What’s More Deadly: A Shark or a Vending Machine?

September 9, 2011 in Daily Bulletin

One statistic that seems to defy all common sense is that Americans are more likely to be killed by a vending machine than by a shark. As noted by the author of this post, though, a bit of context is needed. This statistic is based on all Americans, regardless of whether they live near shark infested waters or not. Therefore, someone who lives in the Midwest and does not travel to either of the coasts has no chance of being attacked by a shark; however, vending machines can be found everywhere. Regardless, it is an interesting fact that highlights one drawback of statistics – while statistics can be very useful, the numbers they produce must be kept in perspective. After all, a surfer in California is likely to be in more danger of a shark attack than a farmer from Nebraska. And it’s likely a safe assumption that movie-goers will continue to prefer sharks over vending machines as the antagonists in the films they watch!

Source: Freakonomics Blog