Scientists unwrap key to efficient wrapping paper use -

Scientists unwrap key to efficient wrapping paper use


LONDON — A recent report found that poor techniques used for wrapping Christmas presents means the U.K. wastes over a tonne of wrapping paper every year.

But help is at hand as CORDIS Express , a weekly briefing on what's new in European research and innovation, reported The Bluewater Shopping Centre near London has come up with a scientific formula to help you wrap Christmas presents as efficiently as possible.

All you have to do is measure your present’s dimensions and apply the following:

A1 = 2 (ab + ac + bc + c2 )

where A is the area needed, and a, b and c are the dimensions of the present with a being the longest side and c being the shortest. To cut your wrapping paper to the right size, you should use a length of paper which is as long as the side of the gift, plus 2cm for overlap. The width should be just a little over the sum of the width and depth of the gift.

“The formula proves that consumers can still wrap presents without using excess paper,” explains mathematician Warwick Dumas of the University of Leicester who ‘helped’ Bluewater come up with their formula. “We have taken into consideration all the factors that will impact the way customers will wrap their Christmas gifts this year, including the trend for buying unusual-shaped goods.”

Unfortunately the formula above only applies to cuboid objects, something which leaves people giving irregularly shaped things like bikes, statues of swans or space hoppers with something of a problem.

So does Dumas come up with an even fancier formula? Nope, he comes up with a cop-out, merely advising givers of inconveniently-shaped presents to put them in a box or gift bag.

Meanwhile CORDIS Express has come up with a formula of its own:

F = (PH + C + S) / N

where F is the likelihood of someone coming up with a formula like the one above; PH is the proximity to a public holiday or festival; C is a company with a product to promote; S is a scientist willing to spend research time coming up with a formula involving said product and N is the amount of ‘real’ news breaking at any given time and which could keep silly formula stories out of the press.

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