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Scary news stories that didn’t live up to the hype, in one timeline

Sometimes the media and public give too much attention to health scares that don't turn out to be very deadly, all while ignoring more common problems — obesity, car wrecks, alcohol abuse, and the flu — that claim hundreds of thousands of lives a year.

This chart from Information Is Beautiful used the number of searches on Google to track the attention going to some of those exaggerated scares, ranging from killer wasps to violent video games to the nonexistent connection between vaccines and autism:

scary news stories that won't kill you

(Information Is Beautiful)

Some of the choices might seem debatable — killer wasps and the swine flu still killed tens of thousands worldwide, for example. But context matters, as Information Is Beautiful explained: "While Swine Flu is the cause of at least 18,000 deaths worldwide (source), seasonal flu has killed an estimated 375,000 in the same period (source)."

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