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Who's got an Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath number?
June 18, 2012 7:55 AM   Subscribe

Connect yourself to Kevin Bacon through film and you earn a Bacon Number, connect yourself to mathematician Paul Erdos through published papers and you earn an Erdos Number, connect yourself to Black Sabbath through recorded, published music and you earn a Sabbath Number. Want to know which 3 people have an Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath Number?
posted by Cosine (172 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm sorry, but is there anyone alive at the time who wasn't briefly a drummer for Black Sabbath in the mid-eighties? That makes it too easy.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:58 AM on June 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm sorry, but is there anyone alive at the time who wasn't briefly a drummer for Black Sabbath in the mid-eighties? That makes it too easy.

Ahh, but most of them have forgotten all about it.
posted by liketitanic at 8:02 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


James Franco.
posted by Sara C. at 8:04 AM on June 18, 2012


Doctor Buckaroo Banzai presumably has one.
posted by frimble at 8:07 AM on June 18, 2012 [17 favorites]


Without clicking on that last link, I'd have to guess one of those 3 people is Kevin Bacon himself.
posted by mcstayinskool at 8:09 AM on June 18, 2012


Forrest Gump?
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:09 AM on June 18, 2012


I've somehow never run across the Sabbath Number idea before.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:13 AM on June 18, 2012


Desperately trying to link Bernie Madoff to Sabbath.
posted by davebush at 8:14 AM on June 18, 2012


Natalie Portman is everywhere.
posted by dabitch at 8:14 AM on June 18, 2012


I call foul on the derivation of Natalie Portman's Sabbath number:

In 2009 Natalie featured in the song, Natalie’s Rap, on the debut Album Incredibad by ‘The Lonely Island’. On this same album, a song titled ‘Jizz In My Pants’ featured Justin Timber Lake. Justing Timber lake performed a duet with Janet Jackson at the superbowl, and Janet’s brother, Micheal, who she has sung several duets with, performed with the Beatle Paul McCartney. Paul’s fellow Band member John Lennon performed a song Vinny Appice, giving a sabbath Value of seven.

Playing on the same album without actually performing together is a clear violation, akin to publishing an article in the same journal issue as Erdos without actually being a co-author. Sorry, Natalie.
posted by googly at 8:15 AM on June 18, 2012 [8 favorites]


Who else might have one... Greg Graffin? Bill Clinton?

Did Carl Sagan or Albert Einstein ever perform music publicly?
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 8:15 AM on June 18, 2012


I'm sorry, but is there anyone alive at the time who wasn't briefly a drummer for Black Sabbath in the mid-eighties? That makes it too easy.

I was in middle-school at the time - it was like going to the Nurse to be checked out for lice. One at a time, we'd get up, go down to the music room, lay down a track, and then give an interview to a magazine. Then Tommy Iomi glared at you venemously and announced he was breaking up the band because of something you said. You got a t-shirt and a pair of groupies, and were sent back to class.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:15 AM on June 18, 2012 [44 favorites]


"Erdos himself has an Erdos number of zero"
"the drummer Mike Bordin, who played drums for Black Sabbath a few years back. So Mike has a Sabbath Number of 1.."

Then given that Bordin was playing as part of Sabbath, shouldn't he have a Sabbath number of zero?
posted by knile at 8:16 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Playing on the same album without actually performing together is a clear violation

She performed with the Lonely Island guys, who in turn have performed with Justin Timberlake. That's enough to make the Sabbath connection.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 8:16 AM on June 18, 2012 [12 favorites]


I'm sorry, but is there anyone alive at the time who wasn't briefly a drummer for Black Sabbath in the mid-eighties?

Didn't they keep spontaneously combusting, though?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:17 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Erdos himself has an Erdos number of zero"
"the drummer Mike Bordin, who played drums for Black Sabbath a few years back. So Mike has a Sabbath Number of 1.."
Then given that Bordin was playing as part of Sabbath, shouldn't he have a Sabbath number of zero?


I don't believe Bordin recorded anything with Sabbath so I think his Sabbath number must be >1 if he has one at all.
posted by Cosine at 8:19 AM on June 18, 2012


Everyone has one of those numbers. Most of the time it's "0".
posted by clvrmnky at 8:19 AM on June 18, 2012


From the article: “Ersatz Menudo” would be a fantastic band name, someone get to work on that.

Challenge accepted.
posted by magstheaxe at 8:21 AM on June 18, 2012


Without looking, I'm going to guess Brian Eno.
posted by LionIndex at 8:22 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have an Erdős number of 3. If being listed in the crew credits of a movie on IMDb counts, I have an Erdős-Bacon number number of 6. If being listed in the "special thanks" portion of a self-released record by a dude in 1998 counts, I more thank likely have a finite Erdős-Bacon-Sabbath number.

So, Natalie Portman, we have a lot in common. MeMail me.

Everyone has one of those numbers. Most of the time it's "0".

If you've never been in a movie listed on IMDb, your Bacon number is infinite. If you've never published in a scholarly journal, your Erdos number is infinite. Only Keven Bacon has a Bacon number of 0.
posted by King Bee at 8:22 AM on June 18, 2012 [15 favorites]


Then given that Bordin was playing as part of Sabbath, shouldn't he have a Sabbath number of zero?

I'd think you'd only have a Sabbath number of 0 while you are currently a member of Black Sabbath.
posted by zamboni at 8:26 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whoa, Doctor Brian Cox? That's Professor Brian Cox if you please!

Professor Brian Cox OBE if you really please.
posted by Nossidge at 8:27 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've seen Bacon numbers calculated with stage performances so you don't necessarily have to be listed on IMDb.

I did a few plays in high school. If only one of my co-stars had done anything on off-off-broadway, or a local commercial I could probably come up with a double-digit Bacon number. Sadly none of them did so. I guess I'm infinite there.

Similarly my paternal grandfather recorded 3 country songs in his youth and I remember singing in church with him so could (in theory) come up with a Sabbath number.

Come to think of it, anyone who has sung in public could probably come up with one.

An Erdos number, on the other hand, is completely out of reach for most people. I only know one person who has published scholarly papers.
posted by Bonzai at 8:38 AM on June 18, 2012


When I was in Harvard I smoked weed every day*
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:40 AM on June 18, 2012


An Erdos number, on the other hand, is completely out of reach for most people. I only know one person who has published scholarly papers.

