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4d-infinity packing damage!

May 27th, 2010

I’m a little behind on my Economist reading due to my prolonged exposure to Americanism over the past 3 weeks… but I just ran across this gem [economist.com] in the print edition.

4d-infinity packing damage!

“What is the most efficient shape for randomly packing things into a container? Physicists at New York University and Virginia Tech have carried out a series of experiments and, among all the shapes they have tested so far, the tetrahedron (a pyramid with four triangular sides) [is the best]

Two things:

First, someone at VT is playing way too much D&D…

Second, the Japanese figured out long ago that the best shape for packing things was cubical… that’s why Fiji water bottles are square and why the sell square watermelons in the land of the rising sun.

I have to wonder if it would not be a better use of NSF funds to send these slackers on an oriental campaign to the local Asian food store to find the mythical icosahedral tofu!

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