Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dumbell's #

According to the Wikipedia entry, "Dunbar's number is suggested to be a theoretical cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. These are relationships in which an individual knows who each person is, and how each person relates to every other person." And since it's on Wikipedia it must be true! ;). The average number of these integrated social relationships is 150.

150 friendships.

I like to get students thinking about this in class by having them tell how many contacts they have in their phones and how many 'friends' they have on FB or other social networking site. Many have noted that they feel they have a much smaller number of relationships that would count as part of Dunbar's concept. Others point out that you may have 150 or more, but you do not associate with all of them constantly. 

It definitely should cause you rethink how Facebook has redefined for us what a "friend" is.

But that's not what this post is about.

I propose a different number. Dumbell's Number.

This is the number of passwords for apps, programs, devices, accounts, etc. that a person can possibly know. And I think it's about two (2), especially if the second one is a derivation of the first.

I am so sick and tired of having to come up with another password every time I turn around! And good security advice is to never write it down. Don't put it on a Post-it on the back of your computer or inside your desk drawer, or under the stapler. Any half-way decent hacker knows every place you would think of to hide it.
And of course every new password must be longer, more convoluted, use absolutely no recognizable terms, blah, blah, blah.

So what's the solution? Well, if I told you that, then you'd know my password!

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