Everything is dangerous; everything is poison; everything causes cancer; everything rots your brain; and the world is descending into chaos and entropy. This is basically what we’re told every day by the media, and it makes sense because fear sells. It’s also just prudent to understand what the risks around you are, to be informed. However, is everything really as dangerous as we’ve been told? What if some things we’ve all been told or led to assume are highly dangerous simply…aren’t?
Common Sense Warning: List25 is not endorsing or recommending for you to do any of the things listed here. This is a fun and informational list, not life advice. You are ultimately responsible for your own personal safety (or your child’s), not someone who posts things on the internet. Use some sense, and if you find you don’t have any, err on the side of caution: stay home and on the internet.
The best way to be safe is always, always, information, so here’s a list of 25 Shocking Things That Are Not As Dangerous As You May Think.
There seems to be warnings that go around every year about Halloween candy, and we’ve all heard about people putting “something” in it. Turns out these tales are mostly urban legends, which can be tied back to a religious tract by Jack Chick trying to convince Christian children of the “evils” of Halloween in the 60’s. Unfortunately, these urban legends are helped along by a handful of kids who have died while trick or treating or the day after, but it’s not found to be the fault of candy. While it’s still prudent to employ common sense and look over your child’s Halloween candy, there’s no real evidence that someone’s going to inject KitKats with poison.
Statistically, the risks for sexual assault or injury while hitchhiking are so low it would technically fall under what we consider “safe,” meaning that there’s a less than one one-thousandths of a percent risk of being raped or killed while hitchhiking. The bigger risk is honestly that you never know the musical taste of the person you’re getting into a car with. There are no current statistics of encountering yodelers while hitchhiking.
When someone says the word Anarchy, most people immediately think of a “Purge” type situation, but realistically, that’s not the case. Anarchy is merely the absence of a ruling government body, allowing the complete freedom of the individual. It doesn’t remove consequences of someone defending their home and property from nefarious persons. While that may sound like crazy talk, realize that we lived that way for thousands of years in hunter gatherer society before we had government, and that the government, by and large, isn’t in the day to day protection business; it reacts after people have done horrible things. The first question often asked is, “How can you trust people not to victimize each other!?” However, all governments are made up of people, who, historically, often victimize those under their rule. Most people who don’t go around robbing and raping anyway do so simply because they’re decent human beings or because of the pressure of society to not do so. Society doesn’t disappear under anarchy, only the ruling government body.
Running out of Fuel or Complete Engine Failure on an Airplane
Running out of fuel or complete engine failure on a plane isn’t the end of life experience Hollywood would have us believe. As long as you’re not over water, planes – even super heavy commercial airliners – can glide for quite a bit. Your landing will be a little rough, and there have been crashes, but it’s something that more people have survived than you would think.
This may raise quite a few hackles, but Climate Change isn’t that immediately dangerous. Climate has always changed on a global scale, and for the last million years or so, humans have adapted to an ever warming climate, and we will continue to. Species that haven’t adapted have gone extinct, and then humans make blockbuster “park” movies about them. This is in no way defending things like strip mining or over fishing, but it seems like there’s a bit of hysteria that the media is pushing right now that we’re going to a) all die tomorrow b) any change is the direct result of something you’ve done in your lifetime and c) anyone who disagrees with you is an idiot and a villain. This is doing far more harm to society at the moment than actual climate change is. The western US will continue to get drier and many coastal cities may be flooded, but in many parts of the world, increased CO2 and longer growing seasons will actually help increase world wide food production.
Eating Raw or Under-cooked Pork
It’s okay to eat Pork Tartare (tartare being a raw preparation of meat). Despite being taught that we MUST fully cook our pork, thanks to modern standards of raising livestock, those issues are a thing of the past. The reason you used to need to fully cook your pork was due to a type of worm ( Trichinella Spiralis) that pigs would get from their food that could be transferred to humans via their meat. When pork was cooked fully, the parasite died. Well, we feed our pigs better now (instead of feeding them literally anything, including old meat) and the pigs we raise for meat aren’t infected with parasites. Raw or rare cooked pork has a completely different taste than the stuff we’re used to, which has usually been, well, cooked to death (think of a well done steak). If you’re going to try this, make sure you go to a restaurant or get a good quality cut of meat from a butcher, and ask them about raw or rare preparations.
Allowing Kids to Play Outside Alone
If you ask any random Facebook Mommy Group when it’s okay to let your kids play outside alone, most of the answers range from 13 to “Never!” However, in most places in the US, kids can play outside alone, and statistically, they’ll be perfectly fine. Some children even walk to school – by themselves – every day. Despite the worry, crimes are at a historical all time low. The Media just tells us, in great detail, about all of them. So fewer crimes happen, but we hear about more, and it skews our perception. Let your kids play outside; it’s good for them and you.
