Did you ever think it was silly when you hear people say, WE’RE WITNESSING HISTORY! My first thought was always, “GEE, isn’t every waking moment ‘witnessing history’?” I know, I’m just parsing words. What they surely mean is that we are witnessing milestones, tipping points if you will.

Remember the good ol’ days of the internet, say 8-10 years ago in ancient internet times? We had these quaint things called ‘chat rooms’ and ‘message boards’? I thought that was so cool. Leaving a message that somebody on another continent could read. Wow. Not quite what Kubrick envisioned in 2001 A Space Odyssey. But to me, very cool. My Aunt and Uncle were Kansas dairy farmers who just got electricity and plumbing in the mid 1950’s.

So what’s the big milestone? The Iranian (so-called) election, or rather the way it is being exposed! A phony rigged election in a theocracy, I have no doubt that will happen again. The milestone is that we have reached the age of super-connectivity. An exponential proliferation of connectivity, made possible by; Emails, Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon,, Digg this!, Linkedin, Reddit and RSS feeds.

Not to mention the old fashioned thing you’re reading now, a blog post. Many blogs are networked to ALL of these, making them accessible practically everywhere. And, here’s the Big Brother part, the proliferation of cheap mobile devices that access any or all of these in virtually real-time.

No longer can an oppressive nation publish strictly controlled press releases and suppress the truth for any period of time. Even though the Iranian govt has tried, the networks have just become overwhelming! Just as electrical grids are re-routed when one connection fails, modern networking has proved to resistant to attempts to block and disrupt the flow! I believe that the 2009 Iranian farce elections should be held as an epic moment, just as Tienamen Square is now.

The Iranian people were not allowed to be counted in their own country, dismissed as mere ‘motes of dust’. They will not be dust to the rest of the world. Their voices have become a swarm on every network possible. The age of governments hiding their deeds behind ‘iron curtains’ is over. We, the citizens of the world can be the antithesis of the Owellian Big Brother. Let North Korea’s people be heard next!



Okay, enough playing politics for NOW. For more about networks –

Networks, and their study inspired a game called “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.” I remember when this started and I was intrigued then. Many of us may know at least one actor, and in that case you are only a few ‘connections’ from Kevin Bacon!

Actors, like all human beings, are part of a network of acquaintances, connected to other actors with whom they have worked on various projects; one actor’s network connects to another’s when they share a common movie. The point of the game is to name an actor and see if he or she can be connected to Kevin Bacon in six movies or fewer. There are so many possible connections that if you give yourself six steps, you are basically guaranteed to connect the movie star to any other actor. In fact, the challenge is to find two actors who cannot be connected in less than six steps!

Here is how it works. You pick an actor, say Richard Burton. How hard is it to link Burton to Bacon, whose careers have no overlap? Very easy, actually. Burton starred with Genevieve Bujold in Anne of the Thousand Days. Bujold starred with Michael Douglas in Coma; Douglas starred with Demi Moore in Disclosure; and Moore starred with Bacon in A Few Good Men. Burton to Bacon is three steps, or three degrees.

Researchers have empirically verified the idea that any two people on the planet can be connected to each other in six steps or less.

Network science is relatively new, and is attempting mathematics capable of explicating its principles. There may never be mathematical equations to describe networks, but it is very clear that networks have interesting patterns that do have a quasi-mathematical character. It is often the case that patterns are detected long before the relevant mathematics appears. The patterns that have been detected so far are best described as; connections, ‘clusters’ and ‘hubs’. Once people began researching networks as science they were astounded that these networking patterns occur literally everywhere. Everywhere, as in REALLY everywhere!

When I speak of connections, clusters and hubs the Internet is the obvious example. And when studied, the researchers were amazed to find that the same patterns occur everywhere in nature! Insects and their behavior are being found to follow the same patterns that developed (supposedly by chance?) on the Internet. Now they are looking into genetics and other cutting edge science to detect and study this apparently organic networking phenomenon. ~sekanblogger


Filed under Diplomacy, Diversity, Elections, Evolution, hate groups, History, Media, New Technology, Political Reform, Populists, Religion, Research, World Politics

15 responses to “BIG BROTHER IN REVERSE? ~sekanblogger

  1. wicked

    It really is a small world.

