The curly-haired man tried to keep to himself, intently if inscrutably scribbling on a notepad he’d brought aboard. His seatmate, a blond-haired, 30-something woman sporting flip-flops and a red tote bag, looked him over.

…That Something she’d seen had been her seatmate’s cryptic notes, scrawled in a script she didn’t recognize. Maybe it was code, or some foreign lettering, possibly the details of a plot to destroy the dozens of innocent lives aboard American Airlines Flight 3950.

…The curly-haired man was, the agent informed him politely, suspected of terrorism.

The curly-haired man laughed.

He laughed because those scribbles weren’t Arabic, or some other terrorist code. They were math.

Yes,

math.A differential equation, to be exact.

Oh FFS.

Had the crew or security members perhaps quickly googled this good-natured, bespectacled passenger before waylaying everyone for several hours, they might have learned that he — Guido Menzio — is a young but decorated Ivy League economist. And that he’s best known for his relatively technical work on search theory, which helped earn him a professorship at the University of Pennsylvania and stints at Princeton and Stanford’s Hoover Institution.

They might even have discovered that last year he was awarded the Carlo Alberto Medal, given to the best Italian economist under 40. That’s right: He’s Italian, not Middle Eastern, or whatever heritage usually gets racially profiled on flights these days.

…Menzio showed the authorities his calculations and was allowed to return to his seat, he told me by email. He said the pilot seemed embarrassed. Soon after, the flight finally took off, more than two hours after its scheduled departure time for what would be just a 41-minute trip in the air, according to flight-tracking data.

The woman never reboarded to the flight, Menzio said. No one told him, though, whether she was barred from returning or stayed away voluntarily, out of embarrassment or continued fear of the “dangerous wizardry” his mathematical notations resembled.

Full story. Hat tip to @zeynep.

Admittedly, even I find a paper called The (Q;S;s) Pricing Rule terrifying.

Here is our nefarious scribbler:

@cblatts well, it at least merits a trigger warning

RT @cblatts: A warning to math friends: doing differential equations on a plane is now an act of terror https://t.co/Ti1NcmeRrX

A warning to my mathematical friends: doing differential equations on a plane is now an act of terror https://t.co/O9YFx4OMAW

RT @cblatts: A warning to math friends: doing differential equations on a plane is now an act of terror https://t.co/Ti1NcmeRrX

RT @cblatts: A warning to math friends: doing differential equations on a plane is now an act of terror https://t.co/Ti1NcmeRrX

RT @nonso2: A warning to my mathematical friends: doing differential equations on a plane is now an act of terror https://t.co/O9YFx4OMAW

“Health and safety gone mad,” as our British friends would say.

@cblatts it’s believable!

@cblatts this is ridiculous. Not sure if I should laugh or get upset.

“A warning to my mathematical friends: doing differential equations on a plane is now an act of terror” https://t.co/DalgqN6bEX

@cblatts doing differential equations in a classroom is certainly terrorizing…at least it was when I was a student!

@cblatts is it ok if you do it in one or three dimensions? Bessel functions must be intimidating.

A warning to my mathematical friends: doing differential equations on a plane is now an act of terror https://t.co/ENgD5ZLQiF

A warning to my mathematical friends: doing differential equations on a plane is now an act of terror: The cu… https://t.co/ksnP6xJkWe

RT @firoozye: A warning to my mathematical friends: doing differential equations on a plane is now an act of terror https://t.co/dG8ORS45XA

RT @firoozye: A warning to my mathematical friends: doing differential equations on a plane is now an act of terror https://t.co/dG8ORS45XA

RT @firoozye: A warning to my mathematical friends: doing differential equations on a plane is now an act of terror https://t.co/dG8ORS45XA

