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The real dragon - Open Knowledge — LiveJournal

Dec. 29th, 2004

03:56 am - The real dragon

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brad pointed out:


66,000 dead from this Tsunami?

Planet population of 6.4 billion?

That's 1 person dead out of every 97,106 on the planet.


Sounds like the tsunami killed a lot of people, doesn't it? Let's put it into some context. About 52,000,000 people died "natural deaths" in 2001. That works out to be 140,000/day. Assuming that the final death toll reaches 100,000, the tsunami caused less than 1 day's worth of deaths, or about 0.2% of the annual death toll.

So if you think the tsunami deaths are tragic, go ahead and donate.

But you might also wish to kick some funds toward fighting the real dragon.

Comments:

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From:rillifane
Date:December 29th, 2004 09:44 am (UTC)
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Indeed, what is called for is to fight the greatest killer of people...natural causes.

I haven't the slightest doubt that there is no reason why, absent accident, people need to die. At some time in the distant future science will find the answers to every health problem and death will no longer be inevitable.

Unfortunately, I figure I've been born several centuries too early.

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From:crasch
Date:January 1st, 2005 07:09 am (UTC)
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Unfortunately, I figure I've been born several centuries too early.

Maybe so. But there's a lot you can do to change the odds.
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From:ex_motel666812
Date:December 29th, 2004 03:40 pm (UTC)
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Hurrah! I loved your post. You perfectly stated why I'm a little puzzled about everyone's sturm und drang about the tsunami.

xoxoxoxoxooxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoox
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From:perspectivism
Date:December 30th, 2004 10:22 am (UTC)
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YES!

(I too totally agree.)
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From:crasch
Date:January 1st, 2005 07:20 am (UTC)
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Thanks!
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From:nixicat
Date:December 29th, 2004 03:56 pm (UTC)
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Hmmm... I don't think that the tsunami is quite done yet. I think that, in spite of relief efforts, we may yet see our constant companion Disease come walking among us in both old and new attire.

Looked at another way, the tsunami killed as many people as 22 September 11th's. I hear you that it is a paltry few compared to the number dying of natural causes each day. Still, half a day's worth of people died in an instant in just one corner of the world. That cannot be dismissed as a minor tragedy.
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From:crasch
Date:January 1st, 2005 07:12 am (UTC)
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I'm not dismissing it as a minor tragedy. But if it's a great tragedy, then death from aging is a tremendous tragedy. But most people are blase about it. I'm simply pointing out the inconsistency.
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From:ladykalana
Date:December 29th, 2004 04:11 pm (UTC)
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Hmm, I sort of see your point. But I have to say that I think the deaths are tragic beyond their raw numbers. I've been pretty out of the loop, but here's a couple of examples: there is concern that small, isolated enclaves of aboriginal people in some of the affected countries may be completely wiped out. Some tribes on Indian islands number only a few hundred people who have lived there for thousands of years; these are whole societies that could have been instantly destroyed. Also, chances are good that by the time countries have dealt with their dead, food and water supplies will be horribly contaminated and resulting diseases (cholera, typhoid, etc) will reach epidemic levels that can't be handled at all by third-world infrastructure and may be beyond the abilities of international agencies. Which is all to say that the affects of the numbers of dead are exacerbated by other factors, creating a situation that may potentially devastate these countries for a long time.
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From:crasch
Date:January 1st, 2005 07:15 am (UTC)
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However tragic you believe the tsunami disaster to be, death from aging is hundreds of times worse. But most people are blase about aging deaths. I'm simply pointing out the inconsistency.
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From:ladytabitha
Date:December 29th, 2004 04:35 pm (UTC)
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It's because, I think, it's a sudden tragedy, rather than an on-going thing.  Short-term sudden things are more likely to garner sympathy and so forth.  Frinst, the election - lots of people started doing things, but if you try talking about it now, you'll get a handful of people who're generally always interested, and the rest of 'em don't entirely give a damn.

Human nature, y0.

In other news, I swear to god, I'm going to make a lamp one of these days that looks like your icon.  The similarity of yours to Pixar always trips me up.
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From:crasch
Date:January 1st, 2005 07:19 am (UTC)
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Yes, you're right, people react more to unexpected, mediagenic disasters than they due to humdrum boring old death. I'm trying to get people to stop being so blase by contrasting puniness of the tsunami deaths to the magnitude of aging deaths.

Yes, my icon does look like Luxo doesn't it?
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