The Sky is Falling! The Sky is Falling!
Probability: Numbers for perspective, including odds of being squashed by an asteroid or suffocation by a plastic bag.
Worried about being squashed by an asteroid? Maybe you should be. In January, astronomers reported that one the size of three football fields missed Earth by only 510,000 miles. That may not sound like a close shave, but had it hit, it could have devastated an area larger than Britain. On the other hand, Princeton University scientists have announced that the odds of our planet being hit by an asteroid — thought to be a daunting 1 in 1,500 — are actually closer to 1 in 5,000, or roughly the odds of dying during sports or recreation. Here are some more numbers for perspective:
Lifetime odds of dying from:
Any accident: 1 in 36
A motor vehicle accident: 1 in 81
A firearm: 1 in 202
Poisoning: 1 in 344
A falling object (terrestrial): 1 in 4,873
Drowning in a bathtub: 1 in 10,455
Being caught in or between objects: 1 in 29,860
Suffocation by a plastic bag: 1 in 130,498
Source: The National Safety Council