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The People Who Are Still Addicted To the Rubik's Cube

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the did-you-just-peel-the-stickers? dept.

Toys 100

An anonymous reader writes "If you were a kid in the late 70's or 80's chances are you owned a Rubik's cube. BBC News takes a look at the people who never lost the passion for the puzzle toy and those just learning. 'The speed world record for a single attempt is 5.55 seconds, set by Dutchman Mats Valk last year. The world championship is determined by averaging three attempts. The current champion is 18-year-old Australian Feliks Zemdeg who averaged 8.18 seconds last year. To ensure fairness, a computer generates a randomised cube which all the competitors are given. The record for most Rubik's cubes solved in 24 hours is 4,786, set by Milán Baticz of Hungary.'"

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The last picture (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46860765)

Is that a fat guy with really skinny arms, or does he just have garbage posture?

Re:The last picture (4, Interesting)

lgw (121541) | about 5 months ago | (#46861095)

While not a cube addict, I am a Numberphile junkie, and they have several cube-related videos [numberphile.com] . The Rubik's Cube is pretty interesting from the point of view of abstract algebra: a large but finite set of values and an interesting set of operators - very different from + and *. It's a neat example of algebra that's not an obvious analog to numbers, but that you can wrap your head (and hands) around.

Re:The last picture (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46862013)

Interesting. I was CS major but took extra math because I really enjoyed that part (real analysis, math major linear algebra instead of problem solving with linear algebra etc etc). I assume you are implying that the set is a group, would be interesting to know how the operator is defined and see a proof. It's amazing how these mathematical concepts show up in the real world. One of my math instructors claimed to have shown that a compiler is an equivalence relation. Neat stuff.

Re: The last picture (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46863693)

I thought the cube was the physical implementation of an old Chinese math meditation.

Re:The last picture (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46862437)

Your comment is not related to the one which you replied to. Thread hijack detected, mod parent down.

Re:The last picture (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46865443)

Oh no!

Re:The last picture (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46865703)

My god.

Re:The last picture (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46862899)

The math/group theory of the puzzle is very neat... However what amazes me even more is the physical deign: if you came with the "overall concept" of this puzzle, nearly all mechanical engineers would tell you it is impossible to construct a mechanical gadget (physical object) which would be able to rotate layers in three perpendicular directions without felling apart. Truly marvelous piece of engineering...

Re:The last picture (5, Funny)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about 5 months ago | (#46861117)

I think you're mistaking the back of his chair as being part of his torso. It's just a really skinny young guy with unkempt hair. I used to be skinny like that as well until middle age hit me like a freight train. Now I look like a freight train.

I understand that there ar epeople (1, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#46860769)

who still watch Star Trek..I mean addicted to Star Trek.
I solved one, proudly put it on my shelf, and 3 days later someone one was on the news using a pattern to solve it.
Although my memory of the time is screwy. I would have sworn I did it in 78. Oh well, such is age...stupid stupid age.

Re:I understand that there ar epeople (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46860797)

You should chuck it through your hula-hoop then bash it to pieces with your pet rock.

not a suitable tool for studying amphiban anatomy. (5, Funny)

Thud457 (234763) | about 5 months ago | (#46860823)

Solved it back when they first came out in '78.
With a SCREWDRIVER.

Re:not a suitable tool for studying amphiban anato (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#46860851)

Came out in 80.
I also took one apart. Cause...why wouldn't you? :)

Re:not a suitable tool for studying amphiban anato (1)

unrtst (777550) | about 5 months ago | (#46861015)

Came out in 80.

Came out in 1977 named the Hungarian Magic Cube.

Re:not a suitable tool for studying amphiban anato (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46861441)

The first test batches of the Magic Cube were produced in late 1977 and released in Budapest toy shops. Magic Cube was held together with interlocking plastic pieces that prevented the puzzle being easily pulled apart, unlike the magnets in Nichols's design. In September 1979, a deal was signed with Ideal to release the Magic Cube worldwide, and the puzzle made its international debut at the toy fairs of London, Paris, Nuremberg and New York in January and February 1980.

