My name is danah boyd and I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, a Research Assistant Professor in Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, and a Fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Buzzwords in my world include: privacy, context, youth culture, social media, big data. I use this blog to express random thoughts about whatever I'm thinking.

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decrease your erdos number

OK, this ebay auction has me ROFL: Decrease Your Erdos Number! If you’re a social networks geek, or a mathematician, physicist or computer scientist, you must check this out. Too funny. And there are even bids!

Update: Now that i’ve learned a bit more about the history and state of this auction, i thought i’d inform the curious reader of Jonah Peretti’s antics, normally called contagious media. Jonah set off a few memes of his own to see how they would spread – the Nike Sweatshop Email and the Rejection Hotline are my favorites.

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10 comments to decrease your erdos number

  • Follow the auction on his blog; it’s hilarious.

  • Thanks Brian – it is indeed hilarious.

    Of course, i’m not sure what to make of the predictive post on the 20th. I hadn’t read that before posting this. And more humorously, i received 4 emails about this before getting to my listservs.

    Are my posting topics that predictive? Hmmm….

  • 0+5i. heh-heh.

    <snorts and pushes glasses up bridge of nose>

    :-)

  • There’s a phase II, by the way….

    Cf. auction listing and Notional Slurry.

  • You realize how many people there are with an Erds number of 4? Even in 2000, there were over 62K:

    http://personalwebs.oakland.edu/~grossman/trivia.html

    Heck, Bill Gates is a 4. *I’m* a 4 and I publish strictly in CS venues. :-)

    http://www.kddresearch.org/Personal/bhsu/erdos.txt

    I’ve got it to give some credit to the guy for coming up with an idea for supplementing his summer salary. Most of my students have Erds numbers of 5, but I don’t see them paying me $364 for the “privilege”! ;-)


    Banazir

  • Hi, there; I surfed into this site on a search for Ani lyrics and found this (hilarious) post. I’m sure I’d bid on this auction, just for the heck of it, but my Erdos number is already 3. (Erdos –> Charlie Colburn –> Dan Ardeacon –> me, Marisa.)

    Cheers, and nice to meet you.

  • Mad Greg

    I have won the auction. Not because I intend to pay or to collaborate with the seller –my Erdos number is already 3– but to stop the mockery this person is doing of the paper/journal system, and also to stop some poor soul who may be in need of a joint paper for his tenure case to spend his money in this travesty…

  • Mad Greg

    I have won the auction. Not because I intend to pay or to collaborate with the seller –my Erdos number is already 3– but to stop the mockery this person is doing of the paper/journal system, and also to stop some poor soul who may be in need of a joint paper for his tenure case to spend his money in this travesty… Joint papers have to be worked and earned, not sold, auctioned or bought.

  • It turns out there are more people with Erdos 5 than any other number (except infinity, the Erdos assigned to those who have no link), even higher numbers than 5. In fact, you are more unique to have an Erdos number greater than 5 (there are only 47269) than to have one less than 5 (there are 94774).

    http://personalwebs.oakland.edu/~grossman/trivia.html
    (note this isn’t current or exhaustive)

    Erds number 0 — 1 person
    Erds number 1 — 502 people
    Erds number 2 — 5713 people
    Erds number 3 — 26422 people
    Erds number 4 — 62136 people
    Erds number 5 — 66157 people
    Erds number 6 — 32280 people
    Erds number 7 — 10431 people
    Erds number 8 — 3214 people
    Erds number 9 — 953 people
    Erds number 10 — 262 people
    Erds number 11 — 94 people
    Erds number 12 — 23 people
    Erds number 13 — 4 people
    Erds number 14 — 7 people
    Erds number 15 — 1 person
    Erds number 16 — 0 people

    If the most common Erdos number goes for over $1000 on eBay, imagine 16, what would become the most unique Erdos number in the world would sell for. R. G. Kamalov, who happens to be #15, has an unrealized jackpot on eBay.

    Once again it shows that doing research before spending money on eBay is very important (assuming you were in it strictly for the number). ;D

  • Jim Chasm

    David,

    One problem with your reasoning that the most valuable Erdos number would be 16 (because it would be unique) is that the higher one’s Erdos number, the more unstable it is. One day you’re the only 16, the next day your Erdos 15 co-author collaborates with a 3 and all of a sudden your number is down to the most commmon (finite) number of 5.

    Jim