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Rubik's Cube: 40 Years Old and Never Meant To Be a Toy

samzenpus posted about 2 months ago | from the don't-peel-the-stickers dept.

Toys 105

An anonymous reader writes "The greatest geek toy ever invented turns 40 today and to celebrate there's an interactive Google Doodle, and the Telegraph has a short history of the toy. 'There are only a handful of toys that last more than a generation. But the Rubik's cube, which celebrates its 40th birthday, now joins the likes of Barbie, Play-Doh, Lego and the Slinky, as one of the great survivors in the toy cupboard. What makes its success all the remarkable is that it did not start out as a toy. The Rubik's cube was invented in 1974 by Erno Rubik, a Hungarian architect, who wanted a working model to help explain three-dimensional geometry.'"

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105 comments

Hajrá Magyarország! (3, Funny)

stoolpigeon (454276) | about 2 months ago | (#47037339)

Hajrá Magyarok!

Re:Hajrá Magyarország! (4, Funny)

StripedCow (776465) | about 2 months ago | (#47037391)

I take it that means "first post"?

Re:Hajrá Magyarország! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037601)

No, it means in English "Go Hungarians!".

Re:Hajrá Magyarország! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037655)

No it means "hair up Hungarians", te érszéktelen rög! there is a difference!

Re:Hajrá Magyarország! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47038129)

Nade fut-e rajta a Linux? ...vagy képzeljek el belle egy Beowulf Klasztert?

Re:Hajrá Magyarország! (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | about 2 months ago | (#47038893)

hajra is hair - not hajrá
hajrá is "go for it"

Re:Hajrá Magyarország! (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 2 months ago | (#47037637)

I remember having seen a dictionary English-Magyar, so by basic linguistics, Magyarok must be something referred to Hungarian or hungarians.

So, I'd guess it isn't "first post".

Re:Hajrá Magyarország! (2)

stoolpigeon (454276) | about 2 months ago | (#47038937)

Magyar is Hungarian. Magyarok is plural, Hungarians and Magyarország is Hungary.

I figured that was a better first post than the norm given the subject matter. Most any tourist gift shop in Budapest will happily sell you an over priced Rubik's Cube.

Re:Hajrá Magyarország! (4, Funny)

shikaisi (1816846) | about 2 months ago | (#47037677)

No, it means "My hovercraft is full of eels"

Re:Hajrá Magyarország! (2)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about 2 months ago | (#47039421)

I will not buy this record, it is scratched

40 years and I still can't solve it (4, Funny)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about 2 months ago | (#47037389)

Never did learn how to solve it.

Re:40 years and I still can't solve it (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037445)

This is easy: remove all the coloured stickers from each cube face, and you get a cube with each face having a uniform colour.

Re:40 years and I still can't solve it (3, Informative)

LocutusOfBorg1 (1549493) | about 2 months ago | (#47037479)

This is easy: remove all the coloured stickers from each cube face, and you get a cube with each face having a uniform colour.

I did exactly this when I received my first cube. Still not able to solve it :)

Re:40 years and I still can't solve it (2)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 2 months ago | (#47037649)

Or the brute force solution. Break it apart and reform it in the correct color order. It leaves less permanent damage than fiddling with the stickers.

Re:40 years and I still can't solve it (3, Funny)

OakDragon (885217) | about 2 months ago | (#47037975)

As a person who was jealous of those that actually could solve it, this was my favorite joke on them:
  1. Take one of their solved cubes.
  2. Break it apart
  3. Put it back, EXCEPT rotating one edge piece so that the colors would not align
  4. Mix it up good
  5. ???
  6. Profit!

I'm not sure, but I imagined this would make it unsolvable.

Re:40 years and I still can't solve it (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 2 months ago | (#47038567)

I'm not sure, but I imagined this would make it unsolvable.

I can't solve it either, so this is pretty much PIDOOMA, but I believe that you -- WELL, not you or me, but someone -- can rotate any arbitrary piece in any arbitrary direction. So doing this does not prevent the cube from being solved. Would love to see this confirmed or denied for someone who actually knows for sure . . .