Of course you are a well known liar on slashdot, regardless of how often you create a new account.

Re:not a suitable tool for studying amphiban anato (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about 5 months ago | (#46863841)

I don't know what magnets you're talking about, but the one I had was just plastic pieces and could easily be taken apart with a screwdriver.. you gently twist a flathead screwdriver between two pieces, and twist.. Then you can easily pull that piece off. After you take a few off, the rest can pull out with no more screwdriver.

Re:not a suitable tool for studying amphiban anato (1)

jrumney (197329) | about 5 months ago | (#46864505)

Sorry, but if you didn't use your bare hands, then you were cheating. It was admittedly a lot easier with a cube that had been broken in, new ones could be a bit hard to pop the first piece off. Twisting one layer slightly out of alignment, then making a perpendicular turn allowed you to get your little finger into a gap, which you could then use to lever a piece off. On well used cubes, just the perpendicular turn with the layers out of alignment was enough to make the whole cube fall apart.

Re:not a suitable tool for studying amphiban anato (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about 5 months ago | (#46864747)

Though from other replies, maybe mine was a ripoff. I seem to remember mine having stickers, other replies said the sticker ones weren't true Rubik's Cubes.

Re:not a suitable tool for studying amphiban anato (1)

jrumney (197329) | about 5 months ago | (#46864965)

All the officially licensed ones I've seen had stickers. I'm assuming here that the "real" painted ones are the 1977 Hungarian original, not the 1980 globally mass produced re-release.

Re:not a suitable tool for studying amphiban anato (5, Funny)

bitt3n (941736) | about 5 months ago | (#46861299)

Solved it back when they first came out in '78. With a SCREWDRIVER.

You're a better man than I. After eight screwdrivers I ran out orange juice and threw my cube at the wall, shattering my lava lamp and setting fire to my shag carpeting. I managed to stomp it out, but my elevator shoes and bell bottoms were ruined in the process. The very next day I slicked back my hair, bought a pin-striped suit, and started buying up distressed companies and selling off their assets to fuel my coke addiction.

Re:not a suitable tool for studying amphiban anato (2)

gmhowell (26755) | about 5 months ago | (#46863483)

How is the boneitis?

Re:not a suitable tool for studying amphiban anato (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46898195)

Yet another 1 line no substance fart of a reply from gmhowell!

Re:not a suitable tool for studying amphiban anato (1)

greg1104 (461138) | about 5 months ago | (#46863851)

Blue Horseshoe, buddy, how you been?

Re:not a suitable tool for studying amphiban anato (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46861397)

what did you need a screwdrivef for ???
Those stickers were easy to peel off with NAILS.

Re:not a suitable tool for studying amphiban anato (4, Informative)

benjfowler (239527) | about 5 months ago | (#46861489)

My old man gave me a cube when I was a kid, and told me that the easiest colour to solve is black ;-)

That said, you don't want to peel the stickers off (you'll just ruin the stickers). Most cubes can be disassembled easily by turning a face 45 degrees, and popping an edge out. The rest of the cube will just fall out. Reassemble in the correct order, and voila -- solved cube.

BTW, if you were to take a cube apart and reassemble it at randon, there's only a 1-in-12 chance of reassembling it into a solved state. With an unsolvable cube, it becomes obvious once you go to orient the final face edges.

Das Rubik Cube (3, Funny)

srussia (884021) | about 5 months ago | (#46861823)

My old man gave me a cube when I was a kid, and told me that the easiest colour to solve is black ;-)

That was the special edition Das Rubik Cube.

Re:not a suitable tool for studying amphiban anato (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46862807)

Sounds like a good way to stump those "speed cubists."

Re:not a suitable tool for studying amphiban anato (2)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 5 months ago | (#46861775)

IIRC, only the knockoffs had stickers. The real Rubik's Cube had the colors painted on.

