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Unread November 23rd, 2007, 12:13 PM
James Brody James Brody is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2004
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Default Thanksgiving & Small Worlds

Watts & Strogatz (Watts, D. & Strogatz, S. (1998) Collective dynamics of 'small-world' networks. Nature. 393: 440-442) considered the notion of "small worlds" in which frequent interactions form islands. While participants in a small world may have multiple contacts outside of their immediate circle, they rarely consider them. Pareto's 80-20 Rule might predict that eighty percent of your time will be given to twenty percent of what you could monitor. This effect allows for immediate focus and mutual error-correcting within the small world, it also allows for a lot of blindness.

WLW, 700 AM, Cincinnati, the American Truckers Network, midnight till 5am, is a good place to sample a lot of small worlds. It also gives a sample of mid America and the kind of people who reared me. WLS is a hub, draws a select kind of node, and each item that follows reflects our evolved heritage:

1) Bush pardoned the turkeys but neglected Ramos and Campean. (An affirmation of kin selection?)
2) One caller on Thanksgiving prefers sliders at White Castle.
3) Another once ate at Alice's Restaurant in Massachusetts but mostly remembers the buxom redhead who waited on him. He was sixteen at the time. (Note: mention this to Geoff & Helen!)
4) Listen up. A tanker overturned fifteen minutes ago at the split between I70 & I71 near Columbus. Everything's backing up. Take a detour...
5) A fella from North Carolina wanted sweet p'tater pie with marshmallows.
6) One has a wife who makes "Cajun turkey": she burns it.
7) A husband and wife like to work the holiday so that other people can be off. (You can find a similar effect in institutions.)
8) One thanked the rest-stop waitresses for making sure that we all have a good Thanksgiving meal. (I rode Kat into Dutch country, stopped for a snack, and came out of the line with a slice of pumpkin pie and a hot tea. "Are you alone? You should stay with us for dinner," from the hostess. Not sure it was all about taking money from an old guy with a biker's helmet and jacket.
9) A husband and wife like driving as a team. "We live in a tuna can but we're happy."
10) Weather: 79 degrees yesterday, 17 now, 8 tomorrow.
11) A gravel voice started in Pennsylvania, was in Arizona right now, will load up in Texas on Friday, and be in Winnipeg on Monday.
12) One called for good sense: he knows a trucker with satellite radio, GPS, cell phone, television, CD player, and laptop computer, all mounted so that parts of the windshield are obscured. The host, Bubba Bo, replied, "Yea, but if it's a really good movie..."

Thus, a proud, formerly cohesive American people put our invaders aside and, as Bill Bennett put it recently: "We can have some fun first; there's always plenty of time later to ask for forgiveness." Or to make war...

Happy Thankgiving...


Last edited by James Brody; November 24th, 2007 at 08:39 AM.
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