Picture hanging research proves one thing – scientists can and will publish anything, no matter how silly.
Does your residence have some nice pictures or photos hanging from the wall? Did you hang them yourselves or did you need the help of some Phi Beta Kappa geniuses?
If you fall into the latter group I have just the group of scientists to help you. Of course, if you fall into this latter group maybe hanging pictures on walls is something you need to forgo.
It seems a group of scientists who obviously had nothing better to do with their time – and someone else’s money – decided it was about time to conduct research on how to hang pictures on the wall. Now, you may think that us mere mortals would be perfectly capable of hanging pictures – or if not we could get a friend to help, or if we are desperate we could certainly find help online, perhaps on YouTube or some home improvement website. But, that would leave the scientists with nothing better to do. So, undaunted, a group of researchers decided to discover better ways to install or remove paintings from walls. And, of course, any research needs to be published. So, you have “Picture-Hanging Puzzles, which you can read (just to prove I’m not making this up) here.
And what did the geniuses come up with?
“If you hang a picture with string looped around two nails, and then remove one of the nails, the picture still hangs around the other nail,” report the investigators. “This conclusion is correct if you hang the picture around the two nails in the obvious way shown in Figure 1(a). But, what if you use a different way of hanging the picture with the property that removing either nail causes the picture to fall. Figure 1(b) shows a solution to this puzzle. Aren’t you breathless with anticipation of how this all works out?
“For any collection of subsets of nails, we can construct a picture hanging that falls when any entire subset of nails gets removed, but remains hanging when every subset still has at least one unremoved nail. This result generalizes picture-hanging puzzles to the maximum extent possible.” Wow, this is just the solution I’ve been waiting for. Haven’t you?
Now, you really have to take a glance at the full research document to understand how intriguing this subject is … or not! You also have to marvel at the time and effort spent on such useless pursuits.
So, here’s a more useful question. How many nails would it take to hang these scientists to a wall and keep them there for as long as it takes them to promise never to conduct such pointless research ever again?
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Published in: Apartment Living