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Students Claim New Paper Folding Record

samzenpus posted about 3 years ago | from the you-got-to-know-when-to-fold-em dept.

Math 138

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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138 comments

How appropriate (-1, Troll)

brian0918 (638904) | about 3 years ago | (#35797754)

How appropriate that they would use toilet paper in a feat demonstrating how worthless college degrees have become.

Re:How appropriate (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35797846)

So fucking true. Those retards at MIT do nothing but shit and fold toilet paper all day. Compare that to my education in the REAL WORLD and you can see what a waste of time formal education is.

Re:How appropriate (4, Informative)

eleuthero (812560) | about 3 years ago | (#35797848)

A local high school (albeit a private boarding type of one) used connections they had with college students in a paper folding club to make use of the club's access to MIT buildings (in this case, a really long hallway). This has nothing to do with the college's academic programs but rather with its social programs.

Re:How appropriate (1)

rpresser (610529) | about 3 years ago | (#35799406)

Some internet users (albeit at least one of them an Anonymous Coward) hijacked a thread about paper folding to pass judgement on college degrees, college academic programs and similar topics. This has nothing to do with social programs

Re:How appropriate (2)

ALeavitt (636946) | about 3 years ago | (#35797854)

Yeah, what kind of jackass would want to pursue knowledge just for the sake of knowledge? They should have some kind of institution where those wackos are all segregated so that they can do their useless research in peace and not be a nuisance to the rest of us conscientious workers.

Re:How appropriate (2, Funny)

brian0918 (638904) | about 3 years ago | (#35797884)

What kind of knowledge was gained from this exercise? The proper method and means for wiping Godzilla's ass?

Re:How appropriate (4, Insightful)

HappyHead (11389) | about 3 years ago | (#35797956)

What kind of knowledge was gained from this exercise?

Well, for one, the high school students in question now have an excellent grasp of just how fast exponential increases really can get. You'd think that toilet paper is pretty thin, right? And folding it in half doesn't really make a noteworthy increase in thickness, it's still really thin - but do it again, and you've got 8 sheets thickness, then 16, then 32, 64, 128, and so on, until you've got 2^13 sheets thickness of toilet paper, just from folding it in half, and suddenly it's not so thin. For people who've been doing advanced math most of their lives, that's not much of a realization, but for kids who are just learning about things like that, it's an eye opener.

Re:How appropriate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35797968)

Who cares about people becoming educated? That doesn't affect my profit margin in the slightest.

Re:How appropriate (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798020)

Education == Statism

Good libertarians OPPOSE all forms of education, particularly education about economics.

Re:How appropriate (2)

mangu (126918) | about 3 years ago | (#35798158)

Education == Statism

Good libertarians OPPOSE all forms of education, particularly education about economics.

Your propaganda is stupid. Therefore you are uneducated. My conclusion is that you are a libertarian.

Please turn in your bust of Keynes and your autographed first editions of "Das Kapital" and Mao's Red Book.

Re:How appropriate (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798352)

Education == Statism

State-run, mandated education == Statism.

Teaching kids about folding and exponential progression is nice. Taking the kids to MIT is really cool. Breaking a folding record not involving proteins is kinda lame.

Re:How appropriate (1)

redemtionboy (890616) | about 3 years ago | (#35798612)

Is that why the more economic classes you take the more likely you are to be a libertarian?

http://sayanythingblog.com/entry/studying-economics-makes-you-more-likely-to-be-a-conservativelibertarian/ [sayanythingblog.com]

Re:How appropriate (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | about 3 years ago | (#35798968)

Is that why the more economic classes you take the more likely you are to be a libertarian?

You've got the causality reversed. Those smart and informed enough to see through capitalism know that what's taught in the typical economics class is as disconnected from the reality of human labor and natural resources being used to meet human wants and needs as an astrology class is from the reality of cosmology; while those naive enough to subscribe to the inherently contradictory theory of "libertarian capitalism" line up to become more deeply indoctrinated in the Holy Doctrine.

Call me when economists learn to subtract [tagg.org].

