# Huge Mathematical discovery

@p1kef1sh (45640)
March 6, 2008 4:59am CST
6 differently coloured socks (3 pairs) divided by 1 washing machine equals 3 non identical socks. What happens? I put 2 socks in, 1 sock comes out. Where do they go. Is there some great sock repository somewhere? We should be told.
5 people like this
8 responses
• United States
6 Mar 08
I have found the same thing happens to me. I think that there must be some sort of sock monster that lives in ones' dryer that eats the socks. I don't know what the solution is to this great mystery but I am sure that most people have this same issue.
3 people like this
@p1kef1sh (45640)
6 Mar 08
I am certain that they do. But it is a mystery that I have yet to find the answer to.
2 people like this
@owlwings (39388)
• Cambridge, England
6 Mar 08
I do not believe that the drier is the place of disappearance. We do not have (nor ever have had) such a luxury and socks (or one of the pair always) seem to disappear with the same frequency as they do in households with dryers. I am beginning to wonder what effect there would be if one conscientiously separated the pairs into two piles and washed one with the first load and the other with the second. However, see my note below on 'hidden valency'. It is impossible to determine by eye which is a left sock and which is a right sock and I believe that, whether it is a monster or a peculiarity of the physical properties of the sock that is the real agent, left-ness or right-ness is an important factor in disappearance.
1 person likes this
@CanadaGal (4304)
• Canada
6 Mar 08
I just buy a bunch of the same socks, that way, when one goes missing (or one gets a hole), I can put it off to the side and wait for the next singleton available. This reminds me of a fantastic Hallowe'en costume I saw a lady wear a few years ago. She was dressed as a fairy... shiny wings and crown and wand, etc. And on her lovely gown (old fluffy prom dress lol) she had numerous single socks. For she was no ordinary fairy... she was THE SOCK FAIRY!!! Brilliant, don't you think? :D (and for all I know, she could have been the real one too!)
2 people like this
@p1kef1sh (45640)
6 Mar 08
I love the sock fairy image. There must have been years of experience for her to dress up that way. I have tried the same colour thing. However, black is not black, nor grey, grey. After a few washes they seem to pale and be subtly different from one another. I notice, although not too many people throw themselves at my feet, lift the bottom of my trouser leg and say: "not quite a matching pair eh?"
3 people like this
@CanadaGal (4304)
• Canada
6 Mar 08
bwhahaha! I like that image of having people bow before you. Murphy's laws would dictate that it's more likely to happen if you wear socks that do not match... even if only slightly.
1 person likes this
• United Kingdom
9 Mar 08
I do the same as you and buy several pairs the same. I also keep each odd sock aside for the next one. I now have two years worth of odd socks still waiting for their partner! Owlwings has the answer though, there are four people in our house so I may just have to resign myself to the fact I will have to keep buying socks. I can't buy lots at a time though because we also seem to have a sock monster taking brand new pairs!
• United States
6 Mar 08
Fantastic! I am so happy to learn that this isn't just a mathematical mystery here in the US but more importantly here in my own home. I just did whites yesterday. 12 pairs of white socks went in. 4 Pairs of white socks came out plus 2 socks that had no match and 1 PINK sock. I swear there is a sock fairy who has been hired by the makers of socks to swoop into a dryer and capture as many socks as she can then fly out again so people are forced to go out and buy more socks. Either that or maybe the dryer does in fact eat them. I've put 2 socks and 1 shirt in my drawer as a test and only 1 sock and the shirt came back out but I had a whole lint trap full of lint to empty after the cycle was finished. I'm now beginning to believe that all that lint is really the remains of socks that the dryer digests.
2 people like this
@owlwings (39388)
• Cambridge, England
6 Mar 08
Ah! A very valid addition to the elucidation of the theories already promulgated! This is scientific data collection at its best and a new Theory of Disintiegration, to boot. Or should that be 'to bootee'?
1 person likes this
@p1kef1sh (45640)
6 Mar 08
Perhaps the answer is not to use a mechanical dryer. But I don't have one anyway (it's all part of my single handed attempt to save the planet. But I'm not sure what from just yet). I am afraid that you will just have to accept that the sock monster lives, and he is in your home too.
1 person likes this
@mrtimharry (1180)
6 Mar 08
I believe they go to the same place where all my biro pens go to.
2 people like this
@p1kef1sh (45640)
6 Mar 08
I have that problem too. However, in my case the answer is called "The Family". I buy 20 biros at a time from Staples or Tesco. I put them in a pot on my desk, and like bees to a honey pot "The Family" come and relieve me of them. The odd thing is, that they then say that they don't know where the biro(s) that they "borrowed" is, so it's back to Staples or Tescos and so the cycle continues. What a life.
2 people like this
• United Kingdom
9 Mar 08
I have one pen left out of 20 I bought not so long ago. I put so many in a few places so I would have one where ever it was needed but they still disappeared. The strangest thing about that being that I am the only one to use them so I can't blame the family.
@ellie333 (21029)
6 Mar 08
Instead of the Bermuda Triangle its The Mystery of The Sock Cycle, every washing machine has this warp mode within it and just as things disappear in The Bermuda Triangle they also do in the sock wash. One of the Worlds great mysteries. Ellie :D
2 people like this
@p1kef1sh (45640)
6 Mar 08
The great mystical Hotpoint Hoover Servis triangle. Wonder if it could do something about my runny nose!