Re:not a suitable tool for studying amphiban anato (1)

BetterThanCaesar (625636) | about 5 months ago | (#46865711)

You do not RC. The real Rubik's cube has always used stickers. Only recently have Rubik's started manufacturing cubes with coloured plastic sides [rubiks.com] .

Re:not a suitable tool for studying amphiban anato (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46863657)

That only works in 3 dimensions unfortunately:

http://www.superliminal.com/cube/cube.htm

Re:I understand that there ar epeople (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 5 months ago | (#46860829)

Right next to the Disco Records in the K-Tel record vault?

Re:I understand that there ar epeople (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about 5 months ago | (#46863873)

Except that Rubik's Cube still sells millions per year.

Re:I understand that there ar epeople (2)

Tough Love (215404) | about 5 months ago | (#46862571)

Try to solve it again, then come to grips with how much smarter you were then.

Sigh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46860779)

More proof the Republicans are still stuck in the 80s. They can’t get past that decade of greed and hate. They still worship Raygun. They are disgusting in the way they just won’t fucking move on. They are the reason this country is not progressing, and their obsession with this cheesy toy is a great and simple proof of the horror they are responsible for.

Re:Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46860807)

Great point. The image in the background of children starving in Ethiopia because of the Republicans while some idiot Republican in a plaid shirt and Wrangler jeans in the foreground solving a Rubik’s cube is more 1980’s than any other image could possibly be. It shows the stupid things the Republicans celebrate and the horrific things like starving children that they celebrate. Their kind is disgusting.

Re:Sigh (0, Offtopic)

rubycodez (864176) | about 5 months ago | (#46860897)

No, we have Progressive Liberal administration in power, yet they are also big corporation butt-lickers and continue the Bush/Cheney agenda. More proof your Republican vs. Democrat view is very naive.

Re:Sigh (1)

lgw (121541) | about 5 months ago | (#46861037)

Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos.

Re:Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46861201)

They are not progressive you fucking Republican liar. If your kind was capable of understanding what that word meant, you would never use it to describe those CONservatives. They have not done a single progressive thing since taking over. Not one. All they have done is what their CONservative masters have demanded. Obama is to the right of your hero, that you are too stupid to understand wasn’t like your kind, Raygun. As usual, you people try to make everything about politics because you have no interests outside of repressing people.

Re:Sigh (0)

kwbauer (1677400) | about 5 months ago | (#46862351)

Oh yes, the True Scotsman theory. Mao, Lenin, Stalin et. al weren't really communists, they just hijacked the term. Communism has yet to fail because it has yet to be implemented.

I guess I can also claim that a free market has yet to fail to solve the worlds problems because we have never seen a truly free market. Capitalism cannot have been shown to fail because it has never actually been implemented.

At least we can agree on these, I guess.

Re:Sigh (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#46861465)

It's naive if you fail to consider everything in your post is wrong.

Re:Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46861827)

holy fuck, did slashdot get overrun by faggot ass reddit when beta came out or something? you trolls are not even good. Go back to reddit and let the big boys talk

Try rubik's snake. (2)

Kenja (541830) | about 5 months ago | (#46860803)

It's like the methadone of cube addiction.

If you're bored with Rubik's Cube (4, Interesting)

Spy Handler (822350) | about 5 months ago | (#46860837)

try the Rubik's Tesseract [superliminal.com] .

Since humans can't actually manipulate 4-D objects (yet), you'll have to settle for a computer simulation. Still fun though.

Re:If you're bored with Rubik's Cube (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46861819)

A Java applet? Uh, yeah, not gonna happen but thanks for the viruses.

Do they not realize WebGL is real?

Re:If you're bored with Rubik's Cube (1)

balbus000 (1793324) | about 5 months ago | (#46869995)

I'm on this page! [superliminal.com]

There is also a 5D version [gravitation3d.com] of the puzzle that I will probably never take the time to solve.

