Even Mathematicians are Terrorists now

There was this incredible story on the BBC news site.  Apparently a flight was delayed as a passenger reported the person sat next to them as “suspicious”.  The suspicious activity?  The guy was working out some differential equations – he was an economics professor.

What really is quite ridiculous and worrying is that the flight was held on the ground and they asked the guy what he was up to.  Have we really got to the point where anyone we don’t understand is a potential terror threat?  I despair.  I haven’t flown regularly in a long time but used to fly regularly transatlantic in my old job.  Often being stuck next to someone who you’d never meet in real life for several hours was really interesting.  I had some interesting conversations with people about their lives and mine in that odd environment.  The only one who failed to give me much of a conversation was the guy who did actually admit to me on one AA flight from London to NYC that he was the Air Marshall on that flight.  I thought it best to leave him to his job!

But to return to my despair.  I watch campaign after campaign in the UK and elsewhere driven by the politics of fear of the different.  I hear about building walls, securing borders, “they support them”, “he doesn’t support us”… blah blah bloody blah.  Did we ever have campaigns where people said “If you elect me I’ll do this and that because I think for us all that is best”.  Now we get “Vote for him and he’ll let all them in” or “If you vote for me I’ll stop them”…   who are these us and them?  We’re all just human beings living on a planet that if you watch every other species there is little care about stupid artificial human lines of demarcation.  If a bird flies from England to Africa and back… it does it and respects those it share it’s nesting grounds with.  All living things need other living things to continue in the chain – that is simply biology.  We seem to have forgotten it in an orgy or elitism and protectionism.

The last postscript to this is I posted the story on Facebook.  Here is the edited conversation my son and his girlfriend had on it…

Son of Furtheron Those are Maxwell’s equations…

Son of Furtheron’s Girlfriend In cgs units though, I’d probably have arrested him too

Son of Furtheron  in Ampere’s law and then Faraday’s uses electric field… I don’t think these equations actually fully close the system…

Son of Furtheron’s Girlfriend “I can’t fly with this man, he’s mixing up the macroscopic and microscopic case. I don’t trust him.”

Physicists!! – they are validating the maths on the stock BBC image for crying out loud!


About furtheron

Music and guitar obsessive who is a recovering alcoholic to boot
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8 Responses to Even Mathematicians are Terrorists now

  1. Lily says:

    Hahaha! The conversation between your son and his girlfriend made me laugh out loud.
    Well said Graham.

  2. JJ says:

    Ignorance is more than just a word. Sigh

  3. That conversation is gold. You want to sit and spend time with these people.

    There will be a backlash to all the hatred. It’s coming.

  4. elsieamata says:

    I think fear of the unknown after all that happened on 9/11 and since then is what’s driving people’s reactions.

    • furtheron says:

      I appreciate why Elsie people are concerned I was in nyc on 9/11 and yards from the ira stock exchange bomb in the 80s. However to delay a flight since some one is doing maths is surely a disproportionate response. Isn’t it?

  5. Liz Hinds says:

    It’s ridiculous. How crazy and suspicious are some people.

  6. looby says:

    No, they were right! It’s the new terrorist organisation known as Al-Gebra.


    Your son and girlfriend’s conversation sounds great. What a lovely nerdily close life they’re set for 🙂

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