    I was telling a friend last night about my college roommate. I can’t remember which of us was in the room first, but in less than an hour of meeting, two virtual strangers learned they had lived within 10 country miles of each other and attended high school within 15. At the time we met at KSC of Pittsburg (yes, Sekan, the old Pitt State), I lived near Wichita, and she lived near Lawrence, but our childhood paths had crossed when we realized in an even more bizarre revelation within that first hour, that as little girls, we had both gotten hand-me-down clothes from the same girl who had been a neighbor of mine while growing up in Wichita.

    Six degrees? Hell, we were practically twins! Our birthdays are 4 days apart.

  2. OK, I see why I hesitated to comment.

    I can do the real life stuff and have many times shook my head at what a small world it really is.

    Buuuuut, I don’t know the names of actors and actresses — I couldn’t even begin the game. Honestly, they have to be as famous as John Wayne (a household word) before I can identify them by name. And then I can’t tell you the titles of any of his movies. I just don’t store that stuff, never have.

    I’ve seen this “network science” A LOT on Facebook! Recently I tried to wish Biker a happy birthday at his Facebook (I can’t because I’m not his friend) but I noticed a Linda Cleary there. I don’t know how Biker knows her, but she is the wife of a long-time coworker of my hubby AND that same coworker is Mary Caruso’s brother. People I know from all different ways and walks of life — are inter-connected!

    Remember when you and I found out we both knew Leigh, Sekan?

    Small world!

    • Oh yes! Leigh from Wichita.
      Leigh Blackhall I believe. Now howinthehell after all these years would I remember her maiden name?
      I used to play cards with her and her boyfriend.

    • wicked

      Or that your hubby and I went to school together, fnord.

      • I should check facebook more.
        Leigh is in my friends list.
        Also found this
        2 very good FREE streaming mp3’s
        Wicked, these are good ‘mind musix’

        Withered Roses is excellent.

        The other one has the longest song title in recorded history!

      • wicked

        Ooooh, thanks for the link, sekan! I downloaded a couple of “meditation” CD’s a week or so ago to help me combat the asthma breathing. I tend to stress too much, too, and believe the music really does help. (Bought a yoga mat but haven’t had a chance to do anything with it.) Hey, it beats paying a shrink and taking drugs. LOL I shall definitely check out the Shawn thing.

        I need to add Leigh as well. She kept showing on my “add these friends” list, but I didn’t. Why not? I don’t know. Too shy, I guess. 😉

  3. Except she hasn’t lived in Wichita, or even Kansas, for many years. She has a birthday coming up soon and she is a baby — going to be 49 for the FIRST time.

    • I turned 49 again.
      I mean in this life……..

      • wicked

        The year we turned 40, one of my HS friends and I decided we would from henceforth begin to count backwards on birthdays. I thought of that this month on mine and figured it out that I’m like 22. LOLOLOLOL

  4. tosmarttobegop

    I have said it before, I knew Don Johnson from the bad old days he beat-up me along with other 8 years olds when he was in High school. There is a old story from the LBJ days, he like some many in the U.S. stopped what they were doing to watch the CBS news and Walter Cronkite. The night that Cronkite spoke of the deceptions about how Vietnam was actually going and showed a U.S. Soldier lighting his cigarette then using the lighter to set a hut on fire.

    It is said that Johnson commented to one of his aids, “If we have lost Walter Cronkite we have lost Mr. and Mrs. America!”. We have no one news broadcaster or network that carries that much creditability these days. The downside of what we do have for information and news is that it is subject to personal slant and misinformation. Be it a national news network or a blogger all bring a slant and maybe using misinformation to make their point.

    You use the example of Iran, right now the news is sucking in every voice and information coming from Iran. Without knowing if it is factual or reliable we will believe any report of deaths and mistreatment as we will have a tendency to want to believe it of the Government of Iran. The I-reporter may have a bias and being wanting to pant a worst outcome. I have a feeling that if the day comes when a great grandchild ask me of the Bush years. They will be subject to information and detail that will be left out of the official history books. The is the problem with depending on a relative or friend for information.

