From:

~~~ Subject:

"Games People Play" on Mass Ave, near the fork where Mt. Auburn

St. branches off, carred them the last I knew. According to

rumor, the domestic product ("Rubik's Cube"), selling for

about $7, is mechanically inferior to the Hungarian import,

costing $15. I don't know how everyone feels about money,

but to me, not having to fight with the thing would be worth

the extra $8.

Bernie's explanation of how to achieve the Plummer and Christman

Crosses is a prime example of why we need a cube language.

Since no one has proposed anything, I will jump into the fray.

Center the cube at the origin of a 3-d coordinate system. The

axes of the coordinate system protrude from the centers of the faces.

Make a hitch-hiker's gesture with your right hand and point the thumb

along the X axis. Imagine rotating the WHOLE CUBE one quarter turn

in the direction your curled fingers are pointing. I call this operation

"I". (The X axis is the horizontal axis that does not skewer you.)

If the cube was lying on a table, "I" would roll it toward you.

Now point up, along the Y axis, with your thumb. A quarter-rotation

in the direction your curled fingers point is the operation I call "J".

The Z axis goes right through your belly. A quarter turn around it

I call "K". Actually, K=IIIJI.

To simplify things a little, we define I'=III, J'=JJJ, and K'=KKK.

In general, M' is M done backwards. If we call the do-nothing

manipulation "1", then MM'=M'M=1.

For my own nefarious reasons I define "H" as the operation (unachievable

in real life) of REFLECTING the cube right-to-left through the YZ plane.

We note H'=H.

Twisting the front (Z=1) face 90 degrees counter-clockwise I call

"T".

One more piece of notation: For any manipulations M and N, I write

M'NM as N[M], reading this as if N were a function: "N of M".

Note M[1]=M.

Examples:

T[I] means "Twist the top face"

T[II]=T[JJ] means "Twist the back face"

T[I'] means "Twist the bottom face"

T'[J] means "Twist the left face CLOCKWISE"

T[I] T'[I'] J' means "Rotate the floor-parallel center-slice a

quarter turn counter-clockwise as seen from above."

Note that (MN)'=N'M', and (N[M])'=N'[M]. Also notice that (MN)[P] = M[P] N[P].

To do the Pons Asinorum checkerboard:

Set Q= (TT)[J] (TT)[ZJ] "Half turn body-slicing center-slice."

Then the Pons is Q Q[J] Q[K].

Does anybody see what I'm getting at or am I a lone, mad

genius?

Set Q= T[J] T[J']. Then (Q Q[J])^3 is quite pretty.

---Wechsler