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Posts Tagged ‘Rubik’s Cube

Cubed…

Nearly 40 years ago, a Hungarian architecture professor, Emo Rubik, created a puzzle to use with his design students- a puzzle with 43 quintillion possible combinations and one solution.  Within five years, it had been played by over 20% of the world’s population, and has so far sold over 350 million units (not counting “unofficial” versions).

Read an interview with Rubik at CNN, and find other confounding facts (like the ones above) here.

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As we twist and turn, we might spare a thought for Ulugh Beg; he died on this date in 1449.  Probably Mongolia’s greatest scientist, Beg was a Timurid ruler and sultan, a mathematician, and the greatest astronomer of his time.  In his observatory in at Samarkand he discovered a number of errors in the computations of the 2nd-century Alexandrian astronomer Ptolemy, whose figures were still being used; his star map (of 994 stars) was the first since Hipparchus’.

Forensic facial reconstruction

 source

Written by LW

October 27, 2012 at 1:01 am

From The Annals of Overachievement…

click here for video

Bilbao-based David Calvo juggles three Rubik’s Cubes, while solving one of them…

[TotH to Laughing Squid]

As we do the Twist, we might recall that it was on this date in 1926 that Erik Weisz (under his stage name, Harry Houdini, the most acclaimed magician and escape artist of the 20th century) passed away.  Twelve days earlier, Houdini had been talking to a group of students after a lecture in Montreal when he remarked on the strength of his stomach muscles and their ability to withstand hard blows.  One of the students spontaneously punched Houdini, who hadn’t had time to prepare, rupturing the magician’s appendix.  He fell ill on the train to Detroit; and, after performing there one last time, was hospitalized.  Doctors operated, but to no avail: the burst appendix poisoned Houdini’s system, and on Halloween he died.

source

Written by LW

October 31, 2011 at 1:01 am

Yaka-Wow!…

Rubik’s Cube for the Blind (via Yanko Design, which readers will remember)

On an obliquely-related front, from the ever-illuminating World Wide Words:

In what seems to have been a mixture of rueful admission
of error and pleasure in accidental accomplishment, the Times noted
on 23 April that a transcription error in an interview on 15 April
with the neuroscientist Baroness Greenfield has gone viral. She was
concerned that excessive playing of computer games or using social
networks such as Twitter would stop the malleable brains of young
people developing as they should: “It’s not going to destroy the
planet but is it going to be a planet worth living in if you have a
load of breezy people who go around saying yaka-wow. Is that the
society we want?” Within 24 hours, it is said, Google had 75,000
results for “yaka-wow”. It has inspired a Twitter stream, a page on
Facebook, mugs and T-shirts; it has become a personal philosophy:
“I think, therefore I yaka-wow”; and it has led to the creation of
the virtual First Church of the Yaka-Wow. What Baroness Greenfield
really said was “yuck and wow”, a derogatory comment about the
limited emotional range and vocabulary of Twitter users. Considered
linguistically and culturally, it’s a fascinating example of the
way electronic communications can today create and transmit a new
word.

As we coin ’em as fast as we can, we might recall that it was on this date in 1469 that civil servant, philosopher, and father of political science Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli was born.  Machiavelli served the Florentine Republic; in 1498, after the ouster and execution of Girolamo Savonarola, the Great Council elected Machiavelli as Secretary to the second Chancery– the blunt instrument replaced by the sharp…

But Machiavelli is, of course, best known for his short “how to” book on political power, The Prince.  Written in 1513, it was only privately circulated during Machiavelli’s life; but it was published publicly in 1532, five years after his death– and has had such an impact on our understanding of the cynical exercise of political power that “Machiavellian” has become a widely-understood adjective.

Niccolò Machiavelli

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