What’s important and why?

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out why some things get more importance in our lives, and how we see the world. I can’t say that I’ve found a good answer, but pondering this issue has led me to see how disproportionate we often are in our responses to things.

Earlier this week, for example, there was a ton of news coverage of a new World Health Organization (WHO) report concluding that processed meat is a carcinogen and that eating a couple of pieces of bacon a day will increase rates of certain types of cancer by 18%. The Guardian ran a story with the headline, “Processed meats rank alongside smoking as cancer causes – WHO,” and blogs like Medical Daily posted something called, “Red Meat Is Just As Likely To Give You Cancer As A Cigarette, The World Health Organization Says.

Let’s consider these headlines a bit more carefully.

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