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Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath-timeblimp
June 27, 2012 9:16 AM   Subscribe

The author of the Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath number has joined up, and wishes to update his post with our findings. Welcome timeblimp!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson to MetaFilter-Related at 9:16 AM (51 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Has anyone actually answered his request for permission to update the article yet?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:26 AM on June 27, 2012


No in-thread.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:29 AM on June 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


(That's actually why I opened this thread - to call attention to the request, in case anyone with actual data wants to respond.)
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:30 AM on June 27, 2012


I just added my "sure thing, neato!" to the thread, and a link over here
posted by dirtdirt at 9:39 AM on June 27, 2012


I'm still utterly confused as to why the intersection of this particular Venn diagram has any significance, or why these people are in any way special. Was there any sort of relevance that I somehow missed...? How is this in any way different than tracking the intersection of people who (for example) have bluish-green eyes, have done voice-over work, and have names that start with an C?
posted by wolfdreams01 at 9:49 AM on June 27, 2012


Because of Jesus.
posted by Madamina at 9:54 AM on June 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Because these are already things that people care about? If you've never been exposed to these three metrics before, I can understand why the combined metric would be pretty confusing.
posted by OmieWise at 9:57 AM on June 27, 2012


How is this in any way different than tracking the intersection of people who (for example) have bluish-green eyes, have done voice-over work, and have names that start with an C?

It isn't any different, it's just more fun. That's enough for most people.
posted by bondcliff at 9:57 AM on June 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


RELEASE THE KRAKEN
posted by griphus at 10:04 AM on June 27, 2012


wolfdreams01: "I'm still utterly confused"

Awww, someone is sad that they have no Erdos or Bacon or Sabbath numbers! Don't worry, friend, neither do I!
posted by Grither at 10:05 AM on June 27, 2012


How is this in any way different than tracking the intersection of people who (for example) have bluish-green eyes, have done voice-over work, and have names that start with an C?

Nancy Cartwright FTW with a BG/VO/C number of zero!
posted by googly at 10:13 AM on June 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm still utterly confused as to why the intersection of this particular Venn diagram has any significance, or why these people are in any way special.

The thing about fun is that not everybody has it the same way. And that is okay! It's okay to just not have fun with something and go do something else that is fun.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:15 AM on June 27, 2012 [13 favorites]


or why these people are in any way special

I don't know about Bacon or Sabbath, but Erdös was pretty special.
Erdös was one of the most prolific publishers of papers in mathematical history, comparable only with Leonhard Euler; Erdős published more papers, while Euler published more pages. He wrote around 1,525 mathematical articles in his lifetime, mostly with co-authors. He strongly believed in and practiced mathematics as a social activity, having 511 different collaborators in his lifetime.
- Wikipedia on Erdös.
posted by DU at 10:16 AM on June 27, 2012


I don't get it either, but this is generally my normal state.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:18 AM on June 27, 2012


wolfdreams01: "How is this in any way different than tracking the intersection of people who (for example) have bluish-green eyes, have done voice-over work, and have names that start with an C?" test

That: Genetics, plus professional achievement, plus something your parents assigned you.

Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath: Professional achievement, plus professional achievement in a totally different field, plus professional achievement in a totally different field.
posted by Plutor at 10:23 AM on June 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: The thing about fun is that not everybody has it the same way. And that is okay! It's okay to just not have fun with something and go do something else that is fun.
posted by zamboni at 10:24 AM on June 27, 2012


It's okay to just not have fun with something and go do something else that is fun.

No, it isn't.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:24 AM on June 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Your favorite fun sucks.
posted by bondcliff at 10:25 AM on June 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yes, it does.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:26 AM on June 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


Yeah, it's worth noting that Paul Erdos was the point from which this whole thing blossomed. Wonderfully prolific and idiosyncratic mathematician and benzo popper, major hub in the social network that was the academic math world. So the notion of "Erdos number" as degree of separation from Erdos himself in authorship is a long-running half-joking subject in academia; references in papers, network graphs made of Erdos number connections, papers authored by specific sets of mathematicians with the specific intent of tweaking the shape of Erdos number graphs/sets, etc.

