Foldie thingie

Here’s something old. Years ago I was a callow student, 2nd- or 3rd-year university denizen, and thus still remembered enough of the entrance procedures to be of some help to the 1st-years. Thus I served for a few years as a tutor; then my final useful piece of information grew obsolete with the closure of the central and visible restaurant by which it was customary to gather the new ones on the evening before the first day for the informal get-together (from there to: “the dingy upstairs bar 250 m in the direction to which the lead tutor’s hand’s near magnetically drawn”); and so having done my bit I dropped out of that.

Now, thanks to the various reforms, I would be a hazard if I gave advice. One example: now (I think) the worth/size/duration of courses is measured in units called opintopiste (“study point”), rather than the opintoviikko (“study week”) I was familiar with. Their mutual relation is somewhere between 2x and whatever the dean feels like.

Now, what’s below is something I drew for use in a tutoring situation and then misplaced for years; it turned up a few weeks ago, and I ran it into the scanner. It’s a 5×5 grid of faces. The idea is to print it out, put folds into the horizontal and vertical lines of the grid, and then manipulate it by folding it repeatedly along those 4 horizontal and 4 vertical lines into a 3×3 grid with some chosen pattern of faces showing.

Say you fold the first row down by the first horizontal line; the flat-haired worried looking guy in the middle of the first row atop the T-utorman in the middle of the second row, and so. Then you do the similar fold at the bottom, the werewolfy center guy atop the central frizzled-hair off-center fellow, and finally fold along the first left and right vertical lines the first left and right colums toward the center. You’re left with a 3×3 grid with a face showing only in the middle square: the long-bearded disgruntled professor-type.

I may have had some big mathematical idea about which 3×3 grids were possible to achieve with processes like these; if so, I’ve forgotten that a long time ago. Should be good for some self-amusement, though, or for a drunken speed-folding party game.

Or for a distraction to throw at a mob of angry first-years as you leg it into the safety of the tutoric panic room.

* * *

Oh, fine. Not a part of the original design, but here are names for the figures.

First row: bald and apathetic 4th-year, spiky-haired googly-eyed 2nd-year, worried flat-haired 3rd-year, bellowing graduate student, a 3rd-year gal shocked by the depravity of the graduate students.

Second row: panicky 1st-year, Machine Epsilon the legendary assistant of CS and slayer of bugs, friendly Tutor-man the friend of all students and the arch-enemy of the previous, a student before his morning coffee, a student without his morning coffee.

Third row: screaming student (not graduate; note difference in head size), a non-universityperson shocked by the depravity of the graduate students, a long-bearded disgruntled professor type, a vampiric assistant professor, a docent suffering partial brain meltdown.

Fourth row: an exchange student from the stars, a student on his long summer holiday, a student contemplating his finances and/or fridge contents, a midnight rider, the “Daddy, why are you still a graduate student?” guilt child.

Fifth row: a student in deep contemplation of the intricacies of university administration, Zorg the intergalactic star space conqueror alien, a wolf-man werewolf or a biology graduate student, mathematics for those taking a minor in it, a professor preaching.