Socks shopped

April 26, 1996

The journal later reports that Murphy's Law is alive and well and living in your sock drawer.

Robert Matthews investigated the dictum that "if anything can go wrong it will" by creating a theoretical model against which to compare people's claims that if a sock goes missing it will always be one from a matching pair rather than an odd one.

He has shown that random loss of half the socks from a drawer cuts the number of complete pairs to a quarter.

He says that sufferers from odd-sock syndrome should confine themselves to two patterns of sock, which more or less eliminates the problem.

But he does not answer the really big question: if someone is sporting two differently patterned socks are they wearing one odd sock or two?

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