I am not sure what is more disturbing: the ease with which irrational passengers can get other people thrown off flights or the dismal state of math in the United States that calculations are now unrecognizable to many passengers. University of Pennsylvania economics professor Guido Menzio, an award winning mathematician, was asked to leave a flight from Philadelphia to Syracuse because a woman sitting next to him panicked at the sight of his scribbling some strange code on papers. It turns out Menzio was trying to solve a differential equation. Ironically, the very fact that he was using a plus sign in his equations showed that he was not an Islamic extremist.
Menzio was on his way to Ontario, Canada and was engrossed in the equation. The woman next to him said that she was concerned that he was not talkative and gave a note to the flight attendant that she was not feeling well. She later told the flight attendant that she was fearful of Menzio who was then escorted off the flight.
Menzio was clueless about the reason and thought that they were asking about the woman, who he described as a bit odd. Then it became clear that they were really interested in him. Menzio showed the police that this is called mathematics.
We have previously discussed the ease with which people are removed from flights, including when they are Muslim. The standards appear entirely undefined and inconsistent.
The 41-minute flight took off more than two hours after its scheduled departure. The woman apparently did not rejoin the flight.
It is not clear why at least one person could not easily recognize math and the obvious fact that this was a ridiculous overreaction.
Of course, mathematician E.T. Bell once warned “Obvious is the most dangerous word in mathematics.”
31 thoughts on “Penn Professor Thrown Off Plane After Woman Sees Him Doing Strange Notations . . . That Turn Out To Be Math Calculations”
Got him kicked of the plane. ? At least he wasn”t taking off a skirt in the ladies shower and showing his pecker.then we’d have to toss the victims in jail. That lady offended by his math ought to count her bkessings.
You win the comments competition. That was my favorite comment of the day. 🙂 I want the link so I can share it!
And yes, I completely agree that this could have been sorted out quickly. I don’t know what her complaint actually said. And I wondered why the attendant didn’t look into it right there, unless they have some protocol where they can’t ask a single question on plane.
I agree with randyjet that the captain should be allowed to be in the loop and make a judgement call. After all, since his life is on the line, I would think he or she would take the decision seriously whether it needed to be escalated to security. And great, now I have Sky Nazis stuck in my head.
Speaking of pilots, I’ve been thinking about that pilot who saved Prince when he was allegedly ODing. Reports claimed he rocketed that plane out of the sky and onto the closest runway, where they gave him a save shot right on the tarmac. He tried so hard to save Prince, but his own people screwed it all up by checking him out of the hospital. All that effort and emergency flying measures for naught.
Corporate does its part in propagandizing and scaring the public into believing that inside jobs such as OKC, WTC bombing, 9/11 etc. were all the work of evildoers such as the Bush family’s friends and business associates- the bin Ladens, and never mind about what the real purposes of these staged events are designed
to accomplish i.e. new wars, profiteering, disarming the population, and instilling confidence in The System – which will help THEM stay in power longer, longer. Have some TODAY. In new, easy-to-swallow propaganda.
Jump like a fish, swim like a porpoise, all join hands in a habeas corpus.
I checked and found out it was American Airlines which took over the ops from US Airways on that run. Not too surprising about AA since they are not my favorite airline for many reasons. We used to call them the Sky Nazis, and American Eagle, the Hitler Youth.
I had a rule for my flight crew which was to always ASK the captain if there is a problem with the plane or a pax. I was fortunate in that they did that and I managed to put in many years flying without ever making the news. In this case, I wonder if the captain had been notified at all since I think that most of us would have resolved this without recourse to the TSA or any other security people. Most pilots would have known what the guy was doing, and dismissed the woman’s concern with an explanation to her. I have found once you get so called security folks involved, they are among the least educated and least intelligent people, and the results tend to follow bureaucratic precedents of CYA. Thus the problem of the delay and they took an unnecessary length of time to figure out what was going on. The airline was not mentioned and I would be interested in finding out which one it was.
Was he or was he not using ARABIC numerals? I rest my case. Why isn’t this man being transfered to Gitmo?
Let this be a lesson to never pay attention to a stupid bitch
Thank you, RosieS. That was precisely what I was going to reply to Mr. Schutte.
Mr. Schutte – You are obviously taking my views out of context. If the alarmist passenger or passengers did indeed identify someone burning his underpants to set off a bomb, that would indeed be a legitimate reason to deplane that passenger.
I am speaking of a situation in which a passenger is “uncomfortable” with a fellow passenger, usually of a swarthy complexion and reading, writing, or speaking in a foreign language. It’s that whiner who needs to be escorted off the plane if he or she doesn’t promptly shut up after being told that an inspection has been duly completed and the accused fellow passenger has been cleared. One would indeed think that the complainant would be relieved to be given the chance to deplane.
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