This is what I learned in 7th grade pre-algebra, and it stuck with me most days of my life.  Especially with what I do with computers, and databases, and problem solving.

At the very basic, let’s  just say we have a classroom of 20 people and we hear there’s a virus going around that only affects people with blond hair and blue eyes.  We want to quickly isolate them and treat them.


There is then a union, or an area where blue-eyed students intersect with blond-haired students.

This helps me when dealing a lot with databases and presenting data to the customer.  Show me HP650s (B) that are only in Philadelphia (A).  Voila!

Often my problems get a lot more complicated, which is why I have the picture at the top of the screen.  This sort of shows you the types of problems I can deal with on a daily basis.  I might have a problem where I need to patch all workstations (exclude servers) who have an old version of Flash, and only do  it on Windows 7.

Life’s challenges can also reveal themselves with this type of problem.  Let’s take Donald Trump’s statements about banning all Muslims from entering the United States, for example.  First, a Muslim is practicing a religion, not a race or something you can genetically test for.  So what is stopping someone from just saying, “I’m Christian and I live in Saudi Arabia”.

Using the “big” Venn diagram:


A = 1.2 billion muslims worldwide

B = men (much more likely to be soldiers/terrorist)

C = from an area of extremism like areas of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, etc and age 18-45.

D = Someone who has had contact with a suspected terrorist

E = Someone who has visited terror web pages or viewed terrorist videos

A union B union C union D union E (ABCDE) are therefore all muslims who are men, from bad areas, aged 18-45, who have had contact with suspected terrorists and have visited terror web pages OR viewed terrorist videos.  My previous post explained how to identify those people who have been to terrorist web pages or viewed terrorist videos, and phone metadata should be able to assist in determining who talked with who (unless they are throw aways paid for with cash).  Skype and other communications of that nature might be encrypted so you can’t view content, but the IP session connections are not encrypted.

The problem with Trump’s statement is…it CAN do the trick, possibly, if people don’t lie about their religion, but it’s sort of like dropping a  nuclear bomb on a city in order to get that pesky fly that’s been annoying you.

Yes, it is true that members of A are ALL members of ABCDE, but A = 1.2 billion people and ABCDE might equal 100,000 people who might try to come to this country from within the world.  Doing that math looks like it’s something along the lines of 8 bad guys amongst 10,000 people – so it’s not really fair to punish the other 9,992 people.  The pundits argue that when you do such things, it is more likely that some of the 9,992 people will then become radicalized.  Why?  They can’t get out of bad areas and they have a choice – die or join the warlords and fight.

That being said, the same can be true about people coming across our border:

A = total number of people (N=11,000,000)

B = number of bad people in the world (rough percentage of population)

C = number of murderers and rapists in the world

D/E etc you get the point.

So, what I heard trump say was we have NO idea what A is truly equal to, it could be 11,000,000 people it could be 30,000,000 people.  We also have no idea what B is equal to, but without any form of screening A we have no idea what ABCDE looks like.

Yes…preventing A coming into this country with a wall will significantly reduce ABCDE.  Also, removing A from this country will significantly reduce ABCDE.  The problem is, once again, that is it a nuclear bomb targeting a fly.

The “racist” part of this (which technically isn’t racist, as muslims can be any religion, and illegal immigrants coming from the Mexican border can come from any country), is that he’s identifying the set A as a solution to ABCDE when he should be focusing on ABCDE.

For example….

I want illegal immigrants deported.  This will help America.  This statement is loaded with both correct statements and incorrect statements.

Correct: This will ultimately reduce ABCDE in size and reduce our crime and strain to social services

Incorrect: 11,000,000 people buy groceries, gas, smokes, and other goods in this country and contribute to sales tax and even income tax in some cases.

A better statement would be:

A = number of illegal immigrants

B = criminals in this country

C = those using welfare more than 3 months

D = those not paying income taxes

E = law abiding, tax paying inhabitants

So…..what you would do is search and remove:


What you want to do is then try and get AE on some form of authorized stay so they are paying taxes.  AE will probably by 90-95% of A, so maybe Trump has to look for 500,000 rather than 11,000,000 people over 4 years, which is much more manageable and do-able.


Overall, candidates other than Trump have not even said we want to get rid of ABCDE on terrorism, or AB/AB/AD on immigration.  Trump is tapping into people’s want and desire to get bad people out of the country, he has just not mathematically articulated very well the exact groups he wants to target – which has caused problems with those people who remember set math and realize that unless he is a lot more specific,  he sounds like a moron.  Ultimately, if he wins, I feel he will surround himself with some really good talent that will help with these nuances.