Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Let's Do The Twists

If that cubular pivotable puzzle known as the Rubik's Cube was one of your favorite childhood toys, you must have grown up during the 70s. One eighth of the world's population has laid their hands on 'The Cube' and I am one of them. Now, the puzzle has made a comeback with an unique appeal to the Generation Y.

This amazing toy was invented by a Hungarian, Ernő Rubik in 1974. It soon stormed the world and became the world's best-selling toy. Rubik's initial attraction to inventing the Cube was not in producing the best selling toy puzzle in history. Being a a sculptor / architect, Rubik wanted to know how the blocks could move independently without falling apart. He did not realize that he was on his way to figure out a phenomenal toy.

The Rubik's Cube can be twisted in many possible ways. To be precise, there is only 1 correct way and 43 quintillion (1 followed by 18 zeros) wrong ones.

This accidental invention has obsessed millions of people age 3 to infinity. The obsession comes mainly from the urge to explore the seemingly endless combinations and finally draw immense satisfaction when the perfect finish is accomplished.
If you are already an expert, you must be tired of the standard 3x3x3 original cube. The 2x2x2 Pocket Cube or Junior Cube may appear juvenile. Don't underestimate it's power to drive you mad.

If you are more adventurous, attempt the 4x4x4 version too. In fact, Greek inventor Panagiotis Verdes has devised a method of creating cubes beyond 5x5x5 upto 11x11x11. Currently, 5x5x5, 6x6x6, and 7x7x7 models are available. Be prepared to go totally insane !

Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, the architects for the Beijing 'Birdnest' stadium claimed that they were inspired by the amazing cube. Just take a look at their latest design of a 57-story cantilevered glass tower that will go up in New York City in 2010.

If you are thinking of perfecting your moves, check out the world records first. The champions have solved the puzzles faster than I could say 'Rubik's Cube' ! Here are the prodigious timing achieved: 2x2x2 (1.63 s), 3x3x3 (7.08 s), 4x4x4 (41.31 s) and 5x5x5 (1 min 20.98 s). Now, start practicing !

If you prefer to conquer size rather than speed, the world's largest working Rubik's Cube is ideal for you. Take a trip down to the museum of technology in Helsinki, Finland and take your time to twist the giant cubes for it is obviously not built for speedcubing !

Tired of staring at cubes? Why not switch to the spherical one for a change? It is the same as the standard 3x3x3 cube except without the familiar grips. Just don't drop it !

Having written quite a bit about the Cube, it's confession time.

I admit that I am a Rubik's idiot for I can't even manage just one of the six sides. Rubik once said "Our whole life is solving puzzle." I, too am solving the everyday puzzles of different kinds which are not necessarily any easier. You can carry on polishing your twists and I will just admire your fluttery fingers from afar.

Enjoy and stay sane :)


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