Of course a Dutchman set the record (0, Flamebait)

Andover Chick (1859494) | about 5 months ago | (#46860891)

Rubik's cube was a game a person played when they were high. Holland is full of reefer cafes. Naturally a Dutchman set the record.

That breaks down to... (2)

handofpwn (2628313) | about 5 months ago | (#46860973)

3.3 rubiks cubes per minute for 24 straight hours... I am assuming, of course, that the guy pulled an all nighter.

Re:That breaks down to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46861139)

I'd also like to know who randomized 3.3 cubes per minute

Not to brag, but... (3, Funny)

arielCo (995647) | about 5 months ago | (#46860983)

My method takes six steps, tops: http://i.imgur.com/Ot0mJHf.jpg [imgur.com]

Magic Age (4, Interesting)

mythosaz (572040) | about 5 months ago | (#46861073)

Born in '69 I was the magic age when Rubik's Cubes came out.

I was solving them with ease when the craze was in full frenzy. In the bookstore (those were places in malls that sold books -- malls were places people used to go shopping), next to the video game guides for beating all of the levels of PacMan were guides for solving your cube.

I used to make a couple bucks here and there betting I could do a cube in under 2 minutes -- trivial by any competitive standard (then or now).

Although today I know it's not as efficient strategy as some others, I used a top-down completion method.

Somewhere between the 80's and today, I forgot the pattern that rotates the bottom middle (non-corner) pieces, and I've never seen the exact method I've used displayed anywhere so I could just pick up the forgotten piece of my solving routine without learning a new one. :(

Re:Magic Age (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46861291)

I forgot the pattern that rotates the bottom middle (non-corner) pieces

Holding with the bottom face up: Top(C), Left(C), Face(C), Left(CC), Face(CC), Top(CC)

Re:Magic Age (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46861331)

this method?

http://www.ai.sri.com/~cheyer/rubiks/rubiks.html

Re:Magic Age (2)

JStyle (833234) | about 5 months ago | (#46861345)

I learned this method too. It's the same one written on the booklet that came with my first cube. I think this is still the traditional/simplest method. When doing the final side (3rd layer), you first get the "cross" (center pieces in the correct orientation, not location). Then you go about rotating those centers, if I'm guessing right, the part you're stuck on. I flip my cube "up side down" so the third layer is on the top. These are the moves to switch the front center and right center pieces: U, R, U, Ri, U, R, U, U, Ri.... U signifies moving the "Upper" Face clockwise (when looking at it), R, is the "Right" Face, and Ri is the right face, but counter clockwise. All these are 90 degree turns. Not sure if this helps, and you'll still need to rotate the corners for position and then for orientation after this.

If this somewhat seems familiar, and it doesn't quite solve your problem, let me know, I can probably do a short video of this sequence and post it later tonight.

Re:Magic Age (2)

mythosaz (572040) | about 5 months ago | (#46861507)

Thanks to everyone who replied.

My method sounds a lot like this one and a couple of the others above -- yours is the closest in terms of the general method, except I don't recall flipping the cube, although that's largely irrelevant.

I could move the center pieces mostly as described above, then recall sort of brute-forcing the corners by repeating the pattern that rotated them around.

I'm pretty certain that the bottom side piece rotation pattern I used was what Wraithlyn posted below this.

R- B- R+ B-
R- B2 R+ B2

(+ = clockwise, - = counterclockwise, 2 = twice)

Thanks everyone. :)

Next, to remember the corner "brute" that I used. [I'm too old to learn new tricks...]

Re:Magic Age (2)

JStyle (833234) | about 5 months ago | (#46861813)

The corner rotation is really simple. R-, B-, R+, B+

You'll have to do that sequence 2x or 4x to get the orientation right. Then rotate the top face until you have a different corner that needs fixing in the "bottom right" corner (when looking at the top face). It's easy to forget the last B+ when learning (at least I did). And only rotate the top face, not the whole cube in your hands to get to the next corner. This move looks like it scrambles the cube, and then magically brings it back when on your last move. It's my favorite part, as it's some sort of "reveal" to an audience when it happens.

