June 25th, 2011

Mobius Briefly

by Wayno & Piraro

Bizarro is brought to you today by Sexy Weatherman.

I got lots of mail on this cartoon about the mobius strip steak. Most people wrote to say they liked it, but a few wrote to tell me that I got the shape of the strip wrong; that it wasn’t a mobius strip. If you don’t know what one is, check this out.

If you are familiar with a mobius strip, you’ll know that it is a shape that only has one side. Sounds impossible, but it’s true, in a mathematical sense. If an ant crawls along one of the flat surfaces it will traverse all sides without ever changing sides, as shown famously by M.C. Escher. You can make one by cutting a long strip of paper, turning one end of it halfway around and taping it to the other end. It makes a twisted loop that actually only has one side. If you then start to draw a dotted line down the middle, both sides of the paper would eventually have dots without your ever having to turn it over, so to speak. It sounds complicated but it is much easier than making an origami toilet.

The confusion on this drawing is the question of what happens when the strip crosses behind itself. If you see it as twisting again, it is not a mobius strip. My intention was that it does not twist in the blind spot so it is a mobius strip. In the diagram below I show what happens in the obscured areas.

I probably could have drawn it better by adding less fat in the area where the red arrow is on this diagram, as show below on this ever-so-slightly revised version.

Oh well, these things happen. This cartoon was one of my colleague, Wayno’s ideas, by the way. Here’s his story about it.

Our next cartoon was the idea of a friend of mine in Los Angeles by the name of Jeff Topper. We tossed around this idea of the meaning of “debriefing” for a while before coming up with this version. I’ve never been in the service but I’m guessing this kind of thing happens all the time. I, for one, feel sorry for our men and women in the armed forces for having to endure this kind of invasion of privacy.

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