Wednesday, May 9, 2012

May 9: National Lost Sock Memorial Day

Mental Floss is a tremendous website, an online attic filled with strange and wonderful treasures, such as this recent list of obscure holidays in May.

From that list we get today's excuse for a celebration: National Lost Sock Memorial Day.

This strikes me as a holiday of particular import to scientists generally, and physicists in particular. Physicists posit that as much as 25% of the mass of the Universe is made of "dark matter," a so-far-only-hypothetical substance that has to be inserted in order to make their equations work.

The problem with hypothetical substances is that hard-headed skeptics question whether there really is any validity to the dark matter hypothesis or whether the equations themselves need to be rethought.

And, yet, the problem can be solved by looking in every basement, laundry room, or laundromat. Socks go into the washer. Some disappear there. The survivors go into the dryer. More vanish from there.

Where do they go?

I suggest that when physicists fully explore this problem they may well be finally able to prove that dark matter isn't hypothetical after all. Rather, dark matter is cotton and nylon and rayon and sometimes wool. It's not just "dark" either; some of the dark matter may turn out to be argyle.

Even if you're not a physicist, you too can celebrate National Lost Sock Memorial Day: Who hasn't lost a sock or two in the week's laundry? And, tonight, at your local, if you're looking for appropriate musical accompaniment, you can sing along with Bing Crosby and Louis Jordan, here performing that immortal classic, "Your Socks Don't Match."

Lost Sock Day logo obtained here; YouTube video obtained here.


Anonymous said...

Hello! I realize this is kind of off-topic however I needed to ask. Does operating a well-established website like yours require a massive amount work? I am completely new to blogging but I do write in my diary every day. I'd like to start a blog so I will be able to share my experience and feelings online. Please let me know if you have any kind of suggestions or tips for new aspiring blog owners. Appreciate it!

The Curmudgeon said...

Come back in a month or two and see if we're still keeping this up. Better yet, check in every day. There's no secret formula for writing; there is only writing. At least some of it will be readable.
With practice, more of it can (hopefully) become so.

(I read once there's a book inside each of us -- the hard part is getting a second book.)