Exploding Gas Tank
Your gas tank is very unlikely to explode if you get into a car accident. It probably isn’t going to explode even if you shoot it. This is a fear that Hollywood has placed in our minds, but it’s highly unlikely to happen. Liquid fuel will burn, but it’s flash point is so high it’s really not a worry, even if the car is on fire. The fuel has to escape, evaporate, and mix with oxygen before it can ignite, which is why cars will burn, but not explode. Tires, however, can and do explode when cars catch fire, and the fumes given off from burning cars are seriously bad for you, so if your car catches fire, you should still stay away. You should also still get everyone out of the car if possible.
Licking a Shopping Cart
DON’T LICK THE SHOPPING CART! Or do; honestly, it’s whatever. While we all want our children and toddlers to not put things in their mouths, the truth is that they do, and this is how they build immune systems. It’s not the end of the world if they chew on the cart at Target a little bit. Even if they do get sick, it’s likely to be a non-life threatening virus. Cancer, it turns out, doesn’t spread via shopping cart contact. It’s gross but not so much dangerous.
Sharks actually have a lot more to fear from humans than humans have to fear from sharks. Every year we kill between 23 and 70 million of them, many for shark fin soup. Your odds of being bitten by a shark are actually quite low. You’re far more likely to be struck by lightening or attacked by the neighborhood mean dog than encounter a shark in the wild (the media has a tendency to sensationalize shark attacks. Imagine that, the media encouraging us to fear something). While it’s good to always be aware of your surroundings (since the ocean is an animal habitat), if you respect the shark, there’s little to fear.
Juggling Objects Lit on Fire
Juggling objects lit on fire is only dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Fire performance has actually been a part of some cultures for centuries and is still considered performance art in many parts of the world. Like many things, if practiced with the proper precautions and respect for what you’re doing, it isn’t dangerous. (Disclaimer: most of the population of the world does *not* know what it’s doing when it comes to fire juggling, and no, you cannot master it just through watching youtube videos. Sorry).
Any dog has the potential to be dangerous, even a Chihuahua or Golden Retriever. However, Pit Bulls have gotten a specifically bad reputation in recent years as being more aggressive and dangerous than others dogs, to the point that some HOA’s won’t allow them in their neighborhoods. The truth is that any dog who is not socialized, trained, and cared for properly can become aggressive and ill behaved, and they’re not a good fit for every owner. Pit Bulls are quite popular fodder for the media and have unfortunately become very popular at underground dog fighting rings. These things combined, along with the fact that they are neither small nor weak dogs like the chihuahua, give the public the impression that any pit bull you see wants to rip your face off, when in reality they’re as likely to just want a sniff hello and a head scratch as any other dog. Dogs, like people, should be judged on their individual merits, not the color of their coats.
There are about 1,500 known species of scorpion, and only about 25 of those are capable of delivering a sting that could prove fatal to a human, and only one of those species lives in the US – the Arizona Bark Scorpion (which is also found in California and Utah). That doesn’t mean that their stings are pleasant by any means; the injected venom is painful and can remain so for up to 48 hours, but they aren’t all deadly. Among deadly scorpions, infants and the elderly are most as risk for death from a sting. The overwhelming majority of scorpions are just really cool looking, not deadly.
(Note: Most spiders in the US are also not life-threatening.)
Using Your Phone In-Flight
While you should always and without question obey the directions of all airline crew, using your cellphone on an airplane isn’t going to bring it tumbling out of the sky. While there is debate on electromagnetic interference between your phone and the plane’s electronics, it’s still just that – debate – with no solid evidence showing us that it’s dangerous. However, if you start talking on your cell phone on a crowded flight, you may be in danger from your fellow passengers since it’s bound to be super annoying and kind of rude.
Our natural instinct would tell us that jumping out of a plane several thousand feet above ground is dangerous, but it really isn’t. Skydiving is becoming more and more popular, and thankfully it has some pretty serious safety checks. Most of the errors that cause injury come down to human error with their gear. In 2012, the risk of a skydiving fatality was about 1 for every 100,000 jumps. That same year, the odds of dying in a car accident for the typical diver were around 1 in 6,000.
The Bubonic Plague
The Bubonic Plague – or Black Death – killed 25 million people (over one third of Europe’s population) over a five year period in the mid-1300’s and is still active in parts of the United States today. The Plague is caused by a bacteria called Yersinia Pestis and is naturally occurring. Generally, the plague is spread by fleas or ticks biting infected rodents, and then biting humans. There are generally around 7 cases per year, and while it *can* be deadly if not treated, it’s highly treatable with antibiotics as it’s a bacterial infection, not a virus.
