Thursday, January 18, 2007

Kevin Bacon is only six degrees from charity

Gotta love this. Rather than give in to the ever-present "six degrees of separation" from Kevin Bacon game, he's turned it into a fundraising site:

Oh, lighten up.


Paul Botts said...

Irony of the week: the "six degrees" theory was recently discovered to be an actual deliberate fraud. A researcher went over the field notes of the scientist who had declared and popularized the idea and discovered that he had faked the data:
No other studies along the same lines have ever found anything like the "six degrees" pattern, either. Basically it's the sociological version of when those physicists claimed to have made cold fusion happen in a mayonnaise jar.

Doesn't detract from Kevin Bacon's charming idea to deal with the silly game that he got stuck with, of course.

Anonymous said...

I think calling it a deliberate fraud is going a bit far. Later experiments had much higher response rates and showed similar degrees of separation, which are based on the connectedness of the network. Small world networks have been found by other scientists all over: natural and man made, social and physical. The science behind it is hardly cold fusion.

As long as we're busting myths, despite the game, Bacon isn't even the most connected person on the Hollywood graph - according to the Oracle of Bacon, he isn't even in the top 1000. He's just lucky enough to have a game based on him, and innovative enough to make a philanthropy out of it.

There is a huge mountain of work in complex networks and network theory that relates to Milgrams original research. A lot of it is very relevant to philanthropy - think director networks for foundations, or donor networks. Given that the composition of most boards is now easily accessible through sites like Guidestar, it's only a matter of time before someone brings one together.