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How on earth can a piece of paper stand vertically on a single corner?

  1. Aug 29, 2010 #1
    How on earth can a piece of paper stand vertically on a single corner!?

    Last week when I woke up, I saw something very interesting in my apartment. A piece of paper, torn from a newspaper previously, was standing still in an equilibrium on the floor, on a single corner. I was surprised and took pictures. The equilibrium was robust enough that it didn't get affected by the wind that I produced. Then when I touched it, it lost the equilibrium, and I couldn't reproduce the situation at all.

    When I examined the photographs, I realized a strand of hair was sticked to the paper. This may or may not be relevant to the situation. The other end of the hair strand can't be touching any other object, because the hair strand can at most be 30cms and there was not object placed within that distance, at that time.

    I really would like to reproduce it. Is it caused by some sort of static electric? Or what might it be? It really surprises me that this thing has happened just by chance, unintentionally. It is not fake. I have no roommates or whatsoever who could set this up to puzzle me.

    http://picasaweb.google.com/110039684329218269088/20100825_ucan_kagit?authkey=Gv1sRgCM3PwLmyy9e-JA#" [Broken]is a link to the photographs that I took. They are not edited, exactly in the same form as output from the camera. I think you can download them in full resolution through Picasa.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
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  3. Aug 29, 2010 #2

    Borek

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    Re: How on earth can a piece of paper stand vertically on a single corner!?

    papier_na_zylce.jpg

    I don't buy it, looks to me just like piece of paper hanging on the fishing line.
     
  4. Aug 29, 2010 #3
    Re: How on earth can a piece of paper stand vertically on a single corner!?

    Borek, as I said in my original post, I realized the piece of hair strand after I took the photos. But it's not a setup, and the hair strand might be totally unrelated to what's happening.

    If I tried to fake you, I wouldn't post the photos in which the hair strand is visible, or I could have photoshopped. I gave you all the information about what's puzzling me. I sincerely tell you it is not set up, and wish to understand how this could have happened by itself. So assuming everything I'm telling is true, could you give a plausible scenario?
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2010
  5. Aug 29, 2010 #4

    Borek

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    Re: How on earth can a piece of paper stand vertically on a single corner!?

    No...
     
  6. Aug 29, 2010 #5

    Borg

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    Re: How on earth can a piece of paper stand vertically on a single corner!?

    If it isn't faked, it looks like a spider web. Maybe you have spiders that like to read. :tongue:
     
  7. Aug 29, 2010 #6

    OmCheeto

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    Re: How on earth can a piece of paper stand vertically on a single corner!?

    I concur. My spiders do that all the time. But only outside. I'd follow the "hair" to the ceiling. I suspect that the paper(and in my case leaves and twigs) initially act as a web anchor point laying flat on the ground, and only lift off the ground as the web is built.

    I'd take a picture of one, but I'm 1100 miles from home right now.
     
  8. Aug 29, 2010 #7
    Re: How on earth can a piece of paper stand vertically on a single corner!?

    This isn't physics. At best, you have created a myth. I wish you luck in your venture to such stardom.
     
  9. Aug 29, 2010 #8

    Redbelly98

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    Re: How on earth can a piece of paper stand vertically on a single corner!?

    It does look like the piece of paper accidentally got stuck to a spider web strand.
     
  10. Aug 29, 2010 #9
    Re: How on earth can a piece of paper stand vertically on a single corner!?

    I'm just asking, in a place where physics experts are present, as to whether there is a reasonable physical explanation about something that puzzles me. The answer may or may not be interesting to the physicist. Being not an expert in physics, I couldn't have known it beforehand. And your answer, as well as your groundless assumptions about the asker's motives is not physics as well.
     
  11. Aug 29, 2010 #10
    Re: How on earth can a piece of paper stand vertically on a single corner!?

    Borg, OmCheeto and Redbelly: Thanks for your comments. I thought it was a hair strand, but I also couldn't reproduce a wet hair getting sticked to a piece of paper; so your suggestion of spider web seems to be more likely. Still it puzzles me, though, that the spider web got all the way up to the ceiling, but it is currently the best explanation.

