Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Stupidity of The Masses

Facebook usually exposes to me how stupid the average Facebookian is. Few months back I stumbled across the Mars Hoax and recently I came across a new phenomena. Groups and applications surfaced asking people to sign-up so that they could finally put the Six Degree Separation hypothesis to the test. You've probably heard about it, the hypothesis claims that people are connected via an average of six links. Links being friends or acquaintances. Around 12 million people signed up on Facebook to try and help the 'research' to prove this hypothesis.

Maybe it's just me but if I were to wake up tomorrow and the headlines would read: Six Degree Separation A Proven Fact! First, I'd be amazed by how the glorious 21st century research has just proved beyond doubt that, on average, I could be linked to a random dude in Boston over six links. *gasp*. Let me take a second to absorb this shock.............. ok, much better now. Second, I'd ask myself, so? What is the real reapplication of this 'discovery'? For sure there will be need for it in a weird sociological research about an extinct aboriginal tribe, but apart from that, how would this 'fact' help those 12 million people who are actively trying to prove it?
It wouldn't.

In the meantime, real distributed computing projects like: http://folding.stanford.edu or http://setiathome.berkeley.edu are suffering from a much, much smaller user base (as small as 200,000 users in some cases). Those projects only ask for some spare CPU cycles from your PC when you are not using it in exchange for trying to understand and solve real-world problems. These efforts have tangible results that will help make life better for all of us, yet the stupidity of the masses prevails.

14 comments:

Jade said...

Yeah WTF? & I didnt understand how the hell is this group of millions prove anything?
I mean how can they prove that they know each other through 6 contacts by just joining?

Kindly explain O Knowledgable One

Feshfesh said...

There are two things, first there's an application called Six Degrees which actually works. Because with everyone adding it, it tries to trace you to everyone in the database and keeps checking what's the global average. I added it out of curiosity and currently there are like 11.8 million users who added it and the average links globally is 6.45.

The group on the other hand is the hilarious one, you basically do NOTHING by joining it, yet they have 12+ million people who already joined... amazing right? Considering that Facebook has an estimated 60 million, this means a fifth of Facebook members are morons.

Jade said...

Thanks for the clarification.
I would have never bothered to find this shit out by myself
NERD!

Anyways, the application sounds cool... & It is actually strange this theory - but you are totally right - what use will it make to the world?
What about the important studies & shit? What about psychological studies that we can all participate in...

Morons... How true...
xxx

Feshfesh said...

The theory is interesting for sure, the annoying piece is that it's over hyped.... and what's with the nerd comment man? You're just jealous, because

This is why I'm hot
This is why I'm hot
I'm hot cause I'm nerdy
You ain't cause you're not

*Fesh does his best MIMS impersonation

embee said...

OMG! You send my geek back to the cage and then brag about being a nerd?

The geek shall make very frequent appearance now onwards!

--
Hey did I tell you about the screensaver I made? It displays random lines of kernel source code based on a simple perl function!

It begins ya Fesh :P

Feshfesh said...

noooooooooo.... not your nerd! It's killing me... oh man.. "kernel" and "source code lines" are two expressions I haven't used for over 5 years .... and not interested in using them at all :P

And just for the record, my inner nerd is kwel... and at times I pet it.... and it purrs...

embee said...

Is it agreed then that my nerd won't be continuously forced back into the cage ? It'll behave! Promise!

Munqy said...

Nerds are sexy, as Nadia from American Pie will testify.

Feshfesh said...

Thank you Munqy. I rest my case.

diptychal said...

hahah god thats so true. That group is so ridiculously silly. some of my friends joined it and invited me of course and I ignored but it was funny to see how they slowly all realised what was going on and one by one they left the group.
I wonder when (if) the penny'll drop for the rest of them.

Feshfesh said...

Hehehehe….like all those events for the Mars Hoax back in August ... man one group had like 20 thousand people confirmed!! Talk about a practical joke of astronomic proportions! :)) I wonder if those stupid 20 thousand stopped at midnight on that day and looked to discover that there was ONLY one moon in the sky… what a shock. Their world must have fell apart on that moment! Ah.. I love Facebook, it’s infinitely entertaining when it comes to the stupid stupid things that happen on it.

diptychal said...

and here we go again .. if you haven't already seen this: http://tinyurl.com/396v3v

It's a blog post about some girl who was on Dr. Phil talking about this group she started called "30 reasons girls should call it a night" and they post pictures of themselves completely trashed cause apparently that's sooooo cool.

Feshfesh said...

The Facebook group actually has some pretty 'interesting' pictures :D

Munqy said...

Lol at the Mars hoax thing.

I was actually one of the people on that group, and did everything I could to show them it was all horse shit (along with some others), but to no avail. It would literally be a huge wall of text with links explaining why it was a hoax, and the next post would be someone saying how cool it would be to see a giant red moon in the sky. Some even went so far as to ask why I was ruining there dream, and how could I say it wasn't going to happen when God is capable of everything. I wanted to hit things after reading crap like that.

I do have seti@home as my screensaver though, which is quite cool...