I believe that nothing that we know is for sure.  Everything we know has a certain probability to be true or false.  As a result I spend a reasonable amount of time researching probabilities of certain good and bad things that can happen to me and a steer my life accordingly.  As a result my fears are many times different from those of many people I know.  Here´s a good chart showing all the bad things that can happen to me (and you).  It´s worth studying to somehow adjust your fears to what reality looks like.  Are you afraid of getting cancer?  That makes a lot of sense.  Are you more afraid of flying than having a heart attack?  That does not make much sense.

Now the one country that seems to have incredible statistics about how people die is the United States.  I copied them below because it is  interesting to see how different your own perception of risk may be from the actual numbers.

Odds of Death Due to Injury, United States, 2003

Type of Accident or Manner of Injury Deaths One Year Odds Lifetime Odds
Pedestrian, V01-V09

5,991

48,548

626

Pedalcyclist, V10-V19

762

381,693

4,919

Motorcycle rider, V20-V29

3,676

79,121

1,020

Occupant of three-wheeled motor vehicle, V30-V39

13

22,373,077

288,313

Car occupant, V40-V49

15,797

18,412

237

Occupant of pick-up truck or van, V50-V59

4,163

69,865

900

Occupant of heavy transport vehicle, V60-V69

442

658,032

8,480

Bus occupant, V70-V79

36

8,079,167

104,113

Animal rider or occupant of animal-drawn vehicle, V80

101

2,879,703

37,110

Occupant of railway train or railway vehicle, V81

24

12,118,750

156,169

Occupant of streetcar, V82

2

145,425,003

1,874,034

Other and unspecified land transport accidents, V83-V89

15,107

19,253

248

Occupant of special industrial vehicle, V83

12

24,237,500

312,339

Occupant of special agricultural vehicle, V84

175

1,662,000

21,418

Occupant of special construction vehicle, V85

20

14,542,500

187,403

Occupant of all-terrain or other off-road motor vehicle, V86

906

321,026

4,137

Other and unspecified person, V87-V89

13,994

20,784

268

Water transport accidents, V90-V94

573

507,592

6,541

Drowning, V90, V92

412

705,947

9,097

Other and unspecified injuries, V91, V93-V94

161

1,806,522

23,280

Air and space transport accidents, V95-V97

742

391,981

5,051

Other and unspecified transport accidents and sequelae, V98-V99, Y85

642

453,037

5,838

Other specified transport accidents, V98

2

145,425,003

1,874,034

Unspecified transport accident, V99

0

Falls, W00-W19

17,229

16,881

218

Fall on same level from slipping, tripping, and stumbling, W01

597

487,186

6,278

Other fall on same level, W00, W02-W03, W18

3,896

74,653

962

Fall involving bed, chair, other furniture, W06-W08

838

347,076

4,473

Fall on and from stairs and steps, W10

1,588

183,155

2,360

Fall on and from ladder or scaffolding, W11-W12

417

697,482

8,988

Fall from out of or through building or structure, W13

600

484,750

6,247

Other fall from one level to another, W09, W14-W17

701

414,907

5,347

Other and unspecified fall, W04-W05, W19

8,592

33,851

436

Exposure to inanimate mechanical forces, W20-W49

2,658

109,424

1,410

Struck by or striking against object, W20-W22

809

359,518

4,633

Caught between objects, W23

136

2,138,603

27,559

Contact with machinery, W24, W30-W31

640

454,453

5,856

Contact with sharp objects, W25-W29

99

2,937,879

37,859

Firearms discharge, W32-W34

730

398,425

5,134

Explosion and rupture of pressurized devices, W35-W38

30

9,695,000

124,936

Fireworks discharge, W39

11

26,440,910

340,733

Explosion of other materials, W40

147

1,978,571

25,497

Foreign body entering through skin or natural orifice, W44-W45

22

13,220,455

170,367

Other and unspecified inanimate mechanical forces, W41-W43, W49

34

8,554,412

110,237

Exposure to animate mechanical forces, W50-W64

171

1,700,877

21,919

Struck by or against another person, W50-W52

39

7,457,692

96,104

Bitten or struck by dog, W54

32

9,089,063

117,127

Bitten or struck by other mammals, W53, W55

78

3,728,846

48,052

Bitten or stung by nonvenomous insect and other arthropods, W57

12

24,237,500

312,339

Bitten or crushed by other reptiles, W59

0

Other and unspecified animate mechanical forces, W56, W58, W60, W64

10

29,085,001

374,807

Accidental drowning and submersion, W65-W74

3,306

87,976

1,134

Drowning and submersion while in or falling into bath-tub, W65-W66

332

876,054

11,289

Drowning and submersion while in or falling into swimming-pool, W67-W68

515

564,757

7,278

Drowning and submersion while in or falling into natural water, W69-W70

1,225

237,429

3,060

Other and unspecified drowning and submersion, W73-W74

1,234

235,697

3,037

Other accidental threats to breathing, W75-W84

5,579

52,133

672

Accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed, W75

497

585,211

7,541

Other accidental hanging and strangulation, W76

277

1,050,000

13,531

Threat to breathing due to cave-in, falling earth and other substances, W77

46

6,322,826

81,480

Inhalation of gastric contents, W78

393

740,076

9,537

Inhalation and ingestion of food causing obstruction of respiratory tract, W79

875

332,400

4,284

Inhalation and ingestion of other objects causing obstruction of respiratory tract, W80

