In this recent question http://mathoverflow.net/questions/29323/math-puzzles-for-dinner/29343#29343 we had a nice time as we were asked to provide new maths puzzles for dinners. I suggested the following:
Given three equal sticks, and some thread, is it possible to make a rigid object in such a way that the three sticks do not touch each other? (all objects are 1 dimensional; sticks are straight and rigid, and the thread is inestensible).
I'm not particularly fond of maths puzzles, and I found this one in order to satisfy the party in a dinner of non-mathematic people, when I'm asked for a puzzle. Indeed, it's suitable for a dinner, and people get to the right conclusion in reasonable time, amusing themselves and disputing a bit.
Possibly as a consequence of the fact that I always proposed it to non-mathematicians, who are not interested in the proof, now I realized that I do not have, or I forget, the proof for the answer (a bit embarassing indeed). Can somebody find a quick proof for the answer, without too many technical computations?