0599: "Apocalypse"

This forum is for the individual discussion thread that goes with each new comic.

Moderators: Moderators General, Prelates, Magistrates

Mr_Rose
Posts: 380
Joined: Thu May 29, 2008 9:32 am UTC

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby Mr_Rose » Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:46 pm UTC

Query: Given that an Erdős number of one means direct collaboration and an undefined Erdős number indicates that you are probably not a mathematician, whilst a zero means you are Paul Erdős, what does an Erdős number of -1 mean? Conceptually speaking?
Microevolution is a term — when used by creationists — that is the evolutionary equivalent of the belief that the mechanism you use to walk from your bedroom to the kitchen is insufficient to get you from New York to Los Angeles.

User avatar
Iridos
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:58 am UTC

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby Iridos » Sat Jun 20, 2009 12:08 am UTC

Mr_Rose wrote:Query: Given that an Erdős number of one means direct collaboration and an undefined Erdős number indicates that you are probably not a mathematician, whilst a zero means you are Paul Erdős, what does an Erdős number of -1 mean? Conceptually speaking?


Come on, it's obvious... you're a reincarnation of Erdős - being him and his incarnation in one person, that pushes you to -1

Btw. am I the only one who finds it suspicious, that that guy is able to conjure up a paper within a few minutes/hours... also, why would he actually offer co-authorship to all those losers who didn't get this implication of the apocalypse?

The plan is about to fail anyway - with the apocalypse, blood raining, war, famine and pestilence, I have severe doubts he'll get the paper through the review-process and published in time.

JoshuaZ
Posts: 401
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:18 am UTC
Contact:

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby JoshuaZ » Sat Jun 20, 2009 12:28 am UTC

Mr_Rose wrote:Query: Given that an Erdős number of one means direct collaboration and an undefined Erdős number indicates that you are probably not a mathematician, whilst a zero means you are Paul Erdős, what does an Erdős number of -1 mean? Conceptually speaking?


Actually many mathematicians don't have finite Erdos number. Most do, but it isn't universal.
I don't think one can reasonably assign a Erdos number of -1 as having any meaning. Erdos numbers reflect distance from Erdos on the graph of all collaborators. There's no way to get a distance of -1.

Iridos wrote:Btw. am I the only one who finds it suspicious, that that guy is able to conjure up a paper within a few minutes/hours... also, why would he actually offer co-authorship to all those losers who didn't get this implication of the apocalypse?


Most mathematicians are always working on at least one paper. Presumably he takes something he has some results on but doesn't have as much as he was intending to publish. So he uses that. Also, as to offering co-authorship, I guess he's just a nice guy? It is in fact especially nice because Erdos at one point suggested that it might make more sense to measure Erdos numbers only counting papers that had exactly two authors. There were aesthetic, philosophical and graph theoretic reasons to prefer this. Using this count, most people's Erdos numbers jump a lot and many become undefined. So by letting the other people sign it, this fellow made sure that he won't get Erdos number 1 on this stricter metric.

User avatar
arbivark
Posts: 531
Joined: Wed May 23, 2007 5:29 am UTC

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby arbivark » Sat Jun 20, 2009 2:18 am UTC


HighSpeedFallingObjects
Posts: 36
Joined: Sun May 17, 2009 2:15 am UTC

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby HighSpeedFallingObjects » Sat Jun 20, 2009 6:38 am UTC

Okay, so I know what an Erdos-Bacon number is (without having to look it up! *pats self on back*), but I'm still clueless on why he's trying to get everyone to have one before the world ends.

And according to Wikipedia, there's some guy called Daniel Kleitman who's Erdos-Bacon number is 3, which is the lowest know one. Daaaaamn.

HighSpeedFallingObjects
Posts: 36
Joined: Sun May 17, 2009 2:15 am UTC

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby HighSpeedFallingObjects » Sat Jun 20, 2009 6:42 am UTC

JoshuaZ wrote:I don't think one can reasonably assign a Erdos number of -1 as having any meaning. Erdos numbers reflect distance from Erdos on the graph of all collaborators. There's no way to get a distance of -1.


How about God?

