Understanding unknotting shoelaces could hold the secrets to the universe


The researchers say that there is still plenty of research to do in order to determine all the variables that contribute to the stability of a tied-up shoelace, especially under the pressures of running.

Your browser doesn't recognise available video formats. And that failure can happen in just a matter of seconds, triggered by forces that set off an unstoppable cascade.

It was found that the running foot exerts a force seven times greater when landing on the ground than the one exerted while standing, forcing the knot tying the laces to stretch and relax, loosening it slightly. This causes the knot to loosen, and when the swinging leg also applies inertial force on the ends of the shoelaces, it's only a matter of time that the knot becomes untied.

The breakthrough goes beyond explaining a seemingly obvious problem, providing a better understanding of how knotted structures, even including DNA, fall apart.

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, filmed a volunteer in slow-motion on a treadmill to work out exactly when her laces suffered what they termed a "catastrophic failure" (yep, this is serious stuff).

More news: 's stand is clear on Triple Talaq issue: Rajnath Singh

When your shoelaces comes untied, the thought that probably pops in your brain is: "Ugh, that's annoying".

But for a group of mechanical engineers at the University of California, Berkeley, the spontaneous unraveling of shoelaces is a scientific puzzle - one so commonplace that many would not even think it worth examining with the kind of disciplined, scientific rigor usually reserved for more arcane physical phenomena.

The reason why certain patterns of knots are stronger than others and can remain in place for longer is the essential take-home lesson from all this.

"The forces that cause this are not from a person pulling on the free end, but from the inertial forces of the leg swinging back and forth while the knot is loosened from the shoe repeatedly striking the ground".

Oliver O'Reilly at the University of California, Berkeley, chose to study spontaneous unknotting after noticing that his young daughter could never keep her shoelaces tied.

More news: Burger King tried to hijack the Google Home with new Whopper ad

The scientists looked at two types of knots. Testing different varieties of the typical bow knot in both the weak and strong configurations.

The findings also revealed what knot experts, such as sailors and surgeons, have long suggested: that the granny knot many of us use to tie our laces comes undone far quicker than an alternative method that is no more complex. Both eventually fail though, and to find out why, the researchers conducted several experiments testing the knots.

Walking was key. The same knot that failed within 15 meters of walking stuck around if participants just stomped their feet on the ground or swung them while sitting on a table, the team reports today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society.

"We were able to show the weak knot will always fail and the strong knot will fail at a certain time scale, but we still do not understand why there is a fundamental mechanical difference between those two knots". In a square knot, you start by crossing the lace in your right hand in front of the one in your left hand and then threading it under the left one. They found the knot's failure intensifies over time. Rest easy though, because the biggest mystery of all has finally been put to bed: we now know why shoelaces always end up becoming untied. More research needs to be carried out to understand all the variables involved, they said.

More news: Japan to extend unilateral sanctions against North Korea


  • Assad: Washington's Attack Fails to 'Raise the Morale of US-Backed Terrorists'

    Assad: Washington's Attack Fails to 'Raise the Morale of US-Backed Terrorists'

    He continued: "That's not a position any Foreign Secretary would want to be in". Turkey provides military support to some of Syria's opposition forces.

    House committee responds to Supreme Court ruling

    Bentley's] lawyers claim they don't have enough time to study a 131-page report by the Alabama Ethics Commission". The Alabama State Supreme Court has ruled and the Robert Bentley impeachment procedures can now continue Monday.
    Senior Rangers Stars Ready To Help Youngsters Against Aberdeen Says Gers Midfielder

    Senior Rangers Stars Ready To Help Youngsters Against Aberdeen Says Gers Midfielder

    Rangers are nearly certain to limp home no higher than in third place as they prepare for Sunday's Scottish Premiership showdown against Aberdeen at Pittodrie.
  • Australian club to be axed from Super Rugby competition

    Australian club to be axed from Super Rugby competition

    The ARU will announce either the Melbourne Rebels or Western Force as cut from Super Rugby 2018 within the next three days. Two South African teams will go and one from Australia, leaving the Force and Melbourne Rebels on the chopping block.

    Man who killed wife at California school called her 'angel'

    Husband-and-wife shooters Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik were later killed in a gunbattle with authorities. The suspect had come to visit the female victim, ' Captain Ron Maas of the San Bernardino Police Department said.
    Weekend box office: 'Smurfs: The Lost Village' flops with $14.1 million

    Weekend box office: 'Smurfs: The Lost Village' flops with $14.1 million

    The live-action fairy tale is days away from jumping the $1 billion mark globally after finishing Sunday with a dazzling global haul of $977.4 million.
  • Jeff Sessions Outlines New Immigration Policy in Department-Wide Memo

    When delivering the speech, Sessions dropped that last bit about how Mexico is basically the origin of "filth". Sessions also vowed to hire 125 immigration judges in order to handle a backlog of cases.
    Britain sets out Brexit plan to 'end European Union  supremacy'

    Britain sets out Brexit plan to 'end European Union supremacy'

    Mr Tusk said it was " only fair " the United Kingdom should honour the financial promises it made as part of the 28-member bloc. On Wednesday, UK Prime Minister Theresa May formally triggered the formal, two-year process of withdrawing Britain from the EU.
    US special operations soldier killed in Afghanistan

    US special operations soldier killed in Afghanistan

    Smoke rises from the site of a blast and gunfire between Taliban and Afghan forces in Kabul , Afghanistan March 1. Soldiers pile out of helicopter in Lashkar Gah, Afghanistan , on Oct 4.
  • Burger King's Whopper gets negative definitions in ad stunt

    Burger King's Whopper gets negative definitions in ad stunt

    Those risks will certainly make for an interesting, if frustrating, ad campaign. He uses the same name on Instagram and an nearly identical name on Twitter .

