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Math Idle

Students Claim New Paper Folding Record 138

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-got-to-know-when-to-fold-em dept.
A group of 15 students along with their teacher are claiming a new paper folding record. The group claims to have folded (in the same direction) 13,000 feet of toilet paper in half 13 times, breaking the old 2002 record of 12 times. From the article: "[teacher] Tanton has been leading students from St. Mark's on attempts to break the record for five years. But after several failed attempts, Tanton asked the MIT origami club, OrigaMIT, to help him and his students get access to MIT's Infinite Corridor."

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Students Claim New Paper Folding Record

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  • This great feat will ensure tenure for the good professor.
  • Still no cure for cancer....

  • Ironically they won't be this productive again once they hit industry for at least 5 years.

  • Legit. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by blair1q (305137) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @02:23PM (#35797800) Journal

    The losers complain that the folded unit can't stand on its own.

    But I don't see a requirement that it stand at all, merely that it is folded. Which it is.

    2^13 is 8192 layers.

    The really interesting thing is that it doesn't tear. There's stretching and compressing involved in folding things, and toilet paper isn't all that structurally sound. Their folding method seems to make it flow properly to keep the stresses from damaging it.

    • And 1.5869140625 feet long, right?
    • by pfafrich (647460)
      We can't actually tell it did not tear internally. It would really need to be unfolded again to ensure that.
    • Re:Legit. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by berwiki (989827) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @02:50PM (#35798176)
      I don't like it because MIT is just trying to outshine a girl in high school. Britney Gallivan is the one who came up with the equations and broke the old stigma that a paper can only be folded in half 7 times.

      Screw MIT and their infinite budget for media attention. Her equations showed you can indeed have more folds if your paper is long and thin enough. This 'professor' needs to find something more worthwhile to do besides take away from a kid who had a great discovery.
      • by eldepeche (854916)

        RTFA.

        Not MIT, just happened there.

        • by berwiki (989827)
          Technically you could have told me to RTFS more accurately.

          Regardless, this teacher is still lame.
      • by mcmonkey (96054)

        ?

        This has very little to do with MIT. They just used a 825-foot "infinite" hallway that connects many of MIT's main buildings. The folding was done by high school students, under guidance of their teacher.

        And so what if it was MIT? No adult should ever try to do something better than a high school student? Do we need to worry about hurting the feelings of a precious snowflake?

        Gallivan's work is great. I certainly wasn't doing anything on that level at that age. But that doesn't mean no one should ever

      • AND came up with the idea of using toilet tissue, IIRC.

    • I have them all beat. Just take their 8192 layers and repeat that an infinite number of times, taping one layer at the end of each to the next bundle of 8192 layers. Infinite-ply toilet paper -- for the really tough jobs!
      • by blair1q (305137)

        Think about that again. The rule is to fold a single, continuous piece of paper in half each time. You can only attach the ends of the two separate sets of folds, and then they aren't folded in half together, they're just stacked on top of each other. Not the same thing at all, or just rolling the toilet paper on a cardboard tube until it's the diameter of the universe would count as folding it.

    • I'm thinking that the first fold of the 13 total folds created a sheet with 2 layers, so the additional 12 folds would yield 2^12 or 4096 total layers. Not sure where they came up with 6000 in the article. As to length, 15000 feet halved 13 times would be 1.83 feet, but the depth of the folds eats up a lot of length, which is why their bundle really couldn't fold that 13th time.
  • FTA:

    "However, their '13th fold' was debatable in that it could not stand on its own without considerable support," Ku said in an email Tuesday.

    Shitty deal.

  • What constitutes a fold? more than a 90 degree change in direction? Any other special rules anyone can thing of?
    • by MrLogic17 (233498)

      I don't think they have a true 13th fold, as definded by the previous record holder:

      "For a sheet to be considered folded n times it must be convincingly documented and independently verified that (2n) unique layers are in a straight line. Sections that do not meet these criteria are not counted as a part of the folded section. "
      http://pomonahistorical.org/12times.htm [pomonahistorical.org]

      • by mcmonkey (96054)

        I don't think they have a true 13th fold, as definded by the previous record holder:

        "For a sheet to be considered folded n times it must be convincingly documented and independently verified that (2n) unique layers are in a straight line. Sections that do not meet these criteria are not counted as a part of the folded section. "
        http://pomonahistorical.org/12times.htm [pomonahistorical.org]

        You do realize by that definition, a "fold" just means rotating a section of paper some distance around an axis across the width of the paper? The 13th fold could be one degree.