Also, if the thing is 40 years old, that means that having mine for only 34-ish years, I will never set the "longest time to solve a cube" record.

Re:40 years and I still can't solve it (4, Informative)

LostOne (51301) | about 2 months ago | (#47038621)

If one edge piece is flipped as described, the cube does, in fact, become unsolvable. It is not possible to flip a single edge piece without affecting at least one other piece on the cube.

Re:40 years and I still can't solve it (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 2 months ago | (#47038753)

. . . the cube does, in fact, become unsolvable.

[Mr. Burns Voice]Excellent.[/Mr Burns Voice] You've made at least two guys' day with that piece of info. Heh heh heh.

Re:40 years and I still can't solve it (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | about 2 months ago | (#47039607)

There are quite a few operations that cannot be done:

- Flipping a single edge piece (you can only flip them in pairs)
- Twisting a single corner (you can twist one clockwise and another one counterclockwise)
- Swapping two pieces

The swapping bit is the easiest to prove mathematically: all you need to know is the difference between odd and even permutations. Imagine for a moment that you can swap any two pieces, for example by taking the puzzle apart. Now for any real permutation (for example a twist, or a rotation of three corners, or whatever other operation you want to achieve), you can come up with a sequence of two-piece swaps (and ONLY two-piece swaps) that results in that operation. For example, if you would want to rotate 4 corners, you could do that with three swaps: 1-2, 2-3, 3-4. You could do it in a different order, and with lots of extra swaps, for example 5 or 7 or 101 swaps. But you'll NEVER be able to do it with an even number of swaps. A permutation is either odd (can be achieved with an odd number of swaps) or even (can be achieved with an even number of swaps). So now it's really easy to prove that you can't swap two pieces without taking the cube apart: any twist of any face rotates 4 corners (which could be done by doing 3 swaps) and 4 edge pieces (another 3 swaps). That's 6 swaps total, which is even. No matter how many of those even permutations you do, you can never achieve the result of a single swap because that's an odd permutation.

Another way of looking at it, is saying that any twist is an odd permutation on the corners and also an odd permutation on the edges. If you manage to swap two corners, that can only be done with an odd number of turns (otherwise you'd have an even permutation again). But then you'll also have performed an odd permutation on the edges, so thay can never be back in their original positions (which is 0 swaps, therefore even).

Proof of the fact that you can't twist a single corner or flip a single edge piece is slightly more complicated, but not really that hard either.

Re:40 years and I still can't solve it (2)

datastew (529152) | about 2 months ago | (#47038709)

I can solve it, and I can say for sure that if you only rotate one edge piece, the whole puzzle will be unsolvable.

Back in grade school, I used to solve people's cubes for them. When I got to the point where it was solved except for the unsolvable part, it would be obvious what had happened. I would show them where they pieces or stickers had been changed and offer to change it back for them.

Re:40 years and I still can't solve it (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 months ago | (#47039049)

My old man (retired engineer) is the only person I know who found the algorithim without looking up the answer, took him 3 months (also there was no internet back in 1980). I pulled mine to bits, I was simply fascinated that it could rotate in every direction without the corner bits falling off.

Re:40 years and I still can't solve it (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | about 2 months ago | (#47039793)

The only hard bit is having enough patience and determination to keep trying. It's not exactly rocket science. It may seem that way when you see all those "formulas" on the internet, but anybody with a little bit of intelligence and determination can solve it rather intuitively. It just takes some time to figure it out.

My dad solved it over the course of a few months. I was still a small kid, 6 years old or so, and wanted him to show me, and unfortunately he finally gave in and showed me a small part. I had already solved the first face, he showed me how to solve the second layer but fortunately refused to show the last layer. Many years later, I picked up the cube again and found the rest (last corners and edges) in a few weeks. I'm still sort of upset that I can't claim I completely solved it by myself. Even though in the mean time I found completely different methods so I don't even need the part my dad taught me anymore. It still feels like he showed me the first part of the way, a method of thinking, and therefore I didn't get there by myself :-(

Anyway, since then I've solved many similar puzzles (bigger cubes, conjoined cubes, magaminx, gigaminx, face-turning octahedron, master skewb, square one,...), always without looking up the solution. But the first one you try to solve (for most people the regular 3x3x3 cube) is always the hardest. Once you've acquired a certain way of thinking, it helps a lot when solving other similar puzzles even though they're often a lot harder.

