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Osama Location Study

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-13275104

Happily he points out that their first choice wasn't the actual location. What is not mentioned is how many choices were considered and what the breadth of statistics on the other locations might be. Post Hoc cherry picking.

What other similar studies were done?

How many?

How to discern the right answer?

Re: Osama Location Study

There was a follow-up to this story by NPR (which I think is US public service radio), who actually interviewed Gillespie about what he thought about the claims of various news outlets that his study had predicted the Abbottabad location at some impressive probability level.

link

He admitted he'd never heard of Abbottabad and he had personally believed that Bin Laden was in a different location to the one that was picked in the study and the one where he was eventually found, his guess was that he was in an area called Baluchistan.

So it looks like the original story about the success of the study is hyped, probably because of its connection with environmentalism (the study used a technique developed to track endangered species) and the fact that there are plenty of Green-leaning science writers around.