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UPenn prof's economics equations spark terrorism scare on plane

Professor reported as a potential terrorist after passenger on American Airlines flight sees him writing mathematical equations in a notepad.

GuidoMenzio in an undated faculty photo

Courtesy of UPenn

Do you trust this economics professor?

Apparently the slightly disheveled, mop-topped and bespectacled countenance of a University of Pennsylvania professor was just too much for a fellow passenger aboard a flight leaving Philadelphia last week, because she wound up reporting him for potential terrorist activities.

Guido Menzio, an economics professor at UPenn since 2005, wrote on Facebook that after his flight to Syracuse was returned from the runway to the loading gate, he was taken to be questioned by what he describedas an "FBIlooking man-in-black" over the mathematics equations he was scribbling in a notebook.

"They ask me about my neighbor," Menzio wrote, referring to the woman beside him. "I tell them I noticed nothing strange. They tell me she thought I was a terrorist because I was writing strange things on a pad of paper. I laugh. I bring them back to the plane. I showed them my math."

The now-deleted Facebook post was preserved on various blogs including BoingBoing .

Unbelievable…

"It’s a bit funny. It’s a bit worrisome,"Renzioreflected on the incident."The lady just looked at me, looked at my writing of mysterious formulae, and concluded I was up to no good. Because of that an entire flight was delayed by 1.5 hours."

The Thursday evening flight from Philly to Syracuse was delayed after a female passenger asked to leave the plane dueto illness, then told the flight crew she was actually concerned by herseatmate'sbehavior, an American Airlines spokesman toldPhilly.com.

Menzio, an Italian native whosefaculty pagecalls him a"theoreticalmacroeconomist," laid the blame for the incident on the culture of GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump.

"Trump’s America is already here," he wrote. "It’s not yet in power though. Personally, I will fight back."

The flight later took off without incident.

 

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