DAY 201: The Trump Fact Breakthrough

January 29th, 2017 § 0 comments

An old friend of mind has called my attention to the amazing proof of mathematics’ toughest problem, the Riemann Hypothesis, by one Donald J. Trump using a startling new theory, which I have the honour to present to you. Known as the Alternative Facts or AF theory, it was first presented  by  White House representative Kellyanne Conway in an interview with NBC. You’re probably familiar with the tired arguments about the number of spectators at the Trump inauguration (a question of simple mathematics, you’d think if not that interesting). In the middle of one of these, Conway, who was being repeatedly questioned by NBC’s Chuck Todd about why Trump would ask “the White House press secretary to come out in front of the podium for the first time and utter a falsehood?” In reply, said Todd was being too extremist about the truth. ‘Don’t be so overly dramatic about it, Chuck. What you’re saying it’s a falsehood. And they’re giving Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that.’ Chuck insisted on the old-fashioned position: ‘Look, alternative facts are not facts. They’re falsehoods.’ (Slate in However, it looks as though whatever the more hidebound defenders of old-style facts may say, AF are here to
stay. And Trump’s breakthrough paper ‘‘ shows how powerful a tool they can be in pure mathematics as well as, of course, explaining US policy on torture etc. I recall that I claimed a week ago that the new president would be unable to change the value of pi. It seems I made a grave mistake; the paper just cited contains a theorem to the effect that circles have 11sides11 sides which clearly bears on the pi question.

I suppose we mathematicians now have to begin asking ourselves if we’re being extremist about the truth in an era which Susan Glasser has aptly described as ‘post-truth’. It (extremism) is supposed to be our job; and many’s the time I’ve failed a student for saying (for example) that nine squared was ‘eighty, more or less’. But as it says in verse 71 of Sura 3,

Screen Shot 2017-01-29 at 20.41.32

or, ‘O People, why do you confound truth with falsehood and knowingly conceal the truth?’ There’s a sort of general feeling, which has been around for a long time, that facts are facts and alternative facts aren’t. Not for the first time, we find the Prophet (pbuh) and the current President of the United States in disagreement – which may be why the POTUS is heading for a major conflict with Islam. He (Trump, not the Prophet) is, however, a spectacular figure; and if Bob Dylan can win a prize for literature, could Trump be awarded a Fields medal qua mathematician? I think I’ll stick to the law, which isn’t so much about facts as about interpretations and precedents and such.


Here’s a letter from Chios passed on by Izzy Tomico Ellis:

‘Dear Europe,

My name is Abdo and my wife and three children have lived in Souda camp in Chios for over four months.

When we arrived to the island we tested positive for tuberculosis; my children are aged two, four and six. We were first put into hospital and then to a hotel where we were told we would be transferred to mainland Greece; there I have family who can take care of us.

Yet, four months later we are still here. I no longer want to take the medication and I have given up hope on Europe and the dreams I had of a new start for me and my family.

Our life in Syria was good, I had a business and a large, lovely home. We didn’t come here for a holiday – we came because there was no other choice. We lost everything.

My children are getting sicker everyday, my daughter is lying in a makeshift tent with a high fever crying. The doctors don’t even have the correct notes for my family and the UN only talk about us in their meetings – they send us to the hospital to pick up reports they know we don’t have the authority to collect.

ISIS killed us quickly, the UN is killing us slowly; what is the difference between them?

Where is the humanity? The UN is supposed to take care of us and they leave us here, making false promises everyday. We have been abandoned. You share videos and pictures from Aleppo expressing your solidarity and your shock but we are people from Aleppo and we are here. We are suffering and you ignore us, the ones you can help.

I am being driven crazy, I am a good man and I know the implications of myself and my family not taking the medication but we have had all of our rights taken away, not by Syria as your media present but by Europe. Do you want us to go crazy so we go away, back to Syria and you can express your guilt from afar?

I hope not but I write this letter to everyone who wants to listen and know the truth. If we are forced back to Syria maybe it’ll be the pictures of my


children you share in your press and on your social media – yet you had the chance to help us.



Has anyone any suggestions about how to help?

Truth poem

This poem is about truth, and about my own life, and about justice, and it has something to do with refugees:

How long shall we try to convince her to see the truth?
How long would she pretend, when the truth sits in-between her 
breast cursed?
Deception and lies she fed her children but she hypocritically 
crave for peace in the midst of injustice
She is an adulterous who slept with corruption, tribalism, 
nepotism and soiled her white garment on the day of marriage to truth 
At the dawn of her great tribulation, she clandestinely 
assembled all her bravest children i.e. Nkrumah, Haile 
Selassie, Lumumba, Kenyatta and lied to them about how 
corruption, tribalism and nepotism of the white man raped her of her virginity
They started an uprising with burning flame of emancipation in 
their hearts because they were willing to shed their blood for 
the pride of their deceptive mother i.e. Africa
I felt thunderous roars from Cairo to Soweto that broke the 
cord between mastery and slavery
The awaken of a lost history
Restoration of a broken dynasty
The nations ruled on the moral fiber of love and unity
Their own hailed them but their own also murdered their dreams 
because they stood for something that was more powerful than 
blood diamonds, oils, and dictatorship i.e. the truth and serving humanity
Wipe away your tears for there is no reason to love and fight 
for Africa; when tyrants like Mugabe, Al-Bashir, Museveni, 
Biya, Eduardo Dos Santos, Obiang Nguema are stealing and oppressing 
their own 
Oh! No truth for her
No truth for Africa



I haven’t publicized, as I should, the Oxford Maqam who are playing a gig at King’s Place on Friday – and you may be unable to get a ticket given the huge popularity of this music. In case not, here’s a sample. (It comes with surrounding blurb about the concert, which I was unable to disconnect.)


Leave a Reply

What's this?

You are currently reading DAY 201: The Trump Fact Breakthrough at Luke Hodgkin.