Tuesday, April 5, 2016

“Puzzle Cube of a Novel”

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 2:00 AM

"To know the mind of the creator"

Or that of Orson Welles

Related material — Cube Coloring.

Friday, August 7, 2015


Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 2:19 AM

Spielerei  —

"On the most recent visit, Arthur had given him
a brightly colored cube, with sides you could twist
in all directions, a new toy that had just come onto
the market."

— Daniel Kehlmann, F: A Novel  (2014),
     translated from the German by
     Carol Brown Janeway

Nicht Spielerei  —

A figure from this journal at 2 AM ET
on Monday, August 3, 2015

Also on August 3 —

FRANKFURT — "Johanna Quandt, the matriarch of the family
that controls the automaker BMW and one of the wealthiest
people in Germany, died on Monday in Bad Homburg, Germany.
She was 89."

MANHATTAN — "Carol Brown Janeway, a Scottish-born
publishing executive, editor and award-winning translator who
introduced American readers to dozens of international authors,
died on Monday in Manhattan. She was 71."

Related material —  Heisenberg on beauty, Munich, 1970                       

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Raiders of the Lost Articulation

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 6:14 PM

Tom Hanks as Indiana Langdon in Raiders of the Lost Articulation :

An unarticulated (but colored) cube:

Robert Langdon (played by Tom Hanks) and a corner of Solomon's Cube

A 2x2x2 articulated cube:

IMAGE- Eightfold cube with detail of triskelion structure

A 4x4x4 articulated cube built from subcubes like
the one viewed by Tom Hanks above:

Image-- Solomon's Cube

Solomon’s Cube

Friday, December 28, 2012

Cube Koan

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 4:56 AM

From Don DeLillo's novel Point Omega —

I knew what he was, or what he was supposed to be, a defense intellectual, without the usual credentials, and when I used the term it made him tense his jaw with a proud longing for the early weeks and months, before he began to understand that he was occupying an empty seat. "There were times when no map existed to match the reality we were trying to create."

"What reality?"

"This is something we do with every eyeblink. Human perception is a saga of created reality. But we were devising entities beyond the agreed-upon limits of recognition or interpretation. Lying is necessary. The state has to lie. There is no lie in war or in preparation for war that can't be defended. We went beyond this. We tried to create new realities overnight, careful sets of words that resemble advertising slogans in memorability and repeatability. These were words that would yield pictures eventually and then become three-dimensional. The reality stands, it walks, it squats. Except when it doesn't."

He didn't smoke but his voice had a sandlike texture, maybe just raspy with age, sometimes slipping inward, becoming nearly inaudible. We sat for some time. He was slouched in the middle of the sofa, looking off toward some point in a high corner of the room. He had scotch and water in a coffee mug secured to his midsection. Finally he said, "Haiku."

I nodded thoughtfully, idiotically, a slow series of gestures meant to indicate that I understood completely.

"Haiku means nothing beyond what it is. A pond in summer, a leaf in the wind. It's human consciousness located in nature. It's the answer to everything in a set number of lines, a prescribed syllable count. I wanted a haiku war," he said. "I wanted a war in three lines. This was not a matter of force levels or logistics. What I wanted was a set of ideas linked to transient things. This is the soul of haiku. Bare everything to plain sight. See what's there. Things in war are transient. See what's there and then be prepared to watch it disappear."

What's there—

This view of a die's faces 3, 6, and 5, in counter-
clockwise order (see previous post) suggests a way
of labeling the eight corners  of a die (or cube):

123, 135, 142, 154, 246, 263, 365, 456.

Here opposite faces of the die sum to 7, and the
three faces meeting at each corner are listed
in counter-clockwise order. (This corresponds
to a labeling of one of MacMahon's* 30 colored cubes.)
A similar vertex-labeling may be used in describing 
the automorphisms of the order-8 quaternion group.

For a more literary approach to quaternions, see
Pynchon's novel Against the Day .

* From Peter J. Cameron's weblog:

  "The big name associated with this is Major MacMahon,
   an associate of Hardy, Littlewood and Ramanujan,
   of whom Robert Kanigel said,

His expertise lay in combinatorics, a sort of
glorified dice-throwing, and in it he had made
contributions original enough to be named
a Fellow of the Royal Society.