3,004

96,821

1,248

Confined to or trapped in a low-oxygen environment, W81

16

18,178,125

234,254

Other and unspecified threats to breathing, W83-W84

471

617,516

7,958

Exposure to electric current, radiation, temperature, and pressure, W85-W99

396

734,470

9,465

Electric transmission lines, W85

96

3,029,688

39,042

Other and unspecified electric current, W86-W87

280

1,038,750

13,386

Radiation, W88-W91

0

Excessive heat or cold of man-made origin, W92-W93

10

29,085,001

374,807

High and low air pressure and changes in air pressure, W94

10

29,085,001

374,807

Other and unspecified man-made environmental factors, W99

0

Exposure to smoke, fire and flames, X00-X09

3,369

86,331

1,113

Uncontrolled fire in building or structure, X00

2,761

105,342

1,358

Uncontrolled fire not in building or structure, X01

57

5,102,632

65,756

Controlled fire in building or structure, X02

35

8,310,000

107,088

Controlled fire not in building or structure, X03

39

7,457,692

96,104

Ignition of highly flammable material, X04

55

5,288,182

68,147

Ignition or melting of nightwear, X05

3

96,950,002

1,249,356

Ignition or melting of other clothing and apparel, X06

104

2,796,635

36,039

Other and unspecified smoke fire and flames, X08-X09

315

923,333

11,899

Contact with heat and hot substances, X10-X19

88

3,305,114

42,592

Contact with hot tap-water, X11

26

11,186,539

144,156

Other and unspecified heat and hot substances, X10, X12-X19

62

4,691,129

60,453

Contact with venomous animals and plants, X20-X29

94

3,094,149

39,873

Contact with venomous snakes and lizards, X20

2

145,425,003

1,874,034

Contact with venomous spiders, X21

8

36,356,251

468,508

Contact with hornets, wasps and bees, X23

66

4,406,818

56,789

Contact with other and unspecified venomous animal or plant, X22, X24-X29

18

16,158,334

208,226

Exposure to forces of nature, X30-X39

1,140

255,132

3,288

Exposure to excessive natural heat, X30

273

1,065,385

13,729

Exposure to excessive natural cold, X31

620

469,113

6,045

Lightning, X33

47

6,188,298

79,746

Earthquake and other earth movements, X34-X36

32

9,089,063

117,127

Cataclysmic storm, X37

75

3,878,000

49,974

Flood, X38

26

11,186,539

144,156

Exposure to other and unspecified forces of nature, X32, X39

67

4,341,045

55,941

Accidental poisoning by and exposure to noxious substances, X40-X49

19,457

14,948

193

Nonopioid analgesics, antipyretics, and antirheumatics, X40

210

1,385,000

17,848

Antiepileptic, sedative-hypnotic, antiparkinsonism, and psychotropic drugs n.e.c., X41

1,205

241,369

3,110

Narcotics and psychodysleptics [hallucinogens] n.e.c., X42

9,231

31,508

406

Other and unspecified drugs, medicaments, and biologicals, X43-X44

7,648

38,030

490

Alcohol, X45

373

779,759

10,048

Gases and vapours, X46-X47

690

421,522

5,432

Other and unspecified chemicals and noxious substances, X48-X49

100

2,908,500

37,481

Overexertion, travel and privation, X50-X57

48

6,059,375

78,085

Accidental exposure to other and unspecified factors and sequelae, X58-X59, Y86

7,671

37,916

489

Intentional self-poisoning, X60-X69

5,462

53,250

686

Intentional self-harm by hanging, strangulation, and suffocation, X70

6,635

43,836

565

Intentional self-harm by firearm, X72-X74

16,907

17,203

222

Other and unspecified means and sequelae, X71, X75-X84, Y87.0, *U03

2,480

117,278

1,511

Assault by firearm, X93-X95

11,920

24,400

314

Assault by sharp object, X99

2,049

141,947

1,829

Other and unspecified means and sequelae, X85-X92, X96-X98, Y00-Y09, Y87.1, *U01

3,763

77,292

996

Poisoning, Y10-Y19

3,700

78,608

1,013

Hanging, strangulation, and suffocation, Y20

108

2,693,056

34,704

Drowning and submersion, Y21

215

1,352,791

17,433

Firearm discharge, Y22-Y24

232

1,253,664

16,155

Exposure to smoke, fire, and flames, Y26

100

2,908,500

37,481

Falling, jumping, or pushed from a high place, Y30

77

3,777,273

48,676

Other and unspecified means and sequelae, Y25, Y27-Y29, Y31-Y34,Y87.2, Y89.9

640

454,453

5,856

Legal intervention involving firearm discharge, Y35.0

347

838,184

10,801

Legal execution, Y35.5

60

4,847,500

62,468

Other and unspecified means and sequelae, Y35.1-Y35.4, Y35.6-Y35.7, Y89.0

16

18,178,125

234,254

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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Mike Sax on July 24, 2007  · 

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