Thing you didn’t know about Old Holborn…

Old Holborn can make statements on one side of the Atlantic…

So, if they want to catch Muslim plane bombers, why don’t they target male Muslim passengers? Why should the law abiding population of the UK be subjected to full body searches, delay, hassle and authority abuse to satisfy a few hand wringing fucking jizznuts?

.,. and be proved wrong by someone on the other side without them even knowing Matthew Yglesias on the Impossibility of Profiling: Very Rare Terrorists Are Very Hard to Find:

[M]onitoring the UK’s 1.5 million Muslims is a lost cause. If you have a 99.9 percent accurate method of [profiling and] telling whether or not a given British Muslim is a dangerous terrorist, then apply it to all 1.5 million British Muslims, you’re going to find 1,500 dangerous terrorists in the UK. But nobody thinks there are anything like 1,500 dangerous terrorists in the UK. I’d be very surprised if there were as many as 15. And if there are 15, that means you’re 99.9 percent accurate method is going to get you a suspect pool that’s overwhelmingly composed of innocent people. The weakness of al-Qaeda’s movement, and the very tiny pool of operatives it can draw from, makes it essentially impossible to come up with viable [profiling] methods for identifying those operatives.


8 thoughts on “Thing you didn’t know about Old Holborn…

  1. I wrote a post about this on ConHome ages ago (sorry can’t remember the link). It’s an application of the Bayes theorem (that profiling on race could lead to huge false positive rates). I remember thinking it up during Foot & Mouth epidemic.

    1. Sensible stuff there over at Con Home, and you do have a very good prose style, can’t remember who said so, but its true.

      Sadly there are no easy options to terrorism as OH implies, its a case of crappy work for a minority and the acceptance of a tiny level of risk for the rest of us. I’m happy with that.

    1. Moron. Sorry, that’s rude, no verb. You are a moron.

      You sort of miss the obvious allegory, although it is hard to make a Toyota look like a Ford, its quite easy for a Muslim to look like a non-Muslim. In fact, unless you use “brown” as your proxy for Muslim there’s no way to identify them.

      Hope this helps clear up your confusion.

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