A Mystery: Why Can't We Walk Straight?
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Try as you might, you can't walk in a straight line without a visible guide point, like the Sun or a star.

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Selected comments: Barry Skeist: I found the emphasis of the story to be misplaced. There is only a single way to walk straight, but there are an infinite number of ways to walk other than straight so the probability of walking straight without feedback is essentially zero. So from a mathematical perspective this is a silly question, as it can be predicted to be impossible. If you want to look at it another way. once you get rid of all external cues, you use your sense of where you are in space to get started, but once you are even slightly off you will now try to go straight from there, but it won't relate to the original direction. The fact that no particular explanation (leg length, brain dominance) worked is because the specific walking patterns of individuals are just that, specific to them (maybe even only that day) and have absolutely nothing to do with the fact that they can't walk straight.  ---  Chuck Howard: The diagrams showed that all the people walking, turned to the right. Was this test done in the northern hemisphere? If so, if it were done in the southern hemisphere, would the people turn to the left?  ---  Tamathy Christensen: Every Cub Scout is taught that if he gets lost he should stay put and wait to be found. That's really hard to do. I think walking in circles is a built in failsafe. If people got lost and walked straight they'd just get more lost- farther away from where other people are likely to be looking for them. Evolutionaarily speaking- maybe people who got lost and walked in circles got found and went on to have children who walked in circles. People who could walk straight when lost were never heard from again.  ---  Carole Mancini: Why is everyone being so clever? We can't walk in a straight line because the Earth is round and its axis is tilted.  ---  Good information in the event one gets lost somewhere without visual/external reference due to geography or fog. Think a compass might be in order...  ---  Barbara Scott: We live on a round planet, which rotates in a circle and orbits in a circular pattern. Could that have anything to do with it?  ---  H. James: Why did you have to make this about politics?  ---  Nathaniel McGowan: I'm thinking of a young child or nomadic hunter/gatherer who enters an unfamiliar area...or wonders away from "the nest." If the individual subconsciously returns to his starting point, then this non-linear phenomena could be explained as a primal GPS...a mechanism for returning home to safety. Another "out there" idea is to consider this natural scuttering around as an unstable body on a moving surface. The earth is zipping thru space at ~67,000 mph while rotating on its axis at ~1,000 mph...then throw some gravity and magnetic flux in the equation and voila!'s as stable as a logger balancing on a fir in a river.    More comments    Research
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