Issues Magazine

Issues Magazine 97

In this edition of Issues...
Why do we assess risk so poorly? The answer is elusive, but we do know that it makes us vulnerable to all manner of dangers and misconceptions.
A risk analyst revisits the assessment and acceptability of risk after losing his house to a forest fire.
How do casinos and bookmakers rig the odds in their favour?
Scientists and regulators tend to talk a lot about how to better communicate risk, and the science of risk assessment to the public, but they don’t tend to talk so much about how to better understand what the public thinks about risk, and why they think what they do. Yet understanding risk perceptions is vital to better risk communications.
Because decisions are about the future they involve uncertainty, yet we make most decisions with a minimum of effort. Hard decisions usually involve high levels of uncertainty and have significant consequences: they are risky decisions. Climate is a major source of uncertainty, often with significant consequences for agricultural decision-makers.
Young people are often held up as our hope for the future, the ones who will protect our democracies and spearhead better social and environmental practices. At the same time, they are subject to a pervasive risk discourse and to a range of mechanisms designed more to govern and control them than to learn from them or let them lead.
Are young women at risk of sexual assault when they go out for a night on the town, and how can this risk best be managed?
The Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System has surveyed regular users of illicit drugs to build up a picture of their risk-taking behaviours and the consequences they have faced.
The ideas and opinions of more than 30,000 young Australians are at the centre of a new parliamentary report into cyber-safety.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released a summary of its Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation.
BHP Billiton has recently received South Australian and federal government pre-approval to pollute Upper Spencer Gulf, one of the most fragile and distinctive marine ecosystems in Australian waters. Is this a sign of gross failure of environmental legislation in Australia, or is technology advanced enough to eliminate natural disasters in this region?
We assess risk every day. But very few of us receive any formal training in the requisite mathematics and statistics, and, partly as a result, poor decisions are made, both by individuals and governmental bodies.
Suppose you’re on a game show, and you’re given the choice of three doors. Is it to your advantage to switch your choice?