Re:How appropriate (1)

redemtionboy (890616) | about 3 years ago | (#35799340)

That's like saying Christians never take a biology class because they are smart enough to see through the disconnected reality of evolution. Economics has inherently nothing to do with the environment and there is nothing to say that there can't be a capitalistic society that is environmentally friendly, as such things are based in social desire, behavior and structure and not in economics. Economics is very much a science with historical precedence and consistency.

How is the term "Libertarian capitalism" even remotely contradictory? Libertarianism implies a strong belief in individual liberties and freedoms, that we are all free to choose for ourselves. Capitalism allows the consumer the freedom to choose who and which they purchase goods from. Seem like very hand in hand beliefs to me.

Now, you may disagree with Libertarian ideology, but you don't even seem to have a grasp on the fundamentals of economics. You seem to insist that the more informed someone becomes about something the more wrong their opinions are. It would be one thing if there was a sudden jump that all economics majors were libertarians or that it had the highest percentage of libertarians but it's not. There's a direct relation between each incremental economic class a person takes and the more likely to have libertarian beliefs, beginning with 1 class.

Re:How appropriate (2)

lwsimon (724555) | about 3 years ago | (#35799290)

Selection bias. As a libertarian, it's obvious to me that the simple fact of becoming a libertarian means that you are likely to be interested enough in Economics to take classes.

Re:How appropriate (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798098)

I am a toilet paper manufacturer and I approve of this.
This should be part of the regular math edication.

Re:How appropriate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798032)

How else are we supposed to welcome our new Japanese nuclear mutated overlord?

Re:How appropriate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35797892)

We used to have them. They were called asylums for the insane. Then most of them got shut down. :(

Re:How appropriate (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35797860)

Other than the fact that this attempt was made on a college campus, what does it have to do with a college degree? They're not college students.

Re:How appropriate (0)

brian0918 (638904) | about 3 years ago | (#35797944)

They're not college students.

But they all will be soon enough. Then they'll be paying $50k a year to fold toilet paper.

Re:How appropriate (1)

HappyHead (11389) | about 3 years ago | (#35797866)

Would have worked better for that if they'd used the TP with diploma-print on it.

My first thought was that you were excessively bitter or something, but then I remembered how I felt about it myself when I walked away from university without paying for the diploma I'd finished the requirements for, because having it and telling local employers I had it would have actively harmed my job prospects at the time. The local employers had already all been burned by the idiots who cheated their way through a comp.sci degree without ever actually touching a computer, you had a better chance getting hired for computer stuff in town if you were a homeless bum who dropped out of grade school than a graduate of CS from my university... Many years later I actually forked out the $25 for the paper because the they offered me the chance to come back and flunk cheaters out. It was worth it just for that, and they even paid me a little bit to do it.

Re:How appropriate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798286)

Oh I'm sure paper folding skills will get them far in Business Management or Human Resources. Oh, *toilet* paper? Politics, then.

Re:How appropriate (0)

mangu (126918) | about 3 years ago | (#35798320)

How appropriate is the name of OrigaMIT president, Jason Ku.

In Portuguese the word for asshole is "cu". In this context, his interest for toilet paper seems entirely natural.

 

and yet (0)

redemtionboy (890616) | about 3 years ago | (#35797764)

Still no cure for cancer....

Re:and yet (3, Funny)

blair1q (305137) | about 3 years ago | (#35797826)

First, paper folding. Then, protein folding. Then, a cure for cancer.

Then profit, of course.

Re:and yet (1)

guspasho (941623) | about 3 years ago | (#35797852)

I don't see YOU working furiously on a cure.

Re:and yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35797926)

"I don't see you doing what you just told others to do! Therefore, your complaint is invalid despite the fact that that has nothing to do with the truth value of your argument!"

Re:and yet (1)

redemtionboy (890616) | about 3 years ago | (#35798268)

Actually I'm neuroscientist working on research at the University of Kentucky Hospital on various cures for cancer. So...there.

Re:and yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35799032)

Cool story, bro.

Re:and yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798094)

Tell that to the millions of people who have been cured of cancer.

