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Jenburdoo (Jenburdoo)
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Post Number: 199
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Posted on Saturday, July 05, 2008 - 5:32 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

During WWII, American intelligence officers were assigned to estimate the number of Japanese troops on a certain island before it was invaded. Their count was almost exactly accurate (they were off by less than one percent). How did they do it?
Liquizt (Liquizt)
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Post Number: 186
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Posted on Saturday, July 05, 2008 - 2:54 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Statistical method(s) relevant?

Did they introduce foreign materials to the island in order to help perform the task?
If so: did the Japanese troops interact with these materials?
Did they examine materials already present on the island for an indication of how many Japanese troops there were?
Did they examine materials the Japanese troops had brought with them to the island and left visible? marks left by said materials as they arrived on the island?

Did Japanese troops come and go from the island whilst the task was being performed? relevant?

Did the estimation take less than an hour? roughly an hour? day? few days? week? month? longer?

Were the Japanese aware of the Americans at any point during or after the Americans performing the estimation task?

Did the Americans actually see any of the Japanese troops during the estimation?

Did the Americans watch the whole island?
Did the Americans watch the island from strategic points?

Were the surprisingly few Japanese troops on the island? surprisingly many? (unsurprisingly) many?
(i.e. they were only off by 1% as it was clear there were only a few troops on the entire island. Or they were only off by 1% because there were enough troops on the island to make statistical estimations accurate.)

Were initial guesstimations made as to the number of troops? other earlier intelligence relevant? Was other intelligence gathered during the estimation task (i.e. by allied troops in other areas)? serendipituously?

Lucky guess?
Travis (Travis)
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Post Number: 117
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Posted on Saturday, July 05, 2008 - 3:37 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is it relevant which island we're talking about?
Jenburdoo (Jenburdoo)
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Post Number: 201
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Posted on Sunday, July 06, 2008 - 4:42 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Statistical method(s) relevant? Yes.

Did they introduce foreign materials to the island in order to help perform the task? No.
If so: did the Japanese troops interact with these materials?
Did they examine materials already present on the island for an indication of how many Japanese troops there were? Yes.
Did they examine materials the Japanese troops had brought with them to the island and left visible? Yes. marks left by said materials as they arrived on the island? No.

Did Japanese troops come and go from the island whilst the task was being performed? No. relevant? No.

Did the estimation take less than an hour? Assume less than a day. roughly an hour? day? few days? week? month? longer?

Were the Japanese aware of the Americans at any point during or after the Americans performing the estimation task? Yes.

Did the Americans actually see any of the Japanese troops during the estimation? No.

Did the Americans watch the whole island? Yes.
Did the Americans watch the island from strategic points? Yes.

Were the surprisingly few Japanese troops on the island? surprisingly many? (unsurprisingly) many?
(i.e. they were only off by 1% as it was clear there were only a few troops on the entire island. Or they were only off by 1% because there were enough troops on the island to make statistical estimations accurate.) The method used would have been accurate regardless of the number of troops on the island.

Were initial guesstimations made as to the number of troops? Irrelevant. other earlier intelligence relevant? No. Was other intelligence gathered during the estimation task (i.e. by allied troops in other areas)? Irrelevant. serendipituously? No.

Lucky guess? No.

Is it relevant which island we're talking about? Yes.
Jenburdoo (Jenburdoo)
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Post Number: 202
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Posted on Sunday, July 06, 2008 - 4:47 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Addendum to last question: The TYPE of island is relevant; you don't necessarily have to get the exact one.
Beroean (Beroean)
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Post Number: 1504
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Posted on Sunday, July 06, 2008 - 1:30 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Anything to do with:

food?
water?
plants?
animals?
buildings?
the soil?

Did they do a survey of the whole island?
Or just take samples?
Liquizt (Liquizt)
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Post Number: 189
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Posted on Sunday, July 06, 2008 - 3:28 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Could the Americans have performed the task similarly without the Japanese being aware of them i.e. was the Japanese troops' awareness of the Americans integral to the task?

Did the Japanese interact with the Americans at all during the task? Believe they were interacting with the Americans?
Did the Japanese see the Americans?

The materials already present on the island that were examined = the materials the japanese troops had brought with them to the island and left visible?
The materials already present on the island that were examined = any of those listed by Beroean above that were answered positively iff any were answered positively?

Boats relevant?
Machinary relevant?

