So many choices…I’ve got two response:
First, the radio receiver/explosives thing is a slight possibility. Radio receivers contain oscillators to be able to match the frequencies and hence generate a little radio-frequency interference. What it comes down to is convenience vs. concern for others–it is inconvenient for us to turn off our radio, but there is an extremely slight chance that many people will die if we don’t turn it off. Most of us find the combination of 1-in-a-billion chance with the won’t-hurt-me scenario sufficiently low risk to leave our radio on.
Second, there may be a pseudo-reasonable explanation for the banning of Cel-phones at gas stations. If you drop the phone and the battery gets damaged and shorts out, it could catch fire. Loose battery devices (like a Walkman) just dump the batteries on the ground and they generally don’t short out, so they’re okay. Again, it’s the convenience vs. 1-in-a-billion chance and the fact that it’s unlikely you’ll personally be hurt.
I’m trying not to be judgemental because I believe this is human nature. The world in general is a dangerous place–you could slip on a patch of ice and die, for instance. It’s nobody’s fault the ice was there, and it isn’t necessarily your fault that you slipped, it’s just an unlikely event that ends in tragedy. When you make decisions in your daily life, you end up balancing benefit and risk. When risk is very small, benefit almost always wins no matter how minor it may be.
The scary part to me is how we tend to assign less risk to events that hurt other people–driving fast, using a cel-phone at a gas station, or stepping out of an office without checking if anyone’s coming are all things that almost everyone does, the risks to themselves are smaller than the risk to others, and the benefit of the behavior is relatively small.
Oops…we were talking about exploding gas stations…sorry!
Hey, aren’t you supposed to be at work?