April 24, 2008

The Moebius

“There is the theory of the moebius. A twist in the fabric of space where time becomes a loop, from which there is no escape. When we reach that point, whatever happened will happen again.”
-Lieutenant Commander Worf, Star Trek: TNG (“Time Squared”)

Reading Memo's most recent post, I remembered an old game I did once with some guys just before climbing the Iztaccíhuatl. It was already dark when we arrived, since we wanted to climb at night. But we were lacking of extra batteries for the pocket lamps, so we knocked on one door, where the family living there supposedly had a little domestic store. The woman opened the door, and after saying hi, we asked her if that was the correct place to be looking for batteries and some other stuff we also wanted to buy. "Yes, we own a store, but we don't have any batteries". After one or two minutes we left. Suddenly, one of us remembered we wanted to buy cigarettes, so we came back (we were just 30 meters from the house), and we decided to make the moebius joke. At that time I had no idea about the name for it, and when I got the idea I wasn't feeling like conscious about the Groundhog Day at all (a film, by the way, I just liked the second time I watched it).

So we came back, we stood exactly on the same position, and repeated the same we had done three minutes ago: same words, same attitude, same questions, exactly. The woman was surprised (we were noticing that on her eyes), and reacted as if we weren't there before, using kind of the same word as well. Just at the end of the game, our guy asked her about the Marlboro stuff, and then the moebius disappeared.

Some weeks ago I read about another moebius game, much more well-done, planned, and even filmed. The ImprovEverywhere guys are responsible for this creative joke.

I'm not sure, but I guess that Lieutenant Commander Worf took the name out of the Moebius ring, a well known concept or standard name for a specific type of labyrinth: "a room or small labyrinth of a few identical (or similar) interconnected rooms (usually square), which, as a result of spacial distortions, leave the person crossing into each successive room feeling as if the rooms are never-ending in number".

Lieutenant Commander Worf, I think, just made a temporal metaphor out of a spacial concept. It's brilliant! Since I'm not an specialist, I'm not completely certain that the cube in the Cube film is a Moebius ring. The movie is like the spacial translation of the Bill Murray's temporal film mentioned above, a film I like very much.

This bring us to the Moebius strip, which Escher draw once: the eternal walking of the ants.


Juan Antonio said...

Geometria Compleja, uno de los temas mas bellos que escuché en la carrera. Allí todo puede suceder. Y cuando sucede, no existen las dificultades de la geometría real. (no por lo menos cuando el número de dimensiones es pequeño).

El video de la Uni de Minnesota exelente


(böse böse böse mit den anderen Einträgen...)

annika la huerfanika said...

very, very funny

Guillermo Núñez said...


Roberto said...

What a great anecdote. I didn't also know the name, but surely I've done it before. On the phone tends to be interasting listening to the other voice's reaction.