Re:Magic Age (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 5 months ago | (#46862483)

Thanks again.

For nostalgia's sake, I'll order myself a copy of the book I linked a few posts over, and find my old cube :)

Re:Magic Age (1)

JStyle (833234) | about 5 months ago | (#46862589)

No prob. Post again if you need any help. I get e-mails for replies. If you can't find your old cube, I recommend this one: http://www.amazon.com/gp/produ... [amazon.com]

I'm a mild enthusiast myself (fastest is about a minute). I keep one at my desk. I'm a big fan of the stickerless design and it's very slick out of the box. A little silicone oil lubricant (RC shock oil, 30wt) will make it REAL fast.

Re:Magic Age (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 5 months ago | (#46862851)

I posted a few threads over, but I'm pretty sure this is how I learned back in the 80's.

http://www.epubbud.com/read.ph... [epubbud.com]

Re:Magic Age (1)

Wraithlyn (133796) | about 5 months ago | (#46861433)

A pattern to rotate 3 of the 4 bottom side pieces (all except the "top" one) is:

R- B- R+ B-
R- B2 R+ B2

(+ = clockwise, - = counterclockwise, 2 = twice)

I wonder if we know the same method? The one I know does: top sides, top corners, sides, bottom corners, bottom sides.

Re:Magic Age (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 5 months ago | (#46861531)

Replied above, but that's it for sure.

Bottom corners had a similar method to rotate through their orientations. Is there a good copy of this method somewhere, or are you going from memory. Even gesturing my hands in "down over back over" "down over over back over over" brings back memories :)

Re:Magic Age (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 5 months ago | (#46861561)

Should have added that I learned from a little white pocket book..

This one?
http://www.epubbud.com/read.ph... [epubbud.com]

Re:Magic Age (1)

Wraithlyn (133796) | about 5 months ago | (#46864257)

YES! That is exactly what I learned it from. I still have the book somewhere too.

I don't know of an identical method posted online, that sequence was actually from memory believe it or not (or rather, my hands still remembered the pattern and I just had to transcribe it).

Re:Magic Age (1)

Wraithlyn (133796) | about 5 months ago | (#46864285)

Ha, and after looking through the book link, I gave you the wrong sequence...

The one I gave you is for rotating the CORNER pieces (4e), whereas you need the sequence described in 5a/5b.

Re:Magic Age (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46861573)

Is it this one...
If there is a edge piece in the correct location (note: correct orientation doesn't matter) make the side containing that edge piece facing toward you (the front).
Then...
R+(clockwise), L-
F+
R-, L+
Bottom 2 (180 deg)
R+(clockwise), L-
F+
R-, L+

If there are no edge pieces in place, pick any side as front and do this repeatedly until there is one piece in the correct location. Then orient the cube as described above, with that edge piece defining which side is the front. Then do the same sequence of moves until you either solve it, or get all edge pieces in the correct locations, but not orientations. Then solve accordingly.

Cheers!

Re:Magic Age (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 5 months ago | (#46862499)

Born in '69 I was the magic age when Rubik's Cubes came out.

'67 for me.

next to the video game guides for beating all of the levels of PacMan were guides for solving your cube.

Yup, plenty of books on it, though for most even the books were too complex. I used the "Simple Solution" book. Top down method. On a good day It took me about a minute and a half.

 

I forgot the pattern that rotates the bottom middle (non-corner) pieces, and I've never seen the exact method I've used displayed anywhere so I could just pick up the forgotten piece of my solving routine without learning a new one. :(

I've forgotten how as well, sigh, course I haven't solved a cube in about 27 years.

Re:Magic Age (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about 5 months ago | (#46863757)

Well gee, the top half of this story threads are wrecked, so I'll reply to you.

