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.

10 comments:

Ninjavitis said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_arthur
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/100_Greatest_Britons
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_of_the_United_Kingdom
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haemophilia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_illness
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sickle-cell_anemia

brainie said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Arthur
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/100_Greatest_Britons
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_Winston_Churchill
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disease
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_genetic_disorders
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sickle-cell_disease

Mike Machenry said...

It turns out Bill Paxton was in both Titanic and Apollo 13. So this shortens the original chain to seven.

lackita said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_arthur
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Excalibur
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anemia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sickle-cell_disease


Helpful site:
http://wikimindmap.org/

Mike Machenry said...

Way to go. Nice site too. I imagine there's some site out there that actually solves this game. Or at least the folks at Wikipedia can write some SQL to solve it. After all there are plenty of sites that solve the Kevin Bacon game. I kind of don't want to find such a site though.

This game is probably a lot hard to play verbally than the Kevin Bacon game. I can just see kids sitting around a camp fire right now, arguing about whether or not the Excalibur page links to Blood.

Bakemaster said...

When my roommate and I would play this it always involved Ving Rhames instead of Kevin Bacon. I think the first one was Gary Coleman to Ving Rhames, before we realized how easy it was to go from actor to actor.

Brian Guthrie said...

Better late than never, and deliciously circuitous:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sickle-cell_anemia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabian_peninsula
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Solomon
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walt_Disney
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sword_in_the_Stone_%28film%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Arthur

lackita said...

I wrote a quick shell script to generate start and end points for this game. I posted it on my blog if anybody's interested.

Brian said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_arthur
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medicine
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hematology
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sickle-cell_disease

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