Students Guessed Bin Laden’s Whereabouts

by Brian Bolduc

All that book larnin’ might have come in handy after all. Political Wire reports:

A UCLA geography class predicted in 2009 that there was an 88.9% chance that Osama bin Laden was hiding out in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where he was killed on Sunday, Science Insider reports.

“Based on information from satellites and other remote sensing systems, and reports on his movements since his last known location, the students created a probabilistic model of where he was likely to be. Their prediction of a town was based on a geographical theory called ‘island biogeography’: basically, that a species on a large island is much less likely to go extinct following a catastrophic event than a species on a small one.”

UPDATE: Our commenters, in open rebellion, are highlighting this sentence from the article:

According to a probabilistic model they created, there was an 88.9% chance that bin Laden was hiding out in a city less than 300 km from his last known location in Tora Bora: a region that included Abbottabad, Pakistan, where he was killed last night.

Yes, 300 kilometers seems like a lot of wiggle room. But that’s roughly 186 miles — about the distance between New York, N.Y. and Boston, Mass.

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