According to the (non-optimized) version I learned, you're not wrong. The Bottom Middle Non-Corners were the bear of the solution. You had both rotation and orientation to worry about. The Rotation was 18 moves long and the Orientation was 18 moves long.

So one fun prank was to take display cubes and throw them off by the 18 move orientation move, and know that "it looks so close" but no one could fix it, then they have the minor guilt of leaving a "almost solved" cube in shambles! : )

But the various modern tricks make sure you have an easier time when you get there, but like someone else said elsewhere, my horribly clunky method was enough, so I never felt the interest to super-optimize it.

Re:Magic Age (1)

n6kuy (172098) | about 5 months ago | (#46864935)

> The Rotation was 18 moves long and the Orientation was 18 moves long.

Ur doin' it wrong

Even the instructions that come with the cube nowadays give you an orientation procedure of 6 moves and a rotation procedure of 8 moves.

Same reason people still play chess (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46861113)

People still play chess, because they like it. I think I'm dumbening because of Slashdot's slow news day articles.

Re:Same reason people still play chess (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | about 5 months ago | (#46862265)

Still, a slow news day tends to embiggen the fast news days.

How bout one handed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46861215)

World Record [www.cbc.ca]

Former "addict" here (3, Interesting)

istartedi (132515) | about 5 months ago | (#46861357)

I was born in '68. Another poster called '69 the "magic age" to be when it came out. Close enough. I was fascinated by the thing, and was able to solve it before the books came out--with a little help from Scientific American. They published an article which included a way to annotate moves on the Cube. More importantly, the article gave me the key insight--think of the individual "cubies" and not "the sides". It seems obvious now; but when presented with a cube you were erroneously lead to regard "getting a side" as progress. Nonsense. You had to get cubies aligned, and then align other cubies without disturbing the previous alignment. Of course I'm glossing over a lot here, and I'm sure the techniques have advanced considerably. Anyway, I was able to get some positive attention for a change by solving it a few months before all the books on how to solve it came out. Yep, people actually bought books on how to solve it. I think I got the thing down to a little under 3 minutes. Then I started doing patterns with it. I could tell when a cube had been made un-solvable. This happened when people switched the stickers. My obsession lasted a little less than a year, then trailed off. I'd solve it "for old times sake" a few years after that. I don't recall exactly where it fit in time. It probably ran concurrently with arcade games and slightly before I got obsessed with flyable model planes...

Re:Former "addict" here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46862163)

Another unskilled plank flier I see

Re:Former "addict" here (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 5 months ago | (#46863733)

Close enough. I was fascinated by the thing, and was able to solve it before the books came out--with a little help from Scientific American. They published an article which included a way to annotate moves on the Cube.

That's probably Douglas Hofstadter's [wikipedia.org] article. His non-fiction should be required reading for any geek/nerd. (He was influential enough in the 80's to be immortalized in the novel 2010 where HAL was described as being "trapped in a Hofstadterâ"Mobius loop".)

Re:Former "addict" here (1)

greg1104 (461138) | about 5 months ago | (#46863937)

Switching the stickers isn't the only way to screw one up. It's also easy to make an unsolvable cube after taking it apart with a screwdriver. The wiki-how guide [wikihow.com] states 11/12 of randomly assembled cubes aren't solvable.

I could solve a cube in just under a minute. Rather than focus on speeding that up further, I worked on all the other puzzles that came out after the cube's popularity. Missing Link, Pyramid, Rubik's Snake...I still have them all in a big bag o' nostalgia.

Re:Former "addict" here (1)

istartedi (132515) | about 5 months ago | (#46864251)

Now there's an interesting challenge for advanced cubists. Doctor the cube, and ask them to explain how it was doctored. I don't recall if the cube I was handed ended up with stickers switched far apart (indicative of sticker switching) or a cubie where the twists wouldn't sum to zero (indicative of evil reassembly). I just recall that my friend down the block had one he couldn't solve, and that when I told him something was wrong with it, he recalled that he had given it to somebody who might have been tempted to cheat.

One thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46861413)

Get a life

Re:One thing (1)

Sperbels (1008585) | about 5 months ago | (#46864459)

Thanks Shatner.

Rubik's Cube (4, Interesting)

benjfowler (239527) | about 5 months ago | (#46861449)

I think there are several ways of tackling it:

0) the hard way: learning to solve it in a 'naiive' fashion.
1) learn a basic solve using the basic technique. This can be done in 1 day, if you apply yourself. Not very challenging.
2) learn to speed-solve the cube (e.g. solving in well under 1 minute). TOTALLY different kettle of fish to merely learning to solve. Can take ages (years) to get really fast.
3) use the Rubiks Cube as a motivation to learn some group theory and solve the cube from first principles that way. Bonus: the mathematics has myriad uses elsewhere.

Never held my interest (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46861529)

It never really held my interest.

I could always find something more interesting to do, like writing D&D or Traveler adventures.

Now if there's something I want to do by myself I can always find some thing.

Any BLACKS able to solve it in under ten seconds? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46861631)

Thought not.

Can anybody tell me why?

Racism? The legacy of slavery? Me being 'racist' by asking difficult questions?

Any republicans solve it in under ten seconds? (-1, Flamebait)

grimJester (890090) | about 5 months ago | (#46861761)

Thought not. Can anybody tell me why? Obama? The legacy of stupidity? Me being 'atheist' by asking difficult questions?

Re:Any republicans solve it in under ten seconds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46861975)

I used to work with a guy who was a registered republican and could solve one in about 30 seconds. I know people can do it faster, but seeing him do it in front of me was pretty mind-blowing.

Let's not devolve into partisan insult talk, although I agree that the stereotypical herpa derp jesus is my savior and teh gays are evil assholes probably aren't huge math fans.

Solved before Youtube (2)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | about 5 months ago | (#46861815)

TFA says there were no Youtube videos to learn solving methods back in the day. That's true, but there were published solving procedures in book form. I had one when I was around 12 or 13 and after some practice could solve a cube in well under a minute, but it's been so long I can no longer remember the process I used. It worked 100% of the time, though. TFA makes it sound like it was a lot harder to solve in the 80's before the popularization of the Internet, but it wasn't. You just had to buy a book.

Youtube's pretty good, though. (1)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | about 5 months ago | (#46861871)

My 14-year-old son found an old Rubik's cube and tought himself to solve it using youtube videos in about a week. He enjoyed it enough to ask for a 'speed cube' for his birthday. I don't think he'll be in world competition, but it frequently only takes him tens of seconds.

Me, I manged to teach myself to get one side solved and oriented, but I never figured out more than that on my own. (Nor felt the need to go look up solutions.)

Re:Youtube's pretty good, though. (1)

_UnderTow_ (86073) | about 5 months ago | (#46862687)

I messed with mine for about a day and a half before taking it apart and putting it back together in a solved state. I got my solving time down to just a few minutes that way.

Re:Youtube's pretty good, though. (1)

Kittenman (971447) | about 5 months ago | (#46864495)

My 14-year-old son found an old Rubik's cube and tought himself to solve it using youtube videos in about a week.

Hate to say it,,, but isn't that cheating? Sort of like saying "I won at monopoly, and had access to the bank's money". Yeah, ok, I couldn't think of a videogame reference quick enough. Sue me.

Re:Youtube's pretty good, though. (1)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | about 5 months ago | (#46868347)

Ha! Dude, it's not like a walkthrough for a linear first-person shooter. As TFA says, it's algorithms for rearranging the blocks.

Re:Solved before Youtube (1)

jrumney (197329) | about 5 months ago | (#46864587)

I had one of those books back in the day, and could solve the cube in around a minute using the patterns I learned from it. Now I only remember 2 patterns from my book, but its all I need to solve a cube (though it takes me about 10 minutes with only those).

