Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Tao of the Cube

Be bent, and you will remain straight.
Be vacant, and you will remain full.
Be worn, and you will remain new.
-- Lao Tzu

I bought myself a Rubik's Cube the other day. I was never very good at solving the darn thing when I was a kid; I could only get one side right however hard I tried, so I wanted to see if I could do better now. It looks like my cube-solving skills as an adult are even worse, but I devised a better way to have fun with the thing: instead of trying to solve it, why not try to unsolve it, i.e. tweak things such that one ends up on the other end of the scale, with maximum entropy? My first goal was to end up with nine unique colours on each side, but a quick calculation indicated that there are only six colours to play with (duh). I have a feeling that this is easier than it sounds, but let's see how it goes. One way to spice it up would be to achieve maximum entropy in the least number of steps.