Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Sand vs. Shark Study

Many outlets have picked up the story about sand being more deadly than sharks. For example, see the Daylife pages about it. Just about all of the headlines, and most of the stories themselves, focus on the fact that sand holes have killed more people than sharks over the same period of time.
Admittedly, this whole topic is silly.

However, focusing on sand being more deadly than sharks makes it even sillier.
  1. More people are around sand, during more times of the year, than are ever around sharks.
  2. Fine, sand is dangerous -- why not make that the focus of the story? If you don't think that the danger of sand is a big enough story on it's own, then comparing it to shark attacks barely masks that fact.
  3. The study being used as the foundation of the story is about the dangers of sand holes, not about the nondanger of shark attacks.
Note: Here's a link to an extract of the actual study, subscribers to the New England Journal of Medicine can see it in full here.


Blogger Keith said...

I do not subscribe to the NE Journal of Medicine. I some how feel cheated by this fact

10:58 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

I think you're giving yourself a false sense of security. Who's to say that you don't get some sand caught in the back of you throat? You're gonna end up annoyed for at least a day.

11:16 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Mark, that's another thing: the study is about sand being more DEADLY than sharks, as in almost everyone attacked by sand is killed, where maybe some people attacked by sharks 'only' ended up maimed. In terms of overall casualties, what produces more sand or shark?

11:20 AM  

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