about me


my software


Yucatán Photos

St Lucia Photos

Photo Album



< September 2007 >
2 3 4 5 6 7 8

past articles »

Click for San Francisco, California Forecast

San Francisco, USA


Safe travel destinations?

When I am planning for travelling, especially to some more exotic destinations, the discussion is often steered toward the question - Is it safe? The underlying concern is the place maybe crime infested or perhaps an active target of terrorism. To the more experienced travellers this is often rejected as an undue concern. The standard rebuff is New York and LA has a higher crime rate than that of the destination.

Yet this question never goes away. People do not assess risk objectivity but base on some impression that can be very biased. Probability is such a thing that is hard for ordinary people to grasp rationally. In case of travelling, I find that the perceived risk is inversely proportional to the familiarity of the destination.

Consider New York, London, Madrid and Bali as examples. Each of them have subjected to multiple terrorist attacks. When Bali was bombed in 2002, some people discount it as an one-off incident. When it was bombed again in 2005, people are really scared and tourism plummeted. In case of New York and London, except the first few weeks after an incident, I have not heard anyone want to avoid them due to safety concern. Madrid sit somewhere in between. People perceive it as more risky than London but less risky than Bali. The perceived ranking or risk is roughly Bali > Madrid > London > New York.

Rather than base on any objective risk assessment, I think this is more a factor of familiarity. The ranking of familiarity for many outsiders are roughly New York > London > Madrid > Bali. Ask anyone in the world their impression on New York and London, they are likely to come up with hundreds of images - Statue of Liberty, Big Ben, multinational companies, the British royalties, celebrities and politicians, media and art references and their long and colorful history. This create an air of excitement that easily drown out the relative few violent incidents happened. On the other hand what do people know about Bali? Some superficial images of beach resorts and sightseeing spot? Unfortunately, for some people, the bomb attacks actually jump in front as their primary image of Bali. News of terrorism travel far and wide while domestic affairs receive little attention elsewhere. So the few incidents easily dominates outsiders' impression of the place.

The bottom line? Subjective risk is often very biased. The more familiarity you have with a place the less risk you will perceive.

2007.09.20 [] - comments



blog comments powered by Disqus

past articles »


BBC News


Hong Kong leader in protest appeal (30 Sep 2014)


Afghans sign deal to keep US troops (30 Sep 2014)


Thousands of Ebola orphans 'shunned' (30 Sep 2014)


EU to keep Russia sanctions in place (30 Sep 2014)


Film workers fast for Indian leader (30 Sep 2014)


Muslim NFL player's 'prayer penalty' (30 Sep 2014)


India teacher 'locked boy in kennel' (30 Sep 2014)


Argentina 'in contempt' of US court (30 Sep 2014)


eBay to split off PayPal business (30 Sep 2014)


Ireland gave 'state aid' to Apple (30 Sep 2014)

more »


Slashdot News for nerds, stuff that matters


Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power (2014-09-30T00:17:00Z)


Tor Executive Director Hints At Firefox Integration (2014-09-29T23:34:00Z)


CEO of Spyware Maker Arrested For Enabling Stalkers (2014-09-29T22:52:00Z)


Man Walks Past Security Screening Staring At iPad Causing Airport Evacuation (2014-09-29T22:10:00Z)


New Research Casts Doubt On the "10,000 Hour Rule" of Expertise (2014-09-29T21:25:00Z)


Microsoft Revives Its Hardware Conference (2014-09-29T20:42:00Z)


Former GM Product Czar: Tesla a "Fringe Brand" (2014-09-29T20:00:00Z)


Building Apps In Swift With Storyboards (2014-09-29T19:38:00Z)

more »


TechPsychic Tech Rumors and Invented News

more »


SF Gate


Bay Area News (7 Jan 2012)


City Insider (11 Feb 2012)


Crime Scene (13 Feb 2012)


C.W Newius Column (10 Jan 2012)


C.W. Nevius Blog (11 Feb 2012)


Education News (10 Jan 2012)


KALW (11 Feb 2012)


Matier and Ross Blog (11 Feb 2012)


Tibco Software to sell itself to a equity firm for .3 billion (29 Sep 2014)


Top home routers for Wi-Fi calling (29 Sep 2014)


Ship traffic (29 Sep 2014)


Ello is the alternative to Facebook (29 Sep 2014)


Insider trading, week of Sept. 18 (29 Sep 2014)


Legislators making bigger push to curb tax inversions (29 Sep 2014)

more »


Asia Times Online


Mangalyaan sends India's critics into orbit (Fri 26 Sep 2014 11:00:00 GMT)


Gaza and the end of 'Arab gallantry' (Fri 26 Sep 2014 11:00:00 GMT)


One door closes, another opens for IS (Fri 26 Sep 2014 11:00:00 GMT)


Terrorism as a cover for intervention (Fri 26 Sep 2014 11:00:00 GMT)


REUVEN BRENNER Brave hearts and wise heads (Fri 26 Sep 2014 11:00:00 GMT)


SPEAKING FREELY Obama neglects South Asia at his peril (Fri 26 Sep 2014 11:00:00 GMT)


Japan returning to nuclear path (Fri 26 Sep 2014 11:00:00 GMT)

more »


Site feed Updated: 2014-Sep-30 06:00