28 April 2009

On communicating about risk

We have all heard about the imminent pandemic of swine flu.

But it has to be recognised that the media cannot be trusted, particularly because of how much they relish disaster scenarios, on all fronts. See Davies N (2009) Flat Earth News: An Award-winning Reporter Exposes Falsehood, Distortion and Propaganda in the Global Media London; Vintage.

Which is not to say that it is not going to happen as predicted. But we are very bad at understanding risk; see Taleb N N (2008) The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable London; Penguin.

The link is to a sensible and well-informed piece which points out the limited correlation of perceived and real risk.

Now wash your hands!


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