Belated thanks to Roger Browne who responded to my last blog post and pointed out that there already is a standard unit of risk-- the micromort, which measures a one-in-a-million probability of death.
In the time it takes me to write this blog post, I've got something like a quarter of a micromort risk of dying from all causes. The average person racks up about 40 micromorts per day.
That's a pretty good benchmark! My little brain can understand numbers like one-quarter or 40.
There a great list of relative risks for various things on the wikipedia page for micromort. I've always wondered just how dangerous skydiving really is, and it isn't as dangerous as I thought. My risk of dying if I ever decided to jump out of an airplane (7 micromorts) would be about the same risk as sitting on the couch and watching TV for 4 hours.
Since I wrote my last blog post, we've had a hard frost, so my risk of dying from an Eastern Equine Encephalitis-infected mosquito is now zero micromorts.
I'm not sure what to think of the fact that while we were being warned about mosquitos here in Massachusetts, dying from fungus-tainted steroid shots manufactured here and administered by our doctors turned out to be a much higher risk. How much higher? I dunno. But I would if health officials and reporters started telling us how many micromorts of risk we're getting when we go outside for an hour during mosquito season or get a tainted injection from our doctor...