   Glorified dice-throwing, indeed…"

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Abacus Conundrum*

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 2:02 PM

From Das Glasperlenspiel  (Hermann Hesse, 1943) —

“Bastian Perrot… constructed a frame, modeled on a child’s abacus, a frame with several dozen wires on which could be strung glass beads of various sizes, shapes, and colors. The wires corresponded to the lines of the musical staff, the beads to the time values of the notes, and so on. In this way he could represent with beads musical quotations or invented themes, could alter, transpose, and develop them, change them and set them in counterpoint to one another. In technical terms this was a mere plaything, but the pupils liked it.… …what later evolved out of that students’ sport and Perrot’s bead-strung wires bears to this day the name by which it became popularly known, the Glass Bead Game.”

From "Mimsy Were the Borogoves" (Lewis Padgett, 1943)—

…"Paradine looked up. He frowned, staring. What in—
…"Is that an abacus?" he asked. "Let's see it, please."
…Somewhat unwillingly Scott brought the gadget across to his father's chair. Paradine blinked. The "abacus," unfolded, was more than a foot square, composed of thin,  rigid wires that interlocked here and there. On the wires the colored beads were strung. They could be slid back and forth, and from one support to another, even at the points of jointure. But— a pierced bead couldn't cross interlocking  wires—
…So, apparently, they weren't pierced. Paradine looked closer. Each small sphere had a deep groove running around it, so that it could be revolved and slid along the wire at the same time. Paradine tried to pull one free. It clung as though magnetically. Iron? It looked more like plastic.
…The framework itself— Paradine wasn't a mathematician. But the angles formed by the wires were vaguely shocking, in their ridiculous lack of Euclidean logic. They were a maze. Perhaps that's what the gadget was— a puzzle.
…"Where'd you get this?"
…"Uncle Harry gave it to me," Scott said on the spur of the moment. "Last Sunday, when he came over." Uncle Harry was out of town, a circumstance Scott well knew. At the age of seven, a boy soon learns that the vagaries of adults follow a certain definite pattern, and that they are fussy about the donors of gifts. Moreover, Uncle Harry would not return for several weeks; the expiration of that period was unimaginable to Scott, or, at least, the fact that his lie would ultimately be discovered meant less to him than the advantages of being allowed to keep the toy.
…Paradine found himself growing slightly confused as he attempted to manipulate the beads. The angles were vaguely illogical. It was like a puzzle. This red bead, if slid along this  wire to that  junction, should reach there— but it didn’t. A maze, odd, but no doubt instructive. Paradine had a well-founded feeling that he’d have no patience with the thing himself.
…Scott did, however, retiring to a corner and sliding beads around with much fumbling and grunting. The beads did  sting, when Scott chose the wrong ones or tried to slide them in the wrong direction. At last he crowed exultantly.
…”I did it, dad!”
…””Eh? What? Let’s see.” The device looked exactly the same to Paradine, but Scott pointed and beamed.
…”I made it disappear.”
…”It’s still there.”
…”That blue bead. It’s gone now.”
…Paradine didn’t believe that, so he merely snorted. Scott puzzled over the framework again. He experimented. This time there were no shocks, even slight. The abacus had showed him the correct method. Now it was up to him to do it on his own. The bizarre angles of the wires seemed a little less confusing now, somehow.
…It was a most instructive toy—
…It worked, Scott thought, rather like the crystal cube.

* Title thanks to Saturday Night Live  (Dec. 4-5, 2010).

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Sunday August 17, 2003

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 6:21 PM

Diamond theory is the theory of affine groups over GF(2) acting on small square and cubic arrays. In the simplest case, the symmetric group of degree 4 acts on a two-colored diamond figure like that in Plato's Meno dialogue, yielding 24 distinct patterns, each of which has some ordinary or color-interchange symmetry .

This symmetry invariance can be generalized to (at least) a group of order approximately 1.3 trillion acting on a 4x4x4 array of cubes.

The theory has applications to finite geometry and to the construction of the large Witt design underlying the Mathieu group of degree 24.

Further Reading:

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