Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Don't Drink The Water 

The first Small World experiment conducted by Columbia University is over and, as a pariticipant, I received an e-mail telling me so. More about the the study can be read at the Small World Project results page or the Small World Project media coverage page. Despite my interest, I haven't had time to check it all out but have read about it in 'Six degrees of separation works online' at ABC Science Online (August 11, 2003). I suspect most of my 'links' to other people didn't work - one friend didn't check his e-mail while another didn't quite understand that the project was not a personal one - I found it difficult to explain or forewarn people that the messages would not be spam or chain mail and that it was a genuine experiment. Then I didn't have time to forward more messages although I wanted to be involved. The researchers discovered that there are usually six degrees of social separation between any two people.

Still at ABC Online, I read 'Six degrees of sexual separation?
' (June 21, 2001 - not as interesting as it sounds) and from there to 'The 16 desires of life' (July 12, 2000), which reports on research carried out at Ohio State University by Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, Steven Reiss.

After conducting studies with more than 6,000 people, Professor Reiss identified the desires as: power, independence, curiosity, acceptance, order, saving, honor, idealism, social contact, family, status, vengeance, romance, eating, physical exercise, and tranquility.

I'm trying to order these desires from most important to least important to me and stupidly wondering if the desire for order should be listed close to the bottom. The desire to eat is making me feel good just at the thought and obviously curiosity is up there. Vengeance, that's got to be low on the list... who has time for vengeance when you could be going for a swim? (Yes, I went for a swim today... at Hamelin Bay - I love salt water!).

If you want to be part of a small, small world experiment... check out the 'new and improved version' of the Small World Project.

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