HighSpeedFallingObjects
Posts: 36
Joined: Sun May 17, 2009 2:15 am UTC

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby HighSpeedFallingObjects » Sat Jun 20, 2009 6:57 am UTC

Also, on another note, I am thoroughly surprised at how many people who read this comic have a Erdos or Bacon number lower than 10 . . . or, for that matter, lower than 100. It's weird for me to think of you guys as people I've seem in movies or who co-authored a paper with a famous mathematician. Somehow, I thought the group to be much fewer and father between. Small world, huh? Maybe I'll acquire my own Erdos-Bacon number in college.

theProject
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2009 9:52 am UTC

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby theProject » Sat Jun 20, 2009 7:46 am UTC

The most common Erdos number, IIRC, is 5. Commonly forgotten is that high finite Erdos numbers tend to be just as rare (if not rarer) and much more unstable than low numbers.

bad_leprechaun
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2008 5:23 am UTC

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby bad_leprechaun » Sat Jun 20, 2009 1:26 pm UTC

theProject wrote:The most common Erdos number, IIRC, is 5. Commonly forgotten is that high finite Erdos numbers tend to be just as rare (if not rarer) and much more unstable than low numbers.


How high is high?

cathrl
Posts: 427
Joined: Tue Jan 30, 2007 9:58 am UTC

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby cathrl » Sat Jun 20, 2009 2:34 pm UTC

HighSpeedFallingObjects wrote:Also, on another note, I am thoroughly surprised at how many people who read this comic have a Erdos or Bacon number lower than 10 . . . or, for that matter, lower than 100. It's weird for me to think of you guys as people I've seem in movies or who co-authored a paper with a famous mathematician. Somehow, I thought the group to be much fewer and father between. Small world, huh? Maybe I'll acquire my own Erdos-Bacon number in college.


A lot of the people who've explained their number, though, they're actually claiming " went to school with" or "was an extra on a film with". Neither of those count - and, technically, nor do any academic papers which aren't in the field of mathematics.

Purplehaze42
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Jun 20, 2009 3:25 pm UTC

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby Purplehaze42 » Sat Jun 20, 2009 3:27 pm UTC

once i saw the buray, i was holding my breath for a bakery joke. i was dissapointed.

Salzano14
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jun 20, 2009 3:41 pm UTC

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby Salzano14 » Sat Jun 20, 2009 3:43 pm UTC

If Hank Aaron has an Erdos number of 1, then I have an Erdos number of 2 8)

I played dots and boxes with John Horton Conway, and he signed our finished paper plate we were playing on, and I signed it too, and he has an Erdos number of one. :D

Epic win.

Edit: Since he's a well known game theorist, you could look at our dots and boxes game as testing a theory or something. So that's technically a paper in the mathematical field right??
Last edited by Salzano14 on Sat Jun 20, 2009 3:47 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

Salzano14
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jun 20, 2009 3:41 pm UTC

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby Salzano14 » Sat Jun 20, 2009 3:45 pm UTC

HighSpeedFallingObjects wrote:
JoshuaZ wrote:I don't think one can reasonably assign a Erdos number of -1 as having any meaning. Erdos numbers reflect distance from Erdos on the graph of all collaborators. There's no way to get a distance of -1.


How about God?

Point.

bencoder
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2008 8:29 pm UTC

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby bencoder » Sat Jun 20, 2009 3:57 pm UTC

It took me a while to get this one too, but it's pretty good.
I have also discovered I have an Erdos number of 6 from my co-authorship on one published paper :) Awesome. It's not a math paper though so maybe it doesn't fully count.

smiffy
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2009 6:11 pm UTC

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby smiffy » Sat Jun 20, 2009 7:18 pm UTC

cathrl wrote:
HighSpeedFallingObjects wrote:Also, on another note, I am thoroughly surprised at how many people who read this comic have a Erdos or Bacon number lower than 10 . . . or, for that matter, lower than 100. It's weird for me to think of you guys as people I've seem in movies or who co-authored a paper with a famous mathematician. Somehow, I thought the group to be much fewer and father between. Small world, huh? Maybe I'll acquire my own Erdos-Bacon number in college.


A lot of the people who've explained their number, though, they're actually claiming " went to school with" or "was an extra on a film with". Neither of those count - and, technically, nor do any academic papers which aren't in the field of mathematics.


I think that clause is a bit harsh.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't exclude signed baseballs and pen&paper logic puzzles, but if it's scholarly and peer-reviewed , why shut it out?

It's surely not unusual for mathematicians to work with physicists, and then for physicists to work with others on the research food-chain. Certainly I have a paper or two where the authors are Biologists, Medics, Physicists and a Mathematician. How "applied" does the paper have to be to be excluded? Biophysics? Modelling of Biological Systems?

User avatar
Ptolom
Posts: 1559
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 1:55 pm UTC
Location: The entropy pool
Contact:

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby Ptolom » Sat Jun 20, 2009 7:33 pm UTC

I guessed the punchline from the panel where he's writing the paper. I don't know whether this says more about me or the the comic. It still made me laugh and loudly.

keithc
Posts: 124
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2007 11:12 pm UTC
Contact:

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby keithc » Sat Jun 20, 2009 7:40 pm UTC

Rann Xerox wrote:[GOOGLES 'PAUL ERDOS']

Image

"Sokath, his eyes uncovered."

Brilliant! My favourite TNG episode - and the only one that stays on my PVR

ianf
Posts: 165
Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:43 pm UTC

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby ianf » Sat Jun 20, 2009 9:28 pm UTC

cathrl wrote:A lot of the people who've explained their number, though, they're actually claiming " went to school with" or "was an extra on a film with". Neither of those count - and, technically, nor do any academic papers which aren't in the field of mathematics.


I don't know about the details (I didn't even know what an Erdos number is before I saw this cartoon) but I just used the ams.org calculator link someone gave earlier to calculate mine. Have to say that I'm surprised that my Erdos number is so low (since I'm not a mathematician and have never played one in a Kevin Bacon movie) but I'm assuming the ams calculator is correct and the papers it listed count.

User avatar
sparks
Posts: 119
Joined: Sat May 17, 2008 7:24 pm UTC
Contact:

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby sparks » Sat Jun 20, 2009 9:30 pm UTC

intertubes wrote:...I'll be honest, I don't get this. Time for some google research!

edit: oh, now I get it! And it's a lot funnier now. ...things tend to work out that way.



I didn't get it at first, either! I only got it after I saw the wikipedia link on this thread :lol: Then again, I have an excuse, I'm a Humanities gal myself even though that is hardly an excuse.
(icon by clockwork-harlequin.net)
Image
"An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all." ~ Oscar Wilde

theProject
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2009 9:52 am UTC

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby theProject » Sat Jun 20, 2009 11:33 pm UTC

bad_leprechaun wrote:
theProject wrote:The most common Erdos number, IIRC, is 5. Commonly forgotten is that high finite Erdos numbers tend to be just as rare (if not rarer) and much more unstable than low numbers.


How high is high?


Well, considering 5 is the average, anything in double digits is already quite high. (And, as I said earlier, much more unstable. Suppose your Erdos number is 14. One day, your Erdos-13 coauthor publishes with an Erdos-3, and you're back at the most common Erdos number again, 5.)

User avatar
ysth
Posts: 183
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 7:21 pm UTC

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby ysth » Sun Jun 21, 2009 7:34 am UTC

bad_leprechaun wrote:@WhyNaut: So what exactly did you think Monroe numbers WERE? They sound interesting...


I propose guest-comic-authorship (in either direction).
A math joke: r = | |csc(θ)|+|sec(θ)| |-| |csc(θ)|-|sec(θ)| |

JoshuaZ
Posts: 401
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:18 am UTC
Contact:

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby JoshuaZ » Sun Jun 21, 2009 2:04 pm UTC

cathrl wrote:
A lot of the people who've explained their number, though, they're actually claiming " went to school with" or "was an extra on a film with". Neither of those count - and, technically, nor do any academic papers which aren't in the field of mathematics.


