Scientists Find Mosh Pits Are Actually Quite Predictable

Like electron around a nucleus, moshers follow a predictable
pattern, even if they don't realize it, study finds. 

Interesting news coming out of the Metallica camp today as the band took to their website to “clear the air” on some rumors that I myself must admit never heard until now, but apparently, an anonymous Navy Seal said that the band had asked the U.S. Navy to stop using their music in interrogations.

Anyways, Metallica’s website issued this response to fans: "There has been a lot of talk recently about us asking the military not to use our music to 'soften people up before interrogation.' We NEVER commented to the military either way on this matter. Any statements that have been made otherwise are not correct."

In fact, frontman James Hetfield was asked by Germany-language TV network 3SAT back in 2008 about the band's music being used at Guantanamo Bay and he said, "Part of me is proud because they chose Metallica."

"And then part of me is kind of bummed about it that people worry about us being attached to some political statement because of that,” he added. "We've got nothing to do with this and we're trying to be as apolitical as possible, 'cause I think politics and music, at least for us, don't mix."

And in other rock news, four scientists at Cornell University have released a mathematical study that finds seemingly disorderly mosh pits are actually pretty predicatable.

Titled Collective Motion of Moshers at Heavy Metal Concerts, the study looks at both the disorganized mosh pit (where participants run into each other from all directions) and the relatively organized circle pit (think tornado).

The scientists from Cornell's Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics and Department of Physics analyzed internet video and studied the participants as "self-propelled agents that experience dissipative collisions," not unlike giant free-floating electrons in an atom.

The researchers turned the video into statistical data for us to gawk over. They asked why does a mosh pit that appears to be out of balance actually show characteristics of an otherwise predictable system?

The answer points to "flocking," the social phenomenon that describes the collective motion of a large number of self-propelled entities (birds, fish, humans, etc). In other words, without direction from a central leader, the group of individuals unknowingly choose to follow a set of rules. You got that? No free will!

The paper goes on to say, “further studies in this unique environment may enhance our understanding of collective motion in riots, protests, and panicked crowds, leading to new architectural safety design principles that limit the risk of injury at extreme social gatherings.”

Maybe after that, they can figure out why tuition is so high… anyways, happy Wednesday!

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