University Ecosystem Research Predicted Area of bin Laden Location -- in 2009

May 9 2011

The word "repurposing" usually is used in the context of Content. You know, print-to-online or TV-to-YouTube. But what about repurposing technology? That is, using technologies developed for one application for a different application. I'm sure you can recite numerous instances of repurposed technologies, especially spinoffs derived from defense or space programs.

Personally, though, I don't think it's done enough. Check out Geographers Had Predicted Osama's Possible Whereabouts.

Methinks the ecosystem geographers who created a probability model for Osama bin Laden's likely hideout deserve a pat on the back. Based on their study of endangered animals, their logic was reasonable: "a region with a low extinction rate" (a city rather than a small town, as catastrophic events have less of an impact on species on large islands than small ones)  So was pinpointing the likely dwelling category: a building rather than a cave (caves are cold, dark, damp and not usually Internet-friendly). (NOTE: I don't know the researchers and have no relationship with the study or the university)

Consider the terabytes (or more) of data that must have been accumulated in the ten years since bin Laden's  last known location (in 2001), including remote sensing (satellite) systems, possibly dwarfing that of the Human Genome Project. Kinda like searching for a nano-sized needle in a 100-mile-high haystack. Now consider the logic of the researchers. Is this a question of not seeing the forest for the trees? Or is it the workings of the dreaded NIH (not invented here) syndrome, seen in communities (scientific or otherwise) everywhere?

Category: Now You Know
Filed under: Software/IT