Partially correct. For Bacon numbers one needs to be explicitly listed in the credits. However, for Erdos numbers papers in the other sciences are often counted, especially if they have a mathematical bent (say in genomics or many physics papers). The only issue here is that calculating Erdos numbers counting such publications is difficult because the AMS database and the Mathscinet database (the only two databases as far as I am aware) both primarily contain math papers and not much else.

User avatar
littlelj
Posts: 140
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:40 am UTC

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby littlelj » Sun Jun 21, 2009 9:09 pm UTC

My Bacon number is 3 because I designed (and applied) Emma Watson's make-up in the last thing she did before Harry Potter, and hers is 2. And now she's the face of Chanel ...!
Dudes, I'm a woman.

Lerkistan
Posts: 50
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 7:25 pm UTC

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby Lerkistan » Sun Jun 21, 2009 9:33 pm UTC

thejapanesegeek wrote:For those still a little confused, here's Randall explaining things in some other dude's comic.

http://www.chrisyates.net/reprographics/index.php?page=842


:shock: I expected Randall to look more... stickfigurish.

User avatar
Tanuki
Posts: 38
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2007 4:37 am UTC
Location: Seattle or something
Contact:

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby Tanuki » Sun Jun 21, 2009 11:13 pm UTC

mastered wrote:
Tanuki wrote:And, perhaps even better, I have a Colbert number of 3


How's that? You know someone who knows someone who attended the production of an episode?
What if you know someone from online?


We're talking about acting, on-screen, with lines, no extras. If you toss in crowds, talk shows, award show audiences, and crew members, I'm sure everybody has a Bacon or Colbert (or anybody) number of about 2. I was in a movie with someone (Chris Ward, AKA mc chris) who was on a TV show with someone (Willie Nelson), who was on Stephen Colbert's Christmas special (thus acting, and not talk show appearance).

Edit: ...Bitches.

314
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2007 6:24 pm UTC

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby 314 » Mon Jun 22, 2009 12:45 am UTC

See altext for "Convincing Pickup Line"
http://xkcd.com/403/

User avatar
a386
Posts: 220
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2007 5:07 pm UTC
Location: sailing the seas
Contact:

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby a386 » Mon Jun 22, 2009 5:44 am UTC

if kevin bacon co-authored a paper with erdos he would have an erdos-bacon number of one half, same goes for if erdos was in a movie with bacon. i wonder what kevin bacon's erdos-bacon number actually is? it's probably not the lowest one, nor is erdos's! (erdos probably has got a relatively high bacon number, and vice versa.) what if erdos and bacon co-authored a paper, and then co-starred in a movie? would the number go down from a half?

phider2
Posts: 71
Joined: Sun May 24, 2009 10:52 pm UTC

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby phider2 » Mon Jun 22, 2009 6:06 am UTC

No, if Kevin Bacon co-authored a paper with Erdos, he would have an Erdos number of 1, a Bacon number of 0, and an Erdos-Bacon number of 1 (add Erdos # + Bacon #). If Erdos co-starred in a movie with Bacon, his Erdos-Bacon number would also be 1, with pretty much the same logic.

User avatar
Aviatrix
Posts: 193
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2007 10:16 pm UTC
Location: California

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby Aviatrix » Mon Jun 22, 2009 8:02 am UTC

Add another Bacon number of 3 to the rapidly growing crowd, via a movie I appeared in with Steve Allen. No, you youngsters don't have to know who that is.

No Erdos number and none likely to ever become associated with me.

Bloobeard
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 7:29 am UTC

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby Bloobeard » Mon Jun 22, 2009 1:37 pm UTC


SocialSceneRepairman
Posts: 199
Joined: Sat May 24, 2008 4:17 am UTC

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby SocialSceneRepairman » Mon Jun 22, 2009 4:13 pm UTC

randytayler wrote:I'm still reeling from this notion that people write math papers. And stranger yet, that somebody else would read them. What's it like in that world, mathophiles? Isn't it scary there?


You. Read. Now.

bad_leprechaun
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2008 5:23 am UTC

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby bad_leprechaun » Mon Jun 22, 2009 8:58 pm UTC

ysth wrote:
bad_leprechaun wrote:@WhyNaut: So what exactly did you think Monroe numbers WERE? They sound interesting...