Re: 40 years and I still can't solve it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47040627)

He refused to show the last layer? So you had 5 sides with uniform color but struggling with the 6th?S

Re: 40 years and I still can't solve it (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | about 2 months ago | (#47040709)

The colors are just identifiers for the pieces. In any of the three dimensions the cube has three layers of pieces. I solved one layer (not just a uniform color on one side, but also the correct color on the sides of those pieces), my dad showed me how to do the second layer (four edge pieces), and then I found the most difficult part, the last four edges and corners.

Re:40 years and I still can't solve it (1)

Gibgezr (2025238) | about 2 months ago | (#47046383)

Myself and a friend also figured it out together, and then wrote down the instructions on a couple of sheets of paper and shared it around my high school. It only took about a week for the two of us to work out a series of processes that would, in the end, solve the cube. Later on, when a book on solving the cube came out, it used almost all the same patterns (although I think it had a couple of optimizations that could combine two patterns into shortcuts). Once you decide that the way to solve the cube is to move ONE piece at a time into place, and work from one layer to the next until complete, the solutions to "how do I get this one piece from here to there" become easier to figure out.

On a side note, we used to grease our cubes with vegetable oil (yeah, awful), and the fastest I ever managed to complete a randomized cube was 30 seconds. Today, I no longer remember the exact patterns, and it would probably take me 30-60 minutes to stumble through.

Re:40 years and I still can't solve it (1)

zeugma-amp (139862) | about 2 months ago | (#47041253)

It does make it unsolvable, but anyone who knows what they are doing with a cube can pretty quickly determine that it has been 'hacked' in this way. First thing I do when solving the cube is to check the corners. It's obvious that something is wrong if certain combinations come up. If you do the same kind of thing with one of the middle cubes it's a little less obvious, and is similarly unsolvable.

Re:40 years and I still can't solve it (2)

David_Hart (1184661) | about 2 months ago | (#47039579)

Or the brute force solution. Break it apart and reform it in the correct color order. It leaves less permanent damage than fiddling with the stickers.

Yeah, I did this too. In fact, the first thing I did was to see if I could take it apart without breaking it. Being able to solve it this way meant that I didn't have to waste time try to solve it the normal way. People considered this method cheating, but I preferred to refer to it as thinking outside of the box.

Just for fun, I did, much later, solve it the normal way using a strategy guide.. The strategy guide was included in a box lot that my Dad won at an auction.

Re:40 years and I still can't solve it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47039493)

Sure. All black on all six sides.

Re:40 years and I still can't solve it (4, Informative)

umafuckit (2980809) | about 2 months ago | (#47037523)

Then learn! RubiksPlace [rubiksplace.com] has one of the better tutorials on the net. Good cubes can be purchased for under $15. Buy one by Dayan, or a similar company. The official Rubik's ones mostly suck. Follow the instructions on the site and you'll have a solve within half an hour. Then you can proceed onto learning and understanding the process. It's rather fun. I've just started and my goal for this year to get a sub one minute solve. I'm busy, so if I can nail that I'll be very happy.

Re:40 years and I still can't solve it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47038001)

I learned The Simple Solution to Rubik's Cube, and my solve times remain consistently around 2m30s. I would love to learn a one-minute solution from an arbitrary start condition.

And with the Google Doodle, I discovered I had forgotten part of the solution. (How to position the bottom corner pieces.) I is sad.

Re:40 years and I still can't solve it (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | about 2 months ago | (#47038109)

I've just started and my goal for this year to get a sub one minute solve.

It's been nearly 20 years since I even touched a cube, so I suspect my reactions aren't what they once were. I don't think I could get back to the consistent 1:30 I used to have, with many times under a minute.

But, it might be fun just to show people I know how to do it.

