Jeff Baxter’s EBS Number

Jeff “Skunk” Baxter

There’s one thing that comes to mind when I ponder the type of hard-charging, over-achieving geniuses who populate the Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath list of luminaries.  That thing is…  uh, dude, what was I talking about, again?  Can you uh… heh heh…  pass me that bong, dude.  And put on some Doobie Brothers, man…

World’s Least Subtle Band Name winner for 20 years running, the Doobie Brothers were one of my favorite bands as a kid.  Jeff “Skunk” Baxter was their uber-mustachioed guitarist, and also happened to be a founding member Steely Dan, a band with an even more interesting origin for their name (look it up kids).  My friend @NotMattBellamy on twitter suggested him as a surprising candidate for membership in the Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath list.  Why?  Well, as it turns out he now spends his time as a freaking consultant for the defense industry.  That’ll make you choke on your bong water.

After his career in music wound down, he began dabbling in ballistic missile defense.  How the hell do you dabble in ballistic missile defense, you might ask?  It’s easy – simply have a neighbor get you a subscription to Aviation Week magazine (as Baxter did), use that as a springboard to teach yourself the intricacies of aerospace and defense engineering, and then get hired on as a consultant for various government agencies and contractors.  I joke, but people don’t actually just get hired as consultants without knowing their stuff – so he’s quite likely the real deal.  He’s also a “Senior Thinker and Raconteur” at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, which is probably code for “he supplies the doobies”.  Kidding!  Kidding!   Please don’t deploy ballistic missiles against me, Mr. Baxter!

Thankfully, someone managed to track down a paper he coauthors to include as a citation on his Wikipedia page, and from there it was possible to connect him to various other scientists and eventually back to Erdos.  (Otherwise, his various defense-related publications are probably not for public consumption.)  By my reckoning, he has an Erdos path of length 6.  His Bacon and Sabbath numbers are easy, as you’d expect from a famous personality from the world of entertainment – he gets a Bacon number of 2, thanks to Blues Brothers 2000 (which I refuse to see, despite the original Blues Brothers being my favorite movie of all time), and a Sabbath number of 3, as proved by January First-of-May on the Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath project comment thread.  This means he has a grand total of 11, which is quite a respectable score.

The Details

Erdos Number

Jeff Baxter to Dr. Paul Gilman, at Oak Ridge Center for Advanced Studies:
“Civil Applications Committee (CAC) Blue Ribbon Study: Independent Study Group Final Report.” Mr. Keith Hall, Edward G. Anderson, Jeff Baxter, Thomas W. Conroy, Dr. Paul Gilman (Director, Oak Ridge Center for Advanced Studies), Patrick M. Hughes, Kemp Lear, Kevin O’Connell, Joseph D. Whitley Esq.
September 2005.
Downloaded from
(this is the only paper that doesn’t appear on MSAS, but it’s mentioned at Wikipedia)

Paul Gilman to Steven J. Fernandez (Oak Ridge National Lab)
Actionable Capability for Social and Economic Systems (ACSES)
Steven J Fernandez, Peter K Brecke, Theodore D Carmichael, Christopher N Eichelberger, Auroop R Ganguly, Mirsad Hadzikadic, Yu Jiao, Moutaz J Khouja, Angus L McLean, Erin J Middleton, Olufemi A Omitaomu, Amar Saric, Paul Gilman, others
Published in 2008.

Steven J. Fernandez to Christopher T. Symons (Oak Ridge Natl Lab)
Construction of Synthetic Populations with Key Attributes: Simulation Set-Up While Accommodating Multiple Approaches within a Flexible Simulation Platform
Steven J. Fernandez, Amy N. Rose, Edward A. Bright, Justin M. Beaver, Christopher T. Symons, Olufemi A. Omitaomu, Cathy Jiao
Conference: IEEE International Conference on Social Computing – SocialCom , pp. 701-706, 2010

Christopher T. Symons to Michael A. Langston (Univ Tennessee Knoxville)
(multiple collabs between them)
Scalable Parallel Algorithms for FPT Problems (Citations: 30)
Faisal N. Abu-khzam, Michael A. Langston, Pushkar Shanbhag, Christopher T. Symons
Journal: Algorithmica , vol. 45, no. 3, pp. 269-284, 2006

Michael A. Langston to Vance Faber
Small diameter symmetric networks from linear groups (Citations: 17)
Lowell Campbell, Gunnar E. Carlsson, Michael J. Dinneen, Vance Faber, Michael R. Fellows, Michael A. Langston, James W. Moore, Andrew P. Mullhaupt, Harlan B. Sexton
Journal: IEEE Transactions on Computers – TC , vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 218-220, 1992

Vance Faber to Paul Erdos
Sets of natural numbers of positive density and cylindric set algebras of dimension 2
Paul Erdös, Vance Faber, Jean Larson
Journal: Algebra Universalis – ALGEBRA UNIV , vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 81-92, 1981

Bacon Number

For his Bacon number, Jeffrey Baxter is listed at as in the cast of Blues Brothers 2000, as himself (in the Louisiana Gator Boys)
John Goodman was also in Blues Brothers 2000, and was in “Beyond All Boundaries” (2009) with Kevin Bacon as a voice actor. So that gives him a Bacon number of 2.

Sabbath Number

(Credit goes to January First-of-May on the official Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath Project comment thread for finding this)

As for Sabbath, Jeff Baxter was in The Louisiana Gator Boys with Steve Winwood, who was in Spencer Davis Group with Eddie Hardin, who recorded Summer Days (on the Purple And Other Colours album) with Ronnie James Dio of Black Sabbath – making Jeff’s Sabbath number 3, and the sum 11.


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