Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Facts, Just the Facts, Folks

A Nation of Cowards
By Jerome Dolittle / December 28, 2009

Here is the estimable and sensible Nate Silver, once again laying out the numbers for us:

Over the past decade, according to BTS, there have been 99,320,309 commercial airline departures that either originated or landed within the United States. Dividing by six, we get one terrorist incident per 16,553,385 departures.

These departures flew a collective 69,415,786,000 miles. That means there has been one terrorist incident per 11,569,297,667 miles flown. This distance is equivalent to 1,459,664 trips around the diameter of the Earth, 24,218 round trips to the Moon, or two round trips to Neptune…

Therefore, the odds of being on a given departure which is the subject of a terrorist incident have been 1 in 10,408,947 over the past decade. By contrast, the odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are about 1 in 500,000. This means that you could board 20 flights per year and still be less likely to be the subject of an attempted terrorist attack than to be struck by lightning.

Are your pants wet nonetheless? Your lips trembling, your hair standing on end? Are you pathetically grateful for the friendly folks who make you take your shoes off and scan your body and search your baby’s diaper at the airport? If so, my friend, you are a typical American.

Source / Bad Attitudes

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