22 Jun 2015

Rubik’s Cube

I decided recently to embrace my dilettantism. I don’t think there have been two consecutive days in my life where I wanted to pursue and learn the same ideas. Now mind you, the complete list of topics is finite and I cycle back eventually.

But recently, when I was reminded of the existence of superfast Rubik’s cube solver people, blindfold solvers, one-handed solvers, and foot solvers, I thought it might finally be time to learn how to solve the cube, and to push down the stack the rest of my crazy research agenda.

A couple weeks later, I can assert that I can solve the cube within a few minutes. And moreover, I am able to do it with some modicum of understanding of what I am doing. My goal was not to memorize recipes, which is the approach that most tutorials assume for some reason. Instead, I wanted to know the most granular small changes that can be made and how to carry them out, and also why they work out. And I achieved that! I am impressed with myself, way more than is warranted. This outcome is of course all due to the existence of the Internet and especially YouTube. Here are my favorite links.

  • all current speed records in one video:
  • one of the better math-flavored tutorials: link
  • same teacher, but now we’re getting somewhere with a discussion of commutators: link
  • dour but breakthrough presentation that clinched my understanding: