Short paper cuts

I figured out something useful today, and Lifehacker noticed! Since it's not tax season or anything, I was working on something in the office and I suddenly had to find measurements.

But my cache of office supplies didn't come with a ruler. Without one, how do you find a reliable estimate of an inch or a foot? (Guys, don't even think it.)

Well - 8.5" x 11" paper is office-ubiquitous. You need one sheet to find the length of a foot, and two to find the length of an inch. Here's how:

Take the first page, and fold from either top corner down to the side, lining up the side carefully, making a right triangle.

Remember how you thought you'd never use trig? Well you were right, because I just used it for you. One ABC and three squares later, the hypotenuse of the right triangle you've created is 12.02 inches - very close to being exactly one foot. Now take the second sheet...

...and line the long end up against that foot-long diagonal side. Mark the difference with a pen; that difference is negligibly close* to one inch. (Mark the difference on the second sheet instead; now you've got it handily on the edge for measuring.) Voila! Now you can add them up and find your current belt, collar, or ring size.

For knockabout office purposes, it's easy-peasy. If you're an engineer of any kind, though - please don't use this shortcut. I think we all need our seatbelts and airline seats calculated with a wee bit more rigor, okay.

Anyone got a suggestion for how to find a centimeter?

Update! Strong, my origami skillz are not. You can actually use just one sheet to find both measurements: fold the entire right side leftward up to meet the ~12" diagonal fold, and you have an inch difference


Blogger Daniel said...

very interesting

1:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm, maybe I need a picture to see your update on folding the bottom right corner to find a 1" measurement.

2:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I second. Text is not very clear.

8:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I third (for a minute)

Look at the first pic take the right side (which we know is 11 in)
move the lower right corner Northwest until the right side is even with the diagonal hypotenuse (as in the 2nd picture)
of course a pic is worth a thousand words.
One problen though we assume an 8 1/2x11 piece of paper is 8 1/2x11 inches. Some are not My sheet is 8 15/3 2 x 10 31/32 so my 12 in is 11 31/32 (sorry idid not do the trig)

10:56 AM  

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