    You and I are linked as is others and you and me are linked, as such they too are linked with other we are not. Now “bring on Jessica’s ass!”

  5. Bad Biker

    Weird crossroads……………………..

    In the Sixties, Earl (a-father) ran a store at 12 Mile Road and Groesbeck in Roseville, Michigan. My paternal grandparents lived on 12 Mile at Hays, a mile away. That house was the last residence I lived in with my birth family.

    In the early Seventies, I work at a company in Mt. Clemens, Michigan. My birth father and stepmother worked at the same company, in another building.

    The “town” where I was born was/is too small for all but the best maps, so I didn’t really know where it was. I used to travel back and forth between NC and MI when I lived down there, always stopping in Corbin, KY for a break. (It was about the halfway point.) Corbin is twenty miles from where I was born and I have (had) two Aunts, several cousins and a brother that lived there.

    In 1997, I stopped at “Jarvis Store, KY” which is actually Big Daddy’s Convenience Store. At that time, I knew where Jarvis was and I was looking for my grandparents farm. I stood outside the store, leaning against the hood of my Jeep, and I noticed a groups of older men and women talking about visiting Mom’s grave site. The van they were driving had Indiana plates.

    Three months later I discovered that those folks were my Aunts and Uncles. The grave site they were going to visit was my grandmothers and it was only about a mile away.

  6. Here’s my best ‘small world isn’t it’ experience.

    I have a long-time friend, Jean, who lived in Hawaii for several years. She and a classmate from high school moved to Hawaii after graduation. Jean moved back when her Dad was dying and stayed here because her Mother needed her. Jean and I met through our employment and became not just coworkers but good friends. Over the years I’ve met her old high school friend, Bev, who still lives in Hawaii, many times as Bev’s family is also still here in Wichita and she returns for frequent visits. When Bev comes to visit ‘us girls’ get together.

    The one thing Bev always talks about is that as soon as someone learns she lives in Hawaii they want to reestablish a friendship that wasn’t a friendship before she moved to paradise. And, of course, all these johnny-come-lately ‘friends’ want a place in Hawaii to stay, for free. 😉

    Bev is in Wichita visiting and telling the story of the old acquaintance (someone Jean also knew from high school) who contacted her because she was going to be in Hawaii… Bev had long ago learned she couldn’t (didn’t want to!) be hostess to everyone who wanted to visit Hawaii on the cheap. She had her lines down pat, and was able to quickly turn the conversation to meeting for a drink or maybe lunch, but not offering up her home to everyone who tried to finagle an invite.

    So Bev is telling Jean and I this story about meeting the old high-school classmate of both Bev and Jean for a drink and hearing about her affair back home. Old acquaintance is telling Bev she is involved with a married man back home in Wichita who knows one of their old classmates and begins to describe the person her lover knows, wondering if Bev remembers her. Well, Bev says, of course I remember Jean! We were best of friends in school and moved to Hawaii together and remain great friends!

    As Jean and I are listening, the big question we have is who is this married man who says he knows Jean? Turns out the ‘lover’ guy is the husband of one of our coworkers!

    So Jean and I learn that one of our coworkers husband is cheating on her — from a friend who lives in Hawaii. All the cheating is happening in Wichita but the news of it comes from far away.

    Small world, isn’t it?

  7. wicked

    My paternal grandmother was in her 90’s when she died. I was about 9 or 10 at the time, and what I remember about her was that she lived in a private home with some other elderlies before she died.

    My dad and my ex’s grandfather were fairly close in age. Born less than 10 years apart. They new early Wichita, and I loved listening to them talk about it. His grandfather had lived on the west side, blocks from where I’d grown up, but well before that. He’d even attended the same grade school I and my mom had, McCormick.

    One day, while talking (before we were married), my parents mentioned that my grandmother had lived in a home owned by a woman with the same last name as my ex and his grandparents. Come to find out, my grandmother had lived with and been cared for by my ex’s great-grandmother. It was definitely eerie.

    Oh, yeah, and the ex’s grandmother (wife of the above grandfather) had a cousin who is married to one of my cousins on my mom’s side.

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