The Elevation of ‘Risk’

It is not all that long ago that the risk of death, serious injury or illness for a miner was quite substantial. But I would bet that those risks were not vastly different from working in a ship-building environment or any other physical job of a similar nature – such as the building trade. A difference might be that a disaster in a mine produced a lot of injuries and deaths, whilst injuries and death in the building trade were individual occurrences spread over time. The same applies to aircraft disasters. Aircraft maintenance is extremely intense, and failures are very rare, but the effects of aircraft failure are disastrous. A couple of weeks ago, I flew to Mallorca. When did the greatest ‘health’ risks occur? There are two major periods of time when ‘the risk’ is greatest. Take off is the obvious one, but so is landing. During the flight itself, there is almost no risk at all. Some time ago, I counted the seconds that the aircraft that I was on, took to take off. I was quite surprise that it took a full minute from the aircraft starting down the runway to the aircraft leaving the ground. A whole minute with the engines roaring and the aircraft shaking! But we passengers are not used to it. We forget that the first 15 secs or so are used up in going from stationary to ten miles per hour. We sort of forget that initial slow acceleration and remember the speed when the aircraft takes off.


The Gurus who preach to us about ‘risk’ either know about acceleration and deceleration or they are not scientists. Thus, if the atmosphere is warming, there must be accelerations.


The ‘Elevation of Risk’ is a natural consequence of acceleration in the modern world. I was walking home from the shop a few days ago, and I started to read the sports page of the newspaper that I was carrying. Because I was intrigued by the specific article that I was reading on the back page, I bashed my knee against a bollard which I KNEW was there. I have been taking that route to the shop for twenty years, and I KNEW that the bollard was there. And yet, just because I found that article interesting, I bashed my knee against the bollard.

What was the ‘risk’?

The ‘risk’ only appeared after I bashed my knee. Before that, there was no risk.


‘Risk’ can only be assessed after some disaster has occurred. I class bashing my knee as a disaster for me. It hurt and I got a bruise. Since my disaster (bashing my knee) occurred because I was reading the distracting article in the newspaper, then such articles should be banned. They create a ‘risk’.


The root of the problem is perversion of language. And I mean that.

I started with the idea that mining disasters and many deaths were only relatively associated with ‘risks’. That is, such risks were accepted – at least for some time.

But we have entered a period where any sort of ‘risk’ is abhorrent. But rather than outlaw the activity, the emphasis is on reducing the risk.

Except with Tobacco Control. In every form of human activity, there is an emphasis on reducing risk – except Tobacco Control. According to their own bible, it is the inhalation of smoke of any kind which causes damage, and yet snus is banned except in Sweden in the EU, and ecigs are to be regulated out of existence. And yet Big Pharma products, which contain addictive nicotine, are OK.


Cameron, despite being a conservative, embodied propaganda. He might have been a nice chap, but I could not envisage having a conversation with him in a pub. I would imagine that he would have a far-away gaze. I have seen that before. That ‘far-way’ gaze.


The idea of ‘risk’ appeals to politicians. It is something that they can do something about and it is easy. All you have to do is create a regulation. Thus, the violent attacks on smokers can be disguised as ‘help’ in the reduction of ‘risk’. When I say ‘violent’ attacks, I mean it. Vast increases of taxation are violence. They are the application of force.

It is not our system of ‘first past the post’ which is the problem. It is the inward-looking control freaks which are the problem.


4 Responses to “The Elevation of ‘Risk’”

  1. michaeljmcfadden Says:

    Agree on all counts Junican! Well said!

    P.S. I’ve got question for you: I’ve sent people over here a few times to read about your tobacco growing adventures and knowledge, but is there a particular way or place where they could just chronologically read all your major posts on the subject?

    • junican Says:

      Hi Mike.
      The URL below directs you to my ‘take’ on growing the plants and curing the leaves. But there is a HUGE problem, which is getting a reasonably pleasant taste from recently cured tobacco leaves. It is obvious that this problem in well-known, since it seems to be universally recommended that recently cured tobacco leaves should be allowed to ‘age’ for several years. Or, one could use some system to ‘age’ the tobacco rapidly in about a month.

      My ‘take’ is far from universally good. Why should it be? Regardeless of mechanisation, the fact is that a fair amount of experience and skill is required to cure tobacco correctly.

      Here is the URL:

  2. Roberto Says:

    I fully agree that statistics can be used (rather abused) by “experts” to justify all sorts of junk science BS, not only on tobacco or nicotine issues. However, this happens because those (ab)using statistics are dishonest and follow narrow dishonest agendas.

    This does not mean that statistics is useless or that it necessarily leads to cheating or that it cannot be used honestly, after all it is a well established and self-consistent scientific discipline. Also, not all “experts” are like the lot of junk science producing TC eminences we all know about.

    We should not extend the ethical rot and technical incompetence of the Glantzian crowd to scientists in general. Unfortunately, I find in a lot of comments in the anti-TC blogosphere a tendency to try to demolish science (in general) by assuming it works roughly in the same deranged ways as TC crypto-science.

    Anti-science attitudes are not helpful to call the bluff of TC ideologues disguised as scientists and in all sorts of fad-like public health efforts to modify lifestyles. It is throwing the baby with the bath tube water. As far as human imperfection allows and admitting the existence of rot in every institution, there is a relatively honest clean scientific activity in many disciplines, including medical science and even in public health in issues not related to lifestyles.

    • junican Says:

      I watched a video of a BBC programme yesterday. I was about quantum mechanics.
      That is science. Also, medical research regarding disease is science.
      I do not see Epidemiology as science. It is counting – mathematics of a certain kind. It discovers nothing, other than numbers. Not one epidemiological study has actually proven cause and effect.
      But it is indicative, so that proper science could possibly discover the actual cause and effect. Epidemiology discovered the connection between swamps and malaria, but it took proper science to discover that it was mosquitoes which bred in the swamps which caused malaria.

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