But if you comment on a MeFi FPP by someone with a finite Erdos number, maybe you can count that as a collaboration!
posted by King Bee at 8:43 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Playing on the same album without actually performing together is a clear violation, akin to publishing an article in the same journal issue as Erdos without actually being a co-author. Sorry, Natalie.

So you're saying that her Sabbath number is irrational? "Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"--that's the sound of Erdos spinning in his grave.
posted by yoink at 8:43 AM on June 18, 2012


I can do better on Natalie Portman's Sabbath number, as follows.

Natalie performed with The Lonely Island's Andy Samberg on Natalie's Rap
... who performed with The Strokes' Julian Casablancas on Boombox
... who performed with Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme on Sick, Sick, Sick
... who regularly performs in QoTSA with Dave Grohl
... who performed with Tony Iommi on his 2000 album Iommi.

Giving Natalie a Sabbath number of maximum 5, unless I'm mistaken. I reckon you could do better by following up some stuff in Iommi, it's a goldmine of links.
posted by spielzebub at 8:44 AM on June 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


(Also if we're counting stage performances, I have a Bacon number of 3. I will be signing autographs later.)
posted by spielzebub at 8:45 AM on June 18, 2012


One year for Christman, Uncle Kevin sent us a bunch of t-shirts with his face and a number on them. Mom got a 1 and my sister and I got 2s.

Dad got a Best Buy gift card.

Awkward.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:55 AM on June 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


You don't have an infinite Sabbath, Bacon, or Erdös number if there's no connection, the number simply does not exist. Which in math is abbreviated as ø or sometimes DNE. Like "single-digit integers with a value greater than 25", there's not infinitely many of them, they just are not possible.
posted by Jon_Evil at 8:56 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Does this mean if Portman achieves the EGOT, we have reached the entertainment apocalypse, heralding the end of days?
posted by Diablevert at 8:57 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


The concepts "digit" and "integer" are orthogonal. Digits are devices for representing integers, which themselves do not have digits.
posted by kenko at 8:58 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


(If integers had digits, then some bases would be wrong!)

Anyway, whenever this topic comes up I link to this old post of mine, so I'll do that here too.
posted by kenko at 8:59 AM on June 18, 2012


I am shocked that Story Musgrave, the closest thing to a real-life Buckaroo Banzai, is not on this list. He doesn't have an Erdos number!
posted by mkb at 8:59 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have an Erdős number of 4, and it's fun to see mathematicians' reactions to that after they realize that I can barely count to ten without using my hands.
posted by cmonkey at 9:00 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Who else might have one... Greg Graffin?

Oh, Graffin's a good candidate. And now you've got me wondering about research biochemist Milo Aukerman....
posted by Ian A.T. at 9:04 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jon_Evil: You don't have an infinite Sabbath, Bacon, or Erdös number if there's no connection, the number simply does not exist. Which in math is abbreviated as ø or sometimes DNE. Like "single-digit integers with a value greater than 25", there's not infinitely many of them, they just are not possible.

From the wiki: A person with no such coauthorship chain connecting to Erdős has an Erdős number of infinity (or an undefined one).
posted by King Bee at 9:05 AM on June 18, 2012


(Also if we're counting stage performances, I have a Bacon number of 3. I will be signing autographs later.)

My god, so do I. And the last link in my Bacon chain is Victor Wong, who played Egg Shen in Big Trouble in Little China.

This is going on my business cards.
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:06 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I should elaborate. It's because this is a distance between two vertices in a graph problem. If there is no path connecting the two vertices, i.e., if they belong to different connected components, then conventionally the distance is defined as infinite. If you haven't published a scholarly paper, you're an isolated vertex in the "collaboration with Erdos" graph, so your distance to any other vertex is infinite.
posted by King Bee at 9:09 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Shaq's got to be somewhere on that list soon, right?
posted by Navelgazer at 9:14 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Okay, I was in a student film with a Lisa Boggio (both of us had speaking parts). She was also in Wild Things (non-speaking role) with Kevin Bacon. That's 3 I think.
I've authored a paper in Forensic Linguistics regarding the West Memphis Three case. Black Sabbath is all over this case, with support, meeting up, etc. That's 3, I think.
I've co-authored papers that involve phylogenetics including some mathematical arguments, I imagine these must eventually be at least six degrees distant from Erdos. If that route doesn't work for me, I was in the film "West of Memphis" produced by Peter Jackson. Jackson directed Adrien Brody in King Kong. Adrien Brody was with Natalie Portman in Darjeeling Limited. So that's 3 plus Natalie's number, 5, making 8. 14 total.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:14 AM on June 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


If anyone thinks they have a finite Erdos number and is looking for a way to calculate it but you don't have access to MathSciNet, you can MeMail me and I'll check it for you.
posted by King Bee at 9:19 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ondar > Bela Fleck > Bruce Hornsby > Jerry Garcia > Bob Dylan > Anton Fig > Ace Frehley > Eric Singer

There's no way you need 5 moves to get from Hornsby to Sabbath. No way. Offhand (with a little Wikipedia help) I see Hornsby > Elton John (EJ guests on BH's Halcyon Days) > Ozzy Osbourne (OO performed on "Tears in Heaven" cover with EJ (and the song was written by Eric Clapton, who is also on Halcyon Days, but whevs)), which cuts three off Feynman's Sabbath Number. But I bet there's a direct link between Hornsby and Sabbath. Hell, there might be a direct link between Bela and Sabbath.
posted by dirtdirt at 9:22 AM on June 18, 2012


If appearing in the same documentary as George Romero and Tom Savini counts, I have a Bacon number of 2, which might just be worth tattooing on my left bicep.
posted by Shepherd at 9:22 AM on June 18, 2012


I've Erdos number three via Greg Cherlin and Saharon Shelah, and I could acquire a Bacon number by being an extra perhaps, but I fear my Sabbath number shall remain infinite.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:27 AM on June 18, 2012


There's a guy named Dave Aguilar who was in the 1960s garage band, the Chocolate Watchband, who later became a professor of astronomy. As a member of the Chocolate Watchband, he appeared in the 1967 exploitation flick, Riot on Sunset Strip, with Aldo Ray, which gives him a maximum Bacon Number of 3 (Dave Aguilar --> Aldo Ray --> Robert Duvall --> Kevin Bacon). Unfortunately, I can't establish an Erdos number for his astronomy career or a Sabbath number for any member of the Chocolate Watchband.
posted by jonp72 at 9:31 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Does Kevin Bacon's appearance on Celebrity Jeopardy count? 'Cause that would give a whole lot of people twos.
posted by thecaddy at 9:35 AM on June 18, 2012


My brother has a Bacon-Erdos number. It's 6. He's also a local musician with a handful of recordings and collaborations, so it's theoretically possible that he has a Sabbath number, although it would be crazy high.

