PDA

View Full Version : How do phone cords do this?


Starthinker
19th May 2010, 10:44 AM
So, you have a perfectly cromulent phone cord and one day you notice that half way down the length of the cord, the curls have somehow reversed and now go in the opposite direction against all reason and logic. What gives? The only way I've ever been able to fix this is to move the reversal down to one end. Here's a pic for those of you who are too young and hip to have a phone cord:



http://forums.randi.org/imagehosting/thum_60904bf4237485d4a.jpg (http://forums.randi.org/vbimghost.php?do=displayimg&imgid=19976)

One Skunk Todd
19th May 2010, 11:02 AM
Phone Cord? :P

Professor Yaffle
19th May 2010, 11:08 AM
Why telephone cords tangle: an unconscious spiral motion. A telephone cord will not tangle by itself. Instead, it tangles because the user unwittingly completes a circle each time he or she uses the phone.
With your telephone on your desk before you, pick up the phone using your normal hand and bring it to your normal ear. Observe how the phone's angle rotates, from 180º away from you when at rest, to 90º closer (left or right depending on the ear).
Now, if you hang up the phone by precisely reversing your actions, the phone will not tangle. But many people don't do that; instead, when they replace the phone, they actually continue the circuit, perhaps by using a different hand to replace the phone, perhaps by an unconscious twist. (Most people do this in the direction of the spirals; I don't know why.) In any case, the critical element is each pickup-hangup sequence adds +1 twist to the phone. Do enough +1 twists and any phone cord will eventually tangle --- and keep tangling until it is a tight knot and the user must crouch over the deskset as if conducting a clandestine conversation.

http://www.davidalexandersmith.com/howto/untanglecord.html

CORed
19th May 2010, 11:10 AM
Phone Cord? :P

Well, there are a few of us curmudgeons who sometimes use a landline with a handset connected to the base by a cord. I keep mine right next to my slide rule and my buggy whip.

Myriad
19th May 2010, 12:10 PM
http://www.davidalexandersmith.com/howto/untanglecord.html


Some analogous advice when you walk around with a plugged-in device (such as a power tool) in hand, if you don't want the cord to twist and tangle: don't step over the cord. Move it out of the way or walk around it. (When the plugged-in device is an electric lawn mower or vacuum cleaner, or anything you'd prefer not to trip and fall onto, this is good advice for other reasons as well.)

Respectfully,
Myriad

Starthinker
19th May 2010, 01:02 PM
http://www.davidalexandersmith.com/howto/untanglecord.html

That only talks about tangled phone cords due to twisting, not how the coils mysteriously reverse themselves halfway down.

Dragonrock
19th May 2010, 01:03 PM
I hate twisted phone cords. I have reached across the front desk of hotels to untangle their phone cord. Perhaps I'm OCD.

Dragonrock
19th May 2010, 01:05 PM
That only talks about tangled phone cords due to twisting, not how the coils mysteriously reverse themselves halfway down.

If the twist you're adding goes against the natural twist of the cord then you can create a reversal that will slowly work its way up the cord as you continue to twist it.

Starthinker
19th May 2010, 02:06 PM
If the twist you're adding goes against the natural twist of the cord then you can create a reversal that will slowly work its way up the cord as you continue to twist it.

However, it doesn't just work in from the end. It appears in the middle. The reversal in the picture appeared in an untangled phone cord after it was pulled taunt. One minute it was perfect untangled phone cord, the next it had a reversal in the coils halfway down it's length. I've seen it happen perhaps thousands of times throughout my life but never figured out (or really thought about) how it happens.

Dragonrock
19th May 2010, 03:05 PM
However, it doesn't just work in from the end. It appears in the middle. The reversal in the picture appeared in an untangled phone cord after it was pulled taunt. One minute it was perfect untangled phone cord, the next it had a reversal in the coils halfway down it's length. I've seen it happen perhaps thousands of times throughout my life but never figured out (or really thought about) how it happens.

In that case it's in the pulling. The twist was originally taken up by the coils looping around themselves. But, pulling it tight forces the loops into smaller sizes that eventually interact with the standard coil in the cord. This causes a rather sudden appearance of a reversal in the coils.

Professor Yaffle
19th May 2010, 05:26 PM
Anyway, its all caused by picking up the phone with one hand and putting it down with the other hand.

