We have becomes billions of hypochondriacs bunched together!!At TED Global in Oxford, I was blown away by this graph, shown by David McCandless. It shows the media mentions of scares, all of them false alarms.
Notice the huge peaks for swine flu and bird flu. Notice how video game fears peak twice a year, once in November when video games are released and once in April, the anniversary of the 1999 Columbine massacre. Notice the Y2K peak. Notice that mad cow disease re-emerges in 2003, the year when human deaths rose again after falling for a number of years — by one (from 17 to 18).Notice above all the disapperance of such scare stories for a while — in September 2001.
Age of knowledge should wake us up, while ‘News’ flow 24/7 around us aimed at hyper-sensationalism and to make things more complicated; we can swing the equilibrium in our favor by being ever alert against the distractions of media.
Hurricane Irene fell short of the doomsday predictions of record-breaking storm surges in North Carolina and Virginia. Irene was a minimal Cat 1 (i.e. as Cat 1 storms go it was minimal) the response was about right for a strong Cat 3 or higher storm. NASA or Metrological forecasting wants to conquer the worlds Mars but got this one completely wrong; Welcome to the NSA – Nanny States of America!! As I watch on breaking news right officials warning is: ”Irene’s 65-mph winds still very powerful.”
We live in a scaremongering sensationalist culture. If it is not going to be Irene; it will be the Avian flu or Sars or Swine Flu; the real challenge mankind faces is ‘poverty’ that is diminishing human ‘love’ from our hearts , a child globally still dies of hunger every five seconds, eight years on from a pledge to halve the world’s hungry by 2015.
At turn of millennium the notorious Y2K was a hype. In 2005, a Flu that never came with 100 million forecasted imminent deaths. ‘Mass mortuaries’ that were never required. Media hypes for naught, live goes on as world media tries to find another disaster to instil fear and horror! Fear and destruction appeals to mass consumption, happiness is a routine matter. Our grandfathers has it easy, they were not distracted by ever increasing inflow of information, we are deluded with all kind of information telling us how bad it is going to be, the connectivity has finished the aura of trepidation. News of disasters in distant far-off lands inundate us 24/7, or the latest hype of the politicians.
Tweets, emails, face book and our vastness of horizons have made us a unique individual in a ear where we are at the cusp of a new take off. Lets rejoice the fact and not agonize about our future. We are surrounded by a media that paints worst of picture for every turn and twist of our life.
Why have we become mass of 7 billion hypochondriacs bunched together. Yes, prevention is better than cure, but overkill each time is inacceptable. Even this time Obama joined in the foray of the hurricane; it was dying down it was on a path that was wide and had lost its impetus.
Lets rewind a bit here, in Jan- 2005, sensationalism and mass panic ruled the waves, Science magazine observed that expert opinion held the odds of a global outbreak of avian Flu as “100 percent.” ”The new U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt told the Associated Press in early August that an influenza pandemic was now an “absolute certainty,” echoing repeated warnings from the World Health Organization that it was “inevitable.” Likewise Science magazine observed that expert opinion held the odds of a global outbreak as “100 percent.” In the same grim spirit, the British press revealed that officials were scouring the country for suitable sites for mass mortuaries, based on official fears that avian flu could kill as many as 700,000 Britons. ”
When science becomes too invasive, sensationalism and spreading of unfounded fears based on poor science becomes the objective! Now in a repeat action we are being swamped with predictions of catastrophe. World Health Organization announced today that there is no evidence that an outbreak of ‘swine flu’ in Mexico represents an act of bio-terrorism. The EU had warned travellers on Monday to stay away from Mexico and the US as governments worldwide moved to contain the spread of swine flu, and the first confirmed cases of the disease were reported in Europe.
The world economy already reeling under the pressure of credit crunch was dealt another death blow. A month hence the virus disappeared only leaving the marks of mass stupidity that we all tend to buy in cheap. Sars, Avian flu were over hyped, global flu strains that are rare like this one ‘swine flu’ sells very well. It is ‘fear and exaggeration’ that creates media galore. Look at the BP unpleasant incident recently the ‘world drowning under oil was overhyped’ with same passion.
Y2K was avoided as a result of preparation but fear of plane dropping and power station blowing up was stretched far beyond reasonable limits. We can let the mere idea of a possible swine flu plague create chaos, or we can settle down and fight it with vigilance and reason. In this connected world the media preoccupation of scares, all of them false alarms is not conducive for peace of mind, these wrong kind of passions result in wrong kind of attitudes and threat that actually impedes the progress of repair.
If any given strain of normal run of mill kind of viruses is traced in this world we will see far more multiplication in a period of 15 days. We by nature are looking for some disaster that wipes us out, if not anything else we will look at ‘global warming as issue and spend trillions in regulation, after few decades like Club of Rome report or demise of dire predictions of Malthus we look for new avenues to create panic and fear.
Look at the costs of Swine flu hoax ! £1.2bn spent to beat swine flu and just 26 lives saved. The £1.2billion spent on tackling the swine flu pandemic that never was may have saved as few as 26 lives at a cost of up to £46million each, an astonishing study has found. The vast sum spent on vaccinations, anti-virals and facemasks prevented such a paltry number of deaths because the virus turned out to be far less deadly than normal flu. The £46milllion cost of saving each life is enough to pay the salary of almost 2,000 nurses. Our real enemy is famine, hunger, and mass poverty, all these monies can be well spent to remove the Somalia’s hunger that is killing a child every four minute, lets spare a moment for that child.