There are at least two sides to every situation…

…but a Mobius strip is not a situation; it’s a one-sided object. Having trouble imagining it? Fire up your copy of Mario Kart 8 and play the first course in the Flower Cup…don’t have that? Come over and play it at my house, unemployment is LONELY. Or you can just try this at home.

You’ll need:

  • a narrow strip of paper at least 15 cm long (around 6 inches, if you insist on not using metric)
  • two different colored pens or pencils
  • scotch tape

Got all that? Here goes:

  1. Use one colored pencil to draw a line from one end of the strip of paper to the other end.
  2. Flip the strip of paper over. Repeat Step 1 on this side of the paper with the other colored pencil.
  3. Take one end of the strip in each hand, give the strip a half-twist, and bring the two ends together to form a loop.
  4. Tape the loop shut.

Congratulations, you’ve made a Mobius strip! Don’t believe that it’s one-sided? Put your finger anywhere on one of the colored lines. You’ll be able to trace along both colored lines- the ones you originally drew on opposite sides of the strip of paper- without ever lifting your fingertip.

The aforementioned Mario Kart 8 course takes advantage of this concept. If you look closely, you’ll see that the track is a Mobius strip. While it may appear that one half of the course is on the underside of the other half, the Mobius strip construction allows a single lap to encompass both “sides” of the track.

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