Re:and yet (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 3 years ago | (#35798486)

I bet more time was spent looking for a cure for cancer than folding toilet paper that day. It's almost like some problems are harder to solve than others.

Oh great! (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35797780)

Something new for whiny Slashdotters with irrelevant lives to whine about and ask why it is relevant.

I, for one, congratulate them!

Ironically (1)

topham (32406) | about 3 years ago | (#35797794)

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

Legit. (4, Interesting)

blair1q (305137) | about 3 years ago | (#35797800)

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.

Re:Legit. (1)

pfafrich (647460) | about 3 years ago | (#35797970)

We can't actually tell it did not tear internally. It would really need to be unfolded again to ensure that.

Re:Legit. (1)

jd (1658) | about 3 years ago | (#35798248)

You could give it an MRI.

Re:Legit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35799248)

MRI measures the magnetic dipoles in water molecules. Unless they got it wet first, the MRI wouldn't tell much. But it would surely tear once wet.

Re:Legit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35799344)

Probably not enough water to image it well.

Re:Legit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798110)

Setting aside that this whole exercise is pretty pointless ever since it was first proven by Britney Gallivan that you can make more than 8 folds - even though that was the commonly accepted maximum number of folds at the time - by doing the math and then simply trying it, and making 12 folds...

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

Not sure who 'the losers' would be. The people who made 12 folds before - i.e. that one girl? Anyway, they would have a point...

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

Define 'folded', then?

If I take a piece of sheet metal, bend it so that one end is at a 180Â angle to the other, do I now have a fold? Even though the moment I release it, it'll quite quickly flatten itself again with barely a curve to it?

I do think that it should stand on it's own. If there were some manner of formalized rules, it should be in there. Not in defense of 'losers', but in defense of what would constitute a folding of layers in general.

Re:Legit. (3, Interesting)

v1 (525388) | about 3 years ago | (#35798844)

That brings up an interesting question concerning steel folding, like what was done with japanese swords.

If you were to say, take a bar of copper 10 ft x 1" x 1/4", and bend it in the middle (fold it) and then when it was folded, beat it out so its back to 10' x 1" x 1/4", and repeat the process several times, you could theoretically get a lot more than 13 folds out of it. When you were done each layer would be like gold leaf though.

The thickness of the material is ultimately what causes problems with folding, which is why TP is a good choice. (the cheap stuff is really thin, and it is somewhat stretchable) But you can get metal down to an atom or three thick without TOO much work. (as with gold leaf)

I wonder if this would count?

I also wonder also how they obtained a single roll of TP that long, or did they have to patch together several rolls? I'm not talking about the little ones at home, I'm assuming they use the big (12" or so?) rolls used in public restrooms. Still, I don't think one of those would be enough, that looked like 3 or 4 of those rolls worth of TP, but maybe that was just the effect of it getting uncompressed and air into it that fluffed it up?

Re:Legit. (1)

blair1q (305137) | about 3 years ago | (#35799452)

the folding of a sword is irrelevant; it's just easier to keep the two halves aligned when starting to weld them with their own heat that way

as long as you can stretch and deform and fuse the material infinitely many times there's no limit other than time and energy to how many times you could fold it

paper is relatively non-stretchy and non-fusible, which is why the limit with a sheet of notebook paper is 7 or 8 times

Re:Legit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35799064)

If I take a piece of sheet metal, bend it so that one end is at a 180Â angle to the other, do I now have a fold? Even though the moment I release it, it'll quite quickly flatten itself again with barely a curve to it?

The sheet metal was folded before you released it. Unfolding something doesn't mean it wasn't folded to begin with.

Re:Legit. (4, Interesting)

berwiki (989827) | about 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Legit. (1)

mcmonkey (96054) | about 3 years ago | (#35798572)

?

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 fold anything again.

When I was in high school there was a kid who could play guitar better than just about anyone. Does that mean everyone should stop playing guitar so they don't "outshine" him?

I think the real story here is, at MIT they consider 825 feet to be infinite.

Re:Legit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35799492)

You're quite right!
In fact, we should probably not advance any kind of science or math, because records and feelings are much more important!

