Life is full of risks, and the job I do occasionally entails risk (I don't mean blogging, by the way. Blogging can make you crazy, but it can't kill you). I've kept a running list over the years of ways to keep safe while traveling in dangerous places, and not long ago I posted rules for surviving a terrorist attack on a developing-world hotel. The mid-air collision over the Hudson River between a small plane and a helicopter reminded me of another of these rules, one that applies universally, not just in Pakistan: Never take a helicopter ride for fun. Never. I fly in helicopters when it's part of my job, but sightseeing? Absolutely not. My feelings on this subject were colored by a particularly unfortunate experience in an Aeroflot helicopter over the Caspian Sea a long time ago, but it's not just Soviet-era helicopters that are risky. If you want to see New York from the air, go to the top of the Empire State Building, but only a weekend, when the chance of an airborne attack is substantially diminished.

In the next episode of the Goldblog survival guide: Death by Inner Tubing.