Message #81

From: youarenotmorgansullivan <>
Subject: new member
Date: Sun, 13 Jun 2004 18:39:27 -0000

Hello all, let me introduce myself to this select group.

I’m Chris Watson, 32 years old. Originally I was a physicist but I’ve
mutated into an engineer over time. I come from the UK, but I now
work in Germany, doing spacecraft operations. (This prob. sounds
quite exciting, but the reality is mainly lots of integration and
system testing prior to the real thing happening. It has it’s moments
though, e.g. simulations - these can get (just a little bit) like
the simulation bit at the beginning of Wrath of Khan. Currently I’m
working on MSG2, a GEO meteosat that will go up early next year, and
Herschel-Planck, two astronomy sats going to Lagrange point L2 a few
years hence. These days some of what I do is dangerously close to
management :-( , but I prefer to think of it as some of the
things that I now integration test happen to be people.)

Outside of work I like books (e.g. Snowcrash, Strange Case of the Dog
in the Night Time), film (e.g. Cypher), martial arts and outdoorsy
stuff like climbing. I enjoyed leading a youthgroup whilst in the UK,
but my frankly rubbish German language skills have put this activity
on hold for now.

Magic cube-wise my solution wasn’t very clean (it’s uploaded if
anyone wants to see it in all it’s messiness), since there was an
awful lot of me moving faces back and forth to get a feel for what I
was doing. My approach was to try to do it essentially the way I do
the normal cube, but obviously generalised up for the extra
dimension - complete one cube and then build outwards, through
the "middle layer" and on to the final still-muddled cube. In general
I tried to do all the "mixing moves" on (…sometime adjacent to) the
last cube to be solved. This final cube I did with adapted "final
face" moves from the 3d cube. I did the normal 3d algorithm one way,
rotated the inner unsolved cube, and then undid the 3d algorithm to
restrict all changes to the inner cube. This gives a set of
algorithms for moving a few hyper-cubies restricted to a single face.
This is an easy approach for someone like me thinking mainly in terms
of the 3d cube manipulations, but can’t have been particularly
efficient. I should really have a go at cleaning the approach up

Embarrassingly, having to unscramble the face centres mid way through
came as a surprise, because of course you don’t have to worry about
this on the normal cube.

It took me back twenty years to when I was first playing with the
original cube. Thinking "…now if I just rotate this bit here… no
wait, that disturbs this part over here.." etc. Absolutely fantastic.
Thanks to Don, Melinda and Jay for putting the splendid thing