Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wanderers 2009.7.15

:: me perusing rubik's bible ::

Bill Shepard is giving us a brilliant presentation on Rubik's Cube, of which he's a master (not a black belt maybe, doesn't compete professionally). Barbara Stross is with us, Duane Ray, David Tver...

The key is knowing these "procedures" which accomplish specific tasks. He's figured out some of these for himself, memorized others, provided in The Ideal Solution, or "Rubik's Bible".

He has quite a collection, some isomorphic to the original, even if differently shaped, others of higher frequency, which he doesn't know how to solve, others lower. Still others that are just plain different. We could talk "family resemblance" and sound more like Wittgenstein.

Bill got into these back when they were all the rage. The one from Chex (he sent in some box tops), with the fruit and cereal pix, adds the wrinkle of facet orientation. He came up with a procedure for dealing with this.

Speaking of Wittgenstein
, I was invited to a new Yahoo! list by an assistant professor, Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.. I see some of the same participants from the old one, which had stopped accepting my posts for some reason.

Looking forward to jumping in at some point, was happy to find that link to a movie of Richard Rorty (my thesis adviser @ Princeton), talking about being a quietist (vs. a naturalist) -- sounds almost Quaker, although he's using a different namespace.

Steve Mastin (Cal Tech alum) is saying some interesting stuff about NMR (something he was involved with at Los Alamos in the 70s) lots of animated discussion. Having the Internet handy helps keep our thinking informed. 1 tesla = 10 ** 4 gauss. I chimed in by saying "Pauli Exclusion Principle" at an opportune moment, scoring a few points. Mostly I just blog, post to Math Forum (twice this morning), make the occasional quip.

Now we're talking about old computers, toggling in programs. Buzz remembers a computer so old it had a chimney.

Light bulb jokes... the design of light bulbs.