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Tags james randi , Paul Erdos

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Old 26th June 2012, 08:46 AM   #1
krelnik
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James Randi is the center of the universe?

We've all seen the "Kevin Bacon game" where you try to connect celebrities. Randi has a "Bacon number" of 2:

0. James Randi was in Penn & Teller Get Killed (1989) with...
1. Camille Saviola who was in Queens Logic (1991) with...
2. Kevin Bacon.

There's an academic version of this called the "Erdos number" where you try to link yourself to prolific mathematician Paul Erdos. Because Randi has been co-author on some neuroscience type papers about deception and magic, he has an "Erdos number" of 4:

0. James Randi co-wrote "Attention and Awareness in Stage Magic: turning tricks into research" (2008) with...
1. John A. Thompson who co-wrote "Fibroblast growth factor mediates hypoxia-induced endothelin-A receptor expression in lung artery smooth muscle cells" with...
2. Anna F. Dominiczak who co-wrote "Replication of Genome-Wide Association Signals in UK Samples Reveals Risk Loci for Type 2 Diabetes" with...
3. Michael Anthony Steel who co-wrote "Constructing Big Trees from Short Sequences" with
4. Paul Erdos.

CORRECTION: See rest of thread, it's probably 5.

There's yet another game like this called the Sabbath game, where you try to link musicians to the band Black Sabbath. That's actually easy because of Randi's collaboration with Alice Cooper, his Sabbath number is 3:

0. James Randi performed on tour & in the concert film "Good to See You Again, Alice Cooper" with...
1. Alice Cooper who had in his band...
2. Eric Singer who was in...
3. Black Sabbath.

Some folks have decided to combine these three measures to create something called the "Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath Number" and theorizing that whoever has the lowest one might be the center of the universe.

Currently they list Stephen Hawking as center of the universe with a score of nine.

I believe James Randi ties that number!

ERGO...

James Randi is at (or near) the center of the universe.

Q.E.D.
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Last edited by krelnik; 26th June 2012 at 09:45 AM. Reason: Paul not Peter; near not at; universe; correction.
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Old 26th June 2012, 08:52 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by krelnik View Post
There's an academic version of this called the "Erdos number" where you try to link yourself to prolific mathematician Peter Erdos.
Paul Erdos.

I can highly recommend the terrific biography from about 15 years ago: http://www.amazon.com/Man-Who-Loved-...d+Only+Numbers
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Old 26th June 2012, 08:57 AM   #3
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DOH! I've fixed it in an edit.
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Old 26th June 2012, 08:59 AM   #4
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Wouldn't the center be located at their common center of gravity?

ETA: agreed on the biography on Erdos, well worth a look
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Old 26th June 2012, 09:02 AM   #5
The Central Scrutinizer
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Originally Posted by DrDave View Post
Wouldn't the center be located at their common center of gravity?

ETA: agreed on the biography on Erdos, well worth a look
One can get a sampling of his oddness just from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Er...1s#Personality

The biography, of course, has so much more.
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Old 26th June 2012, 09:13 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by krelnik View Post
We've all seen the "Kevin Bacon game" where you try to connect celebrities. Randi has a "Bacon number" of 2:

0. James Randi was in Penn & Teller Get Killed (1989) with...
1. Camille Saviola who was in Queens Logic (1991) with...
2. Kevin Bacon.

There's an academic version of this called the "Erdos number" where you try to link yourself to prolific mathematician Paul Erdos. Because Randi has been co-author on some neuroscience type papers about deception and magic, he has an "Erdos number" of 4:

0. James Randi co-wrote "Attention and Awareness in Stage Magic: turning tricks into research" (2008) with...
1. John A. Thompson who co-wrote "Fibroblast growth factor mediates hypoxia-induced endothelin-A receptor expression in lung artery smooth muscle cells" with...
2. Anna F. Dominiczak who co-wrote "Replication of Genome-Wide Association Signals in UK Samples Reveals Risk Loci for Type 2 Diabetes" with...
3. Michael Anthony Steel who co-wrote "Constructing Big Trees from Short Sequences" with
4. Paul Erdos.

There's yet another game like this called the Sabbath game, where you try to link musicians to the band Black Sabbath. That's actually easy because of Randi's collaboration with Alice Cooper, his Sabbath number is 3:

0. James Randi performed on tour & in the concert film "Good to See You Again, Alice Cooper" with...
1. Alice Cooper who had in his band...
2. Eric Singer who was in...
3. Black Sabbath.

Some folks have decided to combine these three measures to create something called the "Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath Number" and theorizing that whoever has the lowest one might be the center of the universe.

Currently they list Stephen Hawking as center of the unviverse with a score of nine.

I believe James Randi ties that number!

ERGO...

James Randi is at (or near) the center of the universe.

Q.E.D.
This is pretty cool.

