1. Animal House
Going to the actual Kevin Bacon Wikipedia page, Animal House is clearly italic. The First non-italic, top-level (wrt parens) is Golden Globe
Meme is quite far down the page. It is well after many links that are neither italicized nor inside parens. The statement whose veracity is being checked says First link (plus some other parameters).
panhard -> auverland -> panhard.
So far the longest trail I've found, at 25 steps, was from 'ED209' via pottery, through minerals, states of matter, knowledge, finite sets, mathematics... that's one heck of a wikitrail.
 Scratch that, 'Horst link' is longer via one step, going via transport, commerce, San Juan de Dios Market, Mexico, Romance languages, Precambrian, Chronology, etc...
uh oh... found a loop
mathematics -> quantity -> property_(philosophy) -> modern_philosophy -> western_europe -> europe -> continent -> landmass -> landform -> earth_sciences -> science -> knowledge -> fact -> information -> finite_set -> mathematics.
Business_magnate -> Philanthropy -> Ancient_Greece -> History_of_Greece -> Greeks -> Nation -> Sovereign_state -> -> State_(polity) -> Social_sciences -> Field_of_study -> Academia -> Community -> Interacting -> Action_(philosophy) -> Philosophy
Has the script been tweaked already?
Looks like "philosophy" is the first link on the "Modern philosophy" page (and was last week when I first tried this).
uh oh... found a loop
philosophy -> existence -> sense -> organism -> biology -> natural_science -> science -> knowledge -> fact -> information -> sequence -> mathematics -> quantity -> property_(philosophy) -> modern_philosophy -> philosophy.
Playing games with an ever evolving game board is... interesting.
Genghis_Khan -> Mongolian_language -> Mongolia -> Mongolian_language
Genghis Khan -> Borjigin -> Clan -> People -> Human ->
Taxonomy -> Science -> Knowledge -> Fact -> Information -> Sequence -> Mathematics -> Quantity -> Property (philosophy) -> Modern Philosophy -> Philosophy
Mongolian language is in parentheses, so you don't end up in the infinite loop.
So far, the only loop I can see is Panhard, though I'm sure someone will edit the page so that no longer happens. I think the stub pages have a far better chance of defying this law than any other page, though, so it's probably best to start there if you want to find more loops.
uh oh... found a loop
recursion -> recursive -> recursion.
Assuming you don't include the links in the "lacks inline citations" box on the recursion page.
Ratko Mladic (randomly chosen from wikipedia homepage)
Army of Republika Srpska
Use of force
12 steps to philosophy
But the link to Arabic is in parentheses. The first non-parenthesesed link is to Western Asia.
Second, capitalization matters. It couldn't find "the black keys" but it found "The Black Keys".
It's pretty obvious in hindsight when you think about it. You start with something specific and then get more and more vague until you hit Philosophy.
But then I found that "Osama Bin Laden" crossed "philosophers" and then ended on a loop between "reason" and "rationality".
EDIT: I just tried "Osama Bin Laden", the steps it takes seems to be using a slightly different Wikipedia than I see.
"Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language." --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy
I was tempted to see whether I could somehow engineer an all-roads-lead-to-goatse situation, but I couldn't think of a plausible pathway.
Did it using the software and then checked wikipedia by hand:
Philosophy -> Existence -> Sense -> Organism -> Biology -> Natural_science -> Science -> Knowledge -> Fact -> Information -> Finite_set -> Mathematics -> Quantity -> Property_(philosophy) -> Modern_philosophy -> Philosophy
15 steps to philosophy
Personally, I think its sad that people are editing wikipedia purely for the sake of making games work out.
Interesting that the first three i tried took about 17 hops and got funnelled through the "Life" entry.
This took a few less hops and stayed in 'techne':
Would love to see these searches graphed.
Years ago - one of my favorite sites was Everything2 (still up) - it was run on the slashdot engine. The fun of it was to follow the associated links at the bottom of the entry to see where it would take you.
It was a neat symbiosis, especially back before Wikipedia existed. However, they were separate sites. Both Slashcode (which runs Slashdot) and the Everything Engine (which runs Everything2) are written in Perl. Everything was never run on Slashcode, though, AFAIK.
Wikipedia has the answer, as to not spoil here's a link. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Get_to_Philosophy#Cha... I like the last loop on the article not crossed out.
For example, Wikipedia:_Get_to_Philosophy provides the example, Optimum "L" filter -> Butterworth filter. But the first link in 'Optimum "L" filter' is "Athanasios Papoulis".
(It came from a conversation some friends and I had about kopi luwak, just to explain why I tried this obscure word).
Edit: Modern Philosophy seems to be missing the link to Philosophy, which should be there according to the edit history (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Modern_philosophy&...).
I suspect that's also one of the most common non-stop words on "The Colbert Report".
Friend of mine was graphing out all of the connections (using Graphviz) and found some interesting patterns. Ultimately you can say the same thing for "Science", "Knowledge", and even "Mathematics".
uh oh... found a loop
spain -> balearic_islands -> catalan_language -> spain .
So this game is traversing a cyclic graph. It should be possible to get around this by keeping track of visited links, and not repeating our clicks.
Now is Wikipedia a connected graph?
'libertarianism' doesn't end up at philosophy either :)
Though I'm noticing that even before 'mathematics', all my meme-true queries are going through 'science'
also... 'philosopher' doesn't go through via the script page, but on the actual wiki it's redirected straight to 'philosphy'.
Fun page, nice work.
music -> art -> sense -> perception -> awareness -> consciousness -> mind -> panpsychism -> philosophy
war -> conflict -> social behaviour -> physics -> natural science -> science -> knowledge -> facts -> information -> sequence -> mathematics -> quantity -> property -> modern philosophy -> philosophy
catalan_language (loop to spain)
military_history (loop to war)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petar_Dobrovi%C4%87 causes an error.
I hit loops a few times - you could drop to the second link in those cases instead of stopping completely.
also sometimes it counts links in sidebars as first, i think that's unintentional.
Douglas Adams is not 42 links away from Philosophy, sorry :(
Looking at these stats shows how viral this meme/trivia got:
I posted these stats on a FB status a couple of days ago because of the sudden spike. Now that sudden spike looks small compared to today's sudden spike. Funny how there's different levels of viral, almost akin to different levels of infinite. What would happen if this hit mainstream media?
I find this absolutely fascinating. Consider that the reason we're at the centre of the world map is because we had the power to choose to put ourselves there, at the point in history when the maps were being drawn.
Is that imperial influence, long since waned, still echoing across the years, visible in the wikipedia graph?
what are the implications?
Seriously, it was just easier to get better at spelling.