Science & Tech

Bonus: How to Tie Ancient Knots

Bill Nye

Lesson time 11:38 min

In this bonus lesson, Bill teaches you how to tie five ancient knots, explaining why they are the perfect example of using science to improve your everyday life.

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Topics include: Bonus: How to Tie Ancient Knots


CREW: Marker. - Ah. Oh. [CREW LAUGHING] Still fresh for me. Every freaking time. Sorry. Still funny for me. CREW: Let's settle in. Here we go. [MUSIC PLAYING] - This story was presented to me as a true story when I was young. It may or may not be a true story. My grandfather was in the rotary. He rented a tuxedo. He took a train to Philadelphia for the convention. He didn't know how to tie the bow tie that came with the rented tuxedo. So he went to the hotel room next door, just took a chance. Can you help me out? I don't know how to tie my tie. I'm also going to the convention, sir. Sure, I can tie your tie. Lie down on the bed. So my grandfather apparently lay on the bed, and the guy reaches down and ties a perfect knot. And then my grandfather asked, I think, a very reasonable question. First of all, thank you. Why'd I have to lie down on the bed? Well, I'm an undertaker. It's the only way I know how to do it. Here's one more lesson that's near and dear to my heart. While in the scouts, I developed a useful skill that I'd like to pass along. It's not only practical knowledge. They're beautiful examples of how science and engineering apply to your everyday life. So we're going to talk about knots. I'm not kidding-- knots, ropes. And there's five knots I think everybody should know. Now, look, you guys, I didn't invent these knots. These have been around for centuries. Everybody you'll ever meet knows something you don't. Someone has experimented and experimented and come up with these knots. And I think if you know them, you'll be empowered. You don't have to worry about tying stuff down. You don't have to worry about whether or not it's going to blow away. So we'll start with tying a rope to a thing. This would be a post. Let's talk first about a half-hitch. You know this knot. You go like that. It might be an overhand knot, right? Well, if you get two of them, you can tie a rope to something. So there's going around it once, going around it twice. That will tie a rope to a post. You can tie it this way, or you can go back this way. And it will stay there as long as you want. That's good. I see people driving down the street with a tree on the roof, or what have you. The tree's blowing all over the place. The mattress is going all over the place. Whenever you want to attach a rope, a line, to a spar like, say, the roof rack of your car, what you want is a clove hitch. And I guess, to somebody, this looked like the hoof of a clove-footed animal. So this knot will hold a rope to a spar, to a stick, very easily. You can tie it as I just did by following it around or, my friends, you can tie one loop, another loop just like it, put the second one behind the first one, and you'll get the same knot. So that's a clove hitch. I encourage everybody to learn this knot. It will change your life. Then you may have tied a knot that sl...

About the Instructor

With his 19-time Emmy Award–winning show, Bill Nye the Science Guy introduced the joy of scientific discovery to a worldwide audience. Now, for the first time, the beloved educator is teaching his framework for scientific thinking and everyday problem-solving. Learn Bill’s approach to navigating information through “critical filtering” and embrace a science-based, optimistic response to some of the planet’s biggest challenges.

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Bill Nye

Emmy Award–winning science educator Bill Nye teaches you his method for solving everyday problems, evaluating information, and thinking like a scientist.

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