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<   No. 974   2005-09-26   >

Comic #974

1 Me: {looking at a graph on computer screen} Hmmm, this is interesting.
2 Me: A histogram of the distribution of annual number of deaths due to improperly prepared fugu in Japan.
3 Me: Interesting stats, but I don't understand why people would risk eating such a dangerous food.
4 Me: I guess one man's fish is another man's poisson.

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Okay, to fully get this one you need knowledge of:

Et voilà!
As pointed out by a reader, the graph shown on the screen in this strip is in fact not strictly a histogram, but a bar graph. The difference is that the bars in a histogram always abut each other without any gap in between. Dealing with histograms for my work on frequent occasions, I should certainly have not confused them. I think I in fact tried to make a histogram, but was defeated by good old Microsoft Excel's stupid graph formatting functions.
2014-12-09 Rerun commentary: Working at a workplace with several Japanese people, and also several non-Japanese people who are Japanese food enthusiasts, the question occasionally arises of whether anyone has tried fugu. Or indeed would be willing to try fugu.

One associate told me he likes fugu, and the faint numbing sensation it leaves on the lips when properly prepared.

I, on the other hand, have never tried it, and will not do so willingly. I understand the risks are small, and I probably accept a similar level of risk every time I cross a street. But still, there's something about the faint possibility of dying horribly just because I tried eating something which I could easily have said no to which puts me off.

Risk assessment is a thing we humans do very poorly, and it is coloured by personal experiences and gut instincts more than a logical analysis. There's no easy way around it, unless you happen to be a Vulcan.

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