Friday, September 14, 2012

Bacon Numbers and Pointless Quests

So today's Internet buzz is that Google has quietly rolled out another way to waste time interesting searchable thing: you can now google a name and "bacon number" (in either order) and get that person's links to Kevin Bacon. (A la The Oracle of Bacon -- every previously standalone website will eventually become a minor Google app.)

And the wailing and gnashing of teeth has followed, as we should have expected: some because it ruined their party games, and some because it's difficult to get a number above 3 for any person recognized as a movie actor.

I've been doing a little poking around, and found a number of 3s -- all either old or odd cases, including Tor Johnson, Richard Thompson, Jimmy Page, Syd Barrett, Leopold Stokowski, Zeppo Marx, Edward R. Murrow, Harry Secombe, Vera Lynn, Erich Von Stroheim, and Mary Pickford.

Getting higher than that, though, is thorny, and it may be exacerbated by Google -- it's not clear if they've built logic to allow bacon searches on every name in IMDB (or whaterever other back-end they're using), and some names I'm putting in aren't coming up with any number at all.

But I have found a handful of 4s: Bettie Page, John Bonham, Tempest Storm, and Johnny Carson. (And it seems to get a 4, you need to pick someone who appeared either in only one movie with "real" Hollywood actors, or who is from an film industry in an entirely different language. I tried to pick names I could think of without help from outside help, but I did cheat a bit when I couldn't remember specific names -- as with the Ritz Brothers, none of whom have definable Bacon Numbers in Google.)

In older articles about Bacon numbers (and the Oracle of Bacon itself), there's indications that there are a few people with 5s and even higher -- the Oracle claims there are 27 people with a Bacon Number of 8, even. But I haven't been able to find or replicate any on Google today.

(And, sadly, Paul Erdos has an undefinable Bacon Number.)

1 comment:

Michael A. Burstein said...

I actually have a Bacon number of 2. I was an extra in Radio Days, and Wallace Shawn was in that movie, and he was in a movie with Kevin Bacon.

Post a Comment