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six degree's of seperation

Discussion in 'Channel Zero' started by casekonly, Feb 28, 2003.

  1. casekonly

    casekonly Veteran Member

    Joined: Aug 6, 2002 Messages: 8,264 Likes Received: 5
    kind of cool:

    This is a question with rather a long history. As early as 1929, the Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy speculated that anyone in the world could be connected to anyone else through a chain consisting of no more than five intermediaries. Because the last person in the chain, who we call the target, does not count as an intermediary, five intermediaries is equivalent to six degrees of separation. The first scientific exploration of what was to become known as the "small world problem" came almost three decades later in the work of Manfred Kochen (a mathematician) and Ithiel de Sola Pool (a political scientist), who proposed a mathematical explanation of the problem. Assuming that individuals choose 1,000 friends at random from a population as large as 100 million, Kochen and Pool showed that no more than two or three intermediaries (hence three or four degrees of separation) would be required to connect any two people. People, however, do not choose friends at random, which implies that the real answer should be higher. Kochen and Pool realized this, but were unable to solve the more difficult problem.

    Stimulated by Pool and Kochen’s work, the great social psychologist Stanley Milgram devised an ingenious experiment in the late 1960s to test the hypothesis. Milgram and his graduate student, Jeffrey Travers, gave 300 letters to subjects in Boston and Omaha, with instructions to deliver them to a single target person (a stockbroker from Sharon, Massachusetts) by mailing the letter to an acquaintance who the subject deemed closer to the target. The acquaintance then got the same set of instructions, thus setting up a chain of intermediaries. Milgram found that the average length of the chains that completed (64 of them) was about six--quite remarkable in light of Karinthy’s prediction 40 years earlier. Since Milgram, the small-world problem has become a cultural phenomenon, especially after the playwright John Guare chose the catchy term "six degrees of separation" as the title of his 1990 play. But until recently, very little empirical work had been done aside from Milgram’s initial experiment, and no one could explain why it worked.

    Some recent theoretical work suggests that the answer may or may not be six, but it is certainly small--not 100 for example. A very large scale e-mail version of Milgram’s experiment, currently being conducted at Columbia University (see link above) might settle the matter once and for all. But for now, it remains a mystery.


    i'm seperated by two degree's from jeri ryan. my aunt and uncle know her. that's the only example i have that directly apply's
  2. Pistol

    Pistol Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Jul 12, 2001 Messages: 19,363 Likes Received: 299
    One of the guys from Columbia was on The Screen Savers on Tech TV discussing this project.
  3. casekonly

    casekonly Veteran Member

    Joined: Aug 6, 2002 Messages: 8,264 Likes Received: 5
    ha ha, you're a nerd, too...right on, pistol.
  4. seeking

    seeking Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: May 25, 2000 Messages: 32,277 Likes Received: 235
    im about 2 degrees away from just about every musician or celebrity you could come up with.
    which says very little about me, and a whole lot about one or two people i know.

    the kevin bacon game
  5. casekonly

    casekonly Veteran Member

    Joined: Aug 6, 2002 Messages: 8,264 Likes Received: 5
    hmm... you friends with a director?
  6. Cracked Ass

    Cracked Ass Veteran Member

    Joined: Oct 24, 2001 Messages: 7,898 Likes Received: 47
    This is mildly interesting.
    There's no real mystery to solve, or a magic number that works for every example. I wouldn't be surprised if the average were six, but the absolute max should be higher. You could certainly come up with a seven or higher if you work from both ends - just pick hermits from two different continents. Hermit Mbutu of the Congo knows less than half the people in his village, and none of the villagers who trade with Mombasa, who brings stuff from the nearest small city. That's three already: two villagers and Mombasa. The closest dude Mombasa knows with ties to the US (where our target hermit lives) is Dan the Peace Corps volunteer, who worked in that small city. That's four. Now we're trying to get to Idaho, and the biggest coincidence we can find is that Dan's father (intermediary #5) has an old hunting buddy (#6) who went to highschool with our target hermit, Randy Weaver, who holed up in northern Idaho, shot at FBI agents, and generally scowled at anybody with skin as dark as Mbutu's.
    That's six intermediaries and seven degrees of separation. If you want to get more scientific you'd have to nail down what constitutes one degree: friend, relative, guy who came within a mile of you once? Etc.
  7. casekonly

