1252:"Increased Risk"

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Quicksilver
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1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby Quicksilver » Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:32 am UTC

Image
http://xkcd.com/1252/
Alt Text: "You may point out that strictly speaking, you can use that statement to prove that all risks are tiny--to which I reply HOLY SHIT WATCH OUT FOR THAT DOG!"
and the odds for sharks with lasers? or a tornado sweeping the sharks from the south beach to the north beach?

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rhomboidal
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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby rhomboidal » Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:34 am UTC

Statistics is already scary enough to people without adding sharks and armed dogs. (Let alone armed sharks.)

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keithl
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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby keithl » Fri Aug 16, 2013 6:09 am UTC

Maybe shark eats the dog and handgun, and the gun goes off inside the shark. Or maybe the shark eats only the dog, points the gun at the bathers, and forces them into the water. I'm wearing a heavy bulletproof vest while swimming, just in case!

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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby joshumax » Fri Aug 16, 2013 6:22 am UTC

Looks like I should cancel my front-row tickets to the annual handgun-wielding swimming dog competition.

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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby sonalita » Fri Aug 16, 2013 7:02 am UTC

This. Oh how this irks me.

Newspaper headlines that scream "eating <random healthy food> triples risk of <rare dread disease>" really really annoy me. It scares people unnecessarily.

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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby BlitzGirl » Fri Aug 16, 2013 7:03 am UTC

I've gotta say, I would be very impressed with any dog who figured out how to shoot said handgun while carrying it in its mouth (and swimming).

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Perhaps some tongue action (heh) would do the trick?

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SQB
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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby SQB » Fri Aug 16, 2013 7:30 am UTC

Great timing. A German girl had her arm bitten off in shark attack last Wednesday. And yes, it was the south beach.

http://mauinow.com/2013/08/14/photos-sh ... shoreline/

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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby ijuin » Fri Aug 16, 2013 7:37 am UTC

Increasing a two-in-one-million risk by 50% gives you a three-in-one-million risk, which is still only one-in-one-million chances LESS to get away unharmed. Seriously, you're several times more likely to be killed by an automobile than by homocide (outside of war) plus all animal attacks combined.

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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby JustDoug » Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:10 am UTC

ijuin wrote:Increasing a two-in-one-million risk by 50% gives you a three-in-one-million risk, which is still only one-in-one-million chances LESS to get away unharmed. Seriously, you're several times more likely to be killed by an automobile than by homocide (outside of war) plus all animal attacks combined.


“Million-to-one chances crop up nine times out of ten.”

― Terry Pratchett, The Light Fantastic

AdrianChallinor
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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby AdrianChallinor » Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:11 am UTC

ijuin wrote:Increasing a two-in-one-million risk by 50% gives you a three-in-one-million risk, which is still only one-in-one-million chances LESS to get away unharmed. Seriously, you're several times more likely to be killed by an automobile than by homocide (outside of war) plus all animal attacks combined.


This was explained to me in my first job, where I got, SHOCK HORROR a 10% raise. My line manager explained it by the immortal words "10% of bugger all is still bugger all". I have remember these words of wisdom for 40 years!

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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby Carteeg_Struve » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:28 am UTC

But does it really increase your chances if you consider the possibility that you left the first beach before the dog shot you there instead of at the later beach. The probability increase really only applies if you're present at a moment in time at each beach where the dog shooting could take place. Otherwise aren't you only transplanting the duration you're at one location for another.... Plus what if the dog follows you from one beach to another? Or what if the dog moves from the beach your going to to the one you left while you're switching beaches?

Damn stalking armed dogs. This is why I hate probability.

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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby dalcde » Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:06 am UTC

Oh no! This is our third trip!

Gambler's fallacy?

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Klear
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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby Klear » Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:16 am UTC

sonalita wrote:This. Oh how this irks me.

Newspaper headlines that scream "eating <random healthy food> triples risk of <rare dread disease>" really really annoy me. It scares people unnecessarily.


Yeah, news should be like this: http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=3081#comic

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cellocgw
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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby cellocgw » Fri Aug 16, 2013 12:25 pm UTC

Some random thoughts:

As reported on BoingBoing, you're far more likely to be killed by a cow than a shark.

GLR is likely to get a visit from the DHS+FBI+NSA for attempting to show how ridiculous all our "anti-terrorist" theatre is.

My magic rock has kept my home and workplace shark-attack-free for over 25 years.