2 people like this
@owlwings (39388)
• Cambridge, England
6 Mar 08
I, personally, have often been confounded by the very same phenomenon. My washing machine is also able to turn a duvet cover (never mind a pillow case) completely and neatly inside out with all the other washing neatly stuffed inside (except for a single sock which escaped ... I think it was perhaps prevented from disappearing completely). How it can perform this magic, I do not know. Other people have evolved theories about the phenomenon of disappearing socks. This one may merit further research: sock monster 33 up, 2 down Found in (or around) washing machines and tumble driers Thought to be genetically modified , highley evolved organism. Although never actually sighted evidence points to its habits and breediung cycle. A voracious predator the sock monster preys on single socks always leaving behind one of the pair it has captured. Mystery surrounds this behaviour although zoologists surmise this may be an instinctual mechanism for long term survival. Able to cross great distances at speed and unseen there is almost no known method of defense. Currently there is a research program to capture one and study its life cycle to provide some relief. The only known fact is sock monster numbers are proportional the number of people in residence at one location. 1 person = 1 monster, rare sock predation, victim is able to carry on normal life 2 persons = 2 monsters, infreqent predation 3 persons = 3 monsters, increased predation, victims are rarely able to find socks 4 persons = 4 monsters, forget it , no known cure, no socks at all for anyone
1 person likes this
@owlwings (39388)
• Cambridge, England
6 Mar 08
In case the '33 up 2 down' puzzled you, I have to confess that it was a copy-paste job from here: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=sock+monster
1 person likes this
@p1kef1sh (45640)
6 Mar 08
Thank goodness for some proper applied research. As a two person house that increases to three on occasions that coincide with University holidays, or when the local economy has reached meltdown and and a review of the Child Sector Borrowing Requirement is necessary (these loans, in a reverse of the Labour Party's finances, often turn into gifts) we find that we are harbouring this veracious swallower of our socks. Since becoming Senior Occupational Clothes Keeper (SOCK) it has been my sad duty to lie in wait for this slippery character. Without success so far. I have a load load on the go right now. I suspect that I am being watched as I type this, and as I lean back to proof read my work, s/he will nip in and pinch another sock or two.
2 people like this
@owlwings (39388)
• Cambridge, England
6 Mar 08
Whilst researching my response to your discussion I discovered (or, perhaps, uncovered) a very strange fact in connection with the name you have chosen for your presence here and with this discussion. The pikefish (or, as it is commonly known, the pike or pickerel) is known by the Latin name of Esox lucius. Can it indeed be coincidental that this your discussion seeks to elucidate a common hosiery problem by electronic means? Perhaps your choice of cognomen suggested your calling in the household (since I am confident that your erudition could suggest such a connection) or perhaps, having already defined your job description, a conscious or unconscious association inspired you to choose that lurker in the weeds as your avatar. Howsobeit, I really came back in order to say something that occured to me as I was completing some rather tricky insurance claim forms and musing on the bivalence of the sock. There are two things, actually, that came to mind. In discussing this matter of the disappearance of socks some years ago with a scientific and lateral-thinking nephew, he posited that although each member of a pair of socks appears to be identical and interchangeable, in that each may be worn on either foot, it may be that socks do actually have a hidden valency and while they can coexist as a pair under conditions of normal temperature and moisture levels, when exposed to the peculiar conditions of rotation, temperature and moisture present in a washing machine, one of the pair reverts to its antimatter state. After a long and late evening's work with many diagrams and formulae (which precipitated the redecoration of the kitchen, as it happens), we could come to no definite conclusion about this theory, being unable to explain why sock and antisock should not just cancel each other out (leaving no socks). The other interesting tip that came to mind was that (presuming the existence of the hypothetical sock monster) the beast appears to dislike plastic clothes pegs, in that, if one pins the pair of socks together with one of these before placing it in the machine, the likelihood of losing one of the pair is substantially reduced. It is hard to say whether it is the clothes peg itself which deters the monster or whether it is the prodigious rattle that the pegs generate in the drum that frightens the creature away. This fact certainly deserves further investigation. Esox, by the way, seems to have come from the Greek ?s?? which, in turn appears to be of Celtic origin and related to iach (Irish) and eog (Welsh), which means salmon. It seems that Linnaeus got it wrong and Pliny's esox was lost in the wash.
1 person likes this
@kbourgerie (8781)
• United States
6 Mar 08
There is someone sitting behind your washer who can't afford socks of their own. They don't mind using yours, after all they are now clean. They leave you one sock, because they don't want to be greedy.
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@p1kef1sh (45640)
6 Mar 08
Wonder why we didn't find him (if it is a him) when we redecorated the kitchen before Christmas. I suppose that they hide in secret places. Little devils.
1 person likes this
@p1kef1sh (45640)
6 Mar 08
S'pose not.
1 person likes this
@deedee30 (435)
• Spain
6 Mar 08
I can't believe you don't know, the guy who turns the fridge light on for you gets cold so he steals the socks to keep warm! Sock mystery solved lol
1 person likes this
@p1kef1sh (45640)
6 Mar 08
Well he's not doing a very good job. Because the bulb's blown in the fridge!!
2 people like this