How do you think the inventors of obsolete computer hardware feel towards AMD and Intel, for instance!

Re:Legit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798278)

The Ancient Japanese have used folding in their swordmaking for centuries. Folding the metal strengthens it many times over.

Re:Legit. (1)

gknoy (899301) | about 3 years ago | (#35798324)

I believe it's because of the alignment of the metal substructures, and of having many layers, than the act of folding it itself, isn't it?

Re:Legit. (1)

Terwin (412356) | about 3 years ago | (#35798524)

The metal is heated over a fire and folded, adding little bits of carbon to it.
Really they discovered a low-tech way of making high-carbon steel.

Re:Legit. (1)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | about 3 years ago | (#35799486)

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!

Hold on (1)

swanzilla (1458281) | about 3 years ago | (#35797822)

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.

Re:Hold on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35797868)

Yeah. All that work down the drain...

Rules? (1)

softWare3ngineer (2007302) | about 3 years ago | (#35797890)

What constitutes a fold? more than a 90 degree change in direction? Any other special rules anyone can thing of?

Re:Rules? (2)

MrLogic17 (233498) | about 3 years ago | (#35798144)

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]

Re:Rules? (1)

mcmonkey (96054) | about 3 years ago | (#35798722)

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.

Where did they get the paper? (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | about 3 years ago | (#35797896)

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.

Re:Where did they get the paper? (1)

swanzilla (1458281) | about 3 years ago | (#35798030)

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.

Re:Where did they get the paper? (1)

suso (153703) | about 3 years ago | (#35798160)

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.

Re:Where did they get the paper? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 3 years ago | (#35799366)

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 . . . "

it's the infinite corridor, not infinite hallway (1)

PJ6 (1151747) | about 3 years ago | (#35797934)

(re: video)... you show that you're not affiliated with MIT in any way if you screw that up.

Re:it's the infinite corridor, not infinite hallwa (1)

jd (1658) | about 3 years ago | (#35798270)

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

most bogus work of fiction ever sold unravelling (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35797940)

yet we continue to swear by it, 'raise' our kids based on it? devalue our own, & others' lives, based on it's stories? what a book?

Re:most bogus work of fiction ever sold unravellin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798626)

It is the truth. Twilight will be the death of civilization.

1 if by land, 2 if by sea, 3 if by outer space, 4, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35799464)

if by altered mutants.gov? have you heard something? death? to everybody? it's tonight? tomorrow? in between? thank god there's word., so even further arrangements can be made to conserve the royals & chosen ones as it was written again & again, 'til debt do us part?

Curious about MIT connection (1)

sheehaje (240093) | about 3 years ago | (#35797962)

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.

Re:Curious about MIT connection (1)

jd (1658) | about 3 years ago | (#35798290)

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.

Shall I set for a record (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35797998)

of goatse posts per slashdot article?
Next week maybe...

war of the wor(l)ds no longer considered fictional (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798040)

paper (with text on it) must be compressed, distorted, vaporized, no longer original etc,,, so we're not further inconvenienced by further conflicting views.

In the other news (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 3 years ago | (#35798216)

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".

5 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798452)

Thank you oposable thumbs. Now if they work on something like this just bigger and make it visible from the moon, aliens can see the signs of an advanced race inhabiting the earth.

In Soviet Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798456)

You UNFOLD toilet paper.

Re:In Soviet Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798786)

Shouldn't it be toilet paper UNFOLDS YOU??2

Myth Busters.... (1)

scharkalvin (72228) | about 3 years ago | (#35798948)

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.

5 year effort woohoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35799302)

Doesn't say much about the American education system that folding toilet paper is being passed off as some kind of high water mark of achievement.
Guess these kids find brain work boring.

How... (1)

McTickles (1812316) | about 3 years ago | (#35799450)

Useful what they teach kids these days.

I can't help but feel irritated by this video; what a waste of time, and, potentially brains, although I dont think anything of value was lost, the good professor looks like an idiot anyhow.

Their parents will be glad to have paid tuition for this.

I wish I had time in college for this much fun. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35799598)

I was too busy drinking beer and banging co-eds.

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