Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Looks like e^x to me...

Check this out: the post office is raising stamp prices again. And, if you look at the price graph carefully, you will recognize a friend of mine: e^x. Really? You wouldn't think the post office has to raise postage by more or less the rate of inflation, which is itself an exponential function. But it's so hard to think about these things properly when we do not have the tools to understand what's going on. Sometimes, it is just hard to get even simple things right. For example, check out the following graph of a^x: how is it possible for a^x to have a negative derivative for some negative values of x? And how about this eHow.com 2^x plot that doesn't add up? But no. It's not inflation, and nobody mentions e^x because we're not supposed to think for ourselves or something. Instead, we get this:

"This proposed rate increase amounts to another tax imposed on Americans at a time when the economy can least afford it," said Tony Conway, a spokesman for the alliance and executive director of the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers.

Tax? How about inflation, isn't that the real tax? How can it be a tax unless wages are not going up in the same way? Isn't that the real problem? And it's not like the private mail carriers are cheap. I dare you to send a sheet of paper to Argentina via FedEx. Sigh...

"Why are you picking on the Post Office? For 44 cents, someone comes to your house, picks up some piece of crap you wrote, and takes it to Wyoming on a plane!" --- Jon Stewart

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