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This post is a tribute to this site – It certainly made me google (bing u would say?) up on a question that always confronted me everyday.

Why do wires get tangled up?

It happens with my earphones, my mouse cable, my laptop cable, my mobile charger cable – any cable or wire I use. I’ll sort it carefully and keep it in its place, and few hours later, voila! It’ll be in a complete mess with multiple knots and it’ll take me atleast a few minutes to clear it up.

Results of googling:

a) Best Result

The reason stuff like this happens has to do with entropy and statistics.  It comes down to this: whenever you have a system with many possible states, all of roughly equivalent energies, and then you allow energy input to “scramble” the system, then you will see this effect.
Basically, the idea is that there are MANY more unordered ways the system (eg, bunch of wires) can be arranged than there are ordered ways.  So, if you input energy (jumble them around) the odds are overwhelming that the output will be one of the disorder states.
Take an example.  Fill a jar half full of green jelly beans.  Then put a nice flat layer of red jelly beans carefully on top.  Close the lid.  Now lay the jar on it’s side and roll it down stairs.  You are inputting energy to the system to scramble it.  Even though it COULD happen that the beans end up still in a nice colorful layer, the odds are that you will have a jar full of mixed red and green jelly beans.
Now think about your cable wires.  In your pocket, as you walk around, sit, stand etc, you are putting energy into the system to mix it up.  As soon as the wires move around even a little, it’s very unlikely that they will ever just happen to go back.  The longer they stay in your pocket, the more mixed up they get.

The reason stuff like this happens has to do with entropy and statistics.  It comes down to this: whenever you have a system with many possible states, all of roughly equivalent energies, and then you allow energy input to “scramble” the system, then you will see this effect.

Basically, the idea is that there are MANY more unordered ways the system (eg, bunch of wires) can be arranged than there are ordered ways.  So, if you input energy (jumble them around) the odds are overwhelming that the output will be one of the disorder states.

Take an example.  Fill a jar half full of green jelly beans.  Then put a nice flat layer of red jelly beans carefully on top.  Close the lid.  Now lay the jar on it’s side and roll it down stairs.  You are inputting energy to the system to scramble it.  Even though it COULD happen that the beans end up still in a nice colorful layer, the odds are that you will have a jar full of mixed red and green jelly beans.

Now think about your cable wires.  In your pocket, as you walk around, sit, stand etc, you are putting energy into the system to mix it up.  As soon as the wires move around even a little, it’s very unlikely that they will ever just happen to go back.  The longer they stay in your pocket, the more mixed up they get.

b) Most Innovative Result (lol! :D)

There is a conspiracy when you turn your back little gnomes appear and tangle them up into teeny tiny knots while they steal your socks and hide your car keys

c) Alternate Theories (hmm…)

  1. I say it’s due to a small group of creature’s called the tangle pixies who get a kick out of it, much like the gnomes who steal underpants.
  2. It’s because of something similar to the Tooth Fairy. It’s the Wire Tangling Fairy, and it doesn’t give you money.

And you thought Lord of the Rings was a fictional movie! Huh! 😛

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