My box folding video

After the busy December holiday season, I wanted to get back in the blogging saddle last week. But as I was sitting down to write late last Thursday night, a pipe burst in our house (we were in the middle of a nasty New England cold snap). It could have been much worse: my wife heard it right away and we were able to shut off the water main less than a minute after it happened. No major damage, but now we’re going to have to re-route the plumbing in the upstairs bathroom. Oy! Interesting aside: it was the hot water pipe, and the plumber who came the next day said that it’s usually the hot water pipe that goes. Why do you suppose?

Anyway, to get this week started I have a video which, for once, is a creation of mine. Years ago I was pondering a tiled floor and a question popped into my head: How many ways can you fold six contiguous squares into a cube? This video, done with MATLAB, is the answer to that question.

4 thoughts on “My box folding video”

  1. Sorry to hear about your pipe. I have been arguing about the hot pipe/cold pipe thing for years now. Everyone says that hot water freezes faster than cold. I was in the arctic a couple years back and proved it wrong with open and closed bottles of hot and cold water but I still had arguments about it. I have my pipes insulated andm have electric heating coils to avaoid freezing again but I noticed that most hot water pipes were closer to the outside wall than the cold pipe. I also wonder if the water heater doesn’t add air bubbles and maybe that aids in freezing. I don’t know but I cannot think that given equal amount of water with no evaporation hot water will freeze faster than cold. Your thoughts?

  2. Hi Randy: good to hear from you again!

    To be a little more clear about my pipes: both hot and cold pipes froze, but only the hot pipe burst, so I don’t think any laws of physics were being violated. I could theorize about thermal stresses weakening the material over the years, but who knows? I believe you that hot water (absent evaporation) can’t possibly freeze faster than cold water.

  3. I am amazed at the number of people who will argue to opposite. As far as I can see there is just no way for it but the myth continues. You’d think that people who live with snow and ice would know more about how it’s made.
    Thank you for responding and I hope all is well. Cheers.

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