One of the best things about XKCD is that the mouse-over text (simply rendered using the title attribute in the <img> HTML tag) will almost always give you a second laugh or an interesting thought. This comic isn't his best, but it has this great mouse-over text:
Wikipedia trivia: if you take any article, click on the first link in the article text not in parentheses or italics, and then repeat, you will eventually end up at "Philosophy."
- Bradford-Union Street Historic District
- Plymouth, Massachusetts
- Plymouth County, Massachusetts
- County (United States)
- U.S. state
- Federated state
- State (polity)
- Social structure
- Social sciences
- List of academic disciplines
- Natural science
- Property (philosophy)
- Modern philosophy
According to the Wikipedia page on the phenomenon (of course there's one, which also of course already referenced the XKCD mention) the longest known link chain is just 35 links back to philosophy, so my random find is way up there.
It's interesting to observe how the selections work back from entries on specific, literal things to broader categories. The selections go from place to categories of place to knowledge to a meta-description of what knowledge. I imagine that if you grouped Wikipedia entries by category you'd see similar chains leading back to philosophy. For instance, I think all place names should follow a similar trajectory to my example.
I also wonder what the distribution would look like if you took a list of all entries on Wikipedia and graphed them by this philosophy index number. I think all articles listed together would be messy, but a list of articles weighted by web traffic would yield a a logarithmic distribution with the bulk of the entries being people, places, or things that are far from philosophy but eventually link there. Also, the distribution of any single category (places in the United States, for example) should be more similar to a normal distribution, and the narrower the category is the more true that would be. Now if someone will just build a computer program to test my hypothesis.