Missing socks

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Losing socks

A schematic representation of the process of losing socks. In the first stage, two socks are present. In the last stage, only one is. The intermediate stage is the interesting one. In this diagram, the sock which will become missing is depicted as both being present and being absent, a kind of quantum paradox. Although it's not a completely accurate portrayal of the process, it is a close enough approximation for high school students and non-physics majors.

Missing socks are socks that have once existed, but can no longer be found. Everyone has had the experience of putting an even number of socks in the dryer and finding that, at the end of the drying cycle, the number is odd. Enlightenment-era Europeans, who believed that there was a logical explanation for everything, had no way to keep an accurate inventory of their socks. As a result, these normally rational people invented the myth of The Place Where the Missing Socks Go, a small parallel universe known as PWMSG for short.

Quantum physics finally unraveled the mystery of missing socks, proving in 1925 the existence of PWMSG. Further research has uncovered the mechanism of how they get there in the first place, and has even paved the way for engineers to figure out how to keep socks from dissipating into PWMSG. The myths, however, still persist on AM radio.

edit The myths

Lost socks2

What the mainstream media wants you to think happened to your lost socks. Don't believe the lies.

One night in 1715, British accountant Edward Rose headed to the local tavern after a particularly long day of sock counting. Outside the tavern, he met a hungover druid, who gave him a drawing by Draanidall done in AD 421 that had been passed down secretly through his family since his death. The drawing depicted a world too nightmarish to describe here. The next day, Ed was questioned by his boss as to the poor quality of his work. At this point, Ed showed him the picture and explained that all the socks had gone to this world. In an odd twist of fate, he bought it. This story continued to spread from person to person. Slight enhancements were added, like how all the socks were being stolen by poltergeists, or stupid stuff like that.

The existence of PWMSG was confirmed in 1925 by accident. A woman in the United States accidentally put a medium-sized metal place in her dryer. After the drying cycle, the plate bore the image of a landscape remarkably similar to Draanidall's sketch. This revived scientific interest in PWMSG. Some say the reason that particular drawing survived the purge of Draanidall's works is that is was actually real, but this is just more superstition.

These days, radio hosts who are relegated to the night shift say that all the missing socks have been stolen by aliens for medical experiments. Once they realize socks aren't living organisms, they're going to return them all to Earth, burying the planet in the unbearable odor of countless socks. Of course, this is a load of old bollocks.

edit Solution to the One-sock problem

A Sock Puppet

This sock desperately wants to get to PWMSG.

Decades of research have pinpointed dryers as the point of contact between our world and PWMSG. When they are turned on, portals to coexisting worlds appear, and nightmares become reality. Socks have two properties that enable this to happen: darkness and charge.

Socks contain an unknown kind of Dark Matter within them. Socks are the only kind of clothing that possess this property. The reason socks are the only clothing that can possess Dark Matter is that, unlike other clothing, socks are worn on feet. Because of the weight that is constantly applied to them, an unusual amount of pressure is exerted on the sole of the sock, which stretches the elastic in the material. Due to this stretching of elastic, socks develop an unevenly distributed density. Low density in the toe area allows dark matter to form.

Socks also accumulate a net charge from the wearer's daily activities. This charge results in both socks becoming polarised at either end of an energetic spectrum known to Yogis as Ida and Pingala. This can be expressed by the following formula: (-1)+(+1)=0 This formula demonstrates how charged socks may come into existence. For readers who don't like math, all this means is that one sock becomes positively charged and one sock becomes negatively charged without breaking the Law of Conservation of Charge.

When placed into a dryer, the axial rotation of the polyphase motor, coupled with the dark energy field emanating from the socks, may, at high speeds, create a singularity which opens a portal to the sock continuum. The negatively polarised sock is then drawn into the singularity, and the portal is closed upon the completion of the spin cycle. Thus, our own dimension may also be considered a sock dimension, only of positively charged socks.

edit REAL solutions to the one-sock problem

Sock Fetish Baby

A postdoc attempting to artificially recreate the Washing Machine Pathway.

A transdimensional sock tether is currently in development, which aims to equalize the charge distribution between socks during the drying process by taking advantage of Coulomb's law:

F=k_e\frac{|q_1*q_2|} {r^2}

The tether works by creating a small negative charge between the mass of positively charged socks and the portal to the sock dimension, but somewhat closer to the positively charged end. This reduces the net distance between the differently charged socks without pulling the positively charged ones into the portal. The negatively charged socks then experience a greater attractive force in the direction of our own universe. After the sock is fully removed from the sock dimension, the portal becomes unstable and decays into a collection of neutrinos of various flavors.

Computer simulations predict a 74.32% success rate, assuming rod-shaped socks with evenly distributed mass.

Despite the millions of government dollars poured into this project, there is a much easier solution. If one simply installs a working light bulb inside the dryer, the dark matter will no longer be dark, which prevents the dryer from forming black holes.

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