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Is Everyone Really Only Separated by 6 People?

Give just 6 handshakes, you will have met enough people to get in contact, through your new connections, with anyone on the planet. At least that’s the idea behind the famous notion of “Six Degrees of Separation”. But where does that number come from and, with the proliferation of social media, is that number getting smaller?

In a new video from Veritasium, Derek Muller takes us through the science that gave us that famous number, from deep mathematical theories to simple package deliveries. The video is a combination of speculation about society and near-perfect explanations — definitely worth a watch, especially if you like cameos from a disheveled Neil deGrasse Tyson.

And to be accurate, Kevin Bacon isn’t even the most well connected actor in Hollywood if you crunch the numbers. Though Bacon does have a respectable “Bacon Number” of 3 — he is separated from any other actor in IMDB by an average of two intermediaries — the actor that tops the list is Eric Roberts with a Bacon Number of 2.83.

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