The Wikipedia Roto-Rooter

I love my iPod Touch, and not just for the mind-numbingly addictive, time-annihilating Free Cell app I installed on it. I got it as a gift a couple of Christmases ago, and it's pretty fun and useful. Etc., etc.

One thing I don't like to do on it is type. It takes forever when you Google stuff, or at least it's not as fast as I want it to be. I don't mind clicking links, but the typing — yeesh.

So last night when we were Googling stuff and Wikipediaing things something suddenly occurred to me: Wouldn't it be great if we could just follow Wikipedia links to any and all things in the world? Isn't it possible to Wikipedia your way from subject to subject?

Jen said that already exists — Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Yes, but not quite — I'm talking about inanimate things. Like between Kevin Bacon and, say, a toilet.

In short, the answer is yes. You can Wikipedia from toilet to Kevin Bacon — in just seven steps, actually: Toilet to Sega to The Golden Compass to Nicole Kidman to Tom Cruise — you see where we're going with this — to Tom Cruise filmography to A Few Good Men to Kevin Bacon.

I will call this the Wikipedia Roto-Rooter.

So this morning I tried starting from Roto-Rooter and hoped to hit George Washington. It was easier than I thought: Roto-Rooter to United States to George Washington — two steps.

And back to Kevin Bacon — Roto-Rooter to Kevin Bacon in just five steps goes Roto-Rooter, Undercover Boss, CBS, Guiding Light, List of Guiding Light cast members and finally Kevin Bacon. Or this:

Wikipedia Roto-Rooter: Kevin Bacon

Can you Roto-Rooter anywhere? Can you get from Roto-Rooter to, say, the Vancouver, B.C. indie band Said The Whale? Yes you can: Roto-Rooter, Canada, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBC Radio 3, The R3-30, List of The R3-30 number-one hits of 2010 and finally Said The Whale — six steps.

Now truth be told, this last one was much more difficult than I make it sound. A first stab took detours through different pages of lists of Canadian music awards, the "Colony of Vancouver Island" page, Vancouver, and even the "Frederick Stanley, 16th Earl of Derby" page (the last one a waste of time based on a hunch about their R3-30 number one hit song "Black Day in December").

Could this become a pedagogical activity? Kids already overuse Wikipedia, so why not work with it?

Posted: March 14th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Half-Baked Theory, Shiftless When Idle | Tags: , , , , ,