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Welcome to Matt Ridley's Blog
Matt Ridley is the author of provocative books on evolution, genetics and society. His books have sold over a million copies, been translated into thirty languages, and have won several awards.

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Mountains and molehills

Today at TED Global in Oxford, among other great talks, 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.