People are really really stupid when it comes to dealing with statistics (and reality).
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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby mathmannix » Fri Aug 16, 2013 12:29 pm UTC

Lisa, I would like to buy your magic rock.
I hear velociraptor tastes like chicken.

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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby dp2 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 1:21 pm UTC

This one has me concerned about Randall. I hope everything is okay. Does this signal the imminent end of the comic?

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Wnderer
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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby Wnderer » Fri Aug 16, 2013 1:32 pm UTC

I'm suspicious of statistics like these. They don't give any information on how the statistics are defined. Which is it?

Number of shark attacks per population of humans
Number of shark attacks per people who swim
Number of shark attacks per people who swim in the ocean
Number of shark attacks per people who swim in shark infested waters
Number of shark attacks per people who come home from vacation with underwater photographs of sharks

Your activities change your risk. I read in one camping book that you are more likely to get struck by lightning than to get attacked by a grizzly bear. The statement was right next to a photograph the author had taken of a grizzly bear.

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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby Vahir » Fri Aug 16, 2013 1:37 pm UTC

Image

Related.

Harry Voyager
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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby Harry Voyager » Fri Aug 16, 2013 2:09 pm UTC

Of course, a 15% increase in a 90% resistance turns a really big number into a significantly bigger number.

Gumbril
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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby Gumbril » Fri Aug 16, 2013 2:38 pm UTC

Come on, something must be done!

1. Ban dogs on the beach
2. Ban breeds large enough to hold a handgun
3. Ban handguns

Jeez, it's just common sense.

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davidstarlingm
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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby davidstarlingm » Fri Aug 16, 2013 2:42 pm UTC

Gumbril wrote:Come on, something must be done!

1. Ban dogs on the beach
2. Ban breeds large enough to hold a handgun
3. Ban handguns

Jeez, it's just common sense.

BAN BEACHES.

ALSO, SHARK ATTACKS.

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orthogon
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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby orthogon » Fri Aug 16, 2013 2:47 pm UTC

Gumbril wrote:Come on, something must be done!

1. Ban dogs on the beach
2. Ban breeds large enough to hold a handgun
3. Ban handguns

Jeez, it's just common sense.

In England, Wales and Scotland the problem could in principle be addressed without the need for primary legislation by invoking section 2 of the the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991:

If it appears to the Secretary of State that dogs of any type to which section 1 above does not apply present a serious danger to the public he may by order impose in relation to dogs of that type restrictions corresponding, with such modifications, if any, as he thinks appropriate, to all or any of those in subsection (2)(d) and (e) of that section.

However, Secrataries of State have so far failed to issue any such order in relation to dogs with handguns. Perhaps we should start a number 10 petition?
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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby Mazzula » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:11 pm UTC

Agreed. A 1% risk should be represented as a 99% likelihood of avoiding the event.

On the other hand, there are so many small risks that the likelihood of something bizarre happening is actually pretty good.

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Moose Anus
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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby Moose Anus » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:37 pm UTC

I just hope there aren't any sharks with frickin' handgun wielding dogs attached to their heads.
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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby RogueCynic » Fri Aug 16, 2013 4:57 pm UTC

I can't find the stories, but I know of at least two incidents where a dog shot a man. Neither involved a beach though, so statistically speaking, you should be safe to go swimming.
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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby garaden » Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:24 pm UTC

Another annoyance along these lines are Bad Thing rates with no context. "186 construction workers were killed on the job in Texas last year". How do we know whether that represents a problem? What's the rate per 100,000 workers, and how does that compare to the national rate or that of similar states? How many are caused by poor working conditions, and how many are caused by workers making (non-preventable) mistakes? Is this rate high, but trending down? Gaah!

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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:30 pm UTC

Since no-one else has pointed it out, taking three equivalent beach trips instead of two increases the risk of {unlikely_event} by just under 50% so it's okay after all :P

The more likely the event, the smaller the relative increase in probability of the event happening at least once - so if you go on 5000 equivalent beach trips rather than just 2, your chances of getting sand in your shoes are not significantly affected.

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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby tempforthis » Fri Aug 16, 2013 6:37 pm UTC

Since no-one else has pointed it out, taking three equivalent beach trips instead of two increases the risk of {unlikely_event} by just under 50% so it's okay after all


Not okay! He says it increases by 50%, which is true only when the probability is zero. Does Randall claim that no swimming dog carrying a handgun would ever shoot a person? Hasn't anyone bore witness to such an event?

