Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Six Degrees of Wikipedia

Well, I thought I invented a game. I was about to write a post about the new, fun, dorky game Matt and I have been playing, but I thought I'd google the concept first, just to check, and sure enough, there is such a thing as "six degrees of wikipedia." Also known as "wikiracing," the concept involves finding the shortest path between two articles on Wikipedia.com, the open-source online encyclopedia.

Within the last couple of months, I've started browsing around Wikipedia, just for fun. It's pretty much the equivalent of what my dad and I used to do growing up, picking a World Book volume off the shelf at random and skimming through articles, learning random tidbits, for no good reason. Now, in the Internet Age, that activity is even easier, unhindered by that pesky task of lifting an 18-ounce leatherbound book.

So, anyway, as I told Matt about how fascinating it was just to start at some random article, like June Carter Cash, and end up at Terre Haute, Indiana, just by following the internal links in the articles. Then, I dared him to name any two things, and I could click from one to the other in less than six links. Honestly, I haven't yet found a pair that can't be connected by six degrees or less. So, this is our new favorite game. The trick is figuring out what obscure thing the two might have in common. For example, between chipoltle and platinum--the link is the search for gold in Mexico. Between a certain sexual organ and the light bulb--erotic electrostimulation (I don't exactly know what that is, but from the photo accompanying the article--eek!)

Matt just gave me turquoise and classical guitar. I did it in four steps:
Turquoise--United States--Music of the United States--Guitar--Classical guitar.

Now you try it: pantyhose and guava.
Can you do it in less than six links?

2 comments:

Matt Kelley said...

Was the erotic electrostimulation comment really necessary? Now all the world knows was sick freaks we are. Well, they know what a sick freak you are. My virgin preacher mind is pure and undefiled...

joneal1202 said...

WE LOVE THIS GAME! The few we tried tonight were:

sodom & gomorrah to frogger
watermelon to sistine chapel
kung fu to onomatopoeia

Love Julie & Brian

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