My brother is a lot cooler than I am.
posted by KathrynT at 9:36 AM on June 18, 2012


Gregg Turner from Angry Samoans is a math PhD. He was in "Angry Samoans: True Documentary," directed by sometime BOC video director Richard Casey. Casey went on to direct 1988's Hellbent, starring one keyboardist Phil Ward, who himself two sits a mere two degrees from Bacon.

Connecting Angry Samoans and Sabbath shouldn't be that hard (likely through Metal Mike Saunders), and Turner's PhD work should put him in a respectable striking distance of Erdos. Perhaps?
posted by milquetoast at 9:37 AM on June 18, 2012


Wait, hold on, my brother performed with Jason Webley, who collaborated with Amanda Palmer, who was in the Dresden Dolls with Brian Viglione, who played drums on a Nine Inch Nails album. Can you get from NIN to Sabbath? If you can, then my brother has a Bacon-Erdos-Sabbath number.
posted by KathrynT at 9:48 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is interesting. I just found out I have an Erdos number of 5.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:49 AM on June 18, 2012


If anyone thinks they have a finite Erdos number and is looking for a way to calculate it but you don't have access to MathSciNet, you can MeMail me and I'll check it for you.

In fact, the collaboration distance page is free access (but it only checks journals indexed by MathSciNet).

Is this where I mention my Erdos number is 2?
posted by leahwrenn at 9:53 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can you get from NIN to Sabbath?

Easy! Grohl drummed on With Teeth, and he sung on a song on Iommi's record, who was in Sabbath.

In fact, the collaboration distance page is free access (but it only checks journals indexed by MathSciNet).

I didn't know that! I suppose the "Free Tools" thing should have tipped me off. =)
posted by King Bee at 9:56 AM on June 18, 2012


Easy! Grohl drummed on With Teeth, and he sung on a song on Iommi's record, who was in Sabbath.

OK. So Patrick's B-E-S number is, at most, 15.
posted by KathrynT at 9:58 AM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


KathrynT: That's amazing! Care to share details on the Erdos and Bacon number? If this changes to Brian May, Natalie Portman, Richard Feynman and some Mefite's brother I think that would be just about perfect.
posted by Cosine at 10:00 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Does it count if you've smoked weed with Bacon, Erdos, and Tommy Iomi all at the same time?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:00 AM on June 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


Holy crap, my Sabbath number is going to be four in a couple of months.
posted by malocchio at 10:00 AM on June 18, 2012


The Bacon number is because he had a speaking role in an indie film whose female star had a one-line speaking role in a Kevin Bacon film. The Erdos number is because he has a degree in computer science and co-authored a paper with (I think) Cliff Mass on probablistic weather forecasting. Memail me if you want more specific details, I'd give them here but I haven't gotten permission from him.

Now, to be fair, the Webley connection is that he played in a sort of a supergroup with him at a friend's wedding reception. But it was ON A STAGE and they were next to each other!
posted by KathrynT at 10:04 AM on June 18, 2012


I think I can get a Sabbath number for Dave Aguilar of the Chocolate Watchband. Aguilar was lead singer of the group of the Chocolate Watchband when Gary Andrijasevich was the drummer. Aguilar left before the Watchband recorded One Step Beyond, but Andrijasevich played on the track, "Devil's Motorcycle," from that album with some guest guitar-work from Jerry Miller of Moby Grape. Now, plugging it into Band-to-Band.com, Jerry Miller was in Moby Grape with Skip Spence, who played drums in the original incarnation of Jefferson Airplane with Paul Kantner. Kantner was in Jefferson Starship with Aynsley Dunbar. Dunbar played in Whitesnake with Neil Murray, who played bass in Black Sabbath in the mid-90s. So that gives Aguilar a Bacon number of 3 and a Sabbath number of 6. Can anybody fill in Dave Aguilar's Erdos number? He was a professor of astronomy at the University of Colorado, IIRC, and then later left academia to work in the aerospace industry.
posted by jonp72 at 10:14 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


If it's the D. A. Aguilar who wrote "Internal wave generation from rough topography", his Erdos number is at most 6.
posted by King Bee at 10:18 AM on June 18, 2012


The Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath number combines math/science, movies, and rock. There is obviously something missing here.

Sex.

The Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath-Holmes number. I'll just let you think about that for a bit.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 10:20 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath-Holmes number.

No,no, no. It should be the Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath-Jeremy number.
posted by Mcable at 10:24 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


If it's the D. A. Aguilar who wrote "Internal wave generation from rough topography", his Erdos number is at most 6.

Close, but I think Dave Aguilar was not in academia at the time, but already working in the aerospace industry.
posted by jonp72 at 10:26 AM on June 18, 2012


I have a Bacon Number of either 2 or 3 depending on whether you count crew or not.

The film I'm currently working on has Wallace Shawn in it, who has a Bacon Number of 1, making my Bacon Number 2. But I'm a crew member, not an actor.

I was in a college play with a kid who had an uncredited role in Moonlight Mile, which stars a number of folks with Bacon Numbers of 2 (Susan Sarandon and Jake Gyllenhaal, most notably). Making my official Bacon Number 3. If theatre counts.

If theatre doesn't count, I'm still a 3, having been an extra in a Bollywood film called Khabi Alvida Na Kehna, which stars Amitabh Bachchan, who has a Bacon Number of 2.

If Kevin Bacon ever did Celebrity Jeopardy!, I'm back to being a 2, or possibly a 1 depending on whether I have to go through Trebek or get the direct connection from us both being Jeopardy! contestants at some point.

Does holding one's own at karaoke alongside professional musicians grant one a Black Sabbath Number? If so, I'm an academic publication away from Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath status.
posted by Sara C. at 10:27 AM on June 18, 2012


Dave Aguilar was not in academia at the time

Hmm. MathSciNet is only giving me one D. Aguilar, so that's all I've got.
posted by King Bee at 10:31 AM on June 18, 2012


I'm pretty sure I contributed a flute track to one song on a Napalm Death tribute album (I am not making that up) but I don't know (a) what the song was called or (b) what the band was called that I was in the studio with, but I feel like that gives me a pretty good chance of a finite Sabbath number.
posted by Wolfdog at 10:45 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Huh, this made me check my Erdos number, it's now down to 4.

