Arithmetic Geometry is a field on the frontiers of mathematics.




Rudyard Kipling is a favorite poet and author of mine.  I see Kipling’s intelligent work as a cross between J.K. Rowling and Winston Churchill, if such a blend is possible.  The famous line “The odds are on the cheaper man” in his poem Arithmetic on the Frontier is timeless and speaks directly to the asymmetric warfare we are currently engaged in.


Arithmetic on the Frontier

Rudyard Kipling


A great and glorious thing it is

  To learn, for seven years or so,

The Lord knows what of that and this,

  Ere reckoned fit to face the foe --

The flying bullet down the Pass,

That whistles clear: "All flesh is grass."


Three hundred pounds per annum spent

  On making brain and body meeter

For all the murderous intent

  Comprised in "villanous saltpetre!"

And after -- ask the Yusufzaies

What comes of all our 'ologies.


A scrimmage in a Border Station --

  A canter down some dark defile --

Two thousand pounds of education

  Drops to a ten-rupee jezail --

The Crammer's boast, the Squadron's pride,

Shot like a rabbit in a ride!


No proposition Euclid wrote,

  No formulae the text-books know,

Will turn the bullet from your coat,

  Or ward the tulwar's downward blow

Strike hard who cares -- shoot straight who can --

The odds are on the cheaper man.


One sword-knot stolen from the camp

  Will pay for all the school expenses

Of any Kurrum Valley scamp

  Who knows no word of moods and tenses,

But, being blessed with perfect sight,

Picks off our messmates left and right.


With home-bred hordes the hillsides teem,

  The troopships bring us one by one,

At vast expense of time and steam,

  To slay Afridis where they run.

The "captives of our bow and spear"

Are cheap, alas! as we are dear.