Jennifer Gooch’s mission was to create a simple Web site where people could go to find their lost gloves. Even if no happy reunions ever took place, she was just content to spread a little goodwill.

But just a month since http://www.onecoldhand.com went live, the Carnegie Mellon University art student is busier than ever. She’s reunited four gloves with their owners, is working on similar sites for cities around the globe, and is planning a book to showcase her found gloves.

Four. Wow, that is impressive, I would have thought zero.

Why do I think that? No, not because I think the dog ate the glove or there never was a second glove, as some people think. But rather, because of my Theory of Everything linking String Theory and Quantum Theory.

I’ll spare you the details, but I’m able to prove the link. First, you have to know something important about quantum theory.

According to quantum theory, a given quantum particle … a minimal subatomic particle like a quark … varies in its relation to time and space probabilistically. This means that one can never be sure exactly “where,” or even “when,” this particle is, if you are looking at just one particle. At the macro scale, we seem to exist at a particular time and space because of averaging effects, like the rabbit that the statisticians “shot,” if you get my drift.

Well, I’ve discovered through a combination of both empirical and theoretical work that if matter is organized in a certain shape, there is a tendency for all of the quantum-sized particles to shift in time and space almost simultaneously. The degree of simultaneity is correlated with the overall distance in “space” that the particles shift. This happens under certain limited environmental conditions.

The shape is a folded plane, much like a common sock. So, for instance, under environmental conditions of relatively high ambient heat and low humidity, all the particles that make up the sock disappear from where they were and end up somewhere else, very far away, almost always in an alternate but similarly configured universe. Except for a little bit of lint, the sock is gone. The most likely environment in which this will happen turns out to be in a common clothes dryer.

The same works for mittens and gloves, but because of shape effects (that I will explain another time if I have the chance) it happens more with mittens than with gloves.

The dispersal effect across universes, for reasons that I will not go into here, is biased, so some universes are “donor” universes, while other universes are “recipient” universes, on balance. It can be shown that we (“we” meaning, that if you can read his blog you are in “this” universe) live in a donor universe. But we do receive a certain number of socks, mittens, and gloves from other universes that are otherwise fairly similar to (but not exactly like!) our own!

This is why, as is well known, most of the time socks seem to disappear from your dryer, but every now and then, seemingly inexplicably (but explained clearly by my theory), an “alien” sock … a sock looking much like an earthling sock, but on further examination with no known earthy source of manufacture … appears in your drier.

Many, many of the individual mittens and gloves one sees lying about the highway are the same. They are alien mittens and gloves that have shifted here from another, parallel, universe. This can be easily shown. Clearly, the conditions of transfer for mittens and gloves are slightly different, in fact, in a very symmetric way (as I would have expected) from that of socks: Slightly cooler and damp conditions enhance the probability of a mitten-shift or a glove-shift.

I await with great anticipation the results of Jennifer Gooch’s groundbreaking research! The data she collects will be invaluable. To prove my theory!


  1. #1 clem
    December 23, 2007

    Doggerel poet Bill Doyle calls Michigan “sock and mitten land” because of the shape. So we Michiganders can expect to see the Upper Peninsula vanish if the Keweenaw Fault goes off in the summertime? And the Lower Peninsula to vanish if we get a shaker in the winter? Maybe worse, if an alternate peninsula appears, where will we put it?

  2. #2 DDeden
    December 23, 2007

    Solution: paired microchips (Left, Right) sewn into the lining, works for socks too.

  3. #3 Moopheus
    December 23, 2007

    If you drop your laundry off at the cleaners, the effect is multiplied wildly, since the cleaners is practically an interdimensional superhighway. I’m pretty sure the cleaners I used in Brooklyn was attracting material from donor universes, given the odd things I often found in the laundry bag when I got it back.

  4. #4 Jeannette
    December 23, 2007

    Here’ a place for the socks:


  5. #5 Pyre
    December 25, 2007

    Greg, the whole system works because the Web (as our President Gore got his Nobel in Physics for demonstrating) actually functions across multiple worlds, hence “WWW” = “Worlds-Wide Web”.

    This led to the Criminal Transportation Program, which lets other worlds function much the way Australia did for 18th-19th century Britain, offering a form of rehabilitation for those convicts whom no mere prison could reform.

    We hope your world will have better places for them. For instance, your people still eat meat, so you have slaughterhouses that could employ sadistic sociopaths in a lawful capacity, giving them useful occupations they could not find here.

    For instance, we expect you will have found some such benefit from having the Bush family, as we could not.