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Most commonly, a thonged sandal with a rubber sole. Some flip-flops have a single band across the toes, some have loops for all the toes to go through, etc. There are different designs that are all part of the same family because of the distinctive sound they make. If the sandal has any kind of a back, it is most likely not a flip-flop, as a back of any kind inhibits the shoe's ability to flip and flop. It's always a good idea to wear flip-flops in locker rooms, public showers, and any other place people are likely to have trod their sweaty feet across.

Among college students, flip-flops are commonly used while taking a shower. This may not make sense to those who have never shared a shower with (at best) seven and (at worst) close to twenty other people, but showering barefoot in such circumstances day in and day out - not once a week at the pool - is a very good way to get athlete's foot and other foot problems. Once chooses flip-flops because, in addition to drying next to instantly, they can be easily stepped out of to lift, lather, scrub and rinse one foot, and then stepped back into without touching the floor of the shower.

Personally, I didn't think to use flip-flops last year, but do this year and am frankly amazed that I didn't have foot problems from the past negligence.

You know you've been a college student too long when it feels odd to shower without wearing flip-flops.

A flip-flop is an important digital circuit component. It is essentially a static (self-refreshing) one-bit memory. There are several different varieties of flip-flops--D flip-flops, JK flip-flops, SR flip-flops, and T flip-flops.

By definition, a flip-flop is a bistable circuit element. Bistability means that the flip-flop has two stable states, which correspond to binary 1 and binary 0.

The simplest bistable circuit consists of two inverters connected in a loop like this:

    __|\ __|____|\ ____
   |  |/°       |/°    |  
   |                   |

The circuit above has only two stable conditions. Either node A is binary 1 (i.e. the power supply voltage V) and node B is binary 0 (i.e. ground, or 0 volts) or node A is 0 and node B is 1. The reason for this bistability is the high voltage gain of the inverters when nodes A and B are between 0 and V. Small changes on one inverter's input lead to much bigger changes on its output. Furthermore, the output of one inverter is the input to another, so the bigger change gets amplified again. This cycle continues until the inverters reach one of the two steady-state conditions.

The two-inverter circuit above would not be of any use in a digital circuit since there is no way to set or reset its values--it simply remains in a stable condition. Flip-flops for digital circuits have extra transistors to allow setting/resetting and/or clocked operation. See one of the specific flip-flop entries for more details.

Because of the nature of inverters, the flip-flop constantly regenerates its condition. As long as the inverters are powered and there are no catastrophic sources of noise, a flip-flop will hold its state until triggered to set or reset. This is why it is called a static memory element.

A clocked flip-flop is one type of latch, an essential element of digital circuits. The flip-flop is the fundamental element of SRAM.

In the world of fashion flip flops are simple type of shoe that usually consists of a thin layer of rubber for the sole and a V-shaped thong that fits in between your big toe and whatever the toe next to it is called. Here in the states, they’re pretty popular amongst the beach going crowd since they’re easier to clean and provide one with a measure of protection from the hot sands.

In developing countries with warmer climates, flip flops are popular because they are cheap. They can usually be found for under a buck and are often made from recycled tires and other rubber goods.

In the world of politics, flip flops are another thing entirely and should try to be avoided at all costs. Don’t believe me?

“I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.”

2004 Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry

That little gem regarding the funding of our troops in Iraq could have possibly cost Kerry the presidency back in ’04. It was played relentlessly on campaign ads endorsing George W. Bush and was the butt of many a joke for all the late night talk show hosts and political pundits.

Rightfully so.

But c’mon, we know they ALL do it in one form or another. It’s their business to try and twist another person’s words to their favor.

Bu the real art of mastering the political flip flop is trying to argue that each of your varying positions is consistent with each other. That’s why these folks have a huge contingent of consultants and image makers working for them. They are there for one purpose and one purpose only, to master the art of spin.

What people tend to forget about the act of flip flopping is that it usually occurs when one of our elected officials decides to run for higher office. What works just fine locally often doesn’t play well when it comes to the national stage.

Take Mitt Romney. As Governor of Massachusetts, he was pro-choice. As 2008 presidential candidate he is staunchly pro life.

As Mayor of New York City Rudolph Giuliani was a proponent of gun control as a necessary tool in order to fight crime. Today, while running for President, he’s all about endorsing the Second Amendment.

It ain’t just Republicans folks.

