Hexaflexagon safety guide
Hexaflexagons-- they're cool, hip, and hexa-fun to play with, right? Wrong. Hexaflexagons are not toys. With the increasing number of hexaflexagons finding their way into homes and schools, it's important to be aware of proper flexagation regulations when engaging in flexagon construction and use. Taking proper precautions can help avoid a flexa-catastrophe. Do not wear loose clothing when engaging in flexagation. If you have long hair, tie it back, so it doesn't get caught in a flexagation device. Ties are also a common source of incidents. Stay alert. Never flexagate while under the influence. When using a hexaflexagon, sudden unexpected sides may appear, and drugs like alcohol can slow reaction time. If you aren't sure what kind of flexagon you're dealing with, it's safer to temporarily disable the flexagon. Flexagons can be disarmed by using scissors to cut them apart. You can cut across the original seam where the paper strip was taped together, which may appear on the edge or through the face of the flexagon. In an emergency, however, flexagons can be cut apart right through a triangle, or on three edges if you want to retain symmetry, or into nine separate triangles if you really want to be safe. You can even cut them in half down the length of the paper strip like this, into two separate-- Once you cut your flexagon apart, you can figure out what kind it is. If it has nine triangles, that's 18 triangle sides. So at six triangles per hexagon side, that's three sides of trihexaflexagon. Note that some flexagons might be made from a double strip of triangles that have been folded in half, so that marker doesn't bleed through. Don't let yourself be fooled by the extra triangles. Avoid danger during hexaflexagon construction. If you're not working from a printed pattern, you might start your flexagon by picking a point on the edge of a strip of paper, folding that 180 degree angle into thirds to create 360 degree angles, and then using the equilateral triangle that results as a guide to fold the rest of the strip of paper, zigzagging back and forth. Without proper attention and focus, this could easily lead to becoming unreasonably amused with the springy spring of happy triangles that results. Always keep your hexaflexagon in good working order. Pre-creasing all the triangles both ways before configuring them into hexaflexagonal formation will help your flexagon operate properly and avoid accidents. Keep a close watch on the chirality of your hexaflexagon. That is, whether it is right or left handed. Notice how in this hexaflexagon, water flows clockwise down under the flaps, even if you flip it over or flex it. Well, in this hexaflexagon, it flows counter-clockwise. They're mirror images. The chirality is decided when you fold and tape your triangles into a twisty loop, and once taped, it is impossible to change from one to the other without cutting it apart, at least in three-dimensional euclidean space. A change in chirality could be a sign that your flexagon has been flipped through four-dimensional space and is possibly a highly dangerous multi-dimensional portal. With experience, a hexaflexagon master can construct a hexaflexagon in mere seconds. Some forgo tape and scissors entirely by folding a double strip that's too long and tucking the extra in. This is an advanced technique that should not be attempted without prior training. Beware topological changes. This family seems safe from this philosoraptor, because they live on separate planets with a cold, empty vacuum of space between them. But after a single flex, the unfortunate victims are now doomed, protected only by the inconsequential barrier of their domicile. Your stars might explode, your frowns may become smiles, your most pointy of triangles might become the roundest of circles. Perfectly healthy snakes may turn into snake loops, or worse, become decapitated. Either state is fatal for the snake, as having no head can lead to starvation. This can be avoided by simply marking where connections will be across neighboring triangles first. Afterwards, the lines can be filled in however you like. Be aware that with the trihexaflexagon, there are two variations to each face. So you can simply draw one side where triangles connect, and flip and draw the other. But in the hexa-hexaflexagon, the main three faces each appear four different ways. If you use hexaflexagons, keep an eye out for signs of dependency. Overuse can lead to addiction and possibly an overdose. Some users of hexaflexagons report confusion, mind-blown syndrome, hexaflexaperplexia, hexaflexadyslexia, hexaflexaperfectionism, and hexaflexa-Mexican-food-cravings. If you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms, stop flexagon use immediately, and see the head of your math department. With proper precautions, flexagating can be a great part of your life. Follow these simple safety guidelines, and you should be ready for a fun and safe hexaflexagon experience.