Did you see the video of the kid who just set a new Rubik's Cube solution time record? Collin Burns unscrambled Hungarian architect Erno Rubik's 3x3x3 cube in a mere 5.253 seconds per the CubeComps website record list. It is an amazing spectacle to see. Formal rules are set by the World Cube Association(WCA) for other format cubes like the 2x2x2, the 4x4x4 and the 5x5x5. My first thought when watching the video is was how scrambling of the cube was randomized to assure fairness in unscrambling times? It turns out that the WCA provides a program for setting start patterns, which must be used for official attempts. Full compliance with competition rules is required for admission into record books.
Have you ever solved a Rubik's Cube? I got my first one back around 1980, while in the USAF. It was a popular pastime amongst the radar techs during long night shifts waiting for a call from an air traffic controller about a malfunction of some sort. Solving two layers is a piece of cake, but getting that third layer down took quite a while, as I recall. Once I finally figured it out, developing a routine based on how the colors were arranged was pretty easy, so solving it quickly was mostly a matter of not having the darn thing either pop apart or get caught in a configuration where the three planes were being improperly manipulated simultaneously. If you've done the cube, you know what I am saying.
I still have my 4x4x4 cube, but have never been able to solve that fourth layer. For that matter, I can't honestly say I've even solved three complete layers. Maybe some day if I ever get to retire, that will be added to the bucket list.
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