Cumberland Times-News

Columns

June 15, 2013

What are the odds of this happening to you?

I recently purchased an intriguing book with the title of “What Are the Odds?” by Tim Glynne-Johns.

The table of contents include: Life & Death, Sport, Money, Achievement, Crime, Health, and History. The ISBN is 13: 978-0-7858-2803-7. To narrow my review, I’ll consider dangers that confront us.

The odds against being struck by lightning in a lifetime are 1 in 3500. In the U.S. an average of 50 people are killed by lightning strikes each year. Worldwide, about 1200 each year are lightning fatalities, with Mexico at No. 1, claiming an average of 223 deaths per year.

The United States has an average of 1200 tornadoes a year, most frequently in Oklahoma and Kansas during the month of May. Most countries don’t have the conditions to spawn tornadoes. Windstorms are now the biggest natural threat worldwide with 2.45 deaths per million people.

The National Safety Council reports the odds of causes of U.S. deaths: Heart Disease 1/5, Road accident 1/100, Suicide 1/121, Shooting 1/325, Drowning 1/9,000, Plane Crash 1/20,000, Flood 1/30,000 and Earthquake 1/132,000.

Worldwide, the most dangerous animal is the mosquito, responsible for several million deaths per year by spreading malaria and dengue fever.

Your odds of being diagnosed with a new case of cancer this year are 1 in 500. In the developed world (industrialized with mechanized farming), your chances of surviving 10 years after the diagnosis is about 45 per cent, 52 per cent for women versus 39 percent for men.

Your chance of having a heart attack in the U.S. each year are 1 in 226. The risk of having heart disease rises with age from 1 in 14 for both sexes (ages 40 to 59), to 1 in 4 for males (60-79) and 1 in 6 for females (60-79).

The risk of stroke increases with age from 1 in 100 (males 40-59), 1 in 37 (females 40-59) and 1 in 13 for both males and females (ages 60-79).

SKY SIGHTS AHEAD: This evening, the moon appears half full (like a tilted D) in the southwestern sky. Tonight and the following few nights are great times to see the lunar craters and mountain ranges near the left edge of the moon (where the sun is rising).

On June 19, the brilliant planet Venus and Mercury are closest low in the 9:20 p.m. western dusk.

June 21 is the first day of summer, the time when the sun’s direct rays reach farthest North.

The sun’s track across the sky peaks at 73 degrees in the south with the sun rising farthest to the north of east and setting farthest to the north of west.

Those in this area that have flat eastern and western horizons will experience about 15 hours of sunlight, the maximum for the year. Those who live in valleys may have a few hours less of sunlight.

  The Cumberland Astronomy Club will meet June 21 at 7:30 p.m. at the LaVale Public Library. The library is just off the National Road (Route 40), about a mile to the east of the Maryland State Police barrack in LaVale. All interested sky gazers are welcome to attend.

Bob Doyle invites any readers comments and questions. E-mail him at rdoyle@frostburg.edu . He is available as a speaker on his column topics.

1
Text Only
Columns
  • Yates fires 804

    Derek Yates led all scoring for the week ending March 28 with an 804 series featuring a 290 game at Rainbow Lanes.
    Bobby Benton actually came in second and third for the week with a 748 on the House pattern at White Oaks and 742 on the USBC Open pattern in the Sport league. Steve Ravenscroft had a nice 740 at Rainbow and Darren Durbin and Teddy Inman rounded out the scoring with 737s apiece at White Oaks.

    April 24, 2014

  • Wildfires Wildfires

    The huge woods fire in nearby Pennsylvania shows just how much devastation can take place when a blaze breaks out during early spring. In this case, 900 acres of forest — much of it public game land — became engulfed in flames.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Restore them Restore them

    There are an estimated 47,000 deceased veterans whose remains are unidentified and unclaimed throughout the U.S. A group of senators and congressmen hope to do something to
    bring these men and women some dignity after death.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Happy Easter

    For the world’s more than 2 billion Christians, Easter is the day that defines their faith.
    The exact date of Christ’s resurrection is unknown, and even the precise locations of his crucifixion and burial are uncertain. This hasn’t stopped some people from saying they know the answer to these questions and others from trying to find out for themselves, or simply arguing about it.
     

    April 20, 2014

  • Odds are good that you didn’t know this

    Odds or Probabilities fascinate many people. There is a special website called www.BookOfOdds.com and an accompanying location on Facebook at /BookofOdds .This website lists 400,000 odds. Three of the people who are involved in this media display have coauthored a book, “The Book of Odds” that presents some of key odds, drawing from polls and statistics published in journals. The authors are A. Shapiro, L.F. Campbell and R. Wright. This paperback was published this year by Harper Collins with ISBN 978-0-06-206085-3.

    April 20, 2014

  • Trivial questions you don’t have to answer

    Every so often in this life, my mind, all on its own, generates questions that have no real answers. So I have decided to pass them on to you. I’m tired of them. If you come up with any answers, let me know. Remember when TV jealously guarded the time zone before 9 p.m. for wholesome shows that children could watch. My gosh, how many years ago was that? It seems like another world nowadays, when you can see murders, torture and rape, or those implied, every hour on the hour, somewhere on your public screen. It might be comforting then, to remember that most children nowadays are glued to their little machines with whole different worlds on them, that they can access all day long. Except that in these different worlds they also can view murders, torture and rape on demand.

    April 20, 2014

  • Think it’s not a small world? You’re wrong

    Yes, you read that right in the paper a couple of weeks ago. I covered a wedding as a newspaper reporter. I’ve retired from doing regular stories because my primary duties lie elsewhere, and I don’t have the time or mental energy for it. But I agreed to do it for a couple of reasons, one of which goes back more than 40 years. The former proprietor of The Famous North End Tavern told me about a wedding that was to take place at the Lions Center for Rehabilitation and Extended Care, where his wife works.

    April 20, 2014

  • No Bambi for you, Mrs. Doe

    Some people want so badly for deer birth control to work that they actually think it will, even on wild populations.
    I wish I had a couple bridges to sell.
    A week ago on the Outdoors page we ran the deer there do what deer  everywhere do. They eat the easiest food available such as gardens and ornamental plantings. They walk in front of moving cars. They give ticks and  parasites a place to live.

    April 19, 2014

  • We concur We concur

    We’re certain that Donald Rumsfeld, who served as Secretary of Defense under Presidents Gerald Ford and George W. Bush, echoes what many Americans feel about the complexity of filing income tax returns.
    When he filed his return, Rumsfeld sent the following letter to the Internal Revenue Service:

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Library week

    Public libraries remain one of the best uses of taxpayer dollars. They are open to all. Young or old, poor or wealthy, residents can use computers and read current magazines and newspapers. Compact discs featuring a wide variety of music and
    movies on DVD may be checked out in addition to novels and other books.

    April 13, 2014