"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."


Glenn Reynolds:

Barack Obama:
"Impossible to transcend."

Albert A. Gore, Jr.:
"An incontinent brute."

Rev. Jeremiah Wright:
"God damn the Gentleman Farmer."

Friends of GF's Sons:
"Is that really your dad?"

Kickball Girl:
"Keeping 'em alive until 7:45."

Hired Hand:
"I think . . . we forgot the pheasant."

I'm an
Alcoholic Yeti
in the
TTLB Ecosystem

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Why We Believe Crap

According to the cover story in this week's Time magazine, silly Americans worry far too much about a long list of things.

For example, "we agonize over avian flu, which to date has killed precisely no one in the United States," and "We wring our hands over the mad cow pathogen that might be (but almost certainly isn't) in our hamburger."

On the other hand, searching the Time web site for "avian flu" yields 80 mentions in the last 12 months, while a search for "mad cow" directs your attention to, among others, an article entitled "Mad Cow: Are We Still Unprepared?" from the March 16 issue.

But you'll be pleased to learn that our dread of things that aren't realistic threats has nothing to do with being told -- day in and day out -- that they're likely to get us. Heaven Forfend!

Instead, the problem has something to do with evolution and our brains having been built for risk assessment out on the Serengeti Plain. Back then, I guess, people were so busy trying to avoid being on the menu for a large feline that they didn't pay any attention to Time magazine.

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