Unfortunately for me I'm musically incompetent and have no movie industry connections, so that's all I've got.
posted by nat at 10:45 AM on June 18, 2012


I do not have an Erdős, Bacon, or Sabbath number (or equivalently, they are all infinite), but I have a Morphy number of 6, having once played Alexandra Kosteniuk in an online simul.

Which may raise the question of Erdős-Bacon-Sabbath-Morphy numbers, except those are probably not too much rarer than Erdős-Bacon-Sabbath numbers: since the connection for Morphy numbers is simply "have played a game of chess against," regardless of whether the game was face-to-face, correspondence, online, etc., and also regardless of whether it was a rated tournament game or just a friendly game, I expect the vast majority of people who have ever played a game of chess have Morphy numbers. The issue with Morphy numbers is not so much having one, which is probably quite common; but being able to determine what it is, which may be much more difficult for casual players.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:45 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


(Another key fact in that story is "...and I'm definitely not going to listen to tracks on Napalm Death tribute albums in the hopes of turning it up".)
posted by Wolfdog at 10:46 AM on June 18, 2012


I was in a college play with a kid who had an uncredited role in Moonlight Mile, which stars a number of folks with Bacon Numbers of 2 (Susan Sarandon and Jake Gyllenhaal, most notably). Making my official Bacon Number 3. If theatre counts.

That would give you a Bacon number of 4, not 3. If theatre counts.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:50 AM on June 18, 2012


Clearly I am never going to be getting that Erdos Number.
posted by Sara C. at 10:52 AM on June 18, 2012


I just found out I have an Erdos number of 5.

I just found I have a Bacon number of 2.

Holy damn.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:59 AM on June 18, 2012


Nonsense! The brilliant mathematician who can understand any number of advanced concepts but is inept at basic arithmetic is practically a stereotype, and not without reason. I had a professor like that once in an advanced math course: a very good teacher for the topics he was teaching us, but prone to make errors in basic arithmetic. Fortunately he was good-humored about it: once, when one of the students pointed out one of his errors (for probably the fourth time that week) he quipped, "There are three kinds of mathematicians: those who can count, and those who can't."
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:59 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think those Sabbath Numbers are all off by one. Being a member of the band is like being Erdos or Bacon, and so gives you a number of zero. That would make Brian May's s sabbath number 0 because he played on a Sabbath record, and his combined number 10.
posted by w0mbat at 11:09 AM on June 18, 2012


Did Rivers Cuomo ever publish while at Harvard? I'd think that would give him a respectable Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath number.
posted by piedmont at 11:11 AM on June 18, 2012


I was about to brag about how small my Eros number is, but then I realized I'm not so sure whether that's something to really brag about.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:15 AM on June 18, 2012


I don't have a Bacon number or an Erdos number, but my Sabbath number is 5. Through Itzhak Perlman.
posted by KathrynT at 11:17 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


So now I'm Marty. Just Marty. A girl named Marty.
posted by humboldt32 at 11:20 AM on June 18, 2012


Does animating stuff to voice talent count for Bacon purposes? Because if it does, I have a Bacon number of 3 from working on an ad for Quisp that had Corey Feldman's voice in it.

And I think my Sabbath number is four, as I did backup vocals for a song by the Consortium of Genius; they've had Sean Yseult of White Zombie do a bass track or two, and she's got a Sabbath number of three.

I've never published a scientific paper, though, so my Erdös number is nonexistent.

It is pretty cool to realize how potentially low my Bacon/Sabbath number is, though! I am cooler than I think. Or the world is more connected than I normally think it is. Probably the latter.

Also my Gir number (published connections to Jean "Mœbius" Girard, obviously) is probably about to drop precipitously due to me winning this.
posted by egypturnash at 11:20 AM on June 18, 2012


The lowest I can get myself is 6-6-7. Dude.
posted by one_bean at 11:29 AM on June 18, 2012


I suspect that Mayim Bialik could be in that club or darn close to it.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 11:30 AM on June 18, 2012


She's got a Bacon number of 2. As for the Sabbath number -- do we count Dr. John as having worked "with" her if it was only via "theme song for her show"?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:39 AM on June 18, 2012


Wait, I can get to Sabbath via Howard Shore! KathrynT --> Howard Shore --> London Symphony Orchestra --> Ozzy Osbourne. Does that make it a 3?
posted by KathrynT at 11:41 AM on June 18, 2012


Close, but I think Dave Aguilar was not in academia at the time, but already working in the aerospace industry.

People not in academia can publish in academic journals. I would bet that lots of aerospace researchers publish.
posted by kenko at 11:41 AM on June 18, 2012


My Erdős number appears to be, at worst, 7. Interesting.
posted by wintermind at 11:44 AM on June 18, 2012


Holy crap! I have a Sabbath number of 5 (through Kanye West and Tony Bennett, oddly), and a Bacon number of 3! I've never felt so connected... and, at the same time, like such an obvious utter failure in the field of mathematics.
posted by argonauta at 11:48 AM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Good timing for me. I just got an Erdos number of 6 yesterday, giving me an Erdos-Bacon number of 8. I was excited, but also a bit sad. My goal had been met, and I must admit I felt a bit aimless. But now? Now I have a new goal: the trifecta. Obtain a Sabbath number.
posted by k8lin at 11:58 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hmm, if we're counting crew credits on movies I've got a Bacon Number of 1 and an Erdős Number of 7. There's got to be a Sabbath Number out there for me but it might take me all week to figure it out (I have both Barry Manilow and Phish Numbers of 2, and one of those has got to connect eventually but I'll be damned if I can figure out the path...)
posted by range at 12:01 PM on June 18, 2012


Kevin Bacon < Rainn Wilson < Justin Bieber < Adolph Hitler < Thomas Edison
posted by swift at 12:13 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is that because Justin Bieber is worse than Adolph Hitler?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:20 PM on June 18, 2012


Good God! I just discovered I have a Bacon number of 3! I was in a community playhouse musical (an all-important extra in "110 in the Shade") with Mary Hart (then Harum) in Sioux Falls when I was in college. She, it turns out, has a Bacon number of 2. Given that this is my only acting performance ever anywhere, I am now not very impressed with low Bacon numbers. It also makes my Erdos number pathetic, given that I am a mathematics professional.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:32 PM on June 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


That was a surprisingly awesome read! Entertaining nerds can be so entertaining.
posted by danl at 12:34 PM on June 18, 2012


I have a Morphy number of 6

Although I don't believe it's been popularized, one could also conceive of a "Directed Morphy Number" where the linking relationship is "won a game of chess against" rather than "played a game of chess with." The "directed" here is taken from graph theory, as this relationship creates a directed graph, one where a connection from A to B does not necessarily imply a connection from B to A.