I propose guest-comic-authorship (in either direction).


Oh darn. And here I was thinking it might be slept-with-X-who-slept-with-Y-who-slept-with-Marilyn... :-S

User avatar
dennisw
Posts: 441
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2008 9:09 am UTC
Location: Appearing pro se AND pro bono!
Contact:

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby dennisw » Tue Jun 23, 2009 12:48 am UTC

Mr_Rose wrote:Query: Given that an Erdős number of one means direct collaboration and an undefined Erdős number indicates that you are probably not a mathematician, whilst a zero means you are Paul Erdős, what does an Erdős number of -1 mean? Conceptually speaking?

That they co-authored Erdős.
Try the Printifier for xkcd. You can now scale the comic between 50 and 150%.

I find these very useful: Common Errors in English Usage (web site) and Eats, Shoots & Leaves (book). You may, too.

e pluribus unum
Unleash unlicensed ungulates!

User avatar
Tanuki
Posts: 38
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2007 4:37 am UTC
Location: Seattle or something
Contact:

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby Tanuki » Tue Jun 23, 2009 1:35 am UTC

So his parents have Erdös Numbers of -1?

User avatar
phlip
Restorer of Worlds
Posts: 7573
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 3:56 am UTC
Location: Australia
Contact:

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby phlip » Tue Jun 23, 2009 2:00 am UTC

Tanuki wrote:So his parents have Erdös Numbers of -1?

Or maybe ±i?

Code: Select all

enum ಠ_ಠ {°□°╰=1, °Д°╰, ಠ益ಠ╰};
void ┻━┻︵​╰(ಠ_ಠ ⚠) {exit((int)⚠);}
[he/him/his]

Decorian
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2009 10:56 pm UTC

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby Decorian » Fri Aug 07, 2009 2:36 pm UTC

I've just submitted my first ever paper to PRD, and my supervisor who is co-auther has a finite Erdos number.
That means in a few months I should have an Erdos number of 6, according to mathscinet.

I'm more physics though, so I'm wondering if there's an equivalent number in the physics world that I might get one day.

User avatar
a386
Posts: 220
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2007 5:07 pm UTC
Location: sailing the seas
Contact:

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby a386 » Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:31 pm UTC

phider2 wrote:No, if Kevin Bacon co-authored a paper with Erdos, he would have an Erdos number of 1, a Bacon number of 0, and an Erdos-Bacon number of 1 (add Erdos # + Bacon #). If Erdos co-starred in a movie with Bacon, his Erdos-Bacon number would also be 1, with pretty much the same logic.


oh whoops i thought erdos-bacon was an average of the two.

User avatar
ConMan
Shepherd's Pie?
Posts: 1691
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2008 11:56 am UTC
Location: Beacon Alpha

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby ConMan » Wed Aug 12, 2009 7:41 am UTC

a386 wrote:
phider2 wrote:No, if Kevin Bacon co-authored a paper with Erdos, he would have an Erdos number of 1, a Bacon number of 0, and an Erdos-Bacon number of 1 (add Erdos # + Bacon #). If Erdos co-starred in a movie with Bacon, his Erdos-Bacon number would also be 1, with pretty much the same logic.


oh whoops i thought erdos-bacon was an average of the two.

Nope, although there is apparently one convention that defines fractional Erdös numbers 1/N, where N is the number of papers co-authored with him. I don't think there's an easy way to extend that, however.
pollywog wrote:
Wikihow wrote:* Smile a lot! Give a gay girl a knowing "Hey, I'm a lesbian too!" smile.
I want to learn this smile, perfect it, and then go around smiling at lesbians and freaking them out.

condor216
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:24 am UTC

Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion

Postby condor216 » Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:56 pm UTC

keithc wrote:
Rann Xerox wrote:[GOOGLES 'PAUL ERDOS']

"Sokath, his eyes uncovered."

Brilliant! My favourite TNG episode - and the only one that stays on my PVR



Hersey! "The inner light" is the best episode.


Return to “Individual XKCD Comic Threads”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: mscha and 113 guests