nonsense from reality.
Ready? Lets say 5000 people died in the USA from this new virus. Is that a lot? Lets use the pool to figure that out.
First off there are 300,000,000 people roughly in the United States. I want you to take the number in your pool and divide 300,000,000 by it. This is the number of people per J-Bean. Simple Right?
Here is the sanity test when ever they start throwing around numbers. Does the "GIANT EVIL NUMBER OF DEAD, DYING ETC" cause you to remove a single jelly bean? One. If I have 100 jelly beans That means that before I have to remove 1 jelly bean 300,000 need to die for JUST ONE jelly bean to go away.
This is sainty. This is reality. 5000 people isn't a disaster, a pandemic or an outbreak. Thousands will die from the every day flu this year, thousands will die from car accidents, hell last I checked more then 500 people alone this year will die from trying to get high on paint fumes.
180 dead from a new Pig Flu? More people will die from falling down stairs in the USA this year. Over 200 will die from suicide, and several thousand will die from homicide.
You can live in fear people. You can watch big flashing headlines and talking heads on TV telling you the universe is about to explode. Reality is where the rest of us can rest easy.
And remember... as a wise man once wrote on the cover a book.... Don't Panic...