Continental island? - microcontinental island? - barrier island?
Oceanic island?
Tsoram1970 (Tsoram1970)
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Posted on Sunday, July 06, 2008 - 4:08 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was the island inhabited before the arrival of the troops?
Jenburdoo (Jenburdoo)
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Post Number: 203
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Posted on Monday, July 07, 2008 - 2:16 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Anything to do with:

food? No.
water? No.
plants? No.
animals? No.
buildings? Yes.
the soil? No.

Did they do a survey of the whole island? Yes.
Or just take samples? No.

Could the Americans have performed the task similarly without the Japanese being aware of them i.e. was the Japanese troops' awareness of the Americans integral to the task? No. However, while probably aware that the Americans were present at some point during the task, the Japanese were unaware that they were accomplishing this specific task.

Did the Japanese interact with the Americans at all during the task? Assume no. Believe they were interacting with the Americans? No.
Did the Japanese see the Americans? Assume yes.

The materials already present on the island that were examined = the materials the japanese troops had brought with them to the island and left visible? Yes.
The materials already present on the island that were examined = any of those listed by Beroean above that were answered positively iff any were answered positively? Yes.

Boats relevant? No.
Machinary relevant? No.

Continental island? - microcontinental island? - barrier island?
Oceanic island? This.

Was the island inhabited before the arrival of the troops? Assume no.
Woubit (Woubit)
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Posted on Monday, July 07, 2008 - 3:25 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The number of Japanese troops on the island was:

fewer than ten?
more than nine but fewer than 100?
more than 99 but fewer than 1,000?
more than 999 but fewer than 10,000?

and so on, and so forth...
Rubberduck (Rubberduck)
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Posted on Monday, July 07, 2008 - 8:54 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Were they temporary buildings? Tents? Buildings used to house soldiers? House equipment? Hangars for aircraft?
Beroean (Beroean)
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Post Number: 1505
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Posted on Monday, July 07, 2008 - 8:56 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Latrines relevant?
Idols relevant?
Jenburdoo (Jenburdoo)
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Posted on Monday, July 07, 2008 - 10:53 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The number of Japanese troops on the island was:

fewer than ten?
more than nine but fewer than 100?
more than 99 but fewer than 1,000?
more than 999 but fewer than 10,000? This.

Were they temporary buildings? No. Tents? No. Buildings used to house soldiers? No. House equipment? No. Hangars for aircraft? No.

Latrines relevant? Yes.
Idols relevant? No.
Odomwm (Odomwm)
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Post Number: 2
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Posted on Tuesday, July 08, 2008 - 9:43 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is the Japanese culture relavant (for example, something in their culture forced them to each have their own statue so the Americans just counted the statues)?
Crazypalpig (Crazypalpig)
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Posted on Wednesday, July 09, 2008 - 1:01 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

So, off by 1% would be... an inaccuracy of 10-100 people? Did they count the no. of latrines and figure out how many people had to dig them? How many people would have to use them?
Jenburdoo (Jenburdoo)
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Post Number: 207
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Posted on Wednesday, July 09, 2008 - 4:58 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is the Japanese culture relavant (for example, something in their culture forced them to each have their own statue so the Americans just counted the statues)? No.

So, off by 1% would be... an inaccuracy of 10-100 people? Yes. Did they count the no. of latrines and figure out how many people had to dig them? No. How many people would have to use them? Yes.

You're almost there, you just have to figure out why the type of island is relevant.
Alex319 (Alex319)
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Post Number: 768
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Posted on Wednesday, July 09, 2008 - 10:36 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Did the Americans know or figure out exactly (or close to exactly) the ratio of latrines to soldiers? And then they counted the latrines and just plugged in the numbers?

Do we have to figure out how the Americans knew the latrine/soldier ratio? Was it set by Japanese army regulations?

Do we have to figure out how the Americans managed to count every last latrine? Did something about the island made the latrines particularly well exposed? Did the latrines have to be built in a special way?
Liquizt (Liquizt)
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Post Number: 194
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Posted on Thursday, July 10, 2008 - 2:02 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is the shape of the island relevant in some way?

The manner in which waste is removed?
Jenburdoo (Jenburdoo)
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Post Number: 209
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Posted on Thursday, July 10, 2008 - 1:51 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Did the Americans know or figure out exactly (or close to exactly) the ratio of latrines to soldiers? Yes. And then they counted the latrines and just plugged in the numbers? Yes.

Do we have to figure out how the Americans knew the latrine/soldier ratio? No. Was it set by Japanese army regulations? Yes.

