Six degrees of Typhoid Mary. And that's just the sophomores.
June 29, 2007 7:00 PM   Subscribe

I love my friends...My friends love me...We're just as friendly...As friends can be...And just because...We really care... Whatever we get, we share.
posted by jfuller (24 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I couldn't help but notice the similarity to a Maldebrot set. I wonder if it would be able to come up with a mathematical model to predict hookups. At the very least "random hookups" would have a completely different meaning.

If I remember correctly there was a Dateline about a bunch of rich teens outside of Atlanta who had nearly zero parental supervision. It only became noteworthy because someone in the group contracted an STD and it spread incredibly fast. It was somewhat interesting, in that the teens got freaky, with threesomes and things being somewhat commonplace in a rather diverse group of people. The whole thing took on somewhat of a racist overtone when the report went into a small group of -- gasp -- urban, black teens (different race and socio-economic group!) who somehow became a part of this sex-fest.
posted by geoff. at 7:19 PM on June 29, 2007

posted by rxrfrx at 7:52 PM on June 29, 2007

I love how the article uses names from 90210 as examples. It makes it so much easier to understand now that I'm picturing Ian Ziering passing infections around.

That said, I have 2 stepsons in high school. I need to show them this and weld their zippers closed. Ugh.
posted by Biblio at 8:00 PM on June 29, 2007

I just came for the Tom Lehrer quote. Bravo!

I remember seeing something about this story like a year ago - anyone with me?
posted by pupdog at 8:05 PM on June 29, 2007

pupdog: Yeah. I know it was at least on Digg, not sure about here.
posted by niles at 8:15 PM on June 29, 2007

Wait, it wasn't like this for me in high school, where am I?

Oh, there I am, the little blue dot in the box.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 8:19 PM on June 29, 2007 [1 favorite]

1. Social network topologies, which is what this is an example of, is one of the big research areas in ID transmission.

2. I graphed one of these in boarding school.

3. I have no idea what these two facts mean.
posted by docgonzo at 8:29 PM on June 29, 2007

♪ Everyone else has higher degree than me. ♪
posted by Wolfdog at 8:47 PM on June 29, 2007

I hope Harry Potter finally vanquishes Maldebrot in the last book.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:48 PM on June 29, 2007 [3 favorites]

pupdog writes "I remember seeing something about this story like a year ago - anyone with me?"

Whoot! My first time being a doublee.
posted by Mitheral at 9:46 PM on June 29, 2007

Similar study but not a double.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 10:19 PM on June 29, 2007

Man...high scholl...see that little blue dot all alone on the far right near the key? That was me. Everyone else had so much fun...

University though...
posted by salishsea at 10:53 PM on June 29, 2007

The map contains no direct links—dark blue lines indicate that two students can infect each other through shared lovers, while gray arrows represent one-way transmission.

Someone clue me in--why would they do it that way instead of just using direct links? Does it give a better representation of the dimension of time, or of the actual risks of infection? It makes it harder to read. Like, that short, straight line without offbranchings that's kind of in the upper left... okay, so the blue lines mean they could have infected each other through shared lovers. But where are the shared lovers in that bit of the map? Wouldn't they necessarily be infected, too?
posted by Many bubbles at 12:39 AM on June 30, 2007

They want to map potential viral transmissions. If B1 and G1 had sex and then G1 and B2 had sex, and G1 didn't go back to B1, this map would show a one-way transmission from B1 to B2. A normal set of who-bonked-who links is cool, but this map shows that, in my example, B1 is safe from anything B2 might have, but B2 could have anything B1 might have given G1.
posted by pracowity at 12:55 AM on June 30, 2007

Wouldn't that be more easily shown by a triangle, though--with direct links between B1 and G1, and G1 and B2, and a one-way transmission between B1 and B2?

I guess I'm having trouble with that G1==B1==G2==B2... section, because it seems like if G1 and G2 both have two-way connections to B1, it seems like they should also have a two-way connection--or at least a one-way connection--to each other. (And ditto for B1 and B2, with G2.) But it says there aren't any direct links, so it seems like there must be other, invisible-on-the-map (or at least not connected to that network), dots: M1* was doing G1 and B1 at the same time, then they leave off and B1 starts dating M2, who's also dating G2, then G2 and M2 break up and G2 starts dating M3, who is also dating B2.

Or is there another way that could work?

*M for Mystery Gender
posted by Many bubbles at 1:22 AM on June 30, 2007

Condoms condoms condoms condoms. Condoms. High school students in the states should have to wade through a shallow sea of condoms on their way to class.
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:19 AM on June 30, 2007

Six degrees of suppuration.
posted by WPW at 6:44 AM on June 30, 2007 [4 favorites]

faith-based appeals to abstinence seem to be working -- and whatever you do, never ever use condoms, they make the Jesus cry; the clap is painful but HELL is 4ever
posted by matteo at 7:53 AM on June 30, 2007

"These two blue dots represent two high school males who are probably a lot closer than they think."

Dude, think? They know they're a "way lot closer" and not gonna tell you or anyone about their sweaty times togther!
posted by ericb at 8:11 AM on June 30, 2007

Obligatory link to The Lost Children of Rockdale County.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:37 AM on June 30, 2007


granted its long past the statute of limitations, but its a one link too and that makes me feel like this post is as boring as being blown by Paris ...
posted by Rubbstone at 10:44 AM on June 30, 2007

Rubbstone: It's only boring if you're not in the chart. Ahem.
posted by scalefree at 5:57 PM on June 30, 2007

This certainly demonstrates how important accurate and effective sex education is. This 'abstinence only' stuff is clearly doomed.
posted by sindark at 6:57 AM on July 1, 2007

I'd say it's alarmist and unscientific to map virus "transmission routes" based on an assumption of 0% condom usage.

You might say if alarmism is appropriate anywhere, it's appropriate (even vital) here. Or you might say realism is more important because graphics this far from reality may dismissed as useless by the willfully ignorant.
posted by allterrainbrain at 1:53 PM on July 3, 2007

« Older "Can I borrow your cell phone?" "Sure!!!"   |   A horror movie come to life Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments