Casual ‘no math talk’ opine evolves into 32,000 tweets
From the CBC/Radio Canada program As It Happens, here’s the story behind the anti-math sign posted in the delicatessen:
Anna Haensch, who teaches at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, is doing research at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn. On June 14 she noticed this sign posted at Neon Deli: “Please Refrain From Discussing Mathematics While Waiting In Line.”
“Well, first I thought what on earth could have happened here to require the making of a sign to prohibit people from talking about mathematics? Immediately, you can imagine, there must have been some kind of a brawl over fibonacci numbers or calculus or something,” she told the radio show.
She snapped a photo and shared it with her followers on Twitter (@extremefriday).
Later she asked a Wesleyan professor, Dave Pollack, what was going on. He explained that the deli owner is friends with people from the math department. She names sandwiches after them. She even named a sandwich after him, Dave’s Tasty Turkey. One day, he and some math folks were in line to order and he got so engrossed in yakking about math he wouldn’t stop to order until prodded.
The people with him joked, “Please refrain from discussing,” etc., because they wanted to speed up the line (technically, it was a line segment).
The owner was there, overheard the remark, thought it was funny and posted the sign.
Haensch’s original tweet has garnered more than 94,000 likes, been retweeted more than 32,000 times and incorrectly ascribed to a Pittsburgh deli by … many, including UPI.com and the National Public Radio show Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me.
— Celia Storey