Do we have to figure out how the Americans managed to count every last latrine? Yes. Did something about the island made the latrines particularly well exposed? Yes. Did the latrines have to be built in a special way? Yes.

Is the shape of the island relevant in some way? Yes.

The manner in which waste is removed? Yes.
Liquizt (Liquizt)
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Post Number: 198
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Posted on Thursday, July 10, 2008 - 2:22 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was the waste collected in holes in the ground?and then buried? dumped into a lake? dumped into the sea?
Does the waste move through some kind of sewer system? If so: did the Americans determine the number of latrines by examining the sewer system? or were the latrines themselves visible?

Were the latrines exposed/open? sheltered/private? relevant?
Built in groups? built individually? relevant?

Are there any large bodies of water on the island not connected to the sea?
Are there any large bodies of water on the island not connected to the sea on the surface (i.e. connected underground)?
Does the island have a bay(s)? lagoon(s)?
If any of these are answered positively - relevant?

Does the island have mountains? a volcano? caves?
If any of these are answered positively - relevant?

Did the Japanese, in part, pick the island for the features relevant?
Did the Americans, in part, pick their method for the island's features? purely artificial features (i.e. those created by the Japanese/ their presence)?
Jenburdoo (Jenburdoo)
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Post Number: 210
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Posted on Thursday, July 10, 2008 - 3:59 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was the waste collected in holes in the ground? No. and then buried? No. dumped into a lake? No. dumped into the sea? Yes.
Does the waste move through some kind of sewer system? No. If so: did the Americans determine the number of latrines by examining the sewer system? No. or were the latrines themselves visible? Yes.

Were the latrines exposed/open? sheltered/private? relevant? Uncertain. Recognizable, though, and that is relevant.
Built in groups? Yes. built individually? relevant? Yes.

Are there any large bodies of water on the island not connected to the sea? No.
Are there any large bodies of water on the island not connected to the sea on the surface (i.e. connected underground) No.?
Does the island have a bay(s)? Yope. lagoon(s) Yope.?
If any of these are answered positively - relevant? No.

Does the island have mountains? No.a volcano? No. caves? No.
If any of these are answered positively - relevant?

Did the Japanese, in part, pick the island for the features relevant? No.
Did the Americans, in part, pick their method for the island's features? No. purely artificial features (i.e. those created by the Japanese/ their presence)? No.
Beroean (Beroean)
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Post Number: 1506
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Posted on Saturday, July 12, 2008 - 11:16 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Did the Japanese rigidly build a latrine for every x number of personnel?
Jenburdoo (Jenburdoo)
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Post Number: 217
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Posted on Saturday, July 12, 2008 - 3:21 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Did the Japanese rigidly build a latrine for every x number of personnel? Yes.
Mimino (Mimino)
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Posted on Monday, July 14, 2008 - 8:16 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Were the latrines built near by the sea?
Did they use sea water to flush them?
Because the potable water on the island was to valuable to use it for flushing latrines?
And so, they had to build the latrines on the beach?
Jenburdoo (Jenburdoo)
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Posted on Monday, July 14, 2008 - 12:32 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Were the latrines built near by the sea? Yes.
Did they use sea water to flush them? Yes.
Because the potable water on the island was to valuable to use it for flushing latrines? Yes.
And so, they had to build the latrines on the beach? That's part of the reason.

I think we're close enough for a...

Spoiler**************

The island of Betio in Tarawa Atoll was captured by US Marines in November 1943. The island, part of a volcanic rim, is extremely tiny and totally flat. During a reconnaissance flight, a bomber took a photo from several thousand feet that covered the entire island. Once blown up, the structures were clear.

Colonel David Shoup, the assault commander, noticed hundreds of tiny round structures set on piers all around the island. He finally deduced that they were latrines, placed there partly to conserve water and partly because there literally was no other place to build a structure (almost the whole of the island was taken up by an airfield).

Once he had determined the number of men per latrine, by consulting the appropriate Japanese book of regulations, he merely had to multiply to get the number of men on the island. There were some 4,600 Japanese and Koreans on Betio -- by various accounts he was off by as much as 64 or as little as four.

Ironically, this accuracy did not help him take the island, because it was so hotly defended that the Americans eventually poured 50,000 men onto it. They took less than 150 prisoners.
Beroean (Beroean)
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Post Number: 1507
Registered: 10-2001
Posted on Thursday, July 17, 2008 - 9:46 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Fascinating!

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