Could you link Alice Cooper directly to Black Sabbath since they have been on (compilation) albums together, or is that cheating? They've also performed at the same concert, e.g.:

Quote:
July 19th `71 Ottawa Civic Center (w/ Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Yes ) (Eyewitness/Ticket)
http://www.sickthingsuk.co.uk/timelines/t-litd.php

Last edited by AdMan; 26th June 2012 at 09:14 AM.
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Old 26th June 2012, 09:15 AM   #7
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According to the Sabbath rules, they have to perform directly together, i.e. on the same song, not just at the same venue or concert. I think you're right, though, we might be able to get Randi down to 8.
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Old 26th June 2012, 09:18 AM   #8
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Just to play devil's advocate, on second look that John A. Thompson link might be wrong. Was that really Johnny Thompson the magician on that paper? In which case the link to the Australian John A. Thompson might be incorrect. That raises Randi's Erdos number to 5. We can keep him at a 9 if we can find that Alice Cooper / Black Sabbath collaboration.
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Old 26th June 2012, 09:23 AM   #9
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Nevermind.

Last edited by AdMan; 26th June 2012 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 26th June 2012, 09:25 AM   #10
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James Randi doesn't have enough ego to be the center of the Universe.
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Old 26th June 2012, 09:31 AM   #11
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Here's a Microsoft Research widget for Erdos links if someone wants to check my work. It's quite nice, but it does require Silverlight be installed to work properly.
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Old 26th June 2012, 09:34 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by krelnik View Post
Just to play devil's advocate, on second look that John A. Thompson link might be wrong. Was that really Johnny Thompson the magician on that paper?

Yes, the co-author of that paper is Johnny Thompson, the magician: http://www.nature.com/nrn/journal/v9...s/nrn2473.html
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Old 26th June 2012, 09:44 AM   #13
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Aww crap, ok so Randi's ERDOS number is actually 5.

We need to figure out if we can link him to Black Sabbath more directly to get the Sabbath number down. One way might be to use Alice Cooper's band members and other cast of that 1973 concert film.

Or we need to get him into a movie or TV show with Kevin Bacon.
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Old 26th June 2012, 09:48 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by krelnik View Post
Here's a Microsoft Research widget for Erdos links if someone wants to check my work. It's quite nice, but it does require Silverlight be installed to work properly.
Wow. I have an Erdos number of 4, and I'm not a mathematician.

ETA: ...and similar levels of connection to Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins, David Suzuki, and Neils Bohr. But I can't find a connection to Marie Curie, except for the one who co-authored a paper in 1997.
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Old 26th June 2012, 10:16 AM   #15
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Well, while we're at it...

Johnny Thompson the magician ("Johnny Thompson V" on IMDB)

Bacon number of 3
Erdos number of 5

Can anyone get a Sabbath number for him?
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Old 26th June 2012, 10:25 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by krelnik View Post
Well, while we're at it...

Johnny Thompson the magician ("Johnny Thompson V" on IMDB)

Bacon number of 3
Erdos number of 5

Can anyone get a Sabbath number for him?

How about:
0. Johnny Thompson was on Criss Angel Mindfreak
1. Criss Angel performed in the 2007 VH1 Rock Honors along with...
2. Ozzy Osbourne, who was lead singer in...
3. Black Sabbath
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Old 26th June 2012, 01:00 PM   #17
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Phil Plait

I'm waiting to hear back from George Hrab on a way to get from him to Black Sabbath. The purpose of that is to calculate Phil "Bad Astronomer" Plait's number.

Phil Plait:
Bacon = 3.
Erdos = 4.
Sabbath = ?.

Phil Plait performs on "Death From the Skies" on Trebuchet with...
George Hrab who..... ????

I suspect we can get him a Sabbath number of about 5 or 6, giving Phil an EBS number of 12 or 13. which is quite respectable. Better than Richard Feynmann, in fact.
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Old 26th June 2012, 01:47 PM   #18
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Oh wait a sec!

I just noticed that while I was being too generous on Erdos, I was being too stingy on Sabbath.

Randi's Sabbath number is 2, as we don't need to count the connection between Eric Singer and Black Sabbath because he was a member. Nobody calculating EBS numbers is counting that last leap, near as I can tell.

So Randi is actually at 9: Bacon(2) + Erdos(5) + Sabbath(2) = EBS(9).
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Old 26th June 2012, 02:00 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by krelnik View Post
Oh wait a sec!

I just noticed that while I was being too generous on Erdos, I was being too stingy on Sabbath.

Randi's Sabbath number is 2, as we don't need to count the connection between Eric Singer and Black Sabbath because he was a member. Nobody calculating EBS numbers is counting that last leap, near as I can tell.

So Randi is actually at 9: Bacon(2) + Erdos(5) + Sabbath(2) = EBS(9).

Ha! I had that question when I was calculating Johnny Thompson's Sabbath number. At first I thought there wasn't a step between Ozzy and Sabbath, but then I thought maybe I was doing it wrong.
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Old 26th June 2012, 02:12 PM   #20
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I blame Scrut.
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Old 26th June 2012, 08:11 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by The Central Scrutinizer View Post
Paul Erdos.

I can highly recommend the terrific biography from about 15 years ago: http://www.amazon.com/Man-Who-Loved-...d+Only+Numbers

I second that recommendation.
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Old 2nd July 2012, 09:29 AM   #22
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The guy over at Timeblimp.com who started this whole thing rolling has posted a follow-up with a list of the people who have non-infinite Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath numbers. As I write this about 21 people have been found.

At the "center of the universe" are the following people, all tied with an EBS number of 9:
  • James Randi
  • Carl Sagan
  • Tom Lehrer
  • Stephen Hawking

That is a pretty awesome list of people. The rest of the people on the list are also pretty cool, including several skeptic favorites such as Buzz Aldrin, Prof. Brian Cox, Richard Feynman and Phil Plait.
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Last edited by krelnik; 2nd July 2012 at 09:37 AM. Reason: Feynman; alpha
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Old 8th July 2012, 04:38 PM   #23
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Looks like Hawking has 8 now?
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Old 9th July 2012, 03:08 PM   #24
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Oh son of a gun, I hadn't noticed. I also hadn't noticed there's a much nicer site now which is located here: Erdos Bacon Sabbath.

On that site, they claim Randi's Erdos number is actually 6, which demotes him to an EBS of 10. As I write this he is tied with Richard Feynman.

Beating him with 9 are Carl Sagan, Tom Lehrer and Richard Vranch (the pianist from Who's Line is it Anyway?, who apparently has a PhD).

And of course Hawking at 8. You can see the top list here now.
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Old 10th July 2012, 04:33 PM   #25
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So he's the highest non-mathematician/physicist.
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Old 10th July 2012, 08:51 PM   #26
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True!

Teller (of Penn &) is also a co-author on the same paper that Randi gets his Erdos number from. I wonder if we could connect him to Black Sabbath somehow and get him an EBS number. He does play musical instruments, so its vaguely possible.
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Old 11th July 2012, 08:36 PM   #27
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This is easily the nerdiest thread I have ever seen. krelnik, sir, you have outgeeked even yourself, and I salute you.

I'm totally giving you the slow-clap right now.
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Old 23rd July 2012, 08:05 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by krelnik View Post
True!

Teller (of Penn &) is also a co-author on the same paper that Randi gets his Erdos number from. I wonder if we could connect him to Black Sabbath somehow and get him an EBS number. He does play musical instruments, so its vaguely possible.
Can you combine a Bacon and Sabbath counting system? I think Bill Maher's Politically Correct featured both Penn Jilette and Marilyn Manson at various times, and Manson has played with Ozzy Osbourne.
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Old 29th July 2012, 04:13 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by AdMan View Post
How about:
0. Johnny Thompson was on Criss Angel Mindfreak
1. Criss Angel performed in the 2007 VH1 Rock Honors along with...
2. Ozzy Osbourne, who was lead singer in...
3. Black Sabbath
Except that there is a 2 point penalty because... well, it's Criss Angel.
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Old 29th July 2012, 06:15 PM   #30
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Unfortunately while the Bacon number can use any appearance on the same TV show or movie, the Sabbath rules require that the two people work together on a musical recording or performance. (In fact, some have questioned Randi's Sabbath number because he didn't actually sing or perform music with Alice Cooper, just appeared on stage as an actor during the show).
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Old 31st July 2012, 02:37 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by krelnik View Post
We've all seen the "Kevin Bacon game" where you try to connect celebrities. Randi has a "Bacon number" of 2:

0. James Randi was in Penn & Teller Get Killed (1989) with...
1. Camille Saviola who was in Queens Logic (1991) with...
2. Kevin Bacon.

There's an academic version of this called the "Erdos number" where you try to link yourself to prolific mathematician Paul Erdos. Because Randi has been co-author on some neuroscience type papers about deception and magic, he has an "Erdos number" of 4:

0. James Randi co-wrote "Attention and Awareness in Stage Magic: turning tricks into research" (2008) with...
1. John A. Thompson who co-wrote "Fibroblast growth factor mediates hypoxia-induced endothelin-A receptor expression in lung artery smooth muscle cells" with...
2. Anna F. Dominiczak who co-wrote "Replication of Genome-Wide Association Signals in UK Samples Reveals Risk Loci for Type 2 Diabetes" with...
3. Michael Anthony Steel who co-wrote "Constructing Big Trees from Short Sequences" with
4. Paul Erdos.

CORRECTION: See rest of thread, it's probably 5.

There's yet another game like this called the Sabbath game, where you try to link musicians to the band Black Sabbath. That's actually easy because of Randi's collaboration with Alice Cooper, his Sabbath number is 3:

0. James Randi performed on tour & in the concert film "Good to See You Again, Alice Cooper" with...
1. Alice Cooper who had in his band...
2. Eric Singer who was in...
3. Black Sabbath.

Some folks have decided to combine these three measures to create something called the "Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath Number" and theorizing that whoever has the lowest one might be the center of the universe.

Currently they list Stephen Hawking as center of the universe with a score of nine.

I believe James Randi ties that number!

ERGO...

James Randi is at (or near) the center of the universe.

Q.E.D.
Cool story bro
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