    Delta Air Lines cancels 3000 flights this week due to weather

    He says employees ordered 60 pizzas and 20 trays of chicken biscuits to feed more than 300 customers in Panama City, Florida. The cancellations have left thousands of people in NYC struck without a way to get to Florida to many Pesach hotels.

    Tupac Inducted Into Rock & Roll Hall of Fame By Snoop Dogg

    Keys inclusion in the ceremony was much like Nirvana using women to fill in for Kurt Cobain, a great decision on both parts. Rapper Tupac Shakur was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Friday, making history in the process.


Latest news

UP Cabinet meet: Rural areas to get 18 hours power supply
Sharma pointed out that 24-hour power supply had been ensured during "Navratra" to all the "shaktipeeths" (religious places). The state government said failure to comply with this order will attract strict action against the mill owners.

Microsoft Office RTF Documents Vulnerable To Dangerous Zero-Day Exploit
An unpatched 0-day bug affects all the versions of MS Office and Windows , including Office 2016 running on Windows 10. So, if you receive a shady email message asking you to download the document and open it immediately.

Oilers ready for Sharks challenge as they return to playoffs
A year ago was their first ever trip to the Stanley Cup final, where they ultimately fell short to the Pittsburgh Penguins . Edmonton won each of the last three meetings, all in regulation: 4-1 on January 26, 3-2 on March 30, and 4-2 on Thursday.

Tebow Closing in on Home-run Record Set by Michael Jordan
It was a three-run shot against the Augusta (Ga.) Greenjackets (really?), and the ball went well over the right-centerfield fence. The Fireflies, part of the Class A South Atlantic League, are 4-0 after the first week of the season.

Vacancies and employment levels at record highs in UK
Egypt's Consumer Price Index (CPI) eased to 2.1 percent in March, compared to 2.7 percent in February and 4.3 percent in January. United Kingdom living standards are under more pressure than at any time in 2 1/2 years and the squeeze is getting tighter.

Michael Pineda: Pineda Ks 11 in dominant victory over Rays
Chris Carter is starting at first for the Yankees on Wednesday and he'll bat cleanup versus lefty Blake Snell and the Rays. Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda has a ideal game through six innings against the Tampa Bay Rays in New York's home opener.

Korea fires ballistic missile ahead of Trump-Xi meeting
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed Pyongyang had launched "yet another" intermediate range ballistic missile. North Korea failed in an attempt to launch a ballistic missile two weeks ago from its east coast.

U.S. attack on Syria cements Kremlin's embrace of Assad
Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said he had invited "other countries which have a similar view to ours on Syria". If Syria carries out more chemical attacks , he warned , "that is going to be clearly very damaging to U.S".

Cleveland Browns: Don't buy into rumors of Leonard Fournette at No. 1
Brady also proved to be tough to sack in 2016, as opponents brought him down just 15 times in 12 regular-season games. If the Browns decide to go in a different direction, Garrett says he'll make them regret it.

Malala Yousafzai made UN Messenger of Peace
There, she has become an global advocate for girls' education through the Malala Fund, which she runs with her father, Ziauddin. She was allegedly targeted for campaigning against efforts by the Taliban to deny women education.

Trump discusses Syria, North Korea with Japanese prime minister
Navy carrier group headed to the Korean Peninsula amid signs that Pyongyang is preparing for a sixth nuclear test. Most recently, it failed in its attempt to launch a missile from near Wonsan on its east coast on March 22.

McIlroy rues cruel ricochet that leaves him five back
Charley Hoffman has led most of the way at the Masters, but a sloppy finish on Moving Day cost him the top spot. There was better news for Brandt Snedeker as he shot 69 to move to two over par for the tournament.

Rubio says U.S. can't defeat ISIS until Syria's Assad is removed
The destruction of ISIS is still the primary goal of US policy in Syria , Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday. Tillerson says the Islamic State group is a threat not just to the USA but to stability in the region.

Harry Kane set to make Tottenham return against Watford
His 16th goal of the season laid the foundations for a resounding win as Spurs moved to within four points of league leaders Chelsea .

Natural disaster strikes Philippines near Manila
Intensity VII was felt in Mabini, Batangas; Intensity VI in Calatagan, Nasugbu and Tingloy, Batangas. The quake struck near Batangas in Luzon, the largest and most populous island in the Philippines.

Other news