I was suprised and pleased to work out that I have a Directed Morphy Number of 7, courtesy of a youth I won a tournament game against in 2001. He was only rated ~1500 at the time, but was still in that "rapidly improving" phase, and he has since become a Master and notched up a few wins against International Masters.

When you go back to the earlier connections, it's easier to work out since at the highest echelons players who were active at the same time played multiple games against each other and are very likely to have gotten at least one win out of it. In my case, once I get to Korchnoi (only 3 steps!), the final 4 steps from Korchnoi to Morphy are the same for the Directed Morphy Number as for the standard Morphy Number.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:00 PM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Although I don't believe it's been popularized, one could also conceive of a "Directed Morphy Number"

In a similar twist on the Bacon number, the "Wilt Chamberlain number" is a path on a mostly bipartite graph. Mostly.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 1:07 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


God this took me a long time, but so very worth it, thanks to spielzebub for laying the groundwork:

braksandwich played in a band once with Bryant Clifford Meyer (who is in ISIS)
... who performed with Justin Chancellor (Tool) on Isis' "Altered Course" from the album Panopticon
... who plays with Maynard Keenan (Tool)
... who played with Josh Homme at some point (according to Wikipedia, in A Perfect Circle)
... who regularly performs in QoTSA with Dave Grohl
... who performed with Tony Iommi on his 2000 album Iommi

Las two line items stolen from spielzebub. Fuck yes, I am connected to Black fucking Sabbath.
posted by braksandwich at 1:09 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Huh. I have an Erdos number of 5, which is lower than I'd expected. Sadly, no Bacon or Sabbath numbers for me.
posted by research monkey at 1:12 PM on June 18, 2012


If you count crew listings, I suspect the distribution of Bacon numbers looks roughly like a gamma distribution with moderate-to-high skewness compared to the distribution of Erdos numbers. My limited evidence for this conjecture is that I work in a cheminformatics lab and my Bacon number is half my Erdos number.
posted by invitapriore at 1:24 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm a mathematician, and if you count TV appearances my Bacon number (4) is smaller than my Erdös number (5). It's a little sad how much I'm racking my brains for a Slayer number...
posted by Omission at 1:35 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


My braksandwich number is five.
posted by malocchio at 1:41 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've been trying to get my Bacon number down from 3 to 2 for about ten minutes now (counting actors who have been on things I've written), and apparently for modern working actors the average Bacon number is 2. So far every actor I've tried has been a two.
posted by Bookhouse at 1:46 PM on June 18, 2012


Bacon number of 4, via David Gardiner, the priest in Detroit Rock City.
posted by dazed_one at 1:49 PM on June 18, 2012


I was chuckling at how hopeless it was for me to have any of these numbers, then realized I possibly DO have a Sabbath one (a guitarist in my high school band recorded with Levon Helm) - THEN I remembered I used to work with a cousin of Kyra Sedgwick's, though I'm assuming you can't have a "Bacon-in-law" number(?)
posted by jalexei at 2:07 PM on June 18, 2012


Seems I have an Erdös number of 5. Sadly, no Sabbath or Bacon number.
posted by pemberkins at 2:34 PM on June 18, 2012


I always played the music 6 degrees of separation game with Brian Eno...
posted by speicus at 2:38 PM on June 18, 2012


I was at a conference recently where Imogen Heap was a third author, which means she almost certainly has a finite E-B-S number. Anyone want to try to calculate it?
posted by speicus at 2:42 PM on June 18, 2012


Since Natalie Portman's performance of Natalie's rap also counts as her portraying herself in a Saturday Night Live sketch, this also possibly places her in the Tommy Westphall Multiverse. Unless there's a connection there for Feynman and May, kind of means that Portman has either achieved some sort of metaphysical singularity, or does not exist at all.
posted by billyfleetwood at 2:47 PM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


My Elvis number is 3.
posted by Jode at 2:53 PM on June 18, 2012


Here's a pretty good tool for calculating Erdos number... I believe I score a 4.
posted by kaibutsu at 3:10 PM on June 18, 2012


What, no Stephen Fry? Surely Stephen Fry must fit in there somewhere :)
posted by kaemaril at 3:11 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hmmm, I have a Bacon number of 1 (I was on a crew on one of his movies, and independently, I once met his father), I have been published in the British Medical Journal... now all I need is for Black Sabbath to call me in to play banjo or French Horn on an album and I'm well on my way to world domination!

I'll just sit by the phone with bated breath...
posted by 1f2frfbf at 3:12 PM on June 18, 2012


Same here, EmpressCallipygos -- apparently my Bacon number is 2. I had no idea.

Jurgen Fauth was in Ultrachrist! (2003) with Don Creech was in X-Men: First Class (2011) with Kevin Bacon
posted by muckster at 3:25 PM on June 18, 2012


My Bacon number is 2. As Bookhouse asserts, I bet that most North American actors who do even a little (I only have 3 credits) TV or Film are often 2s.
posted by stray at 3:54 PM on June 18, 2012


I have a Sabbath number of 4 and a Bacon number of 3. If anybody with a finite Erdös number wants to hire me as a research assistant in their lab (I have qualifications), I will play in your band and be in your film.
posted by Jon_Evil at 4:25 PM on June 18, 2012


"Officially", do the projects have to be commercial or distributed or anything like that? I ask because I have been in movies with at least one person (maybe more) who is known to have a finite Bacon number, and have recorded music with at least a couple people (maybe more) who I strongly suspect have finite Sabbath numbers, but they were self-made kinds of things done for our own amusement.

I have also collaborated on math homework projects with various people who have finite Erdos numbers, but I guess that probably doesn't count.

Ummmm, and I played in little league with a guy who made it to the high minors... I almost certainly have a finite Ruth number! Sort of.
posted by Flunkie at 4:56 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


OK, upon closer inspection, if things like that count, then I have:(OK, so little league and math homework are even more highly questionable than non-published movies and music, but hey)
posted by Flunkie at 5:46 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think Flashman had the best celebrity numbers ever.
posted by vidur at 5:54 PM on June 18, 2012


Ooooh, wait, I just remembered I was in an actual people-pay-to-see-it production that would also give me a a Bacon number of at most 3. It was a play, not a movie, though. So if nonpublished movies don't count, do actual people-pay-to-see-it plays count?
posted by Flunkie at 5:58 PM on June 18, 2012


I'm not too surprised at the low Bacon numbers especially compared to Erdos or Sabbath. Acting is a profession where large amounts of people are brought together for a limited period of time and then for the next project its usually a lot more new people.

