Monday, 16 July 2007

six degrees of Cass Sunstein

I can't claim credit for the title; I read in this afternoon's Chronicle email about an actual paper on SSRN with the title "Six Degrees of Cass Sunstein: Collaboration Networks in Legal Scholarship" that brings the "six degrees" concept into legal scholarship with the jawdroppingly prolific University of Chicago law professor and legal scholar Cass Sunstein. The "six degrees" concept is used to describe an interrelated network - in other words, have you ever collaborated with Cass Sunstein (1 degree), or collaborated with someone who collaborated with him (2 degrees)... etc. The concept became a popular campus trivia game called "six degrees of Kevin Bacon" with the premise that any actor can be linked, through their film roles, to actor Kevin Bacon. The game requires a group of players to try to connect any film actor in history to the Kevin Bacon as quickly as possible and in as few links as possible.
Kevin Bacon, rather than getting annoyed by the game, has tried to turn it into something positive by establishing Six Degrees dot Org, a website where you can help your favorite charities. He explains how this works on his YouTube video.

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