From there, there was an obvious sort of meta joke what with the more lay-friendly pop cultural phenomenon that was Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, and so we got the Erdos-Bacon number.

Sabbath is just icing. See also.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:26 AM on June 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


There is one other number that isn't mentioned. That number is your "griphus sitting alone in his room at age 14, listening to a borrowed copy Paranoid for the first time" number. Everyone's is zero.

Even mine.
posted by griphus at 10:32 AM on June 27, 2012


griphus: "Everyone's is zero."

Zero means you are that person. Erdos's Erdos number is zero, for instance. So I think your sad realization should be that everyone's number is infinity.
posted by Plutor at 10:46 AM on June 27, 2012


I'm pretty sure I must have a Bacon number but I'm too lazy to find out.

As to why this is a Thing: because in-jokes are Things people like to have, and this is a particularly nifty/funny/weird in-joke. It doesn't have any significance beyond what people give it, so for some people, it has none, and that's just as groovy as its having tons of significance for other people.
posted by rtha at 10:49 AM on June 27, 2012


wait wait wait

Who said it was a sad realization?
posted by griphus at 10:50 AM on June 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm still utterly confused as to why the intersection of this particular Venn diagram has any significance, or why these people are in any way special. Was there any sort of relevance that I somehow missed...?

It's based around the coincidence that Bacon, Iommi, and Erdos all have the exact same length penis, (14.6281 centimeters erect, if you're wondering).
posted by Greg Nog at 11:00 AM on June 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


(If you're wondering, you're doing it wrong.)
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:15 AM on June 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wonderfully prolific and idiosyncratic mathematician and benzo popper

Amphetamines, no? I thought that was how he sustained his math-hobo lifestyle.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:18 AM on June 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


(But maybe he was math's own Judy Garland, one pill to get up and one pill to go to bed.)
posted by en forme de poire at 11:18 AM on June 27, 2012


> I'm still utterly confused as to why the intersection of this particular Venn diagram has any significance, or why these people are in any way special. Was there any sort of relevance that I somehow missed...? How is this in any way different than tracking the intersection of people who (for example) have bluish-green eyes, have done voice-over work, and have names that start with an C?

Um, did you read the links in the FPP? The answers to your questions are very nicely covered.
posted by desuetude at 11:29 AM on June 27, 2012


14.6281 cm

That's about 5.75 inches if you're also a metric-conversion-ignorant American who cares about... stuff like that.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:49 AM on June 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Amphetamines, no? I thought that was how he sustained his math-hobo lifestyle.

Ha! Yes, sorry, benzedrine, not benzodiazepine. Would make for a very different sort of math nomad, I suppose. "He only wrote one paper, and it took him twenty-seven years, but Pink Floyd turned it into a two-disc album."
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:01 PM on June 27, 2012 [13 favorites]


Several Combinatorics of Discrete Furry Algorithms Gathered Together in a Topology and Grooving with a Pictograph
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:15 PM on June 27, 2012 [8 favorites]


Careful With That Axis, Eugene
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:17 PM on June 27, 2012 [12 favorites]


That number is your "griphus sitting alone in his room at age 14, listening to a borrowed copy Paranoid for the first time" number. Everyone's is zero.

