Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Eternal Footman

Carnegie Mellon researchers put up a new site the other day called Death Risk Rankings. What they've got is an interesting, albeit morbid, tool that allows you to view the statistics of dying within a year from various causes. The tool gives you some customization flexibility so that you can view the data in various ways to get a better view of the death landscape.

You'll want to go over a few of the tutorial's quickly to get a better understanding of what the output tables are saying. And, for you math/logic types, they even have a tutorial written about Simpson's Paradox.

Anyway, for Californian males (non-White, non-Black) in my age group (30-39), the data shows 777 per million deaths within a year -- the top three causes are suicide (97), transportation-related accidents (82) and heart attacks (53). Move up two age groups to the 50-59 crowd and death stats show a quintupling with 4026 per million deaths.

As I said, it's all a bit morbid, but at least now we've got a tool to give us a better guess as to when our time will come (and how).

I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

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