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Explaining the world.

How to tie your shoelaces

For years I have tied my shoelaces using a special knot that is easy to tie, but never comes undone accidentally. I can’t remember where I learned this — maybe I invented it myself — but I always planned to pass this knowledge on to my children (when I have them) as a valuable piece of family wisdom.

I recently discovered the excellent Ian’s Shoelace Site (“Fun, fashion & science in this quirky site about shoelaces”) as I was looking for more information on shoelace knots. He lists my knot, which is actually called the Better Bow. He seems to find it difficult to tie. Even when I first started using it, I found it as easy as an ordinary knot; that’s why I like it so much. In contrast, his own secure knot, Ian’s Secure Shoelace Knot, is more symmetrical than the Better Bow but quite fiddly to tie, especially if your laces are a bit short.

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Amazing checker shadow illusion

The Checker Shadow Illusion is the most mysterious optical illusion I have ever seen. No matter how long I stare at it, I can’t convince my eyes to believe it.

Checker shadow illusion

The two areas marked A and B are the same shade of grey in the picture. Print it out and fold the two parts together if you don’t believe it!

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