Saturday, February 11, 2006

It's a risky world out there

I am giving guest lectures in an upper-division software engineering course this semester. My last lecture was about risk management, so of course we talked about probabilities.

You wonder what is the probability that you will die in a streetcar accident? Nothing to worry about: your lifetime odds are only 1 in 931,000. Encounter more snakes than streetcars? Your lifetime odds of a poisonous snake causing your death are 1 in 1,214,000. "Hornets, wasps, bees" are what you watch out for (1 in 68,981).

Not to worry, you are more likely to drown in a bathtub (1 in 10,582) or be the victim of "Complications of medical and surgical care and sequelae" (1 in 1,310).

The National Safey Council provides all this and more. Have a nice day!