    My first thought was something about static electricity, but since nobody in the forum suggested anything in that direction , I'm crossing that possibility off.

    Anyway, most of the times, random things do not produce interesting outcomes. However sometimes they do, and they are the ones that are remembered. This seems to be one of them for me. Thanks to all who took the time to read my post.
     
  12. Aug 29, 2010 #11

    Redbelly98

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    Re: How on earth can a piece of paper stand vertically on a single corner!?

    The spider could have been on the ceiling to begin with, and then lowered itself to the floor on a web strand. The web strand would stick to anything that came along and touched it, such as a piece of paper.
     
  13. Aug 29, 2010 #12
    Re: How on earth can a piece of paper stand vertically on a single corner!?

    spinning_leaf.jpg
     
  14. Aug 29, 2010 #13

    Borek

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    Re: How on earth can a piece of paper stand vertically on a single corner!?

    nasionko.jpg
     
  15. Aug 29, 2010 #14

    OmCheeto

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    Re: How on earth can a piece of paper stand vertically on a single corner!?

    I don't think the anchor threads are sticky along their entire lengths, and hence, things won't randomly stick to them. I'm pretty sure the spider purposely attached the end of the line to that piece of news print.

    But It'll be 25 hours before I'm home again to prove my hypothesis. I'm staying in a new hotel, and can find no sign of spiders anywhere. Silly maids clean up everything.
     
  16. Aug 29, 2010 #15
    Re: How on earth can a piece of paper stand vertically on a single corner!?

    Thanks a lot for the photos. In my case, the paper is touching the floor, and is in a vertical position. It seems to me that it is much more likely for the paper to either make a non vertical angle with the floor, or completely leave it, than the present case. This made the thing more interesting for me, and perhaps because of that, I missed to consider the spider web possibility (which I now think is the most reasonable one. Also the spider web was totally invisible to my morning eyes, so you can imagine my surprise.)

    OmCheeto, I really would like to see photos, if you could find an example similar to my case when you're back home.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2010
  17. Aug 29, 2010 #16
    Re: How on earth can a piece of paper stand vertically on a single corner!?

    Hahahaha

    please tell me you all are just humoring him and aren't really so gullible?
     
  18. Aug 29, 2010 #17

    DaveC426913

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    Re: How on earth can a piece of paper stand vertically on a single corner!?

    Mu, I'm not sure what humouring you mean. Do you think this is a hoax (or at least a hoaxlet)? Maybe.


    My yard is very attractive to spiders. I see things dangling from spider webs all the time. We call them "toys", or "ornaments", like on a Christmas tree.

    Indoors, spiders make webs from ceiling to floor all the time. It may be part of a web, but more likely, it's just a spider who has decided (inasmuch as spiders decide anything) to drop from ceiling to floor.

    This is so common that the presence of the strand is trivial; it's only the piece of paper that's noteworthy.
     
  19. Aug 31, 2010 #18

    OmCheeto

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    Re: How on earth can a piece of paper stand vertically on a single corner!?

    That's a very good hypothesis. Like a little spider elevator to the lingerie section at Macy's.

    Perhaps it is their habit to tether the bottom end so they can go for a walk, and then come back to the same spot to get back home.

    There were no webs up that I could find yesterday when I finally got home and finished unpacking at around 6 pm.

    This morning, I found only one web. A tiny little spider about 5 millimeters long. The upper tether runs from a tree to one of my outside work benches, about 20 feet long. The web sits about 3 feet off the ground. a second tether attaches to the ground. Unfortunately, the tether made by this little spider is completely invisible to my eyes. But I have confirmed that the tether is not sticky along it's entire length. I would post images of the invisible tether, but I'm late for work as usual.
     
  20. Aug 31, 2010 #19

    DaveC426913

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    Re: How on earth can a piece of paper stand vertically on a single corner!?

    You know those tennis-ball-on-a-string devices that people suspend in their garages so they know when to stop in the right place?

    If I hadn't been in a hurry yesterday, I would have had a picture of a spider's "toy" that was hung from a tree right on my car's windshield. It was still there when I got back home, and all I had to do was pull forward until it was once again touching my windshield and I knew I was stopped in the right place. :biggrin:
     
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