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Nature cover story December 23, 2009

Posted by dissident93 in Iraq mortality.
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A research paper by Neil Johnson, Michael Spagat, et al, provides the cover story for the latest issue of Nature. The blurb from Nature which accompanys the cover says: “Many seemingly random or chaotic human activities have been found to exhibit universal statistical patterns. Neil Johnson and colleagues use detailed data sets from conflicts, including those in Afghanistan, Iraq and Colombia, to show that insurgent wars fit into this category, sharing common patterns with each other and also with global terrorism.”

The paper’s authors note that their model’s similarity to financial market models “provides a surprising link between violent and non-violent forms of human behaviour”.

The datasets they used for the Iraq conflict were from Iraq Body Count, icasualities.org and ITERATE. As readers of this blog will be aware, Johnson and Spagat (with colleagues Gourley, Onnela and Reinert) produced the “main street bias” research, which was critical of the 2006 Lancet survey of Iraq deaths (and which won the Journal of Peace Research Article of the Year Award. See my earlier blog entry on main street bias).

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