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:
- 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.
- 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.