This -n- That
Today a few links for your edification and entertainment:
First some important safety information. Find out how to keep your pets safe when they’re on the road — and protect yourself as well, in this excellent post from Christie Keith over at PetConnection.
Caveat blogs on more bad statistics where she correctly points out that using data from a set that only represents a tiny fraction of a very large whole to advance scare tactics predict a trend is not particularly good science. As she says:
With a US dog population of roughly 72 million and a human dog-related fatality count of 33 in 2007 (an all-time high), anyone with knowledge of probability and/or statistical modeling would conclude that the number of events is much too small to be useful.
To put things into perspective, the percentage of fatalities relative to total canine population is 0.000046 (rounded up).
If statistics like that really indicate that rescuing a dog represents a real threat to your safety – we had better hurry up and outlaw swimming pools… In 2005 (the most recent year I could find data for) over 4,200 people died in swimming pool related incidents. Folks, that represents more than 100 times the number of deaths attributed to all dogs (not just re-homed ones) in 2007. In most cases, our dogs live with us in our homes. How many people do you know who spend all their free time in the pool? That puts a little perspective on the matter, doesn’t it?
Speaking of fear, Wired has an interesting article about a study on human alarm pheromones.
Our findings indicate that there may be a hidden biological component to human social dynamics, in which emotional stress is, quite literally, “contagious.”
So, are the irrational fears we seem to be increasingly overwhelmed by today an epidemiological problem as much as a psychological one?
And last, but not least, in a random bit of fear-related weirdness this bit from the Bloggerator on a woman who jogged 1,5 kilometers with a rabid fox attached to her arm…