Moebius strips are wonderful. There’s an image at http://images.salon.com/comics/tomo/2003/08/29/tomo/story.jpg
showing Bush’s foreign policy as a Mobius strip. I couldn’t save it here so I borrowed this one from mcescher.com
Seed magazine says that two mathematicians – Gert van der Heijden and Eugene Starostin – have resolved the shape algebraically. I’ll have to take that on trust. I can’t even grasp what the problem is, so I doubt I’ll understand the solution..
What determines the strip’s shape is its differing areas of “energy density,” they say.
“Energy density” means the stored, elastic energy that is contained in the strip as a result of the folding. Places where the strip is most bent have the highest energy density; conversely, places that are flat and unstressed by a fold have the least energy density.