Skeptical Sunday: Risky Business

Sunday, July 27, 2008 - 17:00

Airplanes falling out of the sky! Lethal bird flu! Killer rocks from space! There's a lot that can do us in, and it would seem you have good reason to worry. Except that you're worried about the wrong things! Many of our fears are misplaced. It's more likely you'll die from food poisoning or falling out of bed than in an airplane crash. And, the odds that an asteroid impact will ruin your entire weekend? Oh, about a billion to one.

Find out why we worry about all the wrong things and don't fret enough about things that really are a threat, as we examine the science - and psychology - of risk.
Also, why sword-swallowing is bad for your health... and how well lab rats can recognize Dutch spoken backwards: meet the winners of this year's Ig Nobels.

Plus, our Hollywood skeptic raises an eyebrow at monkey feng shui, and Phil Plait investigates claims that the world is on "tilt". It's Skeptical Sunday... but don't take our word for it!


  • Phil Plait - author of
  • David Ropeik - consultant in risk communication, co-author of Risk: A Practical Guide for Deciding What's Really Safe and What's Dangerous
  • John Adams - Emeritus Professor, Geography Department, University College London
  • Marc Abrahams - editor, Annals of Improbable Research
  • James Underdown - Executive Director of the Center for Inquiry, Los Angeles