[Ads-l] patient zero

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Nov 11 21:27:28 UTC 2014


It's hard to imagine that "ground zero" had no influence at all.

JL

On Tue, Nov 11, 2014 at 3:07 PM, Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at gmail.com> wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: patient zero
>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Is it just me, or does the concept of "patient zero" make little sense when
> the numbering is a time sequence?
>
> The only 'think-around' I see is that, in the sequencing of victims who
> connected to one central source, the central source is considered previous
> to the time sequence, hence the zero.
>
> I myself would have favored a "patient X".
>
> DanG
>
> On Mon, Nov 10, 2014 at 5:28 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole <
> adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
>
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> > -----------------------
> > Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> > Poster:       ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
> > Subject:      Re: patient zero
> >
> >
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> > Dan Goncharoff
> > > I have always thought about it a 'degrees of separation' from the
> source.
> > > The source itself has zero degrees of separation.
> >
> > Dan: Originally, the explanation you suggest was the one I thought
> likely.
> >
> > If you are familiar with Erdos numbers or Bacon numbers then it is
> > natural to hypothesize that "Patient zero" has the number zero for the
> > same reason that Kevin Bacon has a Bacon number of zero. A graph is
> > constructed with links corresponding to "contact" of some kind. For
> > example, the graph to calculate the Bacon number has a direct link
> > between two actors iff they have appeared together in a movie. The
> > graph for the Erdos number has a direct link between two persons iff
> > they have co-authored a paper together. (Complications ensue when
> > individuals have co-written a book and not a paper, etcetera.)
> >
> > The origin node (Erdos or Bacon) is assigned the number zero, and the
> > other nodes in the graph are labeled with the minimum distance from
> > the origin node measured by link traversals. Here is an article
> > stating that Kevin Bacon has a Bacon number 0.
> >
> > Title: The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon
> > Author: Stephanie Blanda
> > Date: November 22, 2013
> >
> > http://blogs.ams.org/mathgradblog/2013/11/22/degrees-kevin-bacon/
> >
> > [Begin excerpt]
> > While there is only one person with Bacon number 0 (Kevin Bacon
> > himself), most individuals involved in the Hollywood film industry
> > have a Bacon number of 6 or less.
> > [End excerpt]
> >
> > Does this explain why "patient zero" was assigned the number zero?
> > Perhaps not. Look at this Wikipedia article that apparently shows the
> > scientific paper with the graph for "patient zero". The numbers do not
> > correspond to distance or link traversals:
> >
> > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Index_case
> >
> > Garson
> >
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