I asked cockeyed.com visitors to take a stab at this question:
I know this is a funny question, because almost no one has enough information to have a realistic estimate. It is a lot like asking "how many angels can sit on the head of a pin", or "what color are God's eyes?"
In three or four days, the form had collected more than 1,800 responses, ranging from - 95 to many billions.
Many of the guesses were joke answers, such as "infinity over zero", "500 humans and 63 pets", and "Two. They're both ex-girlfriends" which is what I've learned to expect from the internet citizenry. Bless them! In fact, given the impossibility of providing a well-informed answer, you could almost consider all of these answers joke answers.
A few people did not answer the question, acknowledging that it was absurd: "How should anyone know who or how many people may be here and planning to cause some malevolence. I don't know that I have any right to even suppose what number of people
(there are)", "How would we even know?" and
"Are you serious? There is absolutely no way of estimating
I attempted to organize the data.
The astronomical numbers at the high end of the scale (9e+2871) made the mean average very high, (more than a billion googol).
I made a chart. When I split the 1,842 responses into six even groups, there were 307 responses in each group.
The first group, which you might call the "there aren't many
terrorists" segment, guessed a number between -95 and seven.
chart to the right shows these six even segments.
If you would like to read the (almost) raw responses, I should warn you that there are a lot of them. They are spread onto three pages: 1 2 3.
If you want to paste these into Excel and analyze them yourself, the results in numerical order are here: webpage | text. Let me know if you find the Kurtosis.
I plan to have another terror quiz in a couple of weeks. This second quiz will get into the guts of terrorism. I'd appreciate it if you would come back and respond. Thank you!
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