why do paperclips always get stuck together despite no intervention?

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why do paperclips always get stuck together despite no intervention?

In: Physics
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Small objects will move around a little bit whenever there is some energy nearby (heat, movement, friction, etc.) Over time, they are able to get tangled. Once they are tangled, it is easier for them to get more tangled than less. It requires more energy for them to get untangled. You should notice that yourself when you try to untangle earphones… it’s harder than it seems like it should be.
So any group of small objects that can be found in a tangled or untangled state, if left alone, eventually will be more likely to be found in a tangled state.

This also applies to wires, cords, earphones, and such.

Almost whenever there’s a chance of order or disorder, disorder wins, because disordered states are more probable.

For example, you’re clipping a coin 5 times in a row. There are 32 possible outcomes, but only two (all 5 heads or all 5 tails) are nicely ordered. Disorder is much more likely.

Plus disorder always increases, so once something like paperclips are a mess, they tend to get even more messy over time, not less.