Learned to solve it recently (2)

Bryan Ischo (893) | about 5 months ago | (#46861829)

Once you know a beginner's algorithm for solving the cube, it's amazingly easy to do. I was a kid in the 80's and all my life I thought it required serious brains to be able to solve it. Now I know that the guys who figured out how to solve it had brains, but for the rest of use, there are extremely easy algorithms that can be used to do it. In a way, it's taken the mystery out of the puzzle for me.

I taught my son how to solve it when he was 5 (last year). Solving the cube is in fact so easy that a kid can do it.

Re:Learned to solve it recently (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 5 months ago | (#46863033)

Solving the cube is in fact so easy that a kid can do it.

That killed it for me. Our school bookmobile was selling a book on how to solve it for $4 or so. I picked one up, read about the solving algorithm, and then pretty much lost all interest. It went from intriguing to "oh, so I can learn to do this rote thing fast". I scrambled and solved mine a few times and then put it in a drawer where it stayed until my kids found it decades later.

Re:Learned to solve it recently (1)

delt0r (999393) | about 5 months ago | (#46878937)

One of my math teachers once told me that if its hard you don't understand it yet. Once you do understand it, its so easy its hard to understand how it was ever hard in the first place.

In my sleep (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46861853)

Being a mathematician, I reduced it to seven successive problems. One evening I got the first problem in my head, slept for one cycle, and woke up with the solution. Then I got the second problem in my head , ... lather, rinse, repeat ... By morning it was solved.

Just shows that the brain works while you are asleep.

I still like cubing... (2)

sl3xd (111641) | about 5 months ago | (#46862153)

I never really stopped liking the Rubik's cube. The remarkable thing I've found is the explosion of nxn cubes made by companies other than Rubik's - each with a very different feel (and much better performance).

In my opinion, the Rubik's brand are the worst available - overpriced, and literally painful to use for more than a few twists. Even a cheap $3 knockoff is a vastly superior mechanical design.

Modern speedcubes (non-Rubik's) are a lot more fun: your hands aren't hurting because the cube is painfully stiff or constantly locking up because of a tiny misalignment. The stickers don't peel up from a few minute's use... And they still cost less than the Rubik's brand.

Re:I still like cubing... (1)

n6kuy (172098) | about 5 months ago | (#46864907)

> In my opinion, the Rubik's brand are the worst available.

You haven't tried the cheap dollar store variety, then.

Re:I still like cubing... (1)

delt0r (999393) | about 5 months ago | (#46878989)

I have several good 3x3s a very good 4x4 and a rubiks 5x5. The Rubiks is really horrible. But i can solve easier than the 4x4 since i never remember parity moves.

Just started couple of months ago (1)

bitflusher (853768) | about 5 months ago | (#46862307)

Call me an addict, rarely a day passes without a couple of solves. I now own cubes from 2x2x2 up to 5x5x5. I will never be near the record solving times however I like it. So not everyone is "still" an addict, some just got in. For me at age 31.

Random starting configuration, eh? (1)

Xerxes314 (585536) | about 5 months ago | (#46862749)

So the starting configurations for setting the Rubik's cube record are random. If I wait long enough, the starting configurations will randomly be the identity transformation, and I can solve the cube in 0 seconds. Therefore, in the infinite-time limit, I am the Rubik's cube champion with an unbeatable time. QED

Re:Random starting configuration, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46862969)

You should live long enough.

Re:Random starting configuration, eh? (1)

Xest (935314) | about 5 months ago | (#46866833)

How many starting combinations are there and how long would it take a computer to randomly generate all of them on average?

Addiction is right (1)

Sperbels (1008585) | about 5 months ago | (#46864491)

I've been doing several to dozens of solves daily for the last several years. I couldn't average much faster than 40 seconds no matter how much a studied and practiced. A few months ago I threw away all of my cubes (around 10 of them) so that I could stop obsessing over it. I was wasting so much of my life sitting there solving over and over.
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