THE BLOG
03/27/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Risky Business

"The research showed that when people learn about risk, they respond more strongly to those threats that are immediately before them. The study also showed that after the initial emotional reaction has dwindled and been reduced to a memory -- a process known as emotional decay -- perceived risk also declines." - Discovery News


Please read the following short paragraphs and then respond to the questions on risk:

1.) The swine flu is a hideous, painful, brutal disease, one that experts predict will kill nearly as many individuals this flu season as a seasonal flu of ordinary severity would over the same period in years past. Many of the victims will be in the so-called "prime of life," as opposed to the elderly and very young who, relatively weak, incapable of taking care of themselves fully, and essentially unemployable, are thus more deserving of that Darwinian fate.

Unconfirmed reports indicate that simply thinking about a piece of pork can cause robust, healthy individuals to fall deathly ill right in the middle of the street. Other rumors indicate that the disease in its late stages afflicts sufferers with a curly protrusion at the base of the spine, as well as a tightening of the skin on the bridge of the nose, which tightening causes the nostrils to pull back garishly.

Even those who manage to escape this insidious killer with body and soul intact are going to undergo literally days of feeling truly, deeply crappy, so much so that, while in the throes of this torturous flu, they may even "just wish they were dead, already."

Would you rather be sneezed on by a person with swine flu, or one with full-blown AIDS whose sneeze will contain blood, which blood will enter your eyes, and who also has a bad case of the ebola?

2.) In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the streets of New Orleans were flooded with sickness, death, and lots and lots of filthy, nasty, brown-colored water. People were pretty sure that there was going to be all kinds of cholera, a disease that kills rapidly through nearly incessant bouts of explosive diarrhea, so frequent, aggressive, and physically draining that, unless you manage to find a toilet quickly after the onset of symptoms, you will die in a puddle of your own shit.

Though efforts to rebuild the city have been underway since the catastrophe, New Orleans's once-famous night-life is not nearly as awesome as it used to be, with a reported 58% drop in boobs-for-beads style flashings. Informal surveys have indicated that the fried oyster po' boy quality has reduced so drastically that you may as well be eating fried clams.


If you were given an all-expenses paid vacation, with the caveat that you could only vacation in one of the following three places, which would you choose: New Orleans, Pakistan, or Iran?

3.) There is a fatal automobile crash in America once every few seconds, according to my research. One minute you're driving along at exactly the speed limit, your seatbelt on, your cell phone silenced and tucked away in the glove compartment so that you won't be tempted to tweet pictures of the hilarious road signs you're paying close and careful attention to, and the next, you're impaled on the steering column, your leg bent at such a bizarre angle that, even through the constantly crashing tsunami-sized waves of pain, you take notice of how weird it looks.

Even if you have been shown not to be at fault in the horrific, metal-twisting accident that awaits you, and if you escape with your life, your insurance rates will absolutely skyrocket!


If given the choice, would you rather take a short road trip involving merging onto and off of the interstate, or would you rather play two rounds of Russian roulette with your friend Lucky Jimmy and his 6-barrel gun? What about wrestling a starved grizzly? Please rank the three options in order from best to worst idea.