    casekonly Veteran Member

    Joined: Aug 6, 2002 Messages: 8,264 Likes Received: 5
    i think you can go as high as maybe 10...what constitutes a degree? well, i'd say a friend, relative, or even an aquaintance. definitely not a guy who came within a mile of you.
    what makes it weird is that guys book, the electronic "revolution" has made this seperation even closer, rather than further apart.
    take seeking for example, we have all posted reply's to seeking or seeking has replied to us on this board, and he claims that he is within one degree of seperation from any celebrity or music star that we can name. some people on this board know seeking, others, like myself are just aquainted with him from 12oz. so that's two degree's for us.
    i may be wrong. i suck at math, but logic...that's another thing. anyway, i just thought that was a really cool article. thanks for that example cracked ass.
  8. seeking

    seeking Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: May 25, 2000 Messages: 32,277 Likes Received: 235
    well, i used to do shows with eminem, so by virtue of that right there, i'm 'connected' to a ridiculous number of people. now, realisticly speaking, i havent seen him in a couple years, so its not like i could just dial him up and say, 'hey, lemme get elton johns number'. so it really depends on how 'related' the degrees have to be.
  9. casekonly

    casekonly Veteran Member

    Joined: Aug 6, 2002 Messages: 8,264 Likes Received: 5
    you could probably get in touch with him. a side note: my cousin set up a show for him at the hard rock in atl, he said eminem was the nicest guy he'd ever met, said every time someone asked him something he'd say "yes, ma'am (sir), no ma'am(sir)" how odd...
    anyway, that kind of makes sense, seeking, you are connected. it's like me, though, my aunt and uncle had their wedding reception at jeri ryan's house and i was there, they went to her new house in l.a. this past summer to visit, but it's not like i could call her up and go "hang out"
    somethign related to this site, from personal experience:
    i used to email Giant back and forth, i had an aquaintance on the eat coast (where i am) that went to school with him and one of his friends in new mexico, and i just started talking to Joker, and he's friends with Giant. that seems to be a great example, actually. less than six degree's for both examples i gave.
  10. seeking

    seeking Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: May 25, 2000 Messages: 32,277 Likes Received: 235
    i went to school with a guy named kurt who's dads name is rich. rich helped design the propulsion system on the 'patriot' missles we all knew and loved during desert storm. along with missle engines, they also make airplane engines. when i flew up to portland on an airplane, joker picked me up at the airport.

  11. casekonly

    casekonly Veteran Member

    Joined: Aug 6, 2002 Messages: 8,264 Likes Received: 5
    see? that's cool how that works.
  12. ctrl+alt+del

    ctrl+alt+del Guest



    i dont think theres anyway you can link yourself to sally field, but if so... you really are the man.
  13. Basic

    Basic Member

    Joined: Sep 19, 2002 Messages: 323 Likes Received: 0
    5 degrees to napolian
    4 degrees to JFK
    we had a big conversation about this at dinner a while ago
    my dad is connected something crazy
  14. seeking

    seeking Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: May 25, 2000 Messages: 32,277 Likes Received: 235
    my sister dates...
    damian marley, who worked with ....
    lauryn hill, who was in sister act 2 with...
    james coburn, who was in 'the muppet movie' with...
    dom delouise, who was in 'smokey and the bandit 2' with....
    [img]http://artists.iuma.com/IUMA/Bands/Natural_Phenomenon_Ocean/images/sm-101716.jpg'> (seen here with 'super greg)

    da, da, da, daaaaaa!

    sally field

    i could have done it in 3 steps if i'd gone with eminem, but i wanted to make it more fun.

    anyone else?
  15. some pittsburgh flavor

    some pittsburgh flavor Elite Member

    Joined: Mar 31, 2001 Messages: 4,936 Likes Received: 0
    huzzah for second grade