Carnivals Current Events

Cavalcade of Risk #181: The ‘What If’ Edition

The news of the bombing at the Boston Marthathon has shaken many Americans.  How could such a thing happen?  What are the odds that such a thing happens to me?

Let’s try to quantify the risk.  According to, in 2012, there were 658 marathons in the U.S. and Canada.  Thus, the probability of a bombing of a randomly selected marathon in the U.S. or Canada is about 0.2% if one assumes one bombing per year.

The Chicago Tribune reports that 100 people were injured and 3 people died.  In 2012, 528,375 individuals finished a marathon.  Thus, the probability of being injured at a marathon due to a bombing is 0.02% and the probability of being killed is 0.0006% or fewer than 1 in every 150,000 individuals.

About 1 in 100,000 marathon finishers die during or in the 24 hours immediately after a marathon, according to The New York Times.  Thus, marathoners are at higher risk of dying of a heart attack after a marathon than from a terrorist attack.

Although the chances of being injured or killed in any marathon are relatively small, life is still full of unforseen events.  In today’s Cavalcade of Risk, the best of the blog-o-sphere answers the question ‘What If’?

  • What if I get bird flu?  Risk Management Monitor examines what they call “the largest health threat…that the globe has seen in several years.”
  • What if you suffer from a degenerative disease?  Hull Financial Planning discusses how to create a financial plan for multiple sclerosis.
  • What if your home is destroyed by an earthquake? InsureBlog notes that often times your homeowners insurers will not cover the damage caused by this natural disaster.
  • What if you are wasting money on unnecessary insurance premiums?  Chatswood Consulting Limited examines whether certain provisions of income protection insurance are unnecessary.
  • What if I lose my hearing?  The Health Business Blog notes that the risk of this event increases for individuals who use the high-powered Excel Xlerator hand dryers.
  • What if Medicare runs out of money?  The Disease Management Care Blog examines how the U.S. could learn from Canada, France, Germany and England to decrease the rate of growth of health care spending.
  • What if I am injured on the job? Workers Comp Insider examines whether companies can build mobile apps to improve workers safety.
  • What if I die of old age?  Life Insurance by Jeff examines weather people over 65 need life insurance.
  • What if the world is run by egotistical psychopaths?  Ponerology News reviews the movie I am a Fishead which examines why financial professionals took enormous risks leading to the economic recession.
  • What if I am a helicopter pilot searching for life insurance?  Rootfin provides some helpful tips.
  • What if Medicare cuts reimbursement rates?  The Healthcare Economist finds that hospitals are not likely to raise private payer cost, but rather decrease large capital expenditures on advanced medical records and curtail the offering of unprofitable services (e.g., trauma centers, alcohol and drug treatment).

Jeff Root of Rootfin hosts the next Cavalcade of Risk.

This post is dedicated to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.  The Healthcare Economist’s thoughts and prayers are with you.


  1. Wow, Jason – excellent and moving job. Thanks for hosting, and especially for the perspective on risk, life and health.

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