In Mathematics I assume the amount of time to getting a paper published is longer than it takes for a movie to be made and will be done with fewer people.

In music bands are together a whole lot longer so the connections take a lot longer to be made.

Kevin Bacon is still a very proliferate actor and so lots of those numbers and for new actors are going to be pretty low and keep getting lower the more he acts and current living people act. The Erdos numbers I can imagine might have some cases that go down, but at a much lower rate and newer people that enter the field will start with higher and higher numbers that will have less chances to decrease. Sabbath numbers already on the average are looking a lot higher and even though they are active currently probably won't do much to decrease current numbers.

Not sure what I'm getting at, just observations here. My B-E-S number and all its constituents is infinite. This will not change.
posted by Phantomx at 6:59 PM on June 18, 2012


I was convinced Tom Lehrer was a good bet for another B-E-Sser.

Erdos number 4: Tom Lehrer --> W. F. Penney --> John Riordan --> Ron Graham --> Paul Erdos.

Bacon number 2: Lehrer was in "Hey, Mr. Producer! The Musical World of Cameron Mackintosh (1998)" along with Hugh Jackman, who has a Bacon number of 1.

I somehow thought Sabbath number would have been the easiest, since Lehrer is primarily known as a musician. But he seems to have recorded almost no music in collaboration with others. The only such music I can find is The Physical Revue, and the other performers were all students (who ended up being Nobel Prize winners and presidential advisors and things).

If anyone can track down a Lehrer --> Sabbath trajectory then we'll have a new entry.
posted by louigi at 7:30 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


specius, According to Wikipedia Imogen Heap has collaborated with Jon Bon Jovi, who we can connect to Black Sabbath in 2 steps.

Also, Imogen Heap and Eric Clapton were both in "Jeff Beck at Ronnie Scott's (2008)"; Eric Clapton and Kevin Bacon were both in "Elvis Lives (2003)".

So, what about this conference paper?
posted by louigi at 7:38 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


range, here is your Phish connection.

-Trey Anastasio of Phish and Stewart Copeland of the Police played together in Oysterhead.
-Sting has collaborated with percussionist B.J. Cole.
-B.J. Cole also played for Trapeze, a band with Glen Hughes, who sang
on Black Sabbath's "Seventh Star" album.

posted by louigi at 7:46 PM on June 18, 2012


Does sleeping and collaborating i.e., having children count towards my Erdoes number? 'cause if it does, then I am rocking a three. My Bacon number is woeful since I only catered a movie production. Sabbath, man I have to work on the Sabbath.
posted by jadepearl at 7:53 PM on June 18, 2012


Let's see ... Oracle of Bacon says my gf's Bacon number is 2.

A quick bit of checking finds an Erdos number of no more than 7, although it's probably actually significantly lower than that.

... And she's in a band, but I haven't got the faintest clue how to track down her Sabbath number.
posted by kyrademon at 8:24 PM on June 18, 2012


Regarding Tom Lehrer ... the most likely source of collaborations for him, I think, is going to be the stuff he wrote and sung for The Electric Company. Although I can't find most of the musicians who backed his vocals, that almost certainly gets us Joe Raposo. You might know Joe Raposo as the composer of songs such as "C is for Cookie" and the themes to Sesame Street, The Electric Company, and Three's Company. Although specific credits are hard to find, Joe Raposo probably played music for most of the musical guest stars on Sesame Street and The Electric Company from at least 1969-1974. I'd be REALLY surprised if we couldn't find a connection from there to Black Sabbath.

(Note - not the same Joe Raposo as the bassist for hardcore punk band Rich Kids on LSD.)
posted by kyrademon at 9:40 PM on June 18, 2012


I'm not even going to try Erdos. Maybe through Cynthia Webster, Bob Moog, or Don Buchla if I'm lucky. But probably not.

Bacon... 3 through Gwyneth Paltrow. I worked at a company a decade ago that put on a foreign press junket for Shallow Hal in Santa Monica. I handed her a glass of water and timed the interviews. She conducted some of the interviews in perfect Spanish. It was cool.

Sabbath... My husband's a technician and worked on Ozzy's Arp 2600 9 years ago.

Eric Singer's an acquaintance of mine via my husband. We got one of our dearly departed cats from him. He's been a touring drummer for ages. My husband and I saw him play with Alice Cooper a dozen years ago. He's a really nice guy. :)
posted by luckynerd at 10:25 PM on June 18, 2012


Does it count if you've smoked weed with Bacon, Erdos, and Tommy Iomi all at the same time?

Eh, Paul You've set mathematics back a month Erdős was more the tweaker type.

Maybe we need a new number to bring it all together, the Burroughs number?
posted by formless at 11:40 PM on June 18, 2012


As Tom Leher had a singing part in Hey Mr. Producer!, I believe it also counts toward his Sabbath number. The finale of that show was a Sondheim song by the entire cast, which means he performed with David Cambell, who did a duet with Jimmy Barnes on an album. Barnes sang in Living Loud with Steve Morse, who was in Deep Purple, whose singer Ian Gillan replaced Dio for a short time in 1983.

Therefore Lehrer has a Sabbath number of 5, and a Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath number of 11, tying him with Brian May.
posted by Jon_Evil at 12:16 AM on June 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


I worked at a company a decade ago that put on a foreign press junket for Shallow Hal in Santa Monica. I handed her a glass of water and timed the interviews.

I think this is the real reason Bacon numbers are so low. That's not at all the same thing as acting in a film that Gweneth Paltrow appeared in, or even working as part of the crew of a film that Gweneth Paltrow appeared in. Or even really stretchy stuff like working with someone who was in a documentary that Gweneth Paltrow narrated. That said, my Bacon numbers are every bit as hand-wavey.

If people were being strictly honest about the criteria, I think it would be Sabbath numbers that would be higher, just thinking of the number of people who play music growing up, number of random band geeks who grow up to be session musicians/small-time rockstars, etc. There are a lot more Clarence Clemonses out there than Gweneth Paltrows.
posted by Sara C. at 9:26 AM on June 19, 2012


My wife has a Bacon number of 3. Has anyone beaten that already, because I didn't read the comments before throwing this out there.
posted by theichibun at 1:16 PM on June 19, 2012


I have a bacon number of 0.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:17 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have a bacon number of 0.

