Tag Archives | Create Your Own Reality

The Odds of Airborne Terror

KnifeTerrorismNate Silver, who in the past has put the mainstream media to shame with his statistical predictions of election results, writes on his site, FiveThirtyEight.com:

Not going to do any editorializing here; just going to do some non-fancy math. James Joyner asks:

There have been precisely three attempts over the last eight years to commit acts of terrorism aboard commercial aircraft. All of them clownishly inept and easily thwarted by the passengers. How many tens of thousands of flights have been incident free?

Let’s expand Joyner’s scope out to the past decade. Over the past decade, there have been, by my count, six attempted terrorist incidents on board a commercial airliner than landed in or departed from the United States: the four planes that were hijacked on 9/11, the shoe bomber incident in December 2001, and the NWA flight 253 incident on Christmas.

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics provides a wealth of statistical information on air traffic.

Read the rest

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Chronically Ill Patients Might Be Happier if They Give Up Hope

Reported on Reuters:

Holding on to hope may not make patients happier as they deal with chronic illness or diseases, according to a new study by University of Michigan Health System researchers.

“Hope is an important part of happiness,” said Peter A. Ubel, M.D., director of the U-M Center for Behavioral and Decision Sciences in Medicine and one of the authors of the happily hopeless study, “but there’s a dark side of hope. Sometimes, if hope makes people put off getting on with their life, it can get in the way of happiness.”

The results showed that people do not adapt well to situations if they are believed to be short-term. Ubel and his co-authors — both from U-M and Carnegie Mellon University — studied patients who had new colostomies: their colons were removed and they had to have bowel movements in a pouch that lies outside their body.

At the time they received their colostomy, some patients were told that the colostomy was reversible — that they would undergo a second operation to reconnect their bowels after several months. Others were told that the colostomy was permanent and that they would never have normal bowel function again. The second group — the one without hope — reported being happier over the next six months than those with reversible colostomies.

“We think they were happier because they got on with their lives. They realized the cards they were dealt, and recognized that they had no choice but to play with those cards,” says Ubel, who is also a professor in the Department of Internal Medicine. (Read More)

This is sort of like what Morgan Freeman’s character told Tim Robbin’s in The Shawshank Redemption, even going so far to describe hope as “dangerous.” But Andy Dufresne didn’t take Red’s advice…

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Barbara Ehrenreich Takes on the Plague of Positive Thinking

Interesting perspective for those drunk on The Secret‘s kool-aid. From a New York Magazine profile:

Barbara Ehrenreich, renowned for her exposés of America’s grueling blue- and white-collar job markets (i.e., Nickel and Dimed, Bait and Switch), is out to cement her role as our nation’s reality checker. Her new book, Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America, was initially inspired by her resistance to the cancer-gives-my-life-meaning trope, which was inflicted on her when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000. She found that insistent, blind optimism is deeply ingrained in our nation’s psyche, especially in the realms of finance and national security.

And an interview with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show:

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Taryn Simon Photographs Secret Sites

TED: Ideas Worth Spreading (Video):

Taryn Simon exhibits her startling take on photography — to reveal worlds and people we would never see otherwise. She shares two projects: one documents otherworldly locations typically kept secret from the public, the other involves haunting portraits of men convicted for crimes they did not commit.

Watch video in high res here.

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