I just finished listening to Cass Sunstein and Russ Roberts talk about how we react to low-probability potential catastrophes. Their conversation was the latest episode of the "EconTalk" (visit http://www.econtalk.org/) podcast, and they talk about why our government spends hundreds of billions of dollars after 9/11, and why it doesn't spend billions of dollars fighting global warming.
At the end of the podcast they have a fascinating discussion about how to think about spending money now to prevent Bad Things from happening in the future. The key insight (which was new to me), is that one human life today should be equivalent to one human life 100 years from now; but, one dollar today is equivalent to a whole lot less than a dollar 100 years from now.
I'd highly recommend you listen to the podcast. You don't need an iPod, you should be able to play it right from the econtalk.org web page.
I've been very pleased with the quality of the information from other EconTalk episodes; try any of these for some really great "brain food":