Oh, my God! The post is coming from INSIDE KEVIN BACON!!!
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:38 PM on June 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


I just realized that my Buddy Guy story nets me a Sabbath Number of 5 (Guy->Eric Clapton->Jack Bruce (Blind Faith)-> Bill Ward (solo)-> Sabbath). Anyone with a Erdos number of less than 7 want to give me co-author credit? You will be granted status as Grand Vizier and Mathmagician when my greatness is realized and I become King of the World and Dictator for Life?
posted by 1f2frfbf at 3:07 PM on June 19, 2012


What about Carrie Brownstein?

Bacon Number: 3 through traditional "feature films only" routes. Probably lower if you connect her through Portlandia guest stars.

Sabbath Number: 4. Sleater-Kinney collaborated with Fred Schneider of the B-52's on the Hedwig And The Angry Inch covers album to benefit the Harvey Milk School. Lee Thornburg has played for both the B-52's and Yes. Rick Wakeman, formerly of
Yes, played on Black Sabbath's album "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath".

Erdos Number? Guesses?
posted by Sara C. at 12:12 PM on June 20, 2012


Feynman>Ondar > Bela Fleck > Bruce Hornsby > Jerry Garcia > Bob Dylan > Anton Fig > Ace Frehley > Eric Singer

FAIL

Feynamn>Ondar>Bela Fleck>Ginger Baker>Gary Moore>Ozzy Osbourne
Feynman>Ondar>Bela Fleck>Ginger Baker>Jack Bruce>Bill Ward

Getting to Ginger Baker is sort of like finding a warp hole shortcut.
posted by snottydick at 1:12 PM on June 20, 2012


Who else might have one... Greg Graffin? Bill Clinton?

Did Carl Sagan or Albert Einstein ever perform music publicly?
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 8:15 AM on June 18 [+] [!]


Greg Graffin has a 3
He plays in Bad Religion with Brooks Wackerman, who was in Infectious Grooves with Robert Trujillo, who quit to join Ozzy's solo band

Bill Clinton has a 4
played a jam session with Czech President Vaclav Havel in the early 1990s. Havel also played with Plastic People Of The Universe in the 1970s. They were named after a Zappa song, and Havel later appointed Frank Zappa as a cultural attache of the Czech government. Zappa produced the first two Alice Cooper albums and Alice went on to hire Eric Singer as a drummer on at least one album (Along Came A Spider).

Albert Einstein never performed PUBLICLY per se, but he could be said to have a 7
He was an avid violinist who performed private concerts for family and friends alongside many professional musicians over the years, including the Julliard Quartet, which included Robert Mann. Robert Mann>Leonard Bernstein>Louis Armstrong>Johnny Cash>Eric Clapton>Jack Bruce>Bill Ward

Carl Sagan never played music, but if you want to stretch it out, he did compile the Golden Record on the Voyager probe. It contained a song by Chuck Berry, who has played with about a bajillion rock musicians over the years. So...
posted by snottydick at 1:49 PM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Incidentally, I have a Black Sabbath number of 6.
posted by snottydick at 2:02 PM on June 20, 2012


And now you've got me wondering about research biochemist Milo Aukerman....

His Sabbath number is 5 and his Bacon number is 4.

I don't know or care about Erdos. Math is for squares.
posted by snottydick at 2:12 PM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also cubes and polynomials.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:16 PM on June 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Holy crap, I just checked, I have an actual Bacon number of 3 through Jimmy Kimmel and Ben Stein. Now if I publish a paper with Mr. jadepearl than I get the Erdos 3. Mr. Jadepearl gets a 3 on the Bacon through Dick Cavett. Black Sabbath, got to get me a Sabbath number.
posted by jadepearl at 4:44 PM on June 20, 2012


I have an actual Bacon number of 3 through Jimmy Kimmel and Ben Stein... Black Sabbath, got to get me a Sabbath number.

I think you have a 6:

Ben Stein>Kevin Kline>Will Smith>Billy Idol>Tony Iommi
posted by snottydick at 8:02 AM on June 21, 2012


Does Bacon have an Erdös number?
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:10 AM on June 21, 2012


OMG I need to now publish a paper with the Mr. and then buy a lottery ticket! Thank you, errr... I'll memail you my thanks.
posted by jadepearl at 7:31 AM on June 23, 2012


God DAMN!!!

This is Sean at timeblimp.com, the guy who wrote the original article. I am damn impressed! And suitably chastened by my pathetic attempt at Feynman's Sabbath number, which you all have almost cut in half. Thank you!

Does anyone object if I update the article at timeblimp.com with your derivations? I will 1) link here, 2) give you credit, and 3) stop making jokes about how I'll share the profits with you. And 4) make the Feynman-to-Sabbath link even longer, just to be cheeky.

Cheers!
posted by timeblimp at 10:45 PM on June 26, 2012 [11 favorites]


I'm one of the people who whittled down Feynman's Sabbath number up there, and I would be amused and delighted to see my contribution to this exciting field of study noted. Weee!

PS: Welcome to MetaFilter, we are also talking about this stuff over here.
posted by dirtdirt at 9:39 AM on June 27, 2012


I believe my Bacon number and Sabbath numbers are both 3. Interestingly, my Bacon number is the same through Tom Wopat, Jane Kaczmarek AND Alex Trebek.
posted by Madamina at 9:58 AM on June 27, 2012


Just found that my Erdos number is 4 and my wife's will be 6 soon.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 11:18 AM on June 27, 2012


Timeblimp, I personally don't mind. If you want, I can contact my brother and get his permission for you to include him in the article -- his B-E-S number is, I think, 11.
posted by KathrynT at 11:48 AM on June 27, 2012


I have a Bacon number of 2 and I saw Sabbath play live when Ozzy was still in the band.
posted by perhapses at 1:18 PM on June 27, 2012


I was surprised to find just now that a lot of biologists actually have low Erdös numbers - both Eric Lander and Eugene Koonin, two famous, prolific and highly cited modern biologists, had Erdös numbers of 2. I have paths going through both, which I'd imagine is pretty common.

