Anorak | Small World Theory: The ALS Icebucket Challenge And Six Degrees Of Separation

Small World Theory: The ALS Icebucket Challenge And Six Degrees Of Separation

by | 28th, August 2014



SO. We’ve all seen those videos of tossers throwing iced water over themselves: everyone from terribly famous people like Giselle Bundchen and Bill Gates to random Belgians standing under firefighting planes. But little do people know that this is one of the great examples of “small world” theory. A specialist branch of mathematics which tries to explain how the world is put together, how society communicates. Other examples include the Kevin Bacon game and an oddity called an Erdos Number. These sorts of examples are used to explain how news travels over the internet, among other things.

This ALS Icebucket Challenge is another example of this same idea: that while there’s billions of us out here we’re really only a few connections away from everyone else. It’s usually possibly to connect between two people in four or five steps: and it’s a very rate person indeed that we can’t get to in seven or less (think lost amazon tribes to get to that distance away from any one other person):

The challenge started with Charles Kennedy, a golfer from Florida, who was responding to a friend who told him ‘pour ice over your head and I’ll donate to the charity of your choice’.

He chose ALS because his cousin is a sufferer of the disease.

He then challenged his cousin’s wife, and the challenges eventually reached New York-based ALS activist Pat Quinn who documents his battle with the disease on the website Quinn 4 The Win.

Through Mr Quinn’s network it spread to former Boston college baseball player Pete Frates, also an ALS sufferer, whose friend Corey Griffin reportedly raised $US100,000 on behalf of his friend before he died in tragic diving accident almost two weeks ago.

The challenge then spread around athletes all over Boston including New England Patriots player Julian Edelman.

He nominated teammate Tom Brady, and it eventually spread to his model wife Giselle Bundchen as well as singer Justin Timberlake.

From there, it exploded.

And that’s the way

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Posted: 28th, August 2014 | In: Celebrities, News Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink