Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Long Live the Cube

I read an article yesterday about Sunday's competition in Hungary for solving Rubik's Cube. Erno Rubik, a Hungarian engineer, invented the three-by-three colorful cube puzzle back in 1974, and competitions to solve the cube nationally have been ongoing since 1982. This latest event drew more than 250 competitors from 33 countries. The fastest time recorded at the event was 10.88 seconds, just of the world record of 9.86 seconds which was set by a Frenchman in May of 2007.

I can very fondly getting my first Rubik's Cube back in the early 80's. It seemed like the must-have toy for awhile there - at least among the geeky and the puzzle-lovers. I spent many hours trying to figure that bad boy out. Admittingly, I couldn't do it alone so I sent away to Ideal Toys for the booklet that told you some of the tricks to solve it. Well, I practiced and practiced with those steps to make sure I could solve the cube no matter how well someone mixed it up. Today with the Internet it seems various solutions are just a few clicks away.

Back in the early 80's, my friends and I would bring our cubes to lunch in high school. We'd take turns seeing who could solve it the fastest while we ate. Yup, we were nerds all right. That so wasn't scoring us any points with the ladies. LOL.

Solving the cube is like riding a bike. Once you know how to do it, you never really forget. I came across a cube a number of years ago and instinctively started to solve it. All those turning and twisting and rotating combos just seem to fall back into place. I guess having done the motions so often in my youthful days that my brain was able to pull them out from the recesses of my mind without much effort. That's just one more piece of less than useful information clogging up my brain cells.

I think my best efforts back in the day might have been in the neighborhood of a minute or so. These days it most likely would take me a bit longer, depending upon how well oiled the cube is, etc.

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