Michael Blastland

But how many believe they’re average? Most think they’re better than that—a self-confidence known, naturally enough, as the “above-average effect” or “illusory superiority.” Like everyone else, even Norm once thought he was better than average. This is illusory for obvious reasons. For example, since only half of drivers can be in the top half, if exactly half of all drivers thought they were in the top half, they could in theory all be wrong. Even if you’re genuinely better, you might not be much better. And if above-average driving ability turns you into an above-average jerk, you might be so cocky that you become a bigger hazard.

2 thoughts on “Michael Blastland

  1. shinichi Post author

    The Norm Chronicles: Stories and Numbers About Danger and Death

    by Michael Blastland

    Is it safer to fly or take the train? How dangerous is skydiving? And is eating that extra sausage going to kill you? We’ve all heard the statistics for risky activities, but what do they mean in the real world? In The Norm Chronicles, journalist Michael Blastland and risk expert David Spiegelhalter explore these questions through the stories of average Norm and an ingenious measurement called the MicroMort-a one in a million chance of dying. They reveal why general anesthesia is as dangerous as a parachute jump, giving birth in the US is nearly twice as risky as in the UK, and that the radiation from eating a banana shaves 3 seconds off your life. An entertaining guide to the statistics of personal risk, The Norm Chronicles will enlighten anyone who has ever worried about the dangers we encounter in our daily lives.

  2. shinichi Post author



    by マイケル・ブラストランド、デイヴィッド・シュピーゲルハルター
    translated by 松井信彦



    Danger is the shark in shallow waters, the pills in the cupboard or a grand piano teetering on a window ledge while children skip below. It is the diet too rich in cream, the base-jump, the booze, the pedestrian and the double-decker, driving a car fast or the threat of weirder weather. It is the spills and the thrills. In other words, danger is everywhere and always. And in all cases we find those same two faces: one impassive, formal, calculating, the other full of human hopes and fears.

    The unusual aim of this book is to see both at once. We hope to show people and their stories and the numbers, together. We set out to do this mainly to explore how these two perspectives compare, but along the way we found that this raised an awkward question: are the two faces of risk compatible? Can risk claim to be true to the numbers and to you at the same time? We will present both sides as we try to find out, but we will tell you our conclusion now. It can’t. For people, probability doesn’t exist.



    The numbers and probabilities are all here. With them we show the chances of a variety of life’s tricks and traps: risks to children; risks of violence, accidents, and crime; dangers from sex, drugs, travel, diet, life-style; risks of natural disaster and more. We say how we know these risks, why sometimes we can’t know them, and how they’ve changed, and we use the best methods we can find or invent to make them easy to grasp. In particular, we use a cunning little device called the “MicroMort,” and a new one called the “MicroLife,” two friendly units of deadly risk that we think offer real insight. You will meet them soon enough. In this respect, the book is a new guide to life’s odds.



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