06 April 2011

Folding toilet paper thirteen times

James Tanton, of the St. Mark's Math Institute at St. Mark's School in Southborough, Massachusetts, makes excellent short mathematical videos.

He and his students also folded a very long piece of paper 13 times -- that is, they created 213-ply toilet paper. This is a world record. (There's a bit of a question about whether they actually got 13 folds or just 12 -- the 13th fold has to be held in place. 12 has been done before.) You can read about it in a local newspaper, or see a video on Youtube. They did it in the "Infinite Corridor" of MIT, which is not infinite but is very long, about 800 feet. On a Sunday, apparently, and on what must be the third or fourth floor. They got access thanks to OrigaMIT, MIT's origami club. I am only very mildly surprised that such a club exists.

This whole thing may be the only known good use of single-ply toilet paper.

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