Date: Jun 27, 2011 9:11 AM
Author: Alice Justice
Subject: Mathematics of Terrorism
I am new to this so please excuse me if I don't post correctly. I read an interesting article about a Colombian Ph.D. student who was gathering data on attacks and death tolls so he could look for patterns in the conflict. He started by using the war between the government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. The researcher realized that there may be important hidden information in the number of people killed. A team of researchers were formed and started keeping a database of more than 20,000 separate incidents from two and half decades of FARC attacks. When the researchers plotted the number of attacks along the y axis and people killed along the x axis, the result was a line that went down and then leveled off. According to the researchers this was a classic power curve as used in mathematics. They looked at another war, the US and Iraq and found the same power curve almost identical to the other war.