Re:40 years and I still can't solve it (1)

milkmage (795746) | about 2 months ago | (#47038239)

there's an app for that.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

Re:40 years and I still can't solve it (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 months ago | (#47047419)

there's an app for that.

There are plenty of apps for that.

My favorite is CubeCheater [efaller.com] where you take a photo of each of the faces of the cube and it shows you how to solve it in 20 moves or less.

Alas, it's no longer available, though I have copies thanks to iTunes backups :). (No, just because an app is gone, doesn't mean you can't still use it as long as you have a copy, through iTunes or otherwise. Apple has not yet activated any functionality to delete or block apps already in users' possession).

Re:40 years and I still can't solve it (2)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 2 months ago | (#47038651)

Then learn! RubiksPlace [rubiksplace.com] has one of the better tutorials on the net. Good cubes can be purchased for under $15. Buy one by Dayan, or a similar company. The official Rubik's ones mostly suck. Follow the instructions on the site and you'll have a solve within half an hour. Then you can proceed onto learning and understanding the process. It's rather fun. I've just started and my goal for this year to get a sub one minute solve. I'm busy, so if I can nail that I'll be very happy.

Having tried some, I'm willing to state that there is no tutorial in the world that would enable me to solve it, either. The cube is filed in the same folder as juggling, having a baby, and curling up my tongue -- under "stuff I just can't ever do". I tried 13 moves on the google doodle before just angrily clicking all over in frustration to see how high I could drive the counter.

Re:40 years and I still can't solve it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47038915)

two are genetic, juggling can be learned by almost anyone without certain nerve conditions (I have no depth perception; it's ab itch but I learned) but rubiks cubes are merely applying an algorithm.

Re:40 years and I still can't solve it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47040889)

Yeah, you can do juggling (3 items) with about six hours of practice...about the same as learning to roller skate or riding a bicycle for me...

Re:40 years and I still can't solve it (1)

umafuckit (2980809) | about 2 months ago | (#47040379)

I bet you can do it. If the algorithm is clearly described, it's very straightforward. You don't even need to understand what you're doing. The challenging thing is memorising the steps, which of course is only necessary if you choose to make it so. Even pre-school children can learn [youtube.com] .

Re:40 years and I still can't solve it (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about 2 months ago | (#47042195)

Regular 3 ball juggling is VERY easy.. (even I can do it!) I can do 6 pin passing, barely, but never got past that to any significant degree.. (I guess I can do 2 in one hand well enough that I could probably learn 4 via 2 in each hand quickly.)

Basically, the most basic juggling is so easy everybody can do it.

Re:40 years and I still can't solve it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47038931)

Then learn! RubiksPlace [rubiksplace.com] has one of the better tutorials on the net. Good cubes can be purchased for under $15. Buy one by Dayan, or a similar company. The official Rubik's ones mostly suck. Follow the instructions on the site and you'll have a solve within half an hour. Then you can proceed onto learning and understanding the process. It's rather fun. I've just started and my goal for this year to get a sub one minute solve. I'm busy, so if I can nail that I'll be very happy.

Learn by going onto a site that shows you the answer? I think you mean "cheat". And then show everyone how cool you are because you can solve a Rubik's cube in less than a minute simply by following a formula. Not sure I see the fun in that.

I figured out my own solution. Give me a cube and about on hour and I can solve it, without the aide of anybody having told me how to do it. I've solved one in as little as a half-hour, sometimes as much as an hour and a half. It is a much more satisfying and impressive achievement to say "I" solved it, as opposed to saying that I found the solution on a website.

Re:40 years and I still can't solve it (1)

umafuckit (2980809) | about 2 months ago | (#47041097)

It's a puzzle that you can do with what you will. There is no cheating. You have chosen to figure out the solution intuitively using a slower trial and error approach, and that's great. I don't fancy doing that and that's also great. Try not to be so judgemental next time when a poster is providing positive, helpful, and encouraging information to others.