MattusMaximus
19th May 2010, 08:22 PM
I blame warps in the local space-time continuum :)

Travis
19th May 2010, 08:48 PM
I wanna know why your pockets always go inside out when you wash clothes.

TjW
20th May 2010, 08:30 AM
I wanna know why your pockets always go inside out when you wash clothes.

Oh, that's easy. Having the same general shape as a sock, they are attracted to the Sock Singularity. Socks, of course, reach the singularity and vanish, leaving only one of the pair. (Thus, Singularity.)
Pockets, being attached to the pants, can't reach it, and so don't disappear.

cienaños
20th May 2010, 08:33 AM
I hate twisted phone cords. I have reached across the front desk of hotels to untangle their phone cord. Perhaps I'm OCD.

Nooooo.

cienaños
20th May 2010, 08:41 AM
Oh, that's easy. Having the same general shape as a sock, they are attracted to the Sock Singularity. Socks, of course, reach the singularity and vanish, leaving only one of the pair. (Thus, Singularity.)
Pockets, being attached to the pants, can't reach it, and so don't disappear.

Ah yes. Sock Singularity.

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos
20th May 2010, 09:50 AM
It's a PK thing. Install a PK wheel near your phone and direct your OCD-PK energy toward it.

~~ Paul

eeyore1954
20th May 2010, 10:33 AM
http://www.davidalexandersmith.com/h...anglecord.html
Why telephone cords tangle: an unconscious spiral motion. A telephone cord will not tangle by itself. Instead, it tangles because the user unwittingly completes a circle each time he or she uses the phone.



This is an outright lie. Everyone knows that the cords do twist themselves just like their cousins, power cords twist themselves into messes that are not possible to untangled when you are not looking.

ZirconBlue
20th May 2010, 12:49 PM
This is an outright lie. Everyone knows that the cords do twist themselves just like their cousins, power cords twist themselves into messes that are not possible to untangled when you are not looking.

I don't know about "not possible", but it would certainly be more difficult to untangle them when you are not looking.

Alferd_Packer
20th May 2010, 01:02 PM
http://www.davidalexandersmith.com/howto/untanglecord.html


I had a roommate in college who would get it tied up into a complete knot.

Almo
20th May 2010, 02:44 PM
So, you have a perfectly cromulent phone cord and one day you notice that half way down the length of the cord, the curls have somehow reversed and now go in the opposite direction against all reason and logic. What gives? The only way I've ever been able to fix this is to move the reversal down to one end. Here's a pic for those of you who are too young and hip to have a phone cord:

It's just nice to know other people think about things like this as well. :)

Nanny Ogg
20th May 2010, 02:54 PM
Never fails. You can put them back in a box, neatly wound and ready to go, and next winter they've not only become tangled, but not working.

Yes, I like sparkly things.:blush:

Soapy Sam
21st May 2010, 03:58 AM
Phone cords twist because peaople torque on the phone too much.

arthwollipot
21st May 2010, 04:02 AM
I always untwist the phone cord. Always. Well, I used to.

Starthinker
21st May 2010, 05:02 AM
Sometimes I worry that as voice signals come swirling down the cord they'll hit that reversal and start swirling the other way so it can make the caller get motion sickness. Also, the electromagnetic fields created by all electrons traveling in tight circles can get all messed up in a reversal disrupting the quantum balance of the conversation and can spark arguments instead of playful banter. I must stop these things from occurring.

EHocking
21st May 2010, 05:18 AM
I always untwist the phone cord. Always. Well, I used to.Damn. And I had a bunch of these (http://www.maplin.co.uk/module.aspx?moduleno=25967) that I could have offloaded onto you.

EHocking
21st May 2010, 05:22 AM
Phone cords twist because peaople torque on the phone too much.I blame the Beatles for their advice on making long distance calls to your girlfriend.
Twist and shout

Mark6
21st May 2010, 08:37 AM
Phone Cord? :P
You know, the cord you plug into wall to charge you phone?

Darth Rotor
21st May 2010, 12:59 PM
Phone cords twist because peaople torque on the phone too much.
Tu torque?

Resume
21st May 2010, 01:14 PM
Tu torque?

Oh boy.