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11 Variations on the Rubik's Cube

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The classic Rubik's cube is available in different configurations, such as 2x2 pocket cube, the standard 3x3, and the more difficult 4x4 Rubik's revenge, and the 5x5 professor's cube. Yes, there are more difficult ones, too.

1. Grayscale Rubik's Cube

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The Grayscale Rubik's cube is the same as the standard 3x3, but without the bright contrasting colors. The sides are different shades, but just barely! The moves are the same, but difficult because of the extra concentration required in distinguishing the colors.

2. Photo Rubik's Cube

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You can have a personalized Rubik's cube made from six photographs. Each photo will be sliced into nine squares. This will make it hard for anyone who isn't familiar with the photos to solve it, so if you've never solved one, there's a chance someone else might mess it up for you. And cubes that must have all squares lined up in a certain orientation are more difficult, as they have a thousand times more possible configurations.

3. Rubik's Cube Earth

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This is cool. The basic Rubik's cube with a map of the earth printed on it. Even if you're a cube quiz, you have to have some basic idea of geography to solve this. And it's a great conversation starter.

4. Magnetic Dice Cube

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When I first saw this, I thought it was awesomely retro to make a Rubik's cube from even older gaming cubes, but that's not all there is to it. This dice cube is held together by magnets instead of the Rubik's mechanism! If you can't solve it, you can easily take it apart.

5. Sudokube

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Sudoku is one type of puzzle I deliberately avoided learning to do, for fear it would suck up all my time. But if you know a Sudoku enthusiast, they'd have a ball with the Sudokube.

6. Fentix Cube

Andrew Fentem designed this electronic touch-sensitive cube to emulate a Rubik's Cube. It's as much art as it is a game!

7. Megaminx

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The Megaminx is shaped like a desk calendar paperweight, with 12 sides. It has 50 moveable pieces, compared to 20- on a standard Rubik's cube.

8. through 11. Other Variations

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Other shape variations include the Pyraminx, the Skewb Diamond, the Dogic, and Alexander's Star. I can only imagine the crazymaking that comes with these.

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language
The Evolution of "Two" in the Indo-European Language Family
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The Indo-European language family includes most of the languages of Europe as well as many languages in Asia. There is a long research tradition that has shown, though careful historical comparison, that languages spanning a huge linguistic and geographical range, from French to Greek to Russian to Hindi to Persian, are all related to each other and sprung from a common source, Proto-Indo-European. One of the techniques for studying the relationship of the different languages to each other is to look at the similarities between individual words and work out the sound changes that led from one language to the next.

This diagram, submitted to Reddit by user IronChestplate1, shows the word for two in various Indo-European languages. (The “proto” versions, marked with an asterisk, are hypothesized forms, built by working backward from historical evidence.) The languages cluster around certain common features, but the words are all strikingly similar, especially when you consider the words for two in languages outside the Indo-European family: iki (Turkish), èjì (Yoruba), ni (Japanese), kaksi (Finnish), etc. There are many possible forms two could take, but in this particular group of languages it is extremely limited. What are the chances of that happening by accident? Once you see it laid out like this, it doesn’t take much to put *dwóh and *dwóh together.

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infographics
Beyond Plumbing: 19 Other Jobs on Mario's Resume
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Nintendo made news this week by subtly announcing that Mario is no longer a plumber. In fact, they're really downplaying his whole plumbing career. On the character's Japanese-language bio, the company says, "He also seems to have worked as a plumber a long time ago."

But Mario has always had plenty of jobs on the side. Here's a look at his resume:

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