UCLA Students Came Close in 2009 Osama Prediction
Professor, class had the wrong city but the right idea
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2011 7:07 PM CDT
A 1998 photo of Osama bin Laden.   (AP Photo/Mazhar Ali Khan, File)

(Newser) – A UCLA geography professor and his class who tried to predict Osama bin Laden's whereabouts in 2009 don't get an A-plus, but easily a solid B. Professor Thomas Gillespie and crew determined that bin Laden would be within about 180 miles of Tora Bora and living in a city. (Newser had a summary when the prediction came out.) They settled on the Pakistani border town of Parachinar, but the correct city, Abbottabad, falls within their zone as well, reports Science.

The prediction defied the conventional wisdom of the time that bin Laden was hiding in a cave somewhere. “Caves are cold, and you can’t see people walking up to them,” says Gillespie, who applied geographical theories on how animal species adapt and survive. Bin Laden's big mistake? “An inconspicuous house would have suited him better.” Click for previous bin Laden stories.

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Showing 3 of 12 comments
May 3, 2011 9:17 PM CDT
Well actually Osama wanted to open a night club on his property called "Allah Be Praised" but the Pakistani Government put it's foot and said: "Listen Osama, calm down... we can't afford to lose you. We're getting billions from the infidels just by making it appear like we're trying to catch you."
May 3, 2011 8:31 PM CDT
Not only an inconspicuous house but with a yard full of trees so that helicopters could not land. He must have considered he was safe so need to plant trees.
May 3, 2011 7:39 PM CDT
This whole story on bin ladin is absolute, pure bullshit manipulation, spin by Oobamba as a reelection ploy. bin ladin died in 2002, from kidney failure. If anyone looks hard at this story, you can see all the holes in it. Any good police investigator, or prosecuting attorney could rip this to pieces in 10 minutes or less.You couldn't even take this to court in front of a judge& jury. How convienient that the" body" is in the ocean. Even the regular,ordinary criminal groups require proof from their hired killers that the job was done. I, too demand proof on this issue!