Things That Have Become Less Scary With Time

“Acid rain” is probably still a problem. You don’t hear about it so much now. Maybe because other climate concerns are so much worse. That’s one dramatic name, though. I also recall several rivers catching fire watching American news in the 80s.

No one who didn’t live through “The Y2K problem” would believe the hysteria, money and media that was involved.

For a vespaphobe like me, they are individually pretty terrifying, but the very real concern is that they will eat all our little italian girls, causing fruit harvests to decline drastically.

I’m with you, little Italian scooters are terrifying. Roman Holiday was like a horror movie…

Wait, what?

Many of our crops, especially fruit, are pollinated by italian honeybees (female workers), which are what the mordor hornets eat. They come in and wipe out entire hives, which the Japanese breeds have developed a defense against, but not our girls. As if bee mites and clothianidin were not enough to deal with already.

You know, with all the “Save The Bees!” fervor out there, I forget that they’re technically an invasive species.

Quite possibly the only introduced species to NOT cause complete havoc. Huh.

I assumed this was about things that had actually become less likely to harm you than before and was thinking things like Yersina pestis. Sure, you still don’t want to catch plague (don’t play with marmots!), but it’s not like we’re shutting the city gates because of it.

Instead we have other fun diseases nipping at our heels.

As far as LSD goes, it is my understanding that it will not cause mental issues in healthy people, but if you have a history of things like schizophrenia or psychosis it should really be avoided. Yes, clinical studies are needed because there are possible therapeutic uses.

As far as things that are less scary - I would say, maybe HIV/ AIDS. The automatic death sentence that it conferred back in the early 1980s is gone. Medications have allowed many people to live pretty normal lives. IIRC, there are at least 2 people who had their viral loads lowered so much as to be undetectable.

I read a comic from 1989 the other day and the author listed a bunch of things that were freaking him out: “nuclear power, toxic waste, the ozone layer, oil spills, acid rain, endangered species, overpopulation, AIDS”.

Those are all things to be concerned about, but nowadays they seem to have taken a lower priority in the freaking out queue compared to things like climate change, #MeToo or institutionalized racism.

Medical treatments have improved immensely, but most of the items on your list are still concerning. I actually still support nuclear power. But I bemoan that industry’s previous lack of candour and some very significant management issues have led to its current predicament.

A couple of big ones, Polio and Smallpox. Smallpox is virtually eradicated. If you get a complete series of vaccines for polio you have nearly 100% immunity.

Vaccines have made tetanus much less of a problem also.

Trichinosis from eating undercooked pork is extremely rare now in the US. It is rarely found in farm raised pigs. Most cases in the US are the result of eating wild game including wild pigs.

Acid rain and the ozone layer are not the problems they were in 1989 because we don’t produce the pollutants that cause them in the dangerous amounts that we used to. It’s definitely not the case that they “have taken a lower priority in the freaking out queue compared to things like climate change, #MeToo or institutionalized racism” That there is less to freak out about is a testament to the success of environmental regulation.

Agreed, and there are now effective treatments for AIDS as well. I’m not sure where I implied otherwise.

Related are airbags. Way back when, my father was convinced his car’s airbag was going to explode suddenly at any moment and kill him. He actually considered trying to deactivate it, but I convinced him not to.

Sleeper cells. Turns out there weren’t any.

That whole Presidency has become less scary. I had WMDs for breakfast.

Unfenced quarries that had filled with water, or reservoirs, etc. At our school we had regular warnings about not swimming in the disused quarries because someone or other had died. It’s changed now because they have mostly been made nice and part of a shopping mall, or otherwise are a lot harder to get into.

The public information film about it was awesome. Far scarier than our headmaster telling us that even if it was a warm day and it was free, we shouldn’t swim there.

Sounds similar to what were called “playa lakes” where I grew up in West Texas. Basically a depression that filled with water. Seems like kids were always drowning in them, even teenagers. Best I could figure was doofuses swimming with their jeans on, which soaked up water and pulled them under. Just a guess though.

Rather different. Quarry ponds would be particularly dangerous because they could have steep sides that plunged straight down into deep water. You could easily fall in and not be able to scramble out. Or you could dive in and hit a hidden rock or branch. Playa lakes are generally shallow with gently sloping banks. Much harder to end up in water over your head.

In some places they’ve become popular freshwater scuba-diving venues.