All entries for Tuesday 26 October 2004

October 26, 2004

Small world hypothesis

As part of my As level maths course, my class had to go to a "Maths Seminar" in London one afternoon (Yes, you're right, it sucked balls). Four of the five lectures we heard that day were mind-numbingly uninteresting but there was this one bloke who talked about the "Small World Hypothesis". Now i dont remember any of the details and i dont remember his name (although i did buy his book). The basic gist of it is this:

You know every single person in the world by five (yes, FIVE) people. This means, that you know someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows any one you could care to think about. How incredible's that?!

Of course i expect that it doesn't really count for nomadic tribes of the African planes who have their own unique language and are full of genetic fuck-ups due to interbreeding and the like, but for anyone WORTH knowing you know by five people. This has always intrigued me, i've always wanted to see if i could do it, i just never found the time. But coming to Warwick and hearing about my friends experiences at other Uni's has led to me finding some amazing connections between people. I'll list a few examples.

Ex 1. I went to Reading this year with a group of my best friends. One night, Lenny was stumbling around looking for something to do when he happened across some guys with a ghetto blaster sitting on one of the bridges. he started a stoned chat with them and managed to find out that they were from Berkhamstead, a large town about 20 miles from where we live. Now my best mate Crab lives opposite me but went to a Berkhamstead school and they happened to know him. But this isnt where the story ends. Lenny is now at Bristol University and one of those three same guys is on his floor! They only worked it out after chatting for a bit, they didnt even recognise each other. You should know that I have a shed/summerhouse in my back garden where my friends and i like to chill out and smoke a bit of weed. Sometimes random people end up there, but normally I know them. Turns out this guy Avi has been to my shed! It gets even weirder though, because another of our best mates Stuart found out that (god-knows-how) living on the floor below him, is Avi's best friend from Berkhamstead. Now that is some freaky shit.

Ex 2. Another of our best mates Toby, is at Bristol University with Lenny. A friend of one of his housemates was staying over for the weekend and Toby managed to get chatting to her. Again, god-knows-how, but this girl told Toby that she had a friend, Jade, at Warwick Uni, who recently got kinda friendly ;) with a guy called Shaggy. Now Shaggy is a nickname at Warwick that this group of friends from home dont really call me, but Toby soon twigged that this Shaggy was me! Of all the friends, in all the houses, in all of Bristol, of all the Uni's in England, she ended up talking to my best friend Toby. And not only that but the conversation could have gone in any direction but managed to find it's way round to the subject of little ol' me. It sends shivers down my spine.

Right now I gotta get on with an essay on Casablanca. Please share stories!


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