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


US investigates Afghan hospital bombing (04 Oct 2015)


Several dead in French Riviera floods (04 Oct 2015)


Pope opens synod amid gay priest row (04 Oct 2015)


Israelis killed in Jerusalem attacks (04 Oct 2015)


Oregon gunman killed himself (03 Oct 2015)


PM plans more drones to fight IS (04 Oct 2015)


Floods trigger South Carolina emergency (04 Oct 2015)


Portugal austerity faces election test (04 Oct 2015)


England 13-33 Australia (03 Oct 2015)


Russia vows to intensify Syria strikes (03 Oct 2015)

more »


Slashdot News for nerds, stuff that matters


Inside the Spaceflight of 'The Martian' (2015-10-03T23:58:00+00:00)


The Decline of 'Big Soda': Is Drinking Soda the New Smoking? (2015-10-03T22:58:00+00:00)


Selected Provisions: TPP, CETA, and TiSA Trade Agreements (2015-10-03T22:00:00+00:00)


Google As Alphabet Subsidiary Drops "Don't Be Evil" (2015-10-03T20:24:00+00:00)


Soon-to-Be US Ed Chief Was Almost FB CEO's Ed Chief (2015-10-03T18:40:00+00:00)


Cape Verde Boulders Indicate Massive Tsunami 73,000 Years Ago (2015-10-03T17:31:00+00:00)


F-35 Ejection Seat Fears Ground Lightweight Pilots (2015-10-03T16:35:00+00:00)


US Bombs Hit Doctors Without Borders Hospital (2015-10-03T15:34:00+00:00)

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)


Strike, protests could happen for tech bus drivers, union warns (3 Oct 2015)


Google chases streaming crowd with sprightlier Chromecast (3 Oct 2015)


40% of Millennials pay for print, online news (3 Oct 2015)


App of the Week: Lark (3 Oct 2015)


Hiring slows in September, jobless rate holds at 5.1% (2 Oct 2015)


Apple expands in Sunnyvale, potentially adding futuristic space (2 Oct 2015)

more »


Asia Times Online


China ramps up charges against Zhou (Fri 20 Mar 2015 11:00:00 GMT)


'100 dead' in Myanmar fighting (Fri 20 Mar 2015 11:00:00 GMT)


Tunisian president vows no mercy (Fri 20 Mar 2015 11:00:00 GMT)


SPENGLER Israel's 'referendum' on 'two-state solution' (Fri 20 Mar 2015 11:00:00 GMT)


Russia, S Ossetia sign 'integration' pact (Fri 20 Mar 2015 11:00:00 GMT)


US military plunges Aquino into crisis (Fri 20 Mar 2015 11:00:00 GMT)


Rahmon celebrates Tajik democracy (Fri 20 Mar 2015 11:00:00 GMT)


THE BEAR'S LAIR Being old in 2040 no fun (Fri 20 Mar 2015 11:00:00 GMT)


China grant boosts Nepal ties (Fri 20 Mar 2015 11:00:00 GMT)

more »


Site feed Updated: 2015-Oct-04 03:00