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.