Buzz Out Loud Wiki
1198 - Tong tied? Frayed not
Friday, April 2, 2010

With Molly out covering the iPad launch for your local CBS stations, we're free to make wanton puns about knot theory. And we do. Plus Brian Tong gets his brain in knots trying to explain how it applies to tangled headphones. We also have the explanation for why iPad apps are ridiculously expensive. And we compare the JooJoo which is actually here, and explain why it's getting trumped by Apple.

Stories Covered[]

How Long Will It Take iPad App Prices To Drop?

WSJ iPad subscription officially $17.29 per month — is Murdoch insane?

How the iPad Is Already Reshaping the Internet (Sans Flash)

Brightcove announces support for HTML5 video(old but supports all major media sites)

iPad developer support soaring – more than Android and Blackberry in the past 60 days

The JooJoo is here… seriously (updated with video)

Analyst: Amazon should cut Kindle price for iPad launch

Google Shows How HTML5 Can Run Quake In The Browser

Verizon Mobile Hotspot on webOS devices now free, Pre Plus and Pixi Plus fall to $49.99 and $29.99

FCC to “improve” CableCARD rules this month

Tiger's Return to Golf to be Broadcast in 3D

Ed Roberts, creator of early PC, dies


Anonymous on why magazines won’t entirely die

And then Anonymous calls back with an idea


Hey all,

Heard your conversation about the accuracy of open markets such as the Hollywood Stock Exchange, Iowa’s futures market, etc. Sometime during Bush’s presidency some genius wanted to start a “dark” futures market to help predict everything from terrorist attacks to hurricanes. The idea works like any other futures market, but instead of basing your purchase on the underlying value of a commodity, you buy or sell based on the likelyhood of that event happening, such as the odds of the “big one” hitting LA by the end of the year. If you’re right, you cash out when the time value expires and make money. Remember, it’s the $$$ that motivates people, and with enough participants you end up with some pretty accurate predictions. Sadly the idea was considered to be in bad taste since one could profit from disasters and other bad scenarios. Come on people! Imagine the lives saved and money that could be more wisely spent if a dark market could point out these calamities before they happen.

Happy Friday.

John Smolik

Hi Buzz crew,

Love the show. Just started listening a month or so ago, and I’m already an addict.

In Episode 1196, an emailer had a question about tangling headphone wires. I was immediately reminded of the 2008 Ig Nobel Prize for Physics, given to Dorian Raymer and Douglas Smith, for proving that heaps of string or hair will inevitably tangle.

Raymer, Dorian M.; Smith, Douglas E. (16 October 2007), “Spontaneous knotting of an agitated string”, PNAS (National Academy of Sciences) 104 (42): 16432?7, doi:10.1073/pnas.0611320104

This doesn’t explain wires laid straight and untouched on a table tangling overnight, but it does explain rapid tangling in the presence of any jostling. They developed mathematical models that account for the observed distribution of knots in their experiments.

For the mathematician/knot theorist: their 3000 or so trials produced every prime knot with minimum crossing number up to seven, and they found prime knots with up to minimum crossing number 11. Remarkable.

Thanks for the great show and the excuse to peruse the list of Ig Nobel Prizes again.



Hey guys,

Congratulations on your 5 years!

I’ve created a page on the Wiki to try to continuously compile the best moments of BOL as they happen. This might help with the end of the year show and it might just be a good way to tickle our BOL memories.

I hope you can mention this on the show so everyone can contribute to it actively.

The link is


Arturo (the Mexican in Toronto)

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