Weapons of math destruction https://t.co/tdDzdvqODA ht @cblatts

RT @JeffBloem: Weapons of math destruction https://t.co/tdDzdvqODA ht @cblatts

RT @JeffBloem: Weapons of math destruction https://t.co/tdDzdvqODA ht @cblatts

RT @JeffBloem: Weapons of math destruction https://t.co/tdDzdvqODA ht @cblatts

RT @JeffBloem: Weapons of math destruction https://t.co/tdDzdvqODA ht @cblatts

RT @JeffBloem: Weapons of math destruction https://t.co/tdDzdvqODA ht @cblatts

RT @JeffBloem: Weapons of math destruction https://t.co/tdDzdvqODA ht @cblatts

@JeffBloem @HiddenBrain @cblatts Just saw this from 2003 https://t.co/07VZi6v3Yb

RT @JeffBloem: Weapons of math destruction https://t.co/tdDzdvqODA ht @cblatts

RT @JeffBloem: Weapons of math destruction https://t.co/tdDzdvqODA ht @cblatts

RT @JeffBloem: Weapons of math destruction https://t.co/tdDzdvqODA ht @cblatts

RT @JeffBloem: Weapons of math destruction https://t.co/tdDzdvqODA ht @cblatts

RT @JeffBloem: Weapons of math destruction https://t.co/tdDzdvqODA ht @cblatts

Differential equations: don’t take them out in public https://t.co/pF7OQfGePA

RT @JeffBloem: Weapons of math destruction https://t.co/tdDzdvqODA ht @cblatts

RT @JeffBloem: Weapons of math destruction https://t.co/tdDzdvqODA ht @cblatts

RT @JeffBloem: Weapons of math destruction https://t.co/tdDzdvqODA ht @cblatts

https://t.co/psiYo7o9Po ffs. be careful if you have olive skin & curly hair on a plane- doing math might make people think u r a terrorist.

A warning to my mathematical friends: doing differential equations on a plane is now an act of terror https://t.co/ChhDCejNEK

RT @JeffBloem: Weapons of math destruction https://t.co/tdDzdvqODA ht @cblatts

RT @JeffBloem: Weapons of math destruction https://t.co/tdDzdvqODA ht @cblatts

RT @JeffBloem: Weapons of math destruction https://t.co/tdDzdvqODA ht @cblatts

RT @JeffBloem: Weapons of math destruction https://t.co/tdDzdvqODA ht @cblatts

RT @JeffBloem: Weapons of math destruction https://t.co/tdDzdvqODA ht @cblatts

Nagsolve ng Differential Equation, pnaghinalaan agad na terorista. https://t.co/Cyu2wC6BGP

“Arabic, or some other terrorist code.”

Disappointing that you’d propagate such nonsense.

Time to leave this planet.. https://t.co/XooYBU9YiD

RT @JeffBloem: Weapons of math destruction https://t.co/tdDzdvqODA ht @cblatts

RT @JeffBloem: Weapons of math destruction https://t.co/tdDzdvqODA ht @cblatts

Still ridiculous how this continues to happens: https://t.co/k4XxsxH2S3

When you get removed from a plane for doing math b/c the passenger beside u thought it was terrorist Arabic writing. https://t.co/fXkLbt4u8x

RT @JeffBloem: Weapons of math destruction https://t.co/tdDzdvqODA ht @cblatts

Deek, it’s a direct quote from a news article, not cblatts.

@WardQNormal @ostentenacity Just remember that doing them on a plane might result in you being seen as a terrorist…https://t.co/PGDEAvHU4V

RT @JeffBloem: Weapons of math destruction https://t.co/tdDzdvqODA ht @cblatts

RT @JeffBloem: Weapons of math destruction https://t.co/tdDzdvqODA ht @cblatts

RT @JeffBloem: Weapons of math destruction https://t.co/tdDzdvqODA ht @cblatts

A warning to my mathematical friends: doing differential equations on a plane is now an act of… https://t.co/HNzzsx5dhl

“A warning to my mathematical friends: doing differential equations on a plane is now an act of terror” https://t.co/GxSPsl4b9R #finance

We still believe differential equations are not a terrorist tool and encourage you to visit our site http://www.simiode.org to join a community (dare I say, revolution) of colleagues who want to use modeling (yes, in economics, even!) to teach and motivate the learning of differential equations.

Fairly straightforward paper (Q,s). Chris your math skills must either be non-existent or atrophying at a rapid rate.

Did your maths refresher at a Public Policy School no doubt, eh?

haha.. in that case, this site https://www.studypug.com/calculus-help/differential-equations/introduction-to-differential-equations is full of scary differential equation matters. only watch it with a flashlight!

The woman never reboarded to the flight, Menzio said. No one told him, though, whether she was barred from returning or stayed away voluntarily, out of embarrassment or continued fear of the “dangerous wizardry” his mathematical notations resembled.

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