Play the Building, for What It’s Worth – Your NPR Driveway Moment of the Week

Written by Philip Walter on Jul 17 at 12:10 pm in driveway moments, weMINDculture

photo credit: weegeebored

I’ve decided to start a new feature here at It’s called, “Your NPR Driveway Moment of the Week.” I find myself stuck in my car at all sorts of places, rapt by some story on NPR. We have a running joke at our house about the fact at least once a day I start a conversation with, “I was listening to NPR today, and …” So anyway, this is my way of sharing these great stories with you, and hopefully spurring some conversation in the process.

What is your life worth?

Did you know the EPA values your life at $6.9 million?  It’s kind of a creepy thing to imagine, isn’t it – some number crunchers in some sterile building in Washington, DC putting a monetary value on your life.  Who are they to say what my life is worth?

Still, $6.9 million is a lot.  I’ll be lucky to make that much money in my entire lifetime.  So what makes me worth so much?  Productivity?  Tax revenue?  Home ownership?  My sexy smile?  Nope … we’re talking cost benefit analyses … and basically what I’m willing to pay to reduce my risk of death.

This story on last Friday’s All Things Considered is all about risk.  The first interesting thing about this is the correlation between risk and compensation.  Think about The Deadliest Catch here and you’ll get the idea.  We expect to be paid more for greater risk, and this implies some monetary value to life.  The second interesting point is that the statistical value of a life is down 11% from 5 years ago.  Yikes!  This could be saying we’re more accepting of risk now than we used to be. I’m not sure if that’s true, but the whole thing seems a bit icky to me. Then again, most of what goes on in Washington these days seems icky to me.

David Byrne is a badass!

Have you ever heard of anyone playing a building?  Well, leave it to Talking Heads great David Byrne to make it happen.  Check out the story here.  He refuses to play this thing concert-style, because he doesn’t want there to be any airs about it.  Shear populist genius!


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  1. […] and singlehood? —According to the Environmental Protection Agency, each of us is worth $6.9 million. I think I’m a bargain at that price 😉 —Geek-out: lock bumping, world’s fastest […]

    Pingback by Cheap eats « No Magic Pill — January 7, 2009 @ 4:46 pm

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