Re:40 years and I still can't solve it (2)

ZeroPly (881915) | about 2 months ago | (#47038995)

This is not "solving" it, it's just following an algorithm which guarantees a solution. It's the equivalent of calculating a binary sum for Nim on each turn and removing the correct number of stones. You don't have to understand anything about Nim, or look more than a move ahead, you just have to mindlessly calculate that sum and remove whatever stones the algorithm tells you to do.

Truly solving a cube would be working out a plan based on that _particular_ initial combination, rather than something like "move all the yellow to one side". I only knew two people who could do that, and it took them on the order of 2-3 hours each to solve a given cube.

Re:40 years and I still can't solve it (2)

umafuckit (2980809) | about 2 months ago | (#47041161)

Not strictly true. There is a family of algorithms that are used to solve the cube. If you follow them, you need to identify the correct ones as you proceed. Not all steps in the process may be needed, depending on the initial state of the cube. A good speed solver learns a large number of algorithms and plans ahead as they solve, merging one algorithm into the other. i.e. they do what you say: work out a plan in advanced based on the initial combination of the cube. The best in the world can solve the cube in under 10 seconds this way.

Re:40 years and I still can't solve it (1)

Nyder (754090) | about 2 months ago | (#47037641)

Never did learn how to solve it.

I learned how to solve it via a book in the late 70's and still today I can muscle memory the solution. couldn't tell you how to do that solution, but my hands still know what to do.

Did it survive? (2, Insightful)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 months ago | (#47037455)

You used to see them everywhere, not really the case for the last decade or two.

You cannot compare the Rubik's cube to Barbie or Play-Doh on that front.

Re:Did it survive? (2)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 2 months ago | (#47037539)

You used to see them everywhere, not really the case for the last decade or two.

You cannot compare the Rubik's cube to Barbie or Play-Doh on that front.

It's been on a comeback lately. So has Tetris, I think.

Re:Did it survive? (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 2 months ago | (#47043081)

My teenage daughters have several of them and I never bought them for them.

Re:Did it survive? (2)

jonwil (467024) | about 2 months ago | (#47037687)

If the number of videos on YouTube dedicated to something is an indication of how well it has survived, the Rubik's Cube is most definatly a survivor.

Not to mention the many world records that exist related to the Rubik's Cube (I wonder what the record is for the largest Rubik's Cube ever made and for the smallest ever made)

Re:Did it survive? (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 months ago | (#47038077)

Actually that is an indicator of how cult it is.

There are loads of things with huge cult following that no longer exist. Based on your logic the most popular song of all time is "Never Gonna Give You Up".
And the most popular video game console of 2014 is the SNES, because it has the biggest game library.

Re:Did it survive? (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 2 months ago | (#47038587)

And the most popular video game console of 2014 is the SNES, because it has the biggest game library.

The SNES doesn't have the largest game library among the game consoles. The PSone has 3 times as many and the PS2 has FIVE times as many.

Re:Did it survive? (1)

ausekilis (1513635) | about 2 months ago | (#47039499)

I'd attribute the popularity of the SNES in part to the resurgance of classic titles being released in ways like Nintendo's Virtual Console. In addition, those folks that grew up with the NES/SNES would be hitting their 30's now and may already have that good job and are able to go back and buy some of their childhood from their local used game store. I know I've been doing just that this year.

To give some numbers to CronoCloud:
SNES [wikipedia.org] had 784 games.
Playstation 1 [wikipedia.org] had 2,418 games.
Playstation 2 [wikipedia.org] had 3,870 games.
(Side note, N64 [wikipedia.org] had 387 games.)

Re:Did it survive? (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | about 2 months ago | (#47040281)

As an asterisk on those numbers: The SNES count doesn't include any of the Japanese releases, while the PS1, PS2, and N64 counts do. The Super Famicom has 1,442 titles, and 231 were released on Satellaview. Eliminate the titles that were common between the NA/PAL list and the Japanese lists, and the count still comes below the PS1 game count (so your point still stands). I just wanted to compare apples to apples.

