A new meme unfolds

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Photo: David Geller/whatcounts

Memeticist Susan Blackmore uses the hotel-bathroom toilet-paper fold as an example of a useless meme — a meme that has spread throughout the world, even though there is no human reason for it to exist. The persistence of this meme easily disproves the comfortable notion that we humans only spread ideas that are useful or interesting — it shows that, once a meme takes on life, it spreads itself.Origami_meme.jpgInspired by Blackmore’s research, origamist and TEDster Bruno Bowden created a combinatorial meme — linking Blackmore’s ideas with the sophisticated folding techniques discussed by origami master Robert J. Lang onstage at TED. See photo at left.

+ To learn more about dangerous memes, listen to
Dan Dennett’s awesome 2002 TEDTalk >>

+ To learn more about toilet-paper origami, check out this devoted student of the art >>

+ To see what happened when Ze Frank was attacked by this meme on Day 4 of TED@Aspen, visit our Flickr set >>