Thursday, September 23, 2004

Interesting Theory

Belmont Club has an intriguing theory about the size of terrorist groups and Dunbar's Number.

It reminds me of a guy I tutored once, way before 9/11. He was an ex-Special Ops guy who had gone back to school. When he walked into my office he saw that I had a Sierpinski square on my wall, and he commented that it was configured just like a terrorist network: each cell reports to its leader, but doesn't know any of the other cells. The leaders report to their leader, but they don't know any of the other leaders or cell members outside their own cell.

Taking both these insights into account, I'm guessing that terrorist networks have a fractal dimension of approximately 1.5, which would make it about the same as the digits of pi or random uncorrelated noise.