Monday, November 28, 2016

Calculated Risk

Some writers at Science 2.0 helpfully weigh the different risk factors involved in running the bulls at Pamplona, Spain.

They suggest that while the goal of most of the people who stage athletic events is a zero-risk event -- safer surfaces in track events, big pillows underneath the pole vaults, etc. -- that option is not available in the Pamplona runs because the race itself is the risk, and the risk is part of the point of running the race. Therefore the risk cannot be non-zero.

While I am sure these people are all smarter than me, I have to disagree with their conclusion. My risk of being gored or stomped by a bull in Pamplona is exactly zero, because never in life am I going to run down the street in front of multiple tons of horned beef. Should one of the bulls of Pamplona desire my departure from this mortal coil, he'll need to get himself slaughtered and cooked on a grill someplace where I eat and thus place his deadly red meat into my system. That's not only his best shot, it's his only shot, so he'll have to figure out in his dim bovine mind just how much he hates me, someone he has never met.

It just ain't worth it, Ferdinand.

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