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EditorialOff the News

Off the News

Find bin Laden? Done. Now let’s save the trees

Now studying endangered trees in Hawaii, UCLA geographer Thomas Gillespie is receiving notice for having come very close two years ago to predicting where Osama bin Laden was hiding out.

In a February 2009 paper, Gillespie and fellow professor John A. Agnew used "island biogeographic theory" in scoffing at the notion that bin Laden was hiding in a cave; delivery of supplies to a cave with sealed entrance, heat and ventillation could have been seen from space.

Instead, they concluded that the terrorist could be found in a tall, three-room building — he was 6-foot-4 — with electric grid hookup or generator, walls over three meters high and space between structures in a city within 300 kilometers of Tora Bora, where he had been last seen. Abbottabad, Pakistan, where bin Laden was killed, is within that circle. The study is at http://web.mit.edu/mitir/2009/online/finding-bin-laden.pdf.

"Right now, I’m working on the dry forests of Hawaii, where 45 percent of the trees are on the endangered species list," Gillespie told Science magazine. "I’m far more interested in getting trees off the endangered list."

Mother Earth is great but don’t forget actual mom

Maui keiki: Does Mom live too far away to visit this Sunday? Fine, go ahead and take part in the "Care for Mother Earth on Mother’s Day" shoreline cleanup at Maliko Bay. Otherwise, better take her to brunch. The cleanup sponsors, Community Work Day Program, will understand.

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