Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sin Sick

List member Lavonne T. says you folks may want to know more about my new job within the Postal Service. It's easy to envision what I used to do, which was work the counter line at the retail window, basically selling stamps and mailing boxes (oh, so much more, but that's all behind me).

I now work for the Statistical Programs Unit as a "Data Collection Technician." My job is to take random samplings of the mailstream (what's in it, how much was paid for it, what does it look like, etc.), random samplings of what random employees are doing each day, and random samplings of how the mail is transported and how much space is being used up on that transport vehicle.

My daughter would love this job. She's totally into the word "random."

Anyway, when combined with random samplings from our other 35,000 locations across the country, it generates a big data picture of our business costs ... and ultimately leads to figuring out how much we need to charge for stamps and other mailing fees. I'll be doing a lot of driving all over the "thumb" area of Michigan, collecting data from nearly 60 post offices, once I'm fully trained. For the moment, I'm trying to climb a steep learning curve, but I'm already enjoying the challenge.

And speaking of generating big picture data, the Geography Department at Kansas State University has used what they call a "precision party trick - rigorous mapping of ridiculous data" to create a national map of where the Seven Deadly Sins lurk.


My seven-year-old daughter, Jessica, is a deep thinker when it comes to theological questions. Recently we discussed why bad things happen sometimes, re-reading the story of Adam and Eve and how sin came into the world.

Later that week, Jessica was ill and had to stay home from school. Feeling miserable, she told me: "If only Adam and Eve hadn't eaten the fruit, I wouldn't be sick."

Before I could address this complaint, she added, "Of course, if they didn't eat it, we'd be sitting here naked."

["Kids of the Kingdom" in Today's Christian magazine via Your Weekly Church Laughs]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "Sin is not hurtful because it is forbidden, but it is forbidden because it is hurtful." (Benjamin Franklin)


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