Solving a Rubik’s Cube in under half a second

Hardware hackers Ben Katz and Jared Di Carlo have smashed the previous record for solving the Rubik’s cube robotically. Their machine solved the puzzle in 0.38 seconds—a 40-percent improvement over the previous record of 0.637.

Source: Robot smashes Rubik’s Cube record with 0.38-second solve | Ars Technica

Tangentially related: “Rubik Kubrick II”, produced from 300 Rubik’s Cubes mounted on a wood panel:

An exploration of Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica

These Earworm videos by Vox are great. They’re part Song Exploder, part 33 1/3, part music theory class.

I bought the subject of this episode—Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica—as a teenager and it has always been a curiosity to me: an album I admire more than I love or am inspired by. Here Estelle Caswell, with the help of Samuel Andreyev, breaks down album opener ‘Frownland’ to better understand it’s baffling mix of blues, rock and free jazz. It’s made me listen to the album again with fresh ears and notice things I wouldn’t have otherwise.

Smash Mouth’s ‘All Star’ as a musical fractal

Interesting bit of music theory/mathematics by Adam Neely:

Neely takes the notes of Smash Mouth’s ‘All Star’ and speeds them up around 1,000 times according to their relative pitch frequency. In short, each note in the original melody is made up of all the notes within itself, just sped up by different amounts. The result is self-similarity: a musical fractal.

‘All Star’ has been elevated from dorky throwaway tune into first a similarly dorky meme and then a core component of several interesting works. Neil Cicierega’s mashup work is a prime example, to the point where I can’t hear Modest Mouse’s ‘Float On’ without internally singing “Somebody once told me the world is gonna roll me…”: