#4. Solve a Rubik's Cube in Minutes
When the Rubik's Cube became a sensation in the 1980s, it was marketed as the ultimate test of brilliance. And sure enough, you could mess with the thing for hours and get no closer to a solution, since rotating one square into place shifted three others out of alignment. To this day, solving the cube quickly is used as an easy visual cue for raw, intellectual power -- you may remember Will Smith getting hired in Pursuit of Happyness because he solves the cube, or Steve Buscemi's character tearing through one in Armageddon, thus establishing credibility for the technobabble he then proceeds to rattle off.
"... and thus, the six hydrocoptic Marseil vanes fitted to the ambaphascient lunar wain shaft ..."
Don't get us wrong -- there are in fact 519 quintillion possible combinations for solving a Rubik's Cube. The reason it only says "billions of combinations" on the box is because the real number is just too insane. You have to think in, like, five dimensions just to get started.
That is, unless you read the manual.
Solving a Rubik's Cube doesn't take superhuman spatial-reasoning skills. All you need is some memorizing. The official Rubik's Cube website readily recognizes that their little toy's difficulty is hardcore on an insanity-inducing level. Not wanting to risk filling the streets with rage-bonered wannabe geniuses running amok, the company has compiled a handy six-step manual for solving the cube from any conceivable formation.
It turns out that the puzzle is only daunting because it seems like every piece moves all around, but actually there are only three types of pieces: edge, corner, and center. The whole element that seems to make it impossible -- that every move you make fucks up all of your previous progress -- can be overcome by building the right foundation. You need to figure out how to form the "white cross..."
From there, as their guide shows you, you can use the same few techniques to progress from one completed side to the next.
"You would not believe what I can do with this."