Maths So Scary

Honestly, the guy had it coming. If you want to be able to fly in the US, you can’t be tempting fate by doing scary, scary math in plain view of another passenger.

Guido Menzio is currently an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Economics and has also worked at Princeton and Stanford. Last year, he won the 2015 Carlo Alberto Medal for Best Italian Economist Under 40. Unfortunately, the only thing his seatmate noticed about him was that he was brown with black curly hair and a foreign accent.

What was supposed to be a short flight from Philadelphia to Syracuse turned into an ordeal when the woman seated next to Menzio flagged down flight attendants to express her concern over Menzio writing unfamiliar markings into his notebook. After a long wait, the plane headed back to the gate and Menzio was asked to leave the plane.

The agent informed Menzio that he was suspected of terrorism, and began to look at his notebook. But he learned the unfamiliar markings “weren’t Arabic, or some other terrorist code. They were math.”

Paranoid, ignorant, racist people with a hero complex are going to exist no matter what. Allowing anything that comes out of their mouths to ground a flight for hours is a fucking problem.

What was that famous Benjamin Franklin quote again?

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

Whether or not this was the kind of thing the original quote was actually about matters little at this point. They are words I think every paranoid American who pretends to still love their Constitution needs to be reminded of.


  1. anat says

    And what if someone had been composing a love letter in Arabic? Effectively outlawing the public use of one of humanities major scripts isn’t cool either.

    Though I despise that Franklin quote, as you can’t have an organized society without some exchange of liberty for safety.

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    But what if Menzio had attempted to perform acts of binomialism in the seat next to her?

    Or to carry out conjunctive logic out where everybody could see?

    Would you want to be on a plane which anybody could define by using three points of their own choosing?

  3. Johnny Vector says

    Pierce R. Butler:

    Would you want to be on a plane which anybody could define by using three points of their own choosing?

    Not to mention you try to catch a few z’s and suddenly there’s residues all over the plane.

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