The mathematics of terrorism

Solving for x

Not to be outdone by those uppity economists, mathematicians are leading the latest assault against the terrorists.

Theoretically, Farley said, abstract math could help intelligence officers figure out the most efficient way to disable a terrorist network.

Say it’s cheaper or more practical to go after a terrorist cell’s “middle management” rather than its leadership. How many of those lieutenants would you have to remove in order to disrupt communication between the top dogs and the field operatives? Are there one or two key individuals whose capture would completely cut off the chain of command? [Wired]

The answer, of course, is 42 !

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