This question already has an answer here:
- The staircase paradox, or why $\pi\ne4$ 21 answers
We all know that $a^2+b^2=c^2$ in a right-angled triangle, and therefore, that $c<a+b$, so that walking along the red line would be shorter than using the two black lines to get from top left to bottom right in the following graphic:
Now, let's assume that the direct way using the red line is blocked, but instead, we can use the green way in the following picture:
Obviously, the green way isn't any shorter than the black one, it's just $a/2+b/2+a/2+b/2 = a+b$. Now, we can divide the green path again, just like the black path, and get to the purple path. Dividing this one in two halfs again, we get the yellow path:
Now obviously, the yellow path is still as long as the black path from the beginning, it's just $8*a/8+8*b/8=a+b$. But if we do this segmentation again and again, we approximate the red line - without making the way any shorter. Why is this so?