(There's a slim chance I might actually have a finite Sabbath number -- what's the best database to check for music? Discogs maybe?)
posted by en forme de poire at 2:23 PM on June 27, 2012


timeblimp: check your memail. :-)
posted by KathrynT at 2:49 PM on June 27, 2012


Hmm. I've got a Bacon number of two and a Sabbath number of 4. I don't think I stand any chance of having an Erdos number though.
posted by blaneyphoto at 3:27 PM on June 27, 2012


I just discovered that I have an Erdos number of 6, which is pretty good for an ecologist, I would think. (Hint to other non-mathematicians: keep entering names of your mathiest coauthors into the tool linked above, and you're bound to hit one sooner or later). My Bacon and Sabbath numbers are sadly infinite though.
posted by hydropsyche at 3:35 PM on June 27, 2012


Actually, I'm musically 4 steps from Sabbath but through film, I'm 3 steps from Ozzy.
posted by blaneyphoto at 3:38 PM on June 27, 2012


One of my friends has played on stage and in recordings with General Guinness and Eileen Ivers; that makes me tend to think she must have a Sabbath number. I don't know if she published any scholarly articles in college, but it's possible. I can't think of anything she's been in that might net her a Bacon number, though we were both in dance recitals with multiple people who appeared in Feet of Flames/Riverdance/Lord of the Dance, which is kind of like acting, right?

I was in stage productions and at least one documentary with several people who've actually gotten paid to appear in things, and several of my fellow documentarians were in an earlier documentary with Kevin Smith and also Ringers, which involved an absolute boatload of famous guests, so I assume I have a finite Bacon number (I can't believe I'm actually regretting hiding from the cameras so much when Ringers stuff was being filmed.) I played violin in an elementary school orchestra with people who played in various ensembles in college, so there is a non-zero chance that I have a finite, though presumably large, Sabbath number. Gosh darn it all, now I need to cowrite something appearing in an academic journal.
posted by SMPA at 6:59 PM on June 27, 2012


It just occurred to me that I might have a Bacon number of 3, which is pretty neat. In high school, I'm fairly sure that I appeared in a play with a guy who went on to have some success on Broadway and has a Bacon number of 2. I *rule*.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 8:08 PM on June 27, 2012


Thanks everyone, especially cosine for starting this thread! I'm cobbling a list of all known EBS numbers together to put it all in one place, so I'll post something when I get it up and running.

Incidentally, check out Ross Churchley's blog for a TON more buzz about these numbers (http://www.rosschurchley.com/2012/who-else-has-an-erdos-bacon-sabbath-number/) -- he was the first to find a person with all three (Brian May), and he recently figured out Brian Cox's EBS number. Then Brian Cox freaking TWEETED ABOUT IT! Ross figured out a bunch more links, so between this page, his page, and a couple other places, I'm counting at least fifteen people with EBS numbers. Damn cool!
posted by timeblimp at 8:20 PM on June 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


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


So, what about this conference paper?

Thanks louigi! So Imogen Heap was a co-author of a paper with Sebastian Madgwick, who has an Erdos number of 4 according to this.

So E = 5, B = 2 and S = 3, so Imogen Heap has an EBS number of 10? Is that right?
posted by speicus at 1:39 AM on June 28, 2012


leahwrenn:Is this where I mention my Erdos number is 2?

Hey, mine too! I've performed publicly with professional musicians who, I'm sure, have some pretty high distances to Sabbath. My uncle, however, has a Bacon number of two. I think that still leaves me with an infinite EBS number.
posted by monkeymadness at 6:17 AM on June 28, 2012


All three of mine are infinite (or undefined) and it's somewhat inconceivable that they will ever be otherwise.
posted by blm at 1:12 PM on June 28, 2012


You have my permission.
posted by jadepearl at 6:47 PM on June 29, 2012


Sabbath, man I have to work on the Sabbath.

Wait, what?
posted by eriko at 8:48 AM on July 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Getting to Ginger Baker

...is the name of my next band.
posted by eriko at 8:49 AM on July 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I hereby define the League of Unconnectedness.

Membership criteria, third class -- you have an Erdős, Bacon or Sabbath number of ø.

Membership criteria, second class -- you have more than one of the follow numbers -- Erdős, Bacon or Sabbath-- less than infinity, but your Erdős-Bacon-Sabbath number is equal to ø.

Membership criteria, first class -- you have ø as your Erdős, Bacon and Sabbath number.
posted by eriko at 9:13 AM on July 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


eriko: I think you mean ∞ instead of ø. If so, I'm second class, baby! It's like getting a ribbon for "also ran". So proud.
posted by monkeymadness at 12:11 PM on July 1, 2012


Speicous and Louigi, well done on the Imogen Heap links! 10 is a pretty damn good score -- we're starting to get a lot of folks at 11, but very few at 10 or below.

I also like the League of Unconnectedness -- especially that it's capitalized like that, it makes me picture a giant meeting hall where the League meets, to discuss matters pertaining to never being connected to Erdos, Bacon, or Sabbath. The poor soul who joins a successful band would get blackballed, and would be forced to turn in their ceremonial cape...

I think I'm better at dreaming up backstories than I am at tracking down coauthorship links...
posted by timeblimp at 10:56 PM on July 1, 2012


eriko: I think you mean ∞ instead of ø

No. As King Bee noted above, ø is not zero, ø is "Not Defined" or "Not a Number" . If you have no connection to Bacon, your Bacon number is not infinite, your Bacon number is *not defined*. For one thing, you cannot have an infinite Bacon number because there isn't an infinite number of actors in the universe.

Adding one to infinity results in infinity. Adding one to ø is an error, you can't add one to something that isn't a number.

The poor soul who joins a successful band would get blackballed, and would be forced to turn in their ceremonial cape...

Or exchange it for the badge and ceremonial chain of the LU2, or the medal of the LU3.
posted by eriko at 6:49 AM on July 2, 2012


ø is often the empty set as well.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:33 AM on July 2, 2012


eriko, it's actually usually defined as infinity, as King Bee said above. Erdos number comes from the concept of distance in a connected graph; the distance between two points with no path between them is infinite.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:10 AM on July 2, 2012


eriko: If two vertices are in separate components of a graph then their distance is conventionally infinite. The empty set is never used for distance measurement.
posted by monkeymadness at 1:41 PM on July 2, 2012


I love the geekiness of this thread, but I especially love the discussion over the empty/null set over infinite.

Though I will have to say, yeah, for distances in a graph it is conventional to call the distance between two points with no path infinite though I do love that null set character.
posted by lizarrd at 1:58 PM on July 2, 2012


Oops, I forgot a publication. My Erdős number is actually 4. Sweet!
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:25 PM on July 5, 2012


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