I LOVE how the media often peddles hysteria in the guise of news. Take this story in the Independent today about funnel-web spiders 'invading' Sydney, Australia.
An ugly little arachnid indeed. The "feared" spider's bite can "kill you in the space of two hours" and its fangs can pierce soft shoes and finger nails, we are told. Holy shit! Can they find out where you live too?! Has the Aussie army been deployed?! Jobs or no jobs, at least the only wild animals we have to worry about here are rats, pigeons and village drunkards.
But, hang on a minute, wait till you get to the last second last paragraph: "Thirteen people, including seven children, have died from funnel-web bites over the past 100 years, but none since 1981, when an antidote was developed."
What? Thirteen people in 100 hundred years? For a "feared" spider, it seems pretty rubbish at its job - it might want to move into a different area of expertise. I'd say fluffy kittens have done better.
Oh, but seven of those were children. Right, and how many kids have been killed by influenza in the last hundred years? Or cancer? Or typhus? Or skateboards? Or Goddamn jellybeans?!
Statistically, 13 deaths in 100 years is irrelevant. I have a greater chance of slipping on a banana peel and careering into a tank driven by Josef Stalin than running into this limp-dick spider. Bah.
But it made a good headline, right?