Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The very random nature of this blog

Sometime when we're in Pullman, I want to go visit the Bear Center . I was scrolling through their website today and came across this list. Kinda puts all those crazy fears into perspective, doesn't it?

The risk from wild bears:
One question commonly asked by visitors is, “How much of a risk are bears if I am hiking or camping in bear country or if I live in the country and they occasionally occur in my neighborhood?” While the risk always depends on how the person behaves and the events that brought the bear close to people, the probability of anyone being injured or killed is very low relative to the many other risks in our daily lives. For example, here are a few causes of premature deaths and the numbers of people dying from those causes each year in the U.S.:

All Diseases 2,300,000
Smoking-related illnesses 400,000
Homicides and suicides 49,216
Motor vehicle accidents 48,433
Drug overdose & chronic alcoholism 23,572
Choking on object or food 3,879
Falling down stairs 1,588
Falling off a ladder or out of bed 959
Bicycle accidents 762
Bathtub drowning 332
Deer-car collisions 130 (most deadly wild animal in the US is the white-tailed deer flying through the windshield)
Bee or wasp sting 66
Lightning 47
Dog attacks 32 (4.7 million people are bitten/year, 750,000 require medical attention, 6,000 require hospitalization. 8% of all dogs will bite someone in their life.)
Skydiving 22
Crushing by human stampede 22
Snakebites 15
Pet tigers 2
Grizzly bears (all of North America) 2
Black bears (all of North America) 1
Primary source: Time magazine, December 4, 2006

Despite the statics, I'm pretty sure I'd still follow my mother-in-law's lead and lug along the bear spray. All bets are off in Alaska!

Want to know what my random, irrational fear is? Snakes. Specifically, big ones. [This from the girl that worked with snakes as a job!] I have a feeling it dates back to a book I had as a child: it was one of those subject-specific encyclopedias for kids with lots of easy-to-read tidbits and pictures. Whoever wrote it was not a fabulous children's author as one of the pictures was of an anaconda in Brazil that had wrapped itself around a man. You couldn't see the poor sod, just the loops of snake and the dozen or so people that were trying to upwrap him. I don't remember the details but I'm sure it wasn't a happy ending for either the person or the snake. Who the hell puts that in a children's book?

Anyway, when Chris and I travel down to South America, you will not find me swimming in the rivers.