Every Action That Has a Risk Indirectly Affects Your Lifespan?

  1. Hey everyone I was thinking of something just now after watching a video. Every action has a risk of death some the percentages are very low so that's why I don't just die of a heart attack tomorrow. I mean there is a chance but it's unlikely. So every time I get in a car, even if I don't die I am just increasing my likelihood of something else happening. So if I want to live forever I should do activities which create the least risk of death on a day to day basis and shouldn't that directly relate to how long I live?

    Statistically it seems like it should make sense.
  2. jcsd
  3. HallsofIvy

    HallsofIvy 41,259
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Well, no, doing "activities which create the least risk of death" may well increase your life span but will NOT help you "live forever". Even if you spend your life in an air-filtered cocoon, your body is constantly aging- eventually it will just break down. But would you really want to live that way? There are reasons why people take up sky diving or mountain climbing.
  4. Avoid all risks and die of boredom.
    1 person likes this.
  5. Mentallic

    Mentallic 3,783
    Homework Helper

    This reminds me of how my mother hates the idea of me surfing. She has a fear of sharks and worries for my life but I argue that the chances are very small, but she won't have it. While I have a better chance of dying while driving to the beach, she believes that I shouldn't unnecessarily add extra risk in my life since driving is necessary while surfing isn't.

    To be honest, without a little fun in our lives, what's the point? If I happen to be added to the list of rare occurrences of shark fatalities, well, so be it.
  6. D H

    Staff: Mentor

    Most people find a happy medium somewhere between "You only live once, so I'm going to take up BASE jumping!" and "You only live once, so I'm going to become a recluse!"
  7. I am not saying that specific action would result in a bad scenario, let me say it more mathematically.

    Lets say in simple terms there are a million actions in the world you can do.

    Each of these is equally dangerous 1 out of a million chance of death. If you do each action only once even though each specific action had a low chance of dying you would still likely die in the end.
  8. HallsofIvy

    HallsofIvy 41,259
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Even "mathematically" that's meaningless. No matter what you do, you will "die in the end"!

    Deal with it!
  9. D H

    Staff: Mentor

    As Halls wrote, you have a 100% chance of dying in the end.

    Worrying yourself to death about every single choice, every single action you make is a recipe for early death. On the other hand, not caring about the consequences of any of the decisions you make or actions you take is also a recipe for early death.

    You need to find some middle ground. And then you'll still die in the end.
  10. jbriggs444

    jbriggs444 2,222
    Science Advisor

    Recasting this as a mathematical problem and ignoring the physical realities...

    Say you have a weighted coin with a 1 in a million chance of coming up tails. What is the probability of flipping it one million times and getting all heads?

    Suppose that you keep flipping it. What is the probability of flipping it n times and getting all heads?

    What is the limit of this probability as n increases without bound?

    Now suppose that instead of one coin you have an infinitely long row of coins, each weighted differently. You know the weights on each coin in advance. Your task is to pick a coin, flip it, pick a coin and flip it forever without ever flipping the same coin twice and without ever turning up tails. Is there any set of coin weights and any strategy that could result in a non-zero probability of succeeding in this task? If so...

    What is a necessary and sufficient condition on the set of coin weights to allow this?
    Is there an optimal strategy, i.e. one that maximizes your probability of succeeding?
  11. Of course we will die in the end due to probability. That's the whole point.

    It's the whole reason you probably won't die the fist year you are born even though it happens in all the time it's simply probability.

    I could potentially die tomorrow it's probability.
  12. HallsofIvy

    HallsofIvy 41,259
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    I have absolutely no clue what you mean by that last post. In fact I am puzzled as to what could be your point in this whole thread. What are you trying to say, other than the obvious: we could die at any moment; we will die eventually. Did you not think everyone already knew that?
  13. Mentallic

    Mentallic 3,783
    Homework Helper

    Exactly. Even the less intellectually inclined that inhabit the web have at least a crude understanding of this notion. I'm of course referring to "yolo".
  14. No absolutely not. Not in any way. UNLESS the risk becomes an issue. A risk is something that MIGHT happen. If it doesn't happen, it has no effect. An issue is a risk that has happened. ISSUES can affect your lifespan, sometimes radically :-)
  15. Well, risky activities decrease your "expected" life span, to put it mathematically. Also, they could shorten your life if they cause injuries with complications and so on.

    There's a possible confounding factor here, too. Risk-averse people might be more likely to be careful when it comes to maintaining their health, as opposed to just avoiding explicitly risky things, which could increase their odds of living longer.

    It's a weird thread, though. I wouldn't really consider it to be a very mathematical issue.

    I suppose you could say that eventually we will all die due to probability, but I think that's a very weird way to look at it. We die, not so much because of probability itself, but because of wear and tear on the body as we live, and I don't think the exact mechanisms are fully understood. Anyway, if you want to go beyond awkward tautologies, that's biology, not probability.
  16. Of course, but you can see what I am saying right? Also you do die due to probability, as your body gets older it is more probable it will generate diseases such as cancer etc.

    Even though young children generate cancer as well just less probable
  17. Yes, I see what you're saying, but I just don't know that probability is a good way to look at it. It's not untrue, just a weird way of looking at it.
  18. No, you die due to heart failure or getting run over by a trolly car. You COULD die from being hit really hard on the head by a book on probabilities but the probabilities themselves don't hurt you at all.
  19. But see, that's where they change from being a risk to being an issue. As long as there's only a RISK of injury, you haven't been hurt at all.
  20. And that is why you have to say "expected" life span. Life span itself, not so much, if you dodge the bullets.
  21. nsaspook

    nsaspook 1,378
    Science Advisor

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