I was thinking idly about Erdos numbers, and it suddenly struck me that I could easily prove the necessity of a couple of ‘stylised facts'[1] about the associated networks. It’s well-known that the collaboration network for mathematicians contains one big component, traditionally derived by starting with Pal Erdos. The same is true of the network generated by sexual relationships. Although there is no generally agreed starting point here, it is a sobering thought that a relatively short chain would almost certainly connect most of us with both George Bush and Saddam Hussein.

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by Chris Bertram on May 15, 2004

From “the Guardian review”:http://books.guardian.co.uk/reviews/politicsphilosophyandsociety/0,6121,1216899,00.html of a new book by Regis Debray:

bq. Jeffrey Mehlman has managed to translate from French into an entirely new language, one born dead. It is constructed using English words but the effect is of something almost entirely unlike English. This raises profound questions. What is one to make of a chapter heading like “The Milieu/Medium Deflagration”? How is one to translate the last sentence of that chapter: “That nomadic psycho-object, the unknown masterpiece of a nation’s furniture, would mark the improbable encounter, to the benefit of a God more snobbish than His predecessors, of the custom-made and the ready-to-bear”? The last word is clearly wrong. But should it be “wear” or “bore”?