Why Do Earpiece Cables Get Jumbled inside your Bag?

30/03/13 1:24 AM

The solution “because they simply do” might be your initial answer to the question (indeed, it was mine), but it is knot a great one (Yeah, yeah, I know…)

 

Actually, it has to do with Entropy (the second law of thermodynamics) and things tending toward disorder. Actually, the world seems to exist in a state of controlled chaos (or chaotic order, whichever way you select to see it) and your earphones are obeying the order to that Universe by producing chaos whilst in your pocket. Maybe.

 

Alternatively, Summer Ash of ‘NPR.org’ claims that,

 

“Mathematicians have studied knots forever and developed all sorts of theories and classifications of their variations, but physicists have only recently began to explore what equations govern their formation”.

 

She goes on to explain an trial, distributed by Physicists Douglas Smith and Dorain Raymer, which involved rotating a length of thread using a motor to see if it was tangled or not, they did this 3,415 times. Why that precise number?

 

Well, depending on Smith, “The scientific answer is that 3,415 was around the point where we had statistically compelling results. The human answer is that 3,415 times was about as much as we could stand.”

 

You wouldn’t expect a man who seems to have taken the term ‘String Theory’ exactly to possess a sense of humour, but there you go. I’ll let Summer explain the rest;

 

“They concluded that with a minimum length of string (18.124 inches) and sufficient space for the string to shift around in its container, knots formed fairly quickly, often within the first few seconds. Inputting these results into a computer model, they even managed to create a program that could identify the
 “Jones polynomial” for each resulting knot, a mathematical property based on parameters such as the number of string crossings”.

 

Ergo, when you consider the extent of the earphone chord and just how much space it has to maneuver around within your pocket (especially whenever you’re out and about, going to/from work, running, walking the dog or suchlike), it will become clear that you’re knot going to avoid the odd entanglements (sorry. I’ll stop now). It is just physics. In fact, if it does not happen all the time, you’ve probably beaten odds close to winning a good amount at the lottery. Think about that.

 

Nevertheless, to sum up, today, we’ve now learned jointly that intertwined headphone cords are a natural symptom of business as usual in the Universe. It’s indicative of that great wide somewhere winking down at us and reassuring us that it is all going to be alright and that everything is going exactly according to plan. A way of claiming that the days of our lives are as predestined as every grain of sand on every single beach on each world in each galaxy…

 

Or, if you prefer, the Universe is basically a Grant Morrison re-write of the Phillip K. Dick wet dream.

 

Or, if you favor:

 

Headphones get twisted up inside your pocket. Why?  Because they simply do.

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