Thursday, January 24, 2008

Applied math

We all know that there's a strong stereotype regarding the mail service. No, not that it is work that will slowly drive the people doing it beyond the brink of insanity. And no, we're not even thinking about that old motto about inclement weather being nothing to them (but don't mention a federal holiday in their presence, or you'll see them disappear faster than the Edsel).

Nope, the stereotype that we're looking at is the overall speed of the postal service. After all, even before the advent of email and text messaging, people complained about how slow postal mail was.

Well, leave it to a Polish IT worker to take the time to prove that even snails can travel faster. In an experiment, he calculated the average speed per hour of the letter, and then did the same for a typical garden snail. After all the math was done, he was left with the sad conclusion that the snail outpaced the letter, clocking in at .048 km/hr, compared to the letter's speed of .03775 km/hr.

That's right, folks. Scientific (okay, mathematical) proof that snails are faster than letters, by over a centimeter per hour. That certainly explains why the last time we saw a snail riding on an envelope, it bore a slight, "Are we there yet?" expression.

Snail mail, indeed.

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