Here's a great concept: a micromort:
Shopping for coffee you would not ask for 0.00025 tons (unless you were naturally irritating), you would ask for 250 grams. In the same way, talking about a 1/125,000 or 0.000008 risk of death associated with a hang-gliding flight is rather awkward. With that in mind. Howard coined the term "microprobability" (μp) to refer to an event with a chance of 1 in 1 million and a 1 in 1 million chance of death he calls a "micromort" (μmt). We can now describe the risk of hang-gliding as 8 micromorts and you would have to drive around 3,000km in a car before accumulating a risk of 8 μmt, which helps compare these two remote risks.
There's a related term, microlife, for things that reduce your lifespan. A microlife is 30 minutes off your life expectancy. So smoking two cigarettes has a cost of one microlife.
Posted on November 8, 2012 at 6:57 AM • 29 Comments