Terrorism/Global Politics/Being the Victim of a Random Crime
We’re actually living in the safest, best time ever in human history. No, really! Crime is down, violent crime is really down, globally. While there are still spots that are absolutely awful, on the whole, being born in the last 20ish years is an amazing gift, between the relative peace between major nations (compared to the past) and living in the age of information. It seems so depressing if we look at the news; it’s all doom and gloom because that’s what sells, but the world is, for humans, safer than ever. If you were born at a time to read this, and possess not only the ability to read but connection to the internet to read it on, you my friend, have won the genetic lottery. From a historical perspective, for the average person, these are not dangerous times. We just hear about all the danger we would have been ignorant of in the past.
Consuming Raw, Unpasteurized Milk
There’s a pretty heated debate going on in some corners of the US, and that debate is this: Is raw, unpasteurized milk safe to drink? People have gotten sick or even died from bacteria in raw milk in the past, and the “normal” thing in the US is to drink pasteurized milk, so the idea of raw milk creates a near hysteria in some people, and there are still laws that regulate it. Pasteurization is heat processing where the milk is quickly brought up to a high temperature to kill bacteria and then chilled again. So any milk you buy in the grocery store has technically already been cooked. Pasteurization kills any harmful bacteria that may be in the milk, but it also kills any helpful bacteria such as Lactobacillus, Leuconostoc, and Pediococcu which our bodies need to process and get all the nutritional benefits from milk. Pasteurized milk is mostly protein and fat; it’s kind of half the food it could be. Pasteurized milk also can’t generally be bought from small local farms, so it means that most of the milk America drinks is from factory farming, combining all milk from several farms or cows at a time to be processed. However, Government data recently proves that based on the number of people who get sick from other foods, raw milk is actually really…safe.
Taking a Tour of Pripyat (Chernobyl)
It’s possible to get in and walk around the abandoned city of Pripyat, site of the Chernobyl accident in 1986; it’s not recommended, but possible, and not inherently dangerous if you don’t linger. Even though the city and plant site are still somewhat radioactive, wildlife is flourishing in the abandoned city.
Check out this video of urban explorers poking around.
Driving over 100 MPH
It’s pretty safe to drive over 100 MPH / 160 kph if you’re on a road where everyone else is too. On Germany’s famous Autobahn, there are no speed limits for standard passenger cars, though some are imposed for certain classes of vehicle or vehicles with trailers, and it’s pretty darn safe.
Playing Video Games
The biggest danger from spending your life playing video games is lack of exercise. There’s no evidence that Video Games – even violent ones – make players of any age or amount more aggressive or violent. There have been many in the past that blame gun violence and school shootings on video games, claiming that they’re dangerous and that games above a certain rating shouldn’t be sold to persons under 18, but there’s simply no evidence to back this up. So play on player, just uh, make sure you go outside once in awhile.
Elemental Mercury is absorbed by the skin very slowly. Meaning that simply touching it will not result in mercury poisoning; plus the liquid silver in your hand is so cool looking! Theoretically, you could even swallow it and not have much of an issue. In-fact mercury was one of the safest/most effective laxatives used during the times of Lewis and Clark. However, like all liquids, Mercury will evaporate over time, and if the vapors are absorbed by your lungs, it can be toxic.
Here’s a video with more information.
There’s an old saying that goes, “The difference between medicine and poison is in the dose,” and youtube user Cody’s Lab proved that when he ingested cyanide dissolved in water, and then proceeded to not die. Your liver is capable of destroying small amounts of cyanide fairly quickly which is good because many fruits and seeds naturally contain cyanide. Probably best to avoid ingesting known poisons though, unless you are like Cody and have loads of experience working with the chemicals and are slightly crazy.
If you’d like to see for yourself, please check out the video
Eating Dry Ice
Dry Ice – frozen C02 – sits at around 109 degrees below zero. One would think, knowing this, that eating it would be a terrible, possibly fatal, idea. Apparently though, it’s not. If you eat dry ice it just bubbles in your stomach and creates a lot of gas that insulates it from the walls of your stomach. Don’t try this at home kids, but if you do, you probably won’t die.
To see this actually done, check out this video
Giant Asteroid or Comet Hitting Earth
Could a giant asteroid or comet hit earth and wipe out most developed life forms on the planet? Sure! It’s happened before. Is it going to happen again in our lifetime? Probably not. NASA is tracking an asteroid named 2013 TV135 that could hit earth in 2035. Could. NASA is 99.998% sure it it will miss us, though. If it looks like it might not pass us by though, don’t worry, there are plans and plans and backup plans for what is officially termed “Asteroid Impact Avoidance.” But even if it does hit the earth all but the largest asteroids would be unlikely to wipe out humans since unlike dinosaurs we can put on a thick coat and eat stored food to survive an impact winter.