11/09/2009

Armageddon


We need a new word in the English language. We have to identify the new threat to civilization.

The media.

Media Terrorists?

Mediorists?

That's it!

Mediorists.

New flash from the desk of Solfest: The world is not coming to an end. We are not running out of fuel. We are not running out of water. We are not running out of food. We are not going to die of aids. We are not going to die of H1N1. We are not going to die from dandelion herbicide. We are not going to boil in our own skin from global warming.

What else are we not going to die from? Have I forgotten anything?

Probably.

All those behavioral finance videos I have been posting point out one very important theme.

The theme from the Bald Men with Large Brains is this; humans are stupid. In fact even people with PhDs are stupid. There I said it, it's out there. We are stupid, and as a herd we may have to find another new word that is worse than stupid.

Dr. Kahneman (bald large brained fellow) stated that it takes about 3 years for humans to completely change their paradigm.

3 years.

So if you tell the world for 3 consecutive years that we are going to die from something, anything, we all believe it. We stop questioning the source, we don't ask why, we just accept it as our new reality.

I would argue that in the new world of 24 hour news that 3 year time frame may be shrinking.

Now you may argue that humans can't be all that stupid, because, well look at us. We have all this stuff. We eat the other animals on earth. We are kings of the blue planet.

True.

But.

We are frightened easily.

Why?

Because death scares us. We are wired to try very hard not to die. So when the Mediorists tell us we are all going to die we freak out. And here in lies the problem. The things the Mediorists frighten us with are not going to kill us, but our reaction to these things just may.
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself". Franklin Roosevelt

Remember War of the Worlds? Orson Wells did a radio broadcast on Halloween (hello, it was Halloween, and we're not stupid?) and told the world that Martians had landed and we were at war with them.

People believed him. People panicked. People are stupid.

Now the latest threat to the blue planet is H1N1.

IT'S THE FLU PEOPLE!!

The Mediorists are stealing the education from the youth of the world. Parents are not sending their kids to school because they're afraid they will get the flu.

The flu.

So that begs the question, when will you send your kid to school? When is it safe? Who signals the all clear?

Oh and by the way your child has a larger probability (LW just woke up) of dieing from the car ride to school then from the flu.

Sorry.

Here's another newsflash, you and I won't die from the flu.

How do I know this? I know this because I know how many people read this blog (not many) and I know how many people there are in the world (a bunch). The probability of any of my readers or me dieing from the flu is so small a statistician could say it's impossible.

The 24 hour news vacuum is always starved for food. It needs to eat and it needs to eat now. They need you to watch so they can sell advertising. They will tell you anything they can in order to scare you into watching them. They need you to watch. They need the money.

So people it's time to wake up. It's time to tell the Mediorists to take their 24 hour load of you know what and shove it you know where.

The only danger to mankind is the one we have all forgot, while we're busy picking dandelions out of our lawn with our bare hands there are nuclear and biological weapons ready to take us all out.

Of course there is always that black swan out there that no one sees coming. :)

2 comments:

longandwrong said...

I almost kept silent because I am not sure I can take more ridiculing about the degree to which we agree. But I couldn't...

You are spot on with this. A perfect illustration is that in the UK anyone who has any contact with kids, e.g. drives them to an after-school club, is now going to have to undergo a criminal records check to make sure they aren't a convicted predatory paedo.

They are of course at much greater risk of being killed by getting a lift with an inattentive driver.

We have an easily biased view of risk, and the media is all too ready to skew the bias further.

Swine flu is just another example. TV news crews were camped outside a hospital where a pregant woman (tragically) was fighting for her life with swine flu. They have yet to take the same interest in any women with preclampsia etc.

I'll shut up now, you touched a nerve, which is in some small way a compliment.

Solfest said...

We are emotional beings. Hence trading is rather hard.

If someone in my family were to die from health complications and the flu it would change my perception of the issue.

The risks would not have changed but my perception of them would.

Ah humans, at least we're cuddly.

Well, most of us.