Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Shark Attacks Rise Worldwide: Risk Assessment and Aquinas' Criteria For Sin

Risk: Real And Imagined

There were 1,260,000 traffic fatalities in the world last year.

Also last year, 12 humans died from shark attack. 

Aquinas observed that sin is always accompanied by "loss of perspective/proportion." 

Notably, The Press exaggerates every "fearful issue" so that "the uneducated" -- unable to contextualize -- "lose it." 

Show me the human heart not struck with terror upon learning: "Shark attacks rise worldwide!" 

But in "the big scheme of things," shark attacks are vanishingly inconsequential, not even worthy of comment except as human interest stories whose purpose is to "sell papers." 

In each of the last hundred years, more Americans were killed by dogs than sharks. 

Yet we cuddle Fido, rarely if ever considering him a lethal menace.

In the last decade, an average of 26 Americans were killed by dogs, more than twice the global total of humans killed by sharks.

Every text, without a context, is a pretext.

Many will rankle but this behavior of focusing "text" to the exclusion of "context" is why Christian fundamentalists -- and their mirror image, Islamist jihadists -- are such extraordinarily dangerous people.

Our failure to probe-and-link inter-disciplinary domains-of-learning divorces information from wisdom, thus preventing balanced politics – and balanced religion – from serving as seed beds of wisdom.

Faulty Risk Assessment And The Epidemic Spread Of Self-Terrorization

Image result for pascal, pax on both houses

"Harvard Prof. Steven Pinker On Slight Uptick In Violence In A Much More Peaceful World"

Shark attacks rise worldwide, but drop in Florida

BREVARD, Fla. -- Fewer experienced the horror of a shark attack off American waters in 2011, but globally fatalities from the razor-sharp jaws of the ocean's top predator reached a 20-year high, according to the University of Florida.
The United States and Florida saw a downturn in unprovoked shark attacks in 2011, UF's International Shark Attack File reported Tuesday. But last year's 12 fatalities from shark attacks all happened outside theU.S., which may reflect more tourists venturing afar.
"We had a number of fatalities in essentially out-of-the-way places, where there's not the same quantity and quality of medical attention readily available," said George Burgess, director of the file. "They also don't have histories of shark attacks in these regions, so there are not contingency plans in effect like there are in places such as Florida."
Last year's 75 shark attacks worldwide were close to the 10-year average. But the number of deaths doubled compared with 2010. The 12 fatalities in 2011 was the highest yearly total since 1993, which also had 12. The 2001 to 2010 yearly average was 4.3.
Last year's fatalities happened in Australia (three), Reunion (two), the Seychelles (two) and South Africa (two), with one each in Costa Rica, Kenya and New Caledonia.
Florida led the U.S. with 11 of the nation's 29 attacks, none of them fatal.
The global average fatality rate from shark attacks during the past decade was just under 7 percent. The rate rose to 16 percent last year. Excluding the U.S.'s 29 non-fatal attacks, the global fatality rate was just over 25 percent in 2011.
"There's a marked difference between results in attacks in the U.S. and elsewhere," Burgess said. "I think it speaks to the level of preparedness that we have in terms of beach safety."
While the higher number of fatalities worldwide surprised shark researchers, the drop in U.S. attacks follows a 10-year trend.
"People might argue there's less sharks, but since the late 1990s, populations have begun a slow recovery," Burgess said. "By contrast, the number of attacks in the United States and Florida suggests there's been a reduced use of these waters."
Florida's shark attacks historically lead the U.S., and with so many swimmers and surfers,Volusia County typically has the most attacks in the state. In 2011, Volusia again led Florida with six attacks, but it was the lowest since 2004, which had three attacks. St. Johns and Brevard had two attacks, and Palm Beach County had one.
Florida's 11 bites fell well below the 2001 to 2010 average of 23.4 and was the lowest since 1993 when the state had 10 attacks.
"It's a good news/bad news situation," Burgess said. "From the U.S. perspective, things have never been better, our attack and fatality rates continue to decline. But if it's a reflection of the downturn in the economy, it might suggest that other areas have made a real push to get into the tourism market."
Surfers were the most affected group, accounting for about 60 percent of unprovoked attacks. Swimmers experienced 35 percent of attacks, followed by divers, with about 5 percent.
But we pose a much greater threat to sharks, skates and rays than those species do to us, Burgess said. The biggest threat: global over-fishing, especially for flesh and fins used in shark fin soup, a pricey Asian delicacy. "We're killing 30 to 70 million sharks per year in fisheries -- who's killing who?" Burgess said.
The Rare Risk Of "Just War" (as distinct from "just war...")

The Age-Old Normalization Of Warfare Through Stupidity, Ego And Religion

"Why of course the people don't want war... Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.... Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought along to do the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." Hermann Goering, Adolf Hitler's Deputy Chief and Luftwaffe Commander, at the Nuremberg trials, 1946.

"Do War's Really Defend America's Freedom?"
(Homage To Marine Commandant, Major General Smedley Butler
The Most Decorated Marine Of His Time)

"Risk, Perpective And The War On Terror"

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