Mathematics of a Serial Killer

Someone sent me a link to this story about a mathematical model of a particular serial killer’s behavior. Two things struck me about it:

  1. How much it sounded like the kind of bizarre model you’d see on Charline on Numb3rs come up with in order to crack the case.
  2. That Cosma Shalizi would hate the model, since it’s the kind of a casual use of power laws he regularly criticizes. And here’s his analysis of the paper. He points out that, as in many other cases, a lognormal distribution provides a better fit.

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