Re:Did it survive? (-1, Troll)

dbc (135354) | about 2 months ago | (#47038187)

Depends on who you hang out with. My daugher likes math -- as in: took mulivariable calculus at a local university at age 13 "likes math" -- anyway she as a sizeable collection of Rubik's cubes, and many of her math-loving friends have collections of cubes. Some of them have "speed cubes" -- specially made cubes with low friction joints to aid in rapid soving. I have a video of two of her friends have a solving race. One guy was sloving a 7x7 cube, the other guy was trying to solve 10 3x3 cubes in the same abount of time. IIRC, the 7x7 guy got done in about 2 1/2 minutes, in which time the 3x3 guy got through 8.

So anyway, if you're not see cubes around, I guess you just aren't haning around with nerdy enough people.

Re:Did it survive? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47038463)

Something smells funny. Could it be the non-famous 13 year-old girl taking calc? Maybe. Could it be that virtually no one that collect cubes would be without several speed cubes? Maybe. Could it be the nomenclature 3x3 and 7x7 when cube geeks refer to them as 3x3x3 and 7x7x7? Maybe. Could it be that some random kid that you know has shattered the world record for a 7x7x7 solve just for kicks? Yes, that is the one.

So anyway, if you are going to tell lies, I guess try to make them more convincing.

Re:Did it survive? (1)

Col. Klink (retired) (11632) | about 2 months ago | (#47038817)

My children's elementary school has a Rubik's Cube club.

Re:Did it survive? (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 months ago | (#47039305)

Collections of custom cubes sounds pretty cult to me.

Re:Did it survive? (1)

torsmo (1301691) | about 2 months ago | (#47039197)

You will soon have super-toys that will last all summer long.

Odd man out, so to speak. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037461)

[...] The Rubik's cube, which celebrates its 40th birthday, now joins the likes of Barbie, Play-Doh, Lego, and the Slinky as one of the great survivors in the toy cupboard.

One of these things is not like the others.

Re:Odd man out, so to speak. (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about 2 months ago | (#47037587)

The one that is semi-edible?

Re:Odd man out, so to speak. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037783)

Considering the HEADLINE just told us that the Rubik's Cube isn't meant to be a toy, then the summary went and compared it to 'other toys' which have been around a long time, I'm going to go with the Rubik's Cube as the odd one out.

Re:Odd man out, so to speak. (1)

sh00z (206503) | about 2 months ago | (#47038013)

Considering the HEADLINE just told us that the Rubik's Cube isn't meant to be a toy, then the summary went and compared it to 'other toys' which have been around a long time, I'm going to go with the Rubik's Cube as the odd one out.

Not exactly. Slinky [slinkyprint.com] wasn't originally a toy either.

Re:Odd man out, so to speak. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47038101)

I read that, and it started out exactly as a toy. Guy was inspired by something that wasn't a toy at all, then he went home and said, "I think I can make a toy out of this," then he come up with completely different design parameters and named it a "Slinky". The original inspiration was a torsion spring.

Now where the fuck do you get this notion that the Slinky wasn't originally a toy?

5x5 rubik's cube (0)

vasilevich (2969463) | about 2 months ago | (#47037475)

I can solve a 5x5x5 rubik's cube in 10 minutes. How about you?

Re:5x5 rubik's cube (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47038153)

I'm colorblind, you insensitive clod!

Re:5x5 rubik's cube (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 2 months ago | (#47038675)

I can solve a 5x5x5 rubik's cube in 10 minutes. How about you?

Can you hammer a six-inch spike through a board with your penis?

Re:5x5 rubik's cube (1)

hymie! (95907) | about 2 months ago | (#47038925)

A girl's gotta have standards.

Re:5x5 rubik's cube (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47046415)

Great movie reference :)

Re:5x5 rubik's cube (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | about 2 months ago | (#47039829)

About the same, maybe a few minutes longer, but I did figure it out the solution myself. How about you?

Find a dictionary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037491)

Never doesn't mean initially.

Re:Find a dictionary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037593)

Never doesn't mean initially.

OK, but "never meant to be a toy" clearly implies that this was the intent when the product was created (for all but the most uncooperative of listeners/readers).

Never meant to be a toy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037499)

I think you mean "Initially not meant to be a toy".

Lófütyi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037547)

Nem hiszem éz nem Lófütyi!

