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Hype Meter

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Some fears get attention that's out of proportion to the associated risk. Please use this wiki to keep track of how overblown media-pushed a given risk is.

The metric I'll use is the Google Hits per Annual Fatality (GHAF). To calculate the GHAF for a certain risk, divide the number of Google hits a term finds by its annual fatality rate.

Between 1 and 10

  • Malaria in Africa (GHAF = 1.5, 3 000 000 Google hits [1] per approximately 2 million deaths [2])

Between 10 and 100

  • Cancer in the United States (GHAF = 94, 53 600 000 hits [3] per 570 280 deaths: page 1 of [4], .pdf warning: 6 MB)

Between 100 and 1 000

Between 1 000 and 10 000

  • Salmonellosis from raw eggs (GHAF = 4 200 , 294 000 hits [5] per 70 annual fatalities [6]. See my blog entry for more.
  • West Nile Virus in the United States (GHAF = 5 500, 911 000 hits [7] per 165 annual deaths [8])

Between 10 000 and 100 000

  • Africanized Bees in the United States ( = 28 000; 97 000 Google hits [9] per 3.5 annual fatalities [10].)
  • vCJD, the human disease from eating a mad cow, worldwide (GHAF = 81 000, 1 400 000 hits [11] for 139 cases over 8 years [12] - see my blog entry for an editorial[13])

Between 100 000 and 1 000 000

  • School shooting deaths, United States (GHAF = 108 857; 762 000 Google hits [14] per 7 annual deaths [15](including Virginia Tech, excluding non-shooting fatalities and not including the shooter, if killed)
  • Terror, worldwide (GHAF = 111 386; 86 300 000 Google hits [16] per 774 annual deaths (1995-2003) [17].
  • 2009 Virus H1N1 outbreak (swine flu), Worldwide (GHAF = 142 857; 12 000 000 Google hits [18] per 84 annual deaths [19], 25 May 2009.
  • Alligator Attacks in the United States (GHAF = 293 000, 461 000 hits [20] per 1.57 annual deaths [21] - possibly the fatality rate is underestimated by this list)


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