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The Internet's Kevin Bacon Effect: Any Web Page Can Be Accessed From Any Other In Just 19 Clicks

Illustration for article titled The Internets Kevin Bacon Effect: Any Web Page Can Be Accessed From Any Other In Just 19 Clicks

In theory, every actor and actress in the planet could be connected to Kevin Bacon in six steps or less. And in theory, according to Hungarian physicist Albert-László Barabási, every random web page can be accessed from any other random page by clicking just 19 times or less.


That's what he discovered in his research, which was just published in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. Barabási found out that, while web pages are barely hyperlinked to other pages, there's a group of pages that make possible the 19-steps-or-less rule. These pages are the Kevin Bacons of the web, from search engines to aggregators like Reddit or publications like Gizmodo, making it possible to make that surprisingly quick connection.

He believes that this is caused by the same reasons that make the Kevin Bacon effect, the rules of human societies that make us connect in the real world. He also realized that the connections are not random but distributed in hierarchical themes. And even more interesting: his research claims that, no matter how much the web grows, the steps to connect one random page to another random page will never pass the 19 clicks mark. [Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society via Smithsonian]


Image by s_bukley/Shutterstock

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Used to play a game in High School when we were in the library for a class. Go to Wikipedia, click random page to find 2 random pages. Then start from the first and get to the second only clicking links, fastest person wins.

Can't use Ctrl + F