'4.74 Degrees Of Kevin Bacon' Just Doesn't Sound As Good As 6 | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

'4.74 Degrees Of Kevin Bacon' Just Doesn't Sound As Good As 6

Who would want to play "4.74 Degrees of Kevin Bacon?"

Well, according to Facebook and researchers from the University of Millan, the average separation — or "number of hops" — between Facebook users is now 4.74. In other words, that's the average number of steps it would take to connect one Facebook user with another who uses that social media site. Your friend is a friend to someone else who's friends with someone else ... until somehow you're "connected" to someone halfway around the world.

Six, of course, has been the standard for degrees of separation between two people since a 1967 experiment by social psychologist Stanley Milgram. As The New York Times says, he had 296 volunteers "send a message by postcard, through friends and then friends of friends, to a specific person in a Boston suburb." It took six steps, on average, to get where it was going.

In the early '90s, a quote from Bacon that he had acted with just about everybody in Hollywood inspired the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" trivia game (and, to his credit, the SixDegrees.org charitable website that the actor founded).

But 4.74? How do we have fun with that? Suggestions are welcome.

(H/T to NPR's Maria Godoy.)

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Louis C.K. Reflects On 'Louie,' Loss, Love And Life

C.K. won an Emmy for outstanding writing in a comedy series for an episode on his FX show Louie. In 2011, C.K. told Fresh Air about making his comedy special and his relationship with other comedians.
NPR

Diplomats And Lawyers Try To Define 'Culturally Acceptable Food'

Some governments recently said that agricultural investments should supply "culturally acceptable food." Now they're trying to define what that is.
NPR

Former Iowa Lawmaker Admits To Getting Payoff Before 2012 Caucuses

Kent Sorenson pleaded guilty in federal court to switching sides between GOP presidential candidates in exchange for under-the-table payments. The former state senator previously denied the rumors.
NPR

Science Crowns Mozzarella The King Of Pizza Cheese

Why do some cheeses melt and caramelize better than others? Researchers used high-tech cameras and special software to figure it out.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.