Nov 16th 2016 by EdiRama • 17 Questions • 725 Points
I'm a journalist who spent three years trying to solve a Rubik's Cube in under 20 seconds. Eleven years ago, I learned to solve the puzzle thanks to Toby Mao, who taught Will Smith for "The Pursuit of Happyness." I documented my quest in "Cracking The Cube: Going Slow to Go Fast and Other Unexpected Turns in the World of Competitive Rubik's Cube Solving," which was recently featured in the New York Post. The book touches on everything from my journey into speedcubing to the story of Erno Rubik, the reclusive Hungarian who invented the puzzle, and whom I had the pleasure to interview in person. Today I'm back in the Post's office to talk more about my love of The Cube and answer your questions.
Update: Thanks for all your questions! I had a great time answering them! I'll get to any I didn't answer later! "CRACKING THE CUBE" is available everywhere books are sold--and I'll be doing more events in the future! Check out my website at www.ianscheffler.com if you want to learn more. I'm also active on twitter at @ian_scheffler, Instagram at @ian_scheffler and @thegentlemancuber, Facebook at @ianschefflerauthor and on YouTube!
Hi Prime minister,
I'm an Albanian/Dutch artist currently living in The Netherlands. I would love to do a street-art project with local artists in Albania but I Find it hard to find any contacts to realise my dream project. Are there any organizations that you could recommend me?
Did you read guides on how to get faster (such as the Fridrich method), or if you figure it out all by yourselves? And since the world record is around 5 seconds, do you think you'll keep trying to go faster to reach that?
So I've interviewed hundreds of people in the process of writing this book, and can more or less count on two hands the number of people who figured it out on their own. (Obviously Rubik, the inventor, had to!) So that's really hard, and you need some pretty high level spatial and mathematical skills.
I learned initially from a person, Toby Mao, a former world record holder, and then got faster by a mix of internet stuff (like youtube--check out badmephisto's videos on YouTube) and meeting cubers at competitions and asking for advice!
As far as the world record goes, there's no way I'll ever beat that. It's down to 4.74 seconds, which was set by Mats Valk, a really awesome cuber from Holland, just the other weekend.
but I do hope to keep getting faster--my goals next year are to get a sub-11 second single and sub-15 second average in competition!
Hello im Ema, I live in Germany but currently in Tirana, I wanted to ask you about the relationship with Greece. Considering the recent disagreements, do you still see Greece as a partner country?
I just switched from the Gans 356s to the Valk 3. Its amazing I would recommend it for a main.
Hello Ema, Albania has long been dedicated to forge an ever-closer cooperation and friendlier relations with Greece. We consider our southern neighbor a strategic partner and we believe a better understanding of each other will contribute to a greater stability in the whole region. The relations with Greece continue to be friendly, but we believe that a more direct approach and a more frequent discussion regarding our remaining issues will serve to build a better future for the next Albanian and Greek generations. In this perspective, the large Albanian Community in Greece, which admirably has conducted a number of great achievements, has contributed and will continue to contribute more than any possible policy to the strengthening of the friendship between the Albanian and the Greeks
I have one! It's almost too fast for me, though. It supercharges my TPS and then I lose my lookahead. :(
How do you plan to bring back all the talent that Albania has lost to the USA, Germany, etc?
The overwhelming sentiment among Albanian Americans is that Albania is incredibly corrupt. What are you doing to change this?
I have heard of multiple instances of doctors/nurses neglecting patients or even cutting them open for surgery, not doing the work, and then stitching them up. How do you combat this?
R2' F2 R2 is a little nicer and ergonomic
I don't think that talents that are blossoming in the US, Germany, and elsewhere are losses for Albania. Fortunately, we live in a free world where Albanians and all other Europeans are free to move and free to choose.
On the other hand, they remain Albanians wherever they go. They help Albania wherever they are and they add value to the country when they come back.
As for the "incredibly-corrupt Albania", I suggest you read the very last report from Transparency International. You may be positively surprised to read about the steady progress Albania has made in fighting corruption. Of course, there is still a lot to be done.
So I've heard! Thanks for the reminder. Now that I have time to focus on other events, I'll definitely pick Ortega up :)
Have you always been interested in puzzles? Are there other puzzles that have helped craft your cube skills?
More than 800 leading personalities from the Albanian communities around the Globe are invited. In this first Summit, more than 40 communities, spread around the five continents, from United States to Australia will take part during the three working days. A large part of the Guest are coming from Kosovo and the other regional territories inhabited by Albanians, such as Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, etc. This Summit is open for all the Albanians, despite their place of birth or origin.
So, I have always liked puzzles, but I've never been obsessed to such a degree with any other puzzle. I think the cube is fairly unique, because most puzzles you play with as a kid (or that i played with as a kid) are two-dimensional, jigsaws and the like. (Although my mom did love her some three-dimensional jigsaws.)
I would say I'm now super-interested in puzzles of all kinds. I particularly love the work of Oskar van Deventer, a puzzle designer in Holland, and Kagen Sound, who designs these insane wooden puzzles that cost as much as sports cars. (One of them is basically a functional pipe organ the size of a desk, which is ALSO a desk, and you have to play the right sequence of notes by opening and closing the drawers, which activates the pipes, to open hidden compartments, which reveal still FURTHER puzzles.)
Not Ian, but there is no better feeling for a cuber than figuring out a puzzle on your own.
I have to agree. You should give it a try; I regret not trying harder as a kid to figure it out on my own, because that sense of solving a puzzle is super unique and really worth experiencing.
(Still, I don't regret at all learning from Toby! Had a great time falling sidways into the world of cubing.)
When I got a pyraminx (someone gifted one to me a couple of years ago) I was determined to solve it on my own, which is obviously a lot easier, since it has millions of permutations, not quintillions.
A lot of cubers like to do a lot of the various WCA events, is there any other event that you excel at?
And what do you think of some of the cubing legends like Feliks Zemdegs and Marcin Maskow Kowalczyk?
Man, those guys are amazing! I think it's really incredible what Feliks and Maskow have accomplished! (Especially Feliks--and he's stayed so humble, which I think is just as cool as his times!)
I don't excel at any other events aside from writing about cubing, sadly. But I do want to get decent at BLD!
When you try timing yourself solving the cube, do you first get to study the layout of the colors before starting the time, or does the studying happen only once the time ticks? And how does that work when they time the official record at 4+ seconds? If you get to study it before, how long does that take?
Yep! According to WCA regulations, you get up to 15 seconds to inspect the puzzle. (Except for blindfold solving, where inspection is part of the overall time.)
And are you referring to Mats Valk's 4.74 second record?