        If we add to the definition that the straight line must be perpendicular to each of the 2n layers, then the fold would have to go 180 degrees.

    • I'd say, take the most generous section and count the layers. ln(N)/ln(2) = number of folds.

  • The article doesn't where they got one continuous strip of TP 13,000 feet long. Did they use multiple rolls attached together? As far a standing on it's own, a small amount of glue every now and then should help with that.

    A thousand page book on my self is about 3 inches thick. If the TP is half the thickness of book paper, their block should be about 12 inches talk, 18 inches long and as wide as the TP they used.
    • TFA:

      After four hours of sometimes tedious toiling with the single-ply bathroom tissue that Tanton bought online at ToiletPaperWorld.com, he said he and the students from St. Mark's finally folded the paper a 13th time.

      Apparently the toilet paper industry was unaffected by the dotcom burst.

      • by suso (153703) *

        TFA:

        After four hours of sometimes tedious toiling with the single-ply bathroom tissue that Tanton bought online at ToiletPaperWorld.com, he said he and the students from St. Mark's finally folded the paper a 13th time.

        Apparently the toilet paper industry was unaffected by the dotcom burst.

        Shitty companies have a way of surviving. Now I know its literally true.

    • by MrLogic17 (233498)

      Very good question. The mentioned ToiletPaperWorld.com link has at best, 4,000 foot rolls. There must be some products not offered on the web site -OR- they got away with gluing/taping/bonding multiple rolls together.
      http://www.toiletpaperworld.com/product.aspx?strSku=APM [toiletpaperworld.com] 740GREEN

    • The article doesn't where they got one continuous strip of TP 13,000 feet long.

      MIT Students: "Stuck on the toilet bowl . . . and there ain't nuthin' on the roll! . . . well you prove you're a man and you use your hand . . ."

      Note to self: "Avoid shaking hands with MIT students."

      Stanley Milgram's experiments pale in comparison.

      MIT Dean: "What dumbass stole all of our bumwad?!?!"

      MIT Professor (from the endowed throne of Scott Paper): "Um, we like . . . needed it for some important experiment . . . or something . . . we did put a few rolls around Harvard's Porcellian . . . "

  • Call me when they accomplish the same feat with used toilet paper.
  • (re: video)... you show that you're not affiliated with MIT in any way if you screw that up.
    • by jd (1658)

      Medical News Update: Computer geeks are subject to brain scrambling via the Hall Effect.

  • Seeing the teacher has been trying this for 5 years, I wonder if any of his previous students became students at MIT, hence the connection? Not that one is needed, but would be an interesting side story.

    • by jd (1658)

      Considering the teacher has been trying this for 5 years, the school principal is probably on the board of directors of one of the manufacturers.

  • I bet they changed from 2-ply to single-ply. Makes all the difference when folding.
  • In the other news Sheryl Crow has also been breaking a record, reusing the same ply of toilet paper since 2007.

    The musician was heard saying: "It has been tough at times, but you can achieve anything if you just put your mind to it. Also try not to pay too much attention to the color of the thing".

  • by zuckerj (993079)
    Why?
  • So Cool (Score:5, Funny)

    by FrankDrebin (238464) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @03:18PM (#35798614) Homepage

    13,000 feet of toilet paper in half 13 times

    Wow, they must really have their shit together.

  • I suppose none of the students were scrunchers ;-)
  • The Myth Busters did this. I forget how many times they folded a piece of paper, but they used a steam roller for the final fold.

  • They didn't even talk about the tons of pizza and barrels of prune juice that lead to the bowel movement that made 13,000 feet of folded toilet paper necessary.

    • by danlock4 (1026420)

      It might actually have been the stuff people drink for 24 hours prior to having a colonoscopy.

      Toiletten Papier, ich lieb' dir!

      They should donate the bumf to homeless shelters / charity; I don't live in a shelter, but TP is nice to have if the alternative is a wire brush, no matter how many times the metal has been folded.

  • by LS (57954)

    Can I be the first to say that? Is this what people are aspiring to these days? Toilet paper folding records??? Is there some complex math or interesting folding dynamics involved here? What's the hook? Or are they just a bunch of obsessive compulsive retards?

    • Well, it's really a paper folding record that happened to use toilet paper. These people have a weird hobby, but I have difficulty faulting them when MMOs eat up billions of person-hours yearly (my own estimate). Calling them "obsessive compulsive retards" is ignorant and needlessly insulting.
  • Wow, folding toilet paper. This should be an olympic sport.

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