You’d expect folks in the US Department of Defense to know the location of the place they’re probably about to bomb.
Well, yesterday we made a game about guessing where Damascus is, and only 57% of the answers we got from inside the DoD were right.
In total, more than 100,000 people played the game. Here’s what we found out:
More than 50% of our players guessed within 200 miles. Given the zoomed-out satellite map and inaccurate input methods like smartphones, we count that as spot on.
The number of accurate guesses is high enough that we have to filter them out in order to see the rest of the results. Zoom, enhance:
(The mottling effect is an artifact caused by people who played with the map zoomed-out)
Note that the game uses a satellite map, which doesn’t include national boundaries, so a little bit of border-blurring is forgivable. Still, some interesting patterns formed:
In the US, if we turn up the gain a bit, you can also see two other hotspots…
…the cities of Damascus, Oregon and Damascus, Maryland. Yes, yes, very clever.
We received 139 guesses from inside the Houses of Parliament. We can only hope that some of them are in jest.
We also had 65 guesses from within the US Department of Defense… and they’re statistically worse. 57% got it right at the DoD, compared to 64% in the houses of Parliament.
And the folks in the DoD haven’t gone for blatantly wrong places; instead they’re still guessing all over the Middle East. We don’t think they’re joking.
An earlier version of this post said “Damascus, Virginia” instead of “Damascus, Maryland”, in what seems to be a corollary of Muphry’s Law. We regret the rather ironic error.