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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby davidstarlingm » Fri Aug 16, 2013 7:15 pm UTC

garaden wrote:Another annoyance along these lines are Bad Thing rates with no context. "186 construction workers were killed on the job in Texas last year". How do we know whether that represents a problem? What's the rate per 100,000 workers, and how does that compare to the national rate or that of similar states? How many are caused by poor working conditions, and how many are caused by workers making (non-preventable) mistakes? Is this rate high, but trending down? Gaah!

Statistics, people, statistics.

Wikipedia should have a "list of common misconceptions about statistics" page. Like how numbers need to be placed in the context of rates, and the actual difference between a million and a billion, and how statistics can be combined, and so forth.

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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby StratMan9 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 7:46 pm UTC

Confusing odds with probability? The odds of a coin coming up heads in one toss are 1:1. The probabilty is 1/2 = 50%.

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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby Turing Machine » Fri Aug 16, 2013 8:35 pm UTC

Sorites Paradox, and you guys missed it.

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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby wagr » Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:48 pm UTC

During a conversation similar to this one, I mentioned, "All those little increases add up." One gal immediately laughed; I found a good friend.

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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:51 pm UTC

Turing Machine wrote:Sorites Paradox, and you guys missed it.

I was aware of the problem, but not the name - I first encountered it as an alleged proof by mathematical induction that "all men are bald" based on the assumption that adding one hair to a bald man's head doesn't stop him being bald.

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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby SirCol » Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:46 pm UTC

rmsgrey already said this, but here's the proof...
Let p be the (independent) chance of _event_ happening on a given day.
Let X be the chance of _event_ happening on day 1 or day 2: X = p + (1-p)p = 2p - p^2
Let Y be the chance of _event_ happening on day 1, 2, or 3: Y = X + (1-X)p
Now suppose that Y = aX; that is, X + p - Xp = aX => a = 1 + p/X - p = p / (2p - p^2) + 1 - p.
As long as p != 0, a = 1 / (2 - p) + 1 - p.
But as p -> 0 we get a -> 1/2 + 1 = 3/2.
That is, for very small values of p the likelihood of _event_ happening increases by approximately 50% if you go on three days as compared with two days.

And interestingly if we look at going on two days compared to one day then the highly improbably event is almost twice as likely to happen! :shock:

Proof:
p + (1-p)p = ap, and given p !=0 then a = 2 - p. So as p -> 0, a -> 2.
In fact, even if p = 0.01 then the event is 99% more likely to happen by going on two days.
Last edited by SirCol on Sat Aug 17, 2013 8:06 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby Fire Brns » Sat Aug 17, 2013 2:00 am UTC

sonalita wrote:Newspaper headlines that scream "eating <random healthy food> triples risk of <rare dread disease>" really really annoy me. It scares people unnecessarily.

What about VACCINES LINKED TO MAD COW DISEASE! ?
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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby Ten13Grl » Sat Aug 17, 2013 7:05 am UTC

Does anyone want to explain this stuff to anti-Pit Bull people?

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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby Kit. » Sat Aug 17, 2013 9:26 am UTC

Ten13Grl wrote:Does anyone want to explain this stuff to anti-Pit Bull people?

SirCol did.

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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby arthurd006_5 » Sat Aug 17, 2013 10:47 am UTC

sonalita wrote:Newspaper headlines that scream "eating <random healthy food> triples risk of <rare dread disease>" really really annoy me. It scares people unnecessarily.

Well, if they didn't, people might eat it and stop eating the profitable junk-food, and that would cause an economic and a longevity crisis. Oh wait ... no, the current one's due to housing; that's ok.

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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby Jackpot777 » Sat Aug 17, 2013 12:18 pm UTC

Gumbril wrote:Come on, something must be done!

1. Ban dogs on the beach
2. Ban breeds large enough to hold a handgun
3. Ban handguns

Jeez, it's just common sense.


Image

Where will it end?

Turing Machine
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Re: 1252:"Increased Risk"

Postby Turing Machine » Sat Aug 17, 2013 4:19 pm UTC

arthurd006_5 wrote:
sonalita wrote:Newspaper headlines that scream "eating <random healthy food> triples risk of <rare dread disease>" really really annoy me. It scares people unnecessarily.

Well, if they didn't, people might eat it and stop eating the profitable junk-food, and that would cause an economic and a longevity crisis. Oh wait ... no, the current one's due to housing; that's ok.


wat


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