Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Writers try to do the math

Unable to reach agreement on a new contract, the Writers Guild of America (WGA), which represents film and TV writers, struck the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).

One WGA member, George Hickenlooper, wrote, “entertainment industry executives and studios are raking in exponential profits every year and hiding much of those profits through creative accounting and fuzzy math.” George also wrote that writers deserve residuals from Internet distribution of their shows. Fair enough. But wait a minute George, what’s an exponential profit? And how can the industry make that every year?

In math, exponential growth occurs according to the formula N zero times e to the lambda t, where t is time and lambda and N zero are constants. Exponential growth is measured over time, a continuous variable. Making an exponential growth in one year doesn’t make any sense – that’s fuzzy math.

I’m sure Mr. Hickenlooper the writer knows this, but what does get people’s attention is obscenity, not exponents. Maybe next time if he writes about obscene profits writers might get what they want.

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