First of all, I had no idea there was this kind of obsession with Rubik's cubes. I knew that there was sort of a whole sub-culture revolving around this peculiar little toy, but I thought that was back in the 80s and maybe early 90s. What is amazing to me is not that the Rubik's obsession is alive and well or even that there continue to be people trying to come up with new and exciting (bizarre) ways to solve it, what is amazing to me is that there are actually people, two of which are featured in this short video, whose job title is "Rubik's Cube Documentarian."
I really had no idea that there was enough history to the Rubik's cube to necessitate people to have careers documenting and studying it. What do these people do on a daily/weekly basis? Head on in to the office and see if anyone has shaved a few hundredths of a second off of the standing record? I feel like I know about 75% of all I need to know about the thing from watching this six minute video!
On the other hand, there is definitely a lot of fascinating information here. There are some statistics given about the toy, such as that it has 43 "quintillion" different possible positions, and that if you were to move one piece every second, it would take 1,400 million million years to create all of the different combinations. Now, if I have my zeroes and commas calculated correctly, that's 1,400,000,000,000,000 years. Unbelievable!!
This will be why so many people have developed the obsessions that they have, some of which last years and years and years and have even spawned medical conditions and support groups. I always thought that the Rubik's cube was just a fad that I missed out on, since I was never any more than passively interested. Maybe because I could never figure the thing out and would lose interest before I made much progress. This video makes me glad that I never got very seriously into it!
One thing that is hugely interesting to me is that because of the Hungarian architecture professor who invented the puzzle, Hungary was able to rise out of Communism in the 1980s. This is quite an interesting statement to me because at the moment I am living in the heart of China, and the current government is intensely Communist and fiercely perpetuates the mythology of Mao Tse-tung, who is quite literally revered like a God here despite being personally responsible for more deaths (more than 70 million) than any single person in the history of mankind. Communism is mentioned in this video as sort of something that Hungary escaped from, which is quite a statement in the environment in which I find myself.
Also interesting, and a little disturbing, is the idea of solving the Rubik's cube blindfolded. A kid named Leyan Lo is the current world record holder for the fastest blindfold solve. When I heard that, the first thing I thought is that the kid really needs to get a life, but it is definitely pretty interesting to watch these people's hands working so fast that you can hardly see the fingers move, it's incredible.
Also, go to Youtube and look up "cup stacking world record." This is another "super-geeky" fad, as it's described in the video, that is pretty amazing. So whether or not these people need to get a life is not really anyone's business, I guess. Whatever blows your hair back, as they say.
But one thing is definitely certain, these people have WAY too much time on their lightning- fast hands.
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