The other day I was looking for statistics to help me frame the actual risk of death via swine flu. I didn't find anything salient to post, but this post does the trick:
We overweigh new risks relative to comparable risks we are accustomed to. Around 100 people per day died in US roads in 2008, an enormous improvement over previous years but still. People obsessing about spending 5 minutes in elevators with others (an infinitesimal chance of contagion) will blithely cross the street against the light to have a artery-clogging triple cheeseburger with fries and then smoke a pack of cigarettes. These things have much higher risks, but because we have grown accustomed to them, we don’t think of the risks. They are not, in the technical term, salient; but they are much more dangerous. Still, their dangers are dry statistics and people are not good with statistics.