Tech Ramblings…

By Dr. T

— Kevin Bacon, Angelina Jolie, and I…

Kevin Bacon, Angelina Jolie, and I (aka me) are related…

Interesting thought right, if only it were true. But its not entirely false either. Let me explain… 

Since I’ve been researching a lot on the human genetic lineage, I thought it’d be interesting to look around in the present and see how many people I am related to (through ancestral DNA or anyone who I might know directly or indirectly). We’re all aware of the phrase “six degrees of separation“,  a hypothesis that states that “anyone on Earth can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances with no more than five intermediaries.”

Related to this hypothesis, a lot of social networking projects started up and gained a lot of momentum. Two such off-shoots are the Bacon Number and the Erdos Number

The first number is related to Kevin Bacon (yup the Hollywood actor). How did Kevin Bacon suddenly become the centre of the Hollywood universe. Seems like he’s the most linkable actor (meaning any star can relate to either working with him directly or know someone who has) according to the Oracle of Bacon website which houses a large IMDB (internet movide databae). So Angelina Jolie has a Bacon Number of 2 since:

Angelina Jolie was in Life or Something Like It (2002) with Melissa Errico, while Melissa Errico was in Loverboy (2005) with Kevin Bacon.  

So how do I calculate my Bacon number.  “” Simple, by the six degrees of separation principle. Angelina Jolie knows many diplomats in Pakistan and vice versa, and my father being one of them, knows a few of the diplomats who know/or have met her. Therefore my Bacon Number is ‘5’.

My Bacon Number 5: Kevin Bacon –> Melissa Errico –> Angelina Jolie –> Diplomat A –> My dad –> Me.

All done in under six links.

I thought it’d be interesting to find how many people I link through using orkut. So an interesting question would be, who would be the most linked person on Orkut. I didnt have to look too far. My findings led me to Orkut Buyukkokten, the founder/developer of Orkut. Since he has the largest circle of friends on orkut (a few hundred thousand).

Hence, if Mr. Buyukkokten’s Orkut Number is 0, mine would be 2 since I am directly linked to him through a mutual link. Check it out:

Orkut Number 2: Orkut Buyukkokten –> Jeni Diaz –> Tashfeen Suleman.

Again, all done in under six links. Heres proof:

 My link to Orkut Buukkokten

The reason why scientists and actors are made the centre of these studies and social network concepts is that these two groups are densely interconnected and chances of links being established amongst them are the greatest. Hence, one can derive their own Bacon number (for actors), Erdos number (for scientists), or any other number keeping the six degrees of separation principle.

Other similar concepts which I find interesting and can realte to are:

1- Erdos Number (for the scientific research community): My Erdos number is 6 since I’ve worked with a person whose Erdos number is 5 i.e. Muneeb Ali on his Erdos Number.

2- Small World Project: This project is in its nascent stages and people can register themselves on the network. So far, only 500 people have registered themselves, but when more people populate this database this study will be more effective.

I’m guessing that most of these numbers are lower (meaning more links to these numbers) for most people working at Microsoft since most of them either work directly or indirectly with Bill Gates whose met with or knows a lot of scientists, actors, politicians etc. 

 That would be another interesting datamining set ;)…till then…

— Tashfeen.

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August 29, 2006 - Posted by | The Human genographic Project, Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. lol. Just came across your blog through Muneeb’s. What with the number calculating? :). And that too centralized around people who arn’t even famous. Or well… I mean famous famous. 🙂

    oh and Aloha. Where have you been? Or are at?

    Comment by Saira | August 31, 2006 | Reply


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