23 May, 2008

Risks and Liberty

This article not only agrees with my opinion that humans are rubbish at analysing risk, but also has a neat piece of analysis on the impact of false positives on our risk assessments.

I agree with him that perhaps 'risk' should be taught in schools. Perhaps it could replace general studies?

10 comments:

Android said...

At my school in Russia we had a subject called 'The basics of the safe living' (or something like that), where we were taught about situations like gas attacks, carbon monoxide escapes, fires, earthquakes, lightening storms etc etc :) It was great fun :)

Android said...

Oh, and also stuff like - never taking a lift with a stranger (in a residential building obviously). I still remember than one :)

Miss Middle of Manchester said...

My school didn't teach anything like that.

I feel left out. :(

The 50-Year-Old Pupil said...

Another article by a Guardian journo about a complex subject he knows nothing about. If people don't understand risk, why are we richer and safer than 100 years ago? And who does understand risk? Oh yeah, Guardian readers who like telling other people how to live their lives. Risk by John Adams is a good starter for the mathematically challenged.

Miss Middle of Manchester said...

Maybe, and I'm arguing somewhat from a devil's advocate position here, it indicates that we're still rubbish at individually assessing risk (swimming pools v guns, for instance) but collectively, over the years we haven't been too bad?

Or perhaps, more realistically in my view, we have less accidents because there are less dangerous professions and trades around and accidents are no longer fatal. However dangerous HSE warns us filing cabinets and books on shelves are, they cannot compete with factories, farms and yards for dangers. Further, a broken arm used to be fatal: even if the break healed (definitely not a guarantee) being out of work could cause problems of its own. Now, it's a small inconvenience.

The 50-Year-Old Pupil said...

If you think about it, doing the BVC is like betting around £20-30k on getting pupillage. The odds are rather worse than going into the Manchester235 Casino, going up to the roulette table and putting all that money on "red".

Bar students not in a position to snear at gamblers methinks!

How is Mr.X getting on this year? Not in his syndicate group are you?

Miss Middle of Manchester said...

Ha ha, very true. The problem is that we all know the risks, are all intelligent enough to consider them and understand them but our pesky egos keep getting in the way :)

I'm not sure who you mean by Mr X. Are you perhaps getting me confused with a different blogger? If so, I do hope you've found the diversion worthwhile!

The 50-Year-Old Pupil said...

This Mr.X!

Remember that your entire way of life depends on those "unintelligent" people. They feed you, collect your refuse, fix your plumbing, save you when you have an accident and entertain you when you are blue. "It makes you doubt your status as an intellectual."

Miss Middle of Manchester said...

Oh! Now that's wonderful!

Yes, the rumour is still going around this year about him!

I must admit, I hadn't read Barrister 2B in sufficient detail... feel I MUST not read the whole of the blog :)

Mr X is teaching us for PI (which, I will concede, he is not a bad tutor in. Though the WGS send us all to sleep. Spent most of the last one debate by text and note whether our estates could claim against MMU for putting us under such stress (by boredom) that we suffered a fatal accident)....

Ho hum, isn't it a small world?

Unless your name is deceptive regarding your status, how is you pupillage? (and do you have a blog? I don't seem to be able to find one)

The 50-Year-Old Pupil said...

"What can be said can be said clearly." but not necessarily in public. We begin to trespass where confidentiality might apply. fd80atdialdotpipexdotcom (preventspam) to further the discussion.