Why Do Earpiece Cables Become Knotted in Your Pocket?

19/03/13 8:09 PM

The answer “because they simply do” might be your 1st answer to this question (indeed, it had been mine), but it is knot a great one (Yeah, yeah, I know…)


In reality, it has to do with Entropy (the 2nd rule of thermodynamics) and things tending toward disorder. In reality, the universe seems to exist in a situation of controlled chaos (or chaotic order, whichever way you choose to see it) and your earpieces are obeying the order of that Universe by producing chaos whilst within 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 spinning a length of cord with a motor to see if it is 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 would not expect a man who seems to have taken the idea ‘String Theory’ exactly to own 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 these have to move around within your pocket (especially whenever you’re out and about, going to/from work, running, walking the dog or suchlike), it becomes clear that you’re knot going to avoid the odd entanglements (sorry. I’ll stop now). It’s just physics. In reality, if it doesn’t happen much of the time, you have probably beaten odds close to winning a good amount at the lottery. Think about that.


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


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


Or, if you prefer:


Headphones get knotted up within your pocket. Why?  Because they just do.

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