Yale’s Environmental Health and Safety office recently sent an email to all students with the headline “The Dangers Are Real”.
While the email included useful information on important topics like “the history of pedestrian right-of-way in Connecticut”, this was my favorite part:
“Distracted pedestrians are being injured at an increasingly alarming rate.”
“Increasingly alarming” is a beautiful phrase.
The Yale Environmental Health and Safety office does not imply that the rate of injury among distracted pedestrians is increasing — only that the employees of the office are becoming progressively more alarmed.
There are many reasons this could be happening. Maybe the injury rate really is increasing. Or maybe the injury rate is decreasing, but the average injury has gotten worse.
It is also possible that the author of this email is suffering from unrelated feelings of alarm, but attributes this alarm to the current rate of distracted pedestrian injury in Connecticut, whatever that rate may be.
* * * * *
The phrase “increasingly alarming” can be applied to literally any set of time-series data while remaining subjectively accurate.
- “The global temperature is rising at an increasingly alarming rate.”
- “Bears are attacking Canadians at an increasingly alarming rate.”
- “George Clooney is aging at an increasingly alarming rate.”
And so on.
I feel like this phrase ought to have an Urban Dictionary entry, or at least a national holiday in the United States. On “Increasingly Alarming Day”, citizens would go about their business as usual, but would feel slightly more anxious than on other days.
Already, the idea has support from doctors, environmentalists, and Piers Morgan. I sense the seeds of a grassroots movement.
“Increasingly Alarming”: Your one-stop solution for statistically dubious panic.