0599: "Apocalypse"
Moderators: Moderators General, Prelates, Magistrates
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
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.
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
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 coauthorship 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 reviewprocess and published in time.
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
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 coauthorship 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 coauthorship, 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.
Religion, Sets, and Politics (my blog)

 Posts: 36
 Joined: Sun May 17, 2009 2:15 am UTC
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
Okay, so I know what an ErdosBacon 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 ErdosBacon number is 3, which is the lowest know one. Daaaaamn.
And according to Wikipedia, there's some guy called Daniel Kleitman who's ErdosBacon number is 3, which is the lowest know one. Daaaaamn.

 Posts: 36
 Joined: Sun May 17, 2009 2:15 am UTC
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
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?

 Posts: 36
 Joined: Sun May 17, 2009 2:15 am UTC
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
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 coauthored 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 ErdosBacon number in college.

 Posts: 4
 Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2009 9:52 am UTC
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
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.

 Posts: 4
 Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2008 5:23 am UTC
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
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?
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
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 coauthored 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 ErdosBacon 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.

 Posts: 1
 Joined: Sat Jun 20, 2009 3:25 pm UTC
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
once i saw the buray, i was holding my breath for a bakery joke. i was dissapointed.
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
If Hank Aaron has an Erdos number of 1, then I have an Erdos number of 2
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.
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??
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.
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.
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
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.
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
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 coauthorship on one published paper Awesome. It's not a math paper though so maybe it doesn't fully count.
I have also discovered I have an Erdos number of 6 from my coauthorship on one published paper Awesome. It's not a math paper though so maybe it doesn't fully count.
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
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 coauthored 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 ErdosBacon 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 peerreviewed , 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 foodchain. 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?
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
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.
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
Rann Xerox wrote:[GOOGLES 'PAUL ERDOS']
"Sokath, his eyes uncovered."
Brilliant! My favourite TNG episode  and the only one that stays on my PVR
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
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.
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
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 Then again, I have an excuse, I'm a Humanities gal myself even though that is hardly an excuse.
(icon by clockworkharlequin.net)
"An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all." ~ Oscar Wilde
"An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all." ~ Oscar Wilde

 Posts: 4
 Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2009 9:52 am UTC
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
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 Erdos13 coauthor publishes with an Erdos3, and you're back at the most common Erdos number again, 5.)
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
bad_leprechaun wrote:@WhyNaut: So what exactly did you think Monroe numbers WERE? They sound interesting...
I propose guestcomicauthorship (in either direction).
A math joke: r =  csc(θ)+sec(θ)  csc(θ)sec(θ) 
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
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.
Religion, Sets, and Politics (my blog)
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
My Bacon number is 3 because I designed (and applied) Emma Watson's makeup 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.
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
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
I expected Randall to look more... stickfigurish.
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
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, onscreen, 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.
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
See altext for "Convincing Pickup Line"
http://xkcd.com/403/
http://xkcd.com/403/
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
if kevin bacon coauthored a paper with erdos he would have an erdosbacon number of one half, same goes for if erdos was in a movie with bacon. i wonder what kevin bacon's erdosbacon 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 coauthored a paper, and then costarred in a movie? would the number go down from a half?
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
No, if Kevin Bacon coauthored a paper with Erdos, he would have an Erdos number of 1, a Bacon number of 0, and an ErdosBacon number of 1 (add Erdos # + Bacon #). If Erdos costarred in a movie with Bacon, his ErdosBacon number would also be 1, with pretty much the same logic.
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
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.
No Erdos number and none likely to ever become associated with me.

 Posts: 199
 Joined: Sat May 24, 2008 4:17 am UTC
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
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.

 Posts: 4
 Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2008 5:23 am UTC
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
ysth wrote:bad_leprechaun wrote:@WhyNaut: So what exactly did you think Monroe numbers WERE? They sound interesting...
I propose guestcomicauthorship (in either direction).
Oh darn. And here I was thinking it might be sleptwithXwhosleptwithYwhosleptwithMarilyn... :S
 dennisw
 Posts: 441
 Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2008 9:09 am UTC
 Location: Appearing pro se AND pro bono!
 Contact:
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
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 coauthored 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!
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!
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
So his parents have Erdös Numbers of 1?
 phlip
 Restorer of Worlds
 Posts: 7573
 Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 3:56 am UTC
 Location: Australia
 Contact:
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
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)⚠);}
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
I've just submitted my first ever paper to PRD, and my supervisor who is coauther 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.
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.
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
phider2 wrote:No, if Kevin Bacon coauthored a paper with Erdos, he would have an Erdos number of 1, a Bacon number of 0, and an ErdosBacon number of 1 (add Erdos # + Bacon #). If Erdos costarred in a movie with Bacon, his ErdosBacon number would also be 1, with pretty much the same logic.
oh whoops i thought erdosbacon was an average of the two.
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
a386 wrote:phider2 wrote:No, if Kevin Bacon coauthored a paper with Erdos, he would have an Erdos number of 1, a Bacon number of 0, and an ErdosBacon number of 1 (add Erdos # + Bacon #). If Erdos costarred in a movie with Bacon, his ErdosBacon number would also be 1, with pretty much the same logic.
oh whoops i thought erdosbacon 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 coauthored with him. I don't think there's an easy way to extend that, however.
pollywog wrote:I want to learn this smile, perfect it, and then go around smiling at lesbians and freaking them out.Wikihow wrote:* Smile a lot! Give a gay girl a knowing "Hey, I'm a lesbian too!" smile.
Re: "Apocalypse" Discussion
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: ZoomanSP and 114 guests