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Comment Re:How they are doing it? (Score 2, Informative) 224

It depends on your perspective. You're right in that competitive Scrabble isn't about knowing meanings of words, and this does bother some people. You can view Scrabble as not being about words so much as about combinations of letters. The game is then about a mix of anagramming and strategy (it was this strategy that I was talking about when I referred to depth; while living room Scrabble games usually feature little strategy, competitive players take into account many factors when choosing a play).

Scrabble isn't a game about words, it's just a game that uses them. It's about anagramming and about strategic decisions. It's no coincidence that Scrabble players tend to be on the more math-y side. If you shift your view of the point of the game, you might lose some of your disgust.

Comment Re:How they are doing it? (Score 1) 224

Assuming that "and" was supposed to be "any" (this is why proper spelling is important, folks), this is entirely false. Any sequence of turns solves one and only one position of the cube. If you don't believe it, work on your spatial reasoning imagine taking a solved cube and performing the inverse of the sequence (the sequence in reverse order, with all clockwise turns becoming counterclockwise and vise versa). You will get one position (obviously a starting position plus a sequence of turns uniquely determines an ending position). This is the position that that sequence will solve. No other.

Blindfold solving is done by memorizing the starting configuration of the cube and then performing algorithms that only affect a small number of pieces in a specific way (e.g. rotating three corners clockwise, flipping the orientation of two edges). These algorithms can be combined to, for example, cycle edge A -> edge B -> edge C -> edge D -> edge E -> edge A. Because this is inefficient from a number of turns standpoint, it wouldn't be suitable for a robot.

Submission + - Rich Cling to Life to Beat Tax Man in 2010

Hugh Pickens writes: "The Wall Street Journal reports that starting January 1, 2010 the estate tax — which can erase nearly half of a wealthy person's estate — goes away completely for a year but is scheduled to return in 2011 at a 55% rate with an exemption of slightly more than $1 million presenting some families with unprecedented ethical quandaries. "I have two clients on life support, and the families are struggling with whether to continue heroic measures for a few more days," says estate lawyer Joshua Rubenstein. The macabre situation stems from 2001, when Congress raised estate-tax exemptions, culminating with the tax's disappