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Different kinds of risk

September 5, 2010

skydiving CCby Antoine Hubert

I’ve been reading a whole lot of stuff about voluntary risk-taking activities and risk theory for my literature view. So it sort of gave it a different perspective when I heard the news on Saturday morning about the Christchurch earthquake. There are some risks that we don’t think will happen to us or that we’ll be protected from.

That’s in contrast to taking on extreme sports where we knowingly choose to do something that could result in serious harm or death. Studies show, among other things, that we do it for the thrill, aesthetic sensations, a change from the every day routine of life, to exercise control and to spend time in nature.

And then the second lot of bad news – a plane crash at Fox Glacier killed 9 – the pilot and four locals taking four from overseas on a skydiving trip. Of all the risks they took into account with skydiving, the actual risk of dying in a plane crash before they took their jump, was probably very low. That’s bad luck – although the accident investigators may have a different opinion.

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