You’ve Been Tying Your Shoelaces Wrong

Posted on April 27, 2017


Breaking News: According to the International Institute for Studies, studies have shown more studies are needed.

Study 1: Science on a shoestring budget

This is embarrassing. I’ve been tying my shoelaces wrong for three decades.

Scientists have solved the mystery of why our shoelaces untie when we walk.
A team at UC Berkley spent two years studying the forces that loosen shoelace knots and provided diagrams of strong knots versus weak knots.

In related news, there’s still no cure for cancer.

Teachers, this is the perfect real-world science lesson for kids. Although at times science can be boring, at other times it can also be useless. Experts are saying this breakthrough should lead to major innovation across the shoelace industry. Call your broker and pull all your money out of Velcro. knots

The part of the story that makes me the angriest is I know the scientists seeking funding must have made a terrible joke about how they were going to need more than a ‘shoestring budget’. And I know somebody laughed while there’s still no cure for cancer.

Study 2: The dangers of walking with coffee

The shoelace study reminds me of another important breakthrough in the field of coffee spillage. The Department of Defense gave UC Santa Barbara scientists $170,000 to explore why coffee spills while you walk. The scientists discovered the human gait moves at roughly the same frequency as coffee sloshes back and forth in a mug so each step amplifies the coffee’s sloshing.

The study offered suggestions for avoiding spills, including 1. focusing on not spilling or 2. putting a lid on your coffee.

You read that correctly. The $170,000 solution is blocking the coffee or paying attention.

In related news, there’s still no cure for cancer.


Study 3: The Fitbit Solution

Between the shoelace study and the coffee-while-walking study, it’s clear scientists are on track to eliminate all the modern inconveniences of walking. When experts debate why our generation avoids activity more than our ancestors, it does stand to reason that shoelaces and coffee weren’t problems cavemen had to tackle.

Private companies have tried to market fitness tracker technology to motivate individuals to navigate the modern perils of movement. But multiple studies have suggested fitness trackers are wildly unreliable when measuring heart rate. This explains so much. I’d like to apologize to all the women to whom I professed love after Fitbit told me my heart skipped a beat.

Who’s working on a cure for cancer?

I’m worried nobody is working on a cure for cancer. You see all these ‘Walk for the Cure’ events but I’m worried all the research money is going to walking and not the cure.

Are we sure science is actually working on a cure for cancer? Hospitals are still using chemotherapy–that was invented in the 1940s. What if every scientist thinks some other scientist is working on it? It’s like when a kid’s parents get divorced and remarry and he ends up with four parents and they all assume someone else is picking him up from soccer practice. Twenty years from now there’s going to be a scientific conference when all these scientists get together and one guy says:

‘Wait a second! I thought you were working on a cure for cancer.’
‘Not me. Why would I study coffee spillage if I didn’t think you were tackling cancer?’

Until we find a cure for cancer, I don’t think anyone should be working on coffee spillage or shoelaces. Science is having trouble ranking priorities. Nobody comes home from work and says, ‘Honey, I had the worst day. First I spilled coffee on my pants. And then I had to re-tie my shoelaces. Oh, and I have cancer.’

Cancer is never the third reason you had a bad day. You always start with cancer.

Can we just make a list of every problem in the world, pick the biggest priority that impacts the most people, and tackle problems one at a time? Would this be a more effective way to solve the world’s problems than studying everything at once and raising money for everything at once and raising awareness for everything at once?

I actually did read a study that suggested this approach would be most effective, but the study did warn ‘more studies are needed’.