Thursday, March 1, 2007

Last line illogic

On Morning Edition edition Tuesday two interesting stories left me befuddled by their last lines.

First there was a discussion of the "forever stamp" that the post office is going to introduce. It lets you buy a stamp that will always work even if the price of stamps goes up, and it costs the same as an existing first class stamp. They claimed that it was going to save the postal service money long term because it costs more money for them to staff the post office than they make off the price of the stamps (implying that people buy fewer stamps at a time and therefore come in more often because they don't want to be stuck with a bunch of stamps that need an additional 2 cents added). The last sentence of the piece, though, said that post office research shows that people will buy the same number of stamps even if the forever stamp is offered. Huh? Does that mean they'll buy the same number overall but make fewer trips? Or that they'll buy fewer stamps in which case wouldn't the post office lose money?

The next story talked about how nanotechnology is seen as an answer to conterfeiters - it will allow money to be made that can change textures or solidity when you move it around (pretty interesting stuff - the whole story is available here). Apparently the new paper will be affordable within the next 5-10 years for the US mint, but their goal would be that it's something that's not too affordable so that people can't buy it cheaply and then start making money at home again. All this was pretty cool, but then the last line of the story was that this will put us ahead of the conterfeiters for 100 years. Are they kidding? Who ever heard of a technology that, in 100 years, didn't become extremely outdated and cheap? I thought this was completely naive.

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