Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Six Degrees of Wikipedia

Last night, Sarah and I were watching an episode of Northern Exposure when I noticed that the door to the local radio station displayed "KBHR 57 AM". From what I knew of AM radio, the range used by commercial stations in the US was in the upper hundreds to thousands, nothing near 57. So I looked up Amplitude Modulation, AM, on Wikipedia and soon found I had to click on AM Radio to get the answer that I wanted.

I started thinking about all the long link chains I've followed in the pursuit of useless knowledge and about that XKCD comic about wikipedia surfing. So naturally my next inclination was "I wonder how many clicks it will take me to get to Kevin Bacon's wikipedia page. Honestly, I thought it would take longer than it did. Little did I know there was a link to the movie Titanic on the page for the United States. I never would have guessed. This is what we did:

Amplitude Modulation to AM broadcasting to United States to Titanic to Leonardo DiCaprio to Catch Me If You Can to Tom Hanks to Apollo 13 to Kevin Bacon

Can anyone do it in fewer moves? I bet there's a shorter route if you don't take the easy way out and go straight for the nearest link to a Hollywood movie. I think this game has some potential as a non-movie-centric version of it's namesake. Okay what you lazy readers need now is a challenge. Hang on.

Me: "Trevor, Brian, think of a topic that you could look up on Wikipeida, but don't say it."
Trevor: "Got one."
Brain: "Alright."
Me: "Okay, what are they?"
Brain: "King Arthur"
Trevor: "Sickle Cell Anemia"

King Arthur will be the starting point since this game isn't commutative like the Bacon game. Post your best answers to the comments.