A bag of french fries

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andykhang
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A bag of french fries

Why, when you eat a typical bag of french fries (you know, McDonald, Lotteria, KFC stuff), eventually you'll see that only the shorts sticks is left at the bottom of the bag? You're eating it pretty casually, so the stick you pick out is completely random, so what give? The explaination I could think now is that, short answer, there's simply more long sticks than short sticks to pick, and a long answer that involve mathematic, staticstics and human psycolochy.

Soupspoon
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Re: A bag of french fries

It seems to me to be quite simply the logical flip to the phrase "low hanging fruit", and there's even right-way-up versions of the adage if you wish.

i.e., you aren't picking totally randomly. You're selecting (by unconscious, and mechanically easy, preference) the longer ones and leaving the shorter ones until later.

Should fries evolve (like tusker elephants and maned lions, in the face of game-hunters looking for a good-looking trophy), you'd find that subsequent bags of fries might have shorter and shorter fries as those maybe at least a chance to procreate, but here it's simply that you're removing one end of a "probability of attractiveness" curve. And you're not doing it so that you finish off with the good bits. (Unless you like them small and overcrunchy. And colder, but that parts just thermodynamics.)

andykhang
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Re: A bag of french fries

Yeah, that's what I figured. I think that it's because longer stick simply take up more space, probabilistically and spacially, than short one (also these guy know to have more long than short in general). Also because you're tend to pick long stick over short one in a verticle rectangular bag , since longer one tend to "stand up" more than short one, thus easier to get picked.

p1t1o
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Re: A bag of french fries

Also due to the geometry of potatoes and fries you just get more longer ones, period.

andykhang
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Re: A bag of french fries

It could also be partly of human psycology, in which you would tend to group medium length one into either longer or shorter one if it's seems to "surrounded" the fries, changing your perspective

p1t1o
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Re: A bag of french fries

I wonder if there isnt some geometry-related property of a finger-based manipulator that makes longer fries easier to grasp?

What is clear, is that we as a species, are clearly not doing enough fries-related research.

morriswalters
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Re: A bag of french fries

Actually I believe this has been studied a lot. There are whole industries built around the principles involved. Of course I believe in a lot of weird things.

Zohar
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Re: A bag of french fries

It's also the reason you end up with lots of unpopped corn kernels at the bottom of your popcorn bag.
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Nicias
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Re: A bag of french fries

Eebster the Great
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Re: A bag of french fries

Nicias wrote:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Granular_convection

You beat me to it. Smaller particles always sink to the bottom. It's why the top of a can of mixed nuts is full of Brazil nuts and walnuts while the bottom is full of peanuts and cashews.

Of course, in the case of french fries, there isn't realistically much convection, so soupspoon's explanation is probably more relevant. Basically, if your fries are in a container open at one end, with most fries contacting the other end, as is typical, the longest fries are always the most easily reached. Imagine a box of fries oriented vertically with one long fry snaking out if the edge and one short fry not even extending out of the container. If you are just casually pulling fries from the container, which would you expect to grab?

Nicias
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Re: A bag of french fries

I was thinking the sorting might happen as the fries are put in the container. They usually use that funnel/scoop contraption. Smaller fries might fall out sooner.