www.whyville.net Mar 7, 2010 Weekly Issue

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The Puzzling Toy: The Rubik's Cube

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I'm pretty sure we've all seen a Rubik's Cube. Those little hard to figure out, multi-colored cubes that you are supposed to turn every which way to get each side one solid color. I was curious about these cubes so I decided to do a little research and let you guys in on a few facts. Whenever I get my hands on these colorful objects I try for a long time but I always end up saying, "I give up." Here are the details on this toy.

Way back in 1974 a Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture came up with the idea of this cube and in that same year, invented it. It wasn't always called a Rubik's cube though. Its original name was a Magic Cube but was licensed by Rubik hence being named Rubik's cube. The first load of Rubik's cubes left Hungary in May of 1980.

All over the world this is considered one of the best selling toys in the world. I think that this shows that a toy doesn't have to be super fancy and complicated to be fun. It even won an award in 1980, the German Game of the Year Award for best puzzle.

Think back a year to January 2009, as of that month 350 million Rubik's cubes were sold worldwide. It's over a year later. Think about how many must've been sold now.

For those of you who don't already know the Rubik's cube is a six sided cube with multi-colored stickers all over (traditionally white, red, blue, orange, green and yellow). The goal is to have each face of the cube one solid color.

If you think about any average model of these toys it is about 5.7 cm on each side. The big cube is simply made of many smaller cubes. If you were to take it apart each cube would be individual. Not three stuck together or anything like that.

The question that is floating around in your head right now is, "How do I solve the puzzle?" There are many possibilities in solving it, which can be found in most instruction booklets or on the Internet. Of course following these takes a lot of time and patience. I'm not going to explain one way to do it. You can figure that out on your own.

Currently, the world record for fastest time solving the Rubik's Cube is 7.08 seconds, set back in 2008 by Erik Akkersdijk. Many variations have been released since 1980, some making it less difficult to figure out, some making it more.

I hope you enjoyed learning about the classic toy and maybe you'll go find yourself one and spend countless hours trying to figure it out.

Author's Note: Information Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubik's_Cube
Picture Sources: http://zedomax.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/rubiks-cube.jpg


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