I wrote a previous opinion piece about Batch Processed Individuals. After hours of editing an advanced aircraft flight test document about simulation parameters and derivative matrixes, I was thinking of advanced knowledge that Greeks used to have, and we lost when the people died. It was not written down, or audio recorded, or videoed. It was lost when the chaos of the Middle Ages did not preserve it.

Perhaps we're setting ourselves up again for the big knowledge loss when our computers die, the nuclear bomb happens, or SkyNet takes over. Memorizable retention of knowledge is an obscure topic that many people cannot grasp. I keep looking for examples. Here is another..

I wanted to mail a large manila envelope. I figured 1st class postage would be good. The mail service person came up with a higher price. I asked asked for the raw weight and then asked why the price was higher than the "0.44 + 0.17 for each additional ounce" price. She reported the weight as 0.178 ounces. I knew I was in trouble because no letter weighs this little. She didn't even know when the information she provided was totally wrong. That's different than knowing the right answer, mind you. She didn't know her answer was wrong.

I asked her the pricing and she pulled out a 2-page computer printout provided by the post office does these days: You need a computer and a data base to look this up. You need a computer to look this up. You need a web link to look this up, unless you've downloaded a personal copy. So much technology!! Technology does not help clarify the base knowledge. In this case, it doesn't even help make it available. It simply distracts from the heart of the issue. It doesn't display and accentuate knowledge. It's seriously dumbed-down, and you have to have your table or computer each time to look it up. Worse yet, you know what options cost for your package only after you've implemented the options (bundled together in your envelope); there is no sense of knowing the cost algorithm, and making a right choice to minimize cost.

It frustrated me that I spend a few minutes looking at the numbers. There IS an alternative.

I'm going to give you a prize. Something from the ancient Greeks. A passed-down secret of the ages. Here's how they did it. Here's how they stashed so much knowledge in their brain. I'm going to reduce the ENTIRE first class postage schedule into something you can memorize in 10 seconds.

First Class Postage

Letter 1st oz costs 44 cents + 17 cents for ea additional
Large Envelope extra 1 oz cost (44 cents)
Package extra 3 oz cost (78 cents)

That's it! Go look at the linked UPS website if you don't believe me. Why do they need 2 PAGES to say this?!

I think anybody reading this can memorize the above table in less than 1 minute. If you want to press the system, mail weird things, or long skinny wires, or strips of paper, you might need to know the difference and actually reference the specific data-base numbers. However the bolded items below will get 95% of the people through the system.

Letters 6-1/8" x 11-1/2" x 1/4" 3.5 oz
Large Envelope12" x 15" x 3.4" 13 oz non-rigid
Package108" length+girth 13 oz

If you go over 13 oz, then you mail Parcel Post.

Created by brian. Last Modification: Monday 22 of March, 2010 10:09:11 CDT by brian.