Can anyone tell me how i can dump a cup of marbles on a table and find the location of the cup just by looking at the marbles. They did something on the show Numb3rs about this when charlie found the home of a serial killer by analyzing the places he attacked.
Look at this picture:
The marbles will distribute something like this. Most in the center and little far away from the center.
If you have an infinit number of marbles that you drop, you drop them exactly straight down, and it is equal chanse they will go in any direction, and there is no obstacles in the way or the surface is different, etc. then you will be able to calculate an exact position for the cup by looking at the position of the marbles and calculating the average position for them. I would say you could even try to calculate from what height the marbles was droped. The longer they have gotten from the average position, the higher up the cup was, a little bit simplified.
But now you don't have an infinite number of marbles, so you can only calculate an approximate value. The more marbles you have the better result you will get. And some other things that you can't ever escape, no matter how many marbles you have, is obstacles in the environment, like table legs, carpets, walls, etc. The cup may have to one one side. Things like that. but besides that, yes, it is possible.
a series of similar crimes, which may be presumed to have been committed
by the same perp.
You plot the significant locations on a map, and look at the relationships
between the significant locations and the road network. Criminals often
being lazy and/or stupid can have their area/s of residence and or work
narrowed down by the ease of access to the significant locations from
The simple centre of mass of the crime locations on its own does not work
well in the real world because geographical space in neither isotropic nor
(By-the-by disclosing such information on TV/film police drama makes the job
of catching the perps more difficult, as it draws their attention to how law
enforcement may go about catching them)