What you gonna be, what you gonna be, brother? Zero the hero!
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 12:44 PM on June 27, 2012


Is this where I make my "The Algorithm of the Heat" pun? No? Damn. Been waiting a long time to pull that one out.
posted by googly at 12:52 PM on June 27, 2012


rtha, if you are listed in IMDB, then you can fidn your Bacon number here:
The Oracle of Bacon
posted by soelo at 12:58 PM on June 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


you can also find it...
posted by soelo at 12:59 PM on June 27, 2012


Metafilter: I don't get it either, but...
posted by edgeways at 1:32 PM on June 27, 2012


these threads have been the so much fun! i was nearly at my "walk away from metafilter for a few weeks/months" point and this brought me all the way back to schmoopy.
posted by nadawi at 1:58 PM on June 27, 2012


One of these days I'm going to find an elegant proof of the four colour theorem.
posted by Talkie Toaster at 2:04 PM on June 27, 2012


If one were an uncredited extra in something that maybe didn't even show (or perhaps merely didn't show in all intended markets), does that allow one to be confered with a Bacon number?
posted by batmonkey at 2:07 PM on June 27, 2012


batmonkey: nope, speaking lines / IMDB entry only.
posted by KathrynT at 2:49 PM on June 27, 2012


Set the Controls for the Heart of the Summa Mathematica.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:56 PM on June 27, 2012


if you are listed in IMDB, then you can fidn your Bacon number here:
The Oracle of Bacon
posted by soelo


That tool also works for anyone listed on IMDB, not just Bacon.
posted by blaneyphoto at 4:11 PM on June 27, 2012


aha! It seems I know a Bacon Faker! I had never thought to look up the rules, so that hadn't occurred to me as a debunking. Thank you!
posted by batmonkey at 4:59 PM on June 27, 2012


Hi Florence, thanks for starting this thread! (Can I call you Flo-Ho? No, that has an unfortunate ring to it) I'm totally thrilled how other people are geeking out over this too. In fact, I nearly swallowed my inhaler when I saw how much buzz Ross Churchley is getting over at his blog: http://www.rosschurchley.com/2012/who-else-has-an-erdos-bacon-sabbath-number/

Ross saw my article years ago, and worked out waaay more of these than I ever did -- he figured out Brian May's EBS number, which was the very first person on the list of EBS numbers. Recently he figured out Brian Cox's EBS number, and BRIAN COX freaking tweeted about it! Ross has worked out a bunch more people, so thanks to him, you guys over here, and a couple other places, the list of EBS number holders is at least fifteen. Damn Cool!

Ross and I are trying to gather the list of all proven EBS numbers together, so I'll drop a note here when we get it up. We're also making sure we credit the discoverer, so let me know if we miss somebody.

It's really a shame I'm going to have to quit my job to keep up with all of this...
posted by timeblimp at 8:06 PM on June 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


Okay... after a night of what seemed like homework after a while, I put together a combined list of EBS-number holders at http://timeblimp.com/?page_id=195. My head is swimming, so I'm sure I'm missing a few people (including Kathryn's brother) and better links, but I'm starting to see spots shaped like Brian May drifting across my field of vision. I'll soon post a list of derivations so anyone interested can try to get the paths of links shortened further...
posted by timeblimp at 12:09 AM on June 28, 2012


You should add Imogen Heap! I think she has an EBS number of 10.
posted by speicus at 1:43 AM on June 28, 2012


This sucks. I have an Erdos-Bacon number, but I do not have an Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath number. I would much rather, say, an Erdos-Bacon-Torvalds number so that I could stay in the game. Or Erdos-Bacon-matthowie, for posting in common threads?
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 3:44 AM on June 28, 2012


Amphetamines, no? I thought that was how he sustained his math-hobo lifestyle.

I love the story of Erdos winning a bet that he couldn't stop using speed for a month. He did it, easily, and then regretted the loss to mathematics of that lost time.
posted by mediareport at 6:23 AM on June 28, 2012


Thanks speicus for pointing out the Imogen Heap EBS number -- I am waay behind going through both of these threads to collect the results.

Also, Ross Churchley (who found Brian Cox's number, and got retweeted by Cox), is putting together a sharp-looking homepage where he'll post all the known EBS numbers and their derivations. I'll keep my list as a copy of his, but he's got all the detailed links for those who want to double-check results. Check it out, it's over at http://http://ebs.rosschurchley.com/, and help me continue to distract Ross from doing his research!
posted by timeblimp at 10:48 PM on July 1, 2012


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