Viking, 28/02/2008 - 284 páginas
Afraid you might succumb to bird flu?* Worried that a life of penury awaits you in old age? Concerned that you might not be having as much sex as most French people? And anxious that our planet is under threat from climate change, or even a random asteroid crash? If any, or all, of these things worry you, take heart from the fact that you're not alone. People in different coun-tries might fear different things (the Danes apparently worry most about nuclear power, the British about terrorist attacks, the Italians about radiation from their beloved mobile phones), yet anxiety is everywhere a condition of modern life. But why? It's perfectly clear we are living longer, safer and more healthy lives than any generation before us. Standards of living continue to rise inexorably across the western world, and even the major challenge of global warming has been recognized and is being tackled. So what's there to worry about? In this witty and revealing book, statistician Simon Briscoe and science writer Hugh Aldersey-Williams strip away the hysteria which surrounds over forty of today's most common scare stories, from overpopul-ation and murder rates to fish shortages and obesity levels, and show the extraordinary extent to which stats are manipulated or misrepresented by vested interests and the media, keen to exploit our fears. And most importantly they offer a toolkit for scepticism - ways of helping you sort out what really is worth panicking about from the stuff that really isn't. *Don't be, unless you're involved in the ritualistic slaughter of wildfowl.