Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"Exponentially Better"

Dear residents in my little area of the country,

I keep hearing you use the word exponential in reference to a drastic change from one examined point in time to another.  For example, "I slept exponentially better last night than I did the night before."  Or, "My coffee tastes exponentially worse at this Starbucks as opposed to the one on Main Street."

I usually just smile and nod.  As if I understand what you're saying.

But, I really don't.

How do you know the change is exponential when you're only comparing two points?  How do you know it's not linear, perhaps with a steep slope?

To illustrate my point, let's say on Day 1 you rate your sleep as a 2.  On day 2, you rate your sleep as a 4. (I have no idea what these numbers indicate, but you must be able to rate your sleep on some kind of scale if you can make a statement like the aforementioned one.)  Well, then, maybe your sleep pattern, indeed, is following an exponential trend line:

An exponential function:  y=2^x

Or...you could have trend lines such as:

A linear function:  y=2x


A quadratic function:  y=(2/3)x^2+(4/3)
A logarithmic function:  y=2+2.88539ln(x)

And these only represent a few of the possibilities.

So, residents of the great Midwest:  I urge you--be more creative in your comparisons.  Don't assume you need to use the phrase "exponentially better."  Nay.  Why not try something like, "quadratically better," or "logarithmically better"?

Sincerely,

The Picky One

7 comments:

  1. This is also one of my pet peeves. On a few occasions I've tried to explain that the word "exponential" only makes sense when used to describe a rate of change, but this inevitably leads to me being called a pedant and "besides, everyone knows what I mean." (Actually no, they don't.)

    ReplyDelete
  2. in the life of a high school math student, anything increasing and concave up is "exponential"

    ReplyDelete
  3. I remember when I was in college, right after I do my math homework, I make it a point that I read some quotes about sleep to relax my mind before I go to sleep.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hy.... Very great and informative blog post here. I will share your post with others. Thanks for sharing with us. Keep sharing more interesting things with us. Go on http://bliss-hosting-co for the best hosting in all over the world

    ReplyDelete
  5. I recollect when I was in school, directly after I do my math homework, anything expanding and curved up is "exponential". Generic Viagra http://www.safeformens.com/viagra_generic.html

    ReplyDelete
  6. I remember when I was in college, right after I do my science homework I used to play cricket , please visit my blog on kamagra http://www.kamagramart.org/

    ReplyDelete

Tell me what you think!