Why do wires and cables tangle so easily?

From Louis Moreau

Imagine having a set of headphones in your pocket. As you walk along the headphone cables get jostled. This movement forms coils in the cable, braids them together and causes the loose ends to weave their way between the loops and strands, very quickly forming knots. In fact, scientists researching how wires get tangled discovered that it takes just a few seconds of jostling for knots to form and that longer cables tangle more easily.

Answered by Tom Lean for Brain Dump in How It Works issue 101 

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