As Senator from New York, Hillary Clinton was all for in the invasion of Iraq and even voted for it when the war drums were sounding. During her recent bid for the presidency she has called upon George W. Bush to “"extricate our country from this before he leaves office.”

As the self described “candidate of change”, Barack Obama isn’t above the fray. Lately he's been accused of changing his positions on such things as The Patriot Act and the health care system.

And the sad thing is, in each instance all of these accusations for all of these people are being made by members of their own party all of whom are seeking higher office.

As the primaries wind down and each party decides on whom it will nominate to represent their interests, the attention will turn to the other side and the rhetoric and vitriole is only going to get nastier.

Kinda makes me wonder if they’d eat their own young in order to get elected.

A flip-flop is the American/UK term for a flat-soled sandal with no heel or ankle strap. It is a simple, flat sole with a Y-shaped strap, with the leg of the Y emerging from between the big toe and the second toe, and the two arms attaching to the sole on either side of the foot. In Australia they are called thongs, and in many equatorial countries they are called slippers. There are even rumors that some call them by a more onomatopoeically proper term of 'slip-slaps', although in what region of the world this might happen I have not be able to find.

I have always worn flip-flops in any context that I could not go barefoot; they are the closest thing to a truly multipurpose footwear that the world has yet found. I would not be espousing them on my word alone, however. I had for a long time supposed that this was simply personal preference on my part, until I joined the Peace Corps, and moved to a country where flip-flops were the footgear of choice. Traveling to other equatorial countries, I found this to be true time and time again. With the popular opinion of entire nations behind me, then, I will node unto you, the one true footgear.

Now admittedly, there are a number of downsides to flip-flops. Obviously, they aren't very good in the snow and the ice, and they give no protection from crushing or other trauma from above. They are hard to sprint in, and rather hard to run in at all until you become used to them. The basic model will also fail in wet conditions (as you will find you suddenly have no traction between your foot and the sole), and may potentially be a problem for those with podiatric problems, as most flip-flops give no arch support nor much cushioning for shock absorption. The astute shopper can find flip-flops that have both water-ready surfaces and arch-support and added cushioning. Ironically, although they were originally marketed as beach shoes, and remain ridiculously popular amongst surfers, flip-flops are hard to walk in when sinking into deep sand.

On the plus side, they are wonderful for hiking and walking; the wonder of flip-flops is that they have only three rubbing points that contact with your foot, and if you select your pair correctly, you will probably never have a blister. If you do get blisters the first time you hike in flip-flops, it will probably be the last time you get blisters -- ever. Unlike other forms of footgear, one set of callouses will function to protect you from getting blisters from any other pair of flip-flops that you might buy. Breaking in a new pair of flip-flops is infinitely less painful than a pair of hiking boots. They also have the benefit of being easy to take off if you are confronted with a cliff face or stream (you do climb barefoot, don't you? It's much quicker and easier).

Perhaps the greatest benefit, however, is hygiene. It is nearly impossible to cultivate any sort of foot fungus if you wear flip-flops as your primary footwear. These infections prefer dark, damp, warm habitats, and the flip-flop provides none of these. Ironically, flip-flops are often touted as a hygiene-aid because they can be worn in public showers, thus preventing contact with infected floors and drains; if only the other patrons of the bathhouse wore flip-flops more routinely, this would no longer be a problem.

There a couple of common myths about flip-flops that should be shot down. First, many people believe that flip-flops are bad for your posture. This is not true; in fact, "zero heel inclination" is the baseline used in physiologic studies on posture, and walking barefoot (or with no heel) is exactly what your body was designed to do. As it happens, your body will automatically adjust to most heels, although there is a point at which a heel will be too high for your body to adjust to properly1. One study2 focusing on tension in the knee muscles found that a heel hight of even three centimeters was enough to cause extra strain on the muscles, although unfortunately most studies do not focus on such small increments, preferring to focus their attacks on the known threat of high heels. Secondly, it is sometimes claimed that flip-flops will give you fallen arches, because they give you no arch support. This is actually backwards; wearing flip-flops appears to protect against the development of flat-footedness3. However, if you already have fallen arches, flip-flops will probably be uncomfortable.

1. Effects of shoe heel height on biologic rollover characteristics (.pdf)
2. Effect of shoe heel height on vastus medialis and vastus lateralis electromyographic activity during sit to stand
3. The influence of footwear on the prevalence of flat foot (.pdf)

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