Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Bit of Perspective

One of the things that was great about Death from the Skies! was that, even after building up the horrible, catastrophic tragedies the universe could have in store for us, he put it in perspective by going through the statistical probability of it actually occurring.

All too often, this perspective is lacking and people not familiar with big numbers are often intimidated by it. After all, one in a million chances happen 8 times a day in New York City alone (since there's over 8 million people for them to happen to). As someone who's dealt a lot with astronomical numbers and units (I've even dealt with units of universes, I'm not phased by them but many people freak out when they start seeing numbers much larger than anything in their bank account.

In fact, this is often relied upon. It's the basis for pretty much anything that comes out of Dembski's mouth.

So it's really nice when these numbers are put in perspective. Yesterday, I stumbled across this bit of perspective at Gizmodo that puts your chances of getting caught up in an act of terrorism while flying in perspective.

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