Nine to Noon Peter Hughes and the exponential function

I only heard part of the interview, but it was a frustrating mix. Here was a fellow – one Peter Hughes from Auckland University – explaining the lack of grasp of the average Joe Blow, of compound interest. So far so good. He mentioned 10% inflation, and 7-year doubling time – so far so better.

Then, he lost clarity in the explanation – chop, change and back-track, a lectorial no-no. You might, just might, get away with it, with an in-tune audience of students, but I (and I love this stuff) was having trouble with his explanation. Bother, said Pooh.

The interviewer was just what the problem is: Middle class western, accepting but not conceptualising of the very thing that is overtaking them like a tidal-wave – and not getting it with an expert in it chair. So sad, so frustrating.

If she had real conceptual cranial agility, she’d have asked the question – how does exponential increase apply to population? And the follow-up – how do we address that?  Not a flicker, of course…..

In hindsight, she should have interviewed Albert Batlett, clearer, more concise, and oh-so-droll with it..


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