UCLA Thinks Their Faculty Could Have Helped Expedite the Hunt for Osama bin Laden. They're Wrong.

Those Angeleno academics over at UCLA (along with a few others) were smug enough to suggest on Twitter that some tracking algorithm to come from the halls of Westwood in 2009, could have sped up the hunt for Osama.

According to Science Insider a group of UCLA geography professor submitted a paper in 2009, explaining that he and his undergraduate class were 88.9% certain bin Laden was within 300 kilometers of Tora Bora. As it turned out, Osama was, in fact, within 300 kilometers of Tora Bora.

Hey look, not bad for a class project! But as it also turns out, the final locale they predicted he was in, Parachinar, was nearly 500 kilometers away from Abbotabad. Not so close!

In the end, they zeroed in on a Pakistani border town called Parachinar which has, among other things, access to medical care. Then they predicted the exact building he would be in by making assumptions as to the characteristics of the building itself, such as high enough ceilings to accommodate bin Laden's 6'4" frame, a fence, privacy, and electricity.


What I'm trying to say is I'm not gonna start crapping my pants and smearing it all over this post until some professor says they predicted his locale within a kilometer and pegged the probability at 99%. (I hold out hope that one of the Anteater-loving professors at my alma mater UC Irvine has done this and is too timid to point it out. Mostly just so I can smear shit all over this post.) [Science Insider via UCLA]

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Walter Glenn

On a news report today, a reporter was interviewing some of the neighbors of the compound where they found Bin Laden. She talked to some kids who were playing nearby. They told her that the place was kind of creepy. When they hit balls over the wall into the compound, they never got the balls back.

For some reason, that totally cracked me up.