Monday, April 16, 2007

Metrics Contest

Greetings, high-rollers!

In today's post, I'm announcing a new, exciting contest for my Many-Ideas readers: the Metrics Contest!

LED, EDD and GHAF Recap

If you're new here, let me fill you in a bit on the history and aims of this blog. I'm interested in putting risks into perspective and in deflating over hyped issues.

But how do we know how risky a certain activity is in a way that's easily understood? And how do you quantify hype?

To give risk probabilities a human touch, I've introduced two new metrics: the life expectancy decrease (LED), which gives you the expected amount of time your lifespan decreases from engaging in the said risky behavior, and the equivalent driving distance (EDD), which finds the distance you would have to drive to accrue a risk comparable to the activity in question. The LED is calculated by multiplying 85 years by the chance the measured risk will kill or seriously maim you, while the EDD is calculated by multiplying the risk by 1 billion (10^9) miles and dividing by 14.6, since in 2005 in the US there were 14.6 fatalities per billion miles driven.

The GHAF measures undue hype, not just pure risk. Bigger risks deserve more attention, but they don't always get it. "GHAF" stands for "Google Hits per Annual Fatality," and measures the ratio of the attention an issue gets to the real threat it poses. It's a very approximate measure, but the GHAF for different risks is so variable (from about 1 to over 100 000) that it's still useful in identifying over hyped issues.

The inaugural LED and EDD post is here, and the post introducing the GHAF is here. If you're new here, check them out to get an idea of how they can be calculated.

Risk and Hype Lists

There's a wiki to keep track of both the risks of certain activities (here) and the GHAF of certain phenomena (here). There are many fascinating cases of hype which these lists miss, which is why I'm holding this contest.

Contest Rules

Calculate the EDD, LED and GHAF for a risk of your choosing, and post it to me along with an idea for a Many Ideas blog post. On April 23rd I'll announce my favorite, and I will do a full investigation and posting on the winner's topic.

Submissions will be rated for originality (5 pts) accuracy (5 pts) and for how much they reveal about out risk biases (15 pts). Entering your EDD, LED and GHAF to the wiki pages earns an extra 2 points.

May the juiciest entry win!


Knaldskalle said...

You're on! Added "Terror" and "school shootings" (both GHAF >100 000)to your wiki.

LeDopore said...

Awesome! Thanks for the quick response.