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Visualizing Risk

Some of the most contentious debates involving laypeople’s understanding of science hinge on the ability, or inability, to assess risk logically. From vaccines to genetically engineered foods to synthetic biology, when a technology is seen as having some risk, there is a tendency among certain people to simply label it “too risky.” Of course, doing nothing carries its own risk.

Boing Boing recently reposted this excellent visualization of risk — in this case, the risk of dying from the HPV vaccine versus the risk of dying of cervical cancer — from the Information Is Beautiful blog of David McCandless, a London-based author, writer, and designer.

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