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Echoes and Mirrors» Blog Archive » Further proof that the universe hates us

Further proof that the universe hates us

Spontaneous knotting of an agitated string:

Here, we describe a simple physical experiment on knot formation. A string was placed in a cubic box and the box was rotated at constant angular velocity about a principle axis perpendicular to gravity, causing the string to tumble. We investigated the probability of knotting, the type of knots formed, and the dependence on string length. Before tumbling, the string was held vertically above the center of the box and dropped in, creating a quasirandom initial conformation. After tumbling, the box was opened and the ends of the string were lifted directly upward and joined to form a closed loop. A digital photo was taken whenever a complex knot was formed. The experiment was repeated hundreds of times with each string length to collect statistics.

There is a lot of math and physics and equations in the article, but what it all boils down to is that if you put a bunch of loose string-like things (like all of your stereo cables, xmas decorations, etc.) into a box and carry them up the stairs, they will form a big knot. Every time, mathematically guaranteed.

The natural state of the universe is to irritate and annoy the crap out of us by knotting up our strings. Hail Eris!

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