(Horses are prevalent in Hungarian language)

Re:Lófütyi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47038185)

Lófaszt! Nehogymár! Nem vagy te sem bladerunner.

Re:Lófütyi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47038337)

slashdot trolling meme
http://games.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=244977&cid=19737685

It makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037559)

The Rubik's cube was invented in 1974 by Erno Rubik, a Hungarian architect, who wanted a working model to help explain three-dimensional geometry.

That explains why it can be solved mathematically. While a lot of puzzles have a fixed "solution" sheet which comes with the puzzle, the Rubik's cube requires a procedure.

Re:It makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47038581)

It is a very mathematical puzzle - just not the kind of maths you are probably familiar with.
Anyway - a procedure (ie a set of instructions you follow, examine the state then follow a another set of instructions depending on the state - which is how I solve the cube) is something that can be done in maths.
I have already posted about this, but do check out the numberphile videos on rubiks cube to get a glimpse of the maths involved in a rubiks cube

Ed Miliband (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037663)

It feels more like: "Hey, we got paid some dough to mention Ed Miliband in the wake of the European Elections, is there any way we can plug him without people catching on?" And since he said something about a Rubik Cube...

Re:Ed Miliband (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47037915)

I might laugh or maybe think you insightful or whatever if I knew what the hell you were talking about.

Greatest geek toy (2)

hubie (108345) | about 2 months ago | (#47037959)

I can't say I think of it as the greatest geek toy. Cool puzzle, but not geek toy. When I think of a great geek toy, I think of something that demonstrates some physical property (like a gyroscope, or one of those glass tubes with a colored liquid that boils when you hold it in your hand), or something like a Mindstorms set where you can explore computing and robotics.

Re:Greatest geek toy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47038215)

Its a maths geek toy. Check out the numberphile rubiks cube videos at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLt5AfwLFPxWJNAdHv8TUCOmj7iKqyHZeg to see the maths involved in a rubiks cube

Re:Greatest geek toy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47038711)

It's a fundamental demonstration of three dimensional rotation and mixing, and you don't think it demonstrates a physical property?

Greatest geek toy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47047895)

See if you can find the old Scientific American cover story about RK. It describes in particular how the algorithms used to solve the cube are derived from partial differential equations that identify permitted states and permitted transitions between states of certain sub-atomic particles. It's been a long time, but it kind of sticks in my head that the 3x3x3 cube may assume states analogous to the permitted electron energy levels of some mid-Periodic Table element. So it really does illustrate a principle of physics.

If anybody can find more about that source, I'd be interested. I still have the original cellulose-based magazine on my bookshelf somewhere, but it'd take me quite a while to find it.

Does the Google Doodle actually work? (1)

Alioth (221270) | about 2 months ago | (#47037967)

The Google Doodle of this tells me to play I must have the latest version of Chrome/Safari/Firefox. However I do have the latest version of Chrome! Version 34.0.1847.137 so it tells me. (At least I think it's the latest version, I've not been able to find anything on Google that tells me what is the official latest version).

Bah.

Re:Does the Google Doodle actually work? (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | about 2 months ago | (#47041043)

Works for me with that version.

Make sure if you're using blocking extensions (Noscript, etc) that they are allowing frames and JS from gstatic.com and google.com.

Also make sure WebGL is working (I dunno if it uses it or not but it looks 3D) in chrome://gpu/).

google doodle (1)

p51d007 (656414) | about 2 months ago | (#47038035)

Too bad you can't peel off the stickers like I did to annoy friends of mine back in the early 80's that would never put those things down. Was fun to watch them try to figure out why they could never match the sides when two stickers were in the wrong spot.

Hmm (3, Insightful)

Richy_T (111409) | about 2 months ago | (#47038057)

The Rubik's cube was invented in 1974 by Erno Rubik, a Hungarian architect, who wanted a working model to help explain three-dimensional geometry.

I've heard this before but it makes no sense to me that the cube would in any way help to explain three dimensional geometry (any more than would a static cube of wood). Can anyone elucidate on this?

Not that I'm complaining. Love to play with one myself.

Re:Hmm (5, Informative)

tkuCheck (2944677) | about 2 months ago | (#47038163)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R... [wikipedia.org] : "Although it is widely reported that the Cube was built as a teaching tool to help his students understand 3D objects, his actual purpose was solving the structural problem of moving the parts independently without the entire mechanism falling apart. He did not realize that he had created a puzzle until the first time he scrambled his new Cube and then tried to restore it."

Re:Hmm (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about 2 months ago | (#47041383)

That makes a lot more sense.

4 d version? (2)

rossdee (243626) | about 2 months ago | (#47038255)

Did he ever make a 4 dimensional version (Rubik's Tesseract)

Re:4 d version? (3, Informative)

umafuckit (2980809) | about 2 months ago | (#47038547)

This [superliminal.com] is the closest you're likely to get to a 4-D Rubik's cube.

Re:Hmm (1)

Namlak (850746) | about 2 months ago | (#47039257)

Can anyone Euclidate?

Fixed that for you... ;^)

toys that last more than a generation. (5, Insightful)

rossdee (243626) | about 2 months ago | (#47038531)

'There are only a handful of toys that last more than a generation.

Oh, come on, there are many 'toys' that have been around for more than a century
Like the 'stick with the horses head handle, the bicycle and tricycle, the spinning top, the soccer ball, the oval football, the bucket and spade (sandcastles) the swimming pool, the Y shaped catapult, dolls (and toy soldiers for boys) chalk, crayons and other drawing stuff, the seesaw (aka teeter tottor) slides, playing cards (the classical 4 suits kind) dice (6 sided, not the crappy company that owns slashdot, the skipping rope, the kaleidoscope, the boomerang, model trains, cars and boats, and the box that the toys came in

Re: toys that last more than a generation. (3, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 2 months ago | (#47039177)

Child culture doesn't change much over the years. Look at your list and think about how many of them have been in existence for over 100 years or even 500. Many of them can be traced back to the dark ages or even further. Managing to insert your toy into part of child culture is an accomplishment worth noting; to me it remains to be seen if Rubik's cube has actually managed to do so (despite being a fan, I suspect the answer is no).

Re: toys that last more than a generation. (0)

operagost (62405) | about 2 months ago | (#47040711)

I'm pretty sure catapults (slingshots) and toy soldiers are considered WMDs under current public school zero-tolerance policies.

"Never Meant To Be a Toy" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47038543)

That's good, because it was never actually any fun anyway.

Bad link in summary (4, Informative)

mgemmons (972332) | about 2 months ago | (#47039107)

You would expect that a link named "an interactive google doodle" would link to, you know, that and not an engadget article which has a decidedly non-interactive screenshot of said doodle . But hey, this is slashdot. Go here instead: http://www.google.com/doodles/ [google.com]

Re:Bad link in summary (0)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 2 months ago | (#47040525)

Ya I was thinking that. Slashdot is the worst web site ever, except for all the others.

Re:Bad link in summary (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47042031)

Too bad your page does not have the interactive version either, excet after following two other links. The interactive version: https://www.google.com/logos/2014/rubiks/rubiks.html [google.com] .

It's the hot toy in my daughter's class (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47039967)

My daughter is in a 5th-grade class of what we used to call "gifted students". This year, it's the hot thing. Virtually everyone in the class can solve a 3x3. Almost everyone has 2x2, 3x3, 4x4, mirrored cubes, odd shaped cubes, void cubes, etc. They speed cube. They buy ones that turn better with their allowances. When I think of all the stupid things they could be into, like Justin Bieber, it gives me faith in the future.

2x2x2? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47040957)

Would it help you to understand what's going on if you considered a 2x2x2 cube first? I was thinking the solution involves group theory and perhaps rotation matrices....

Yeah but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47043099)

Remember it doesn't matter that a Hungarian guy invented it. Some kid in Korea is the best at it. That's all that matters.....It's not about innovation anymore. It's patent infringing Chinese and Korean knockoffs and is not about the creativity of inventing the toy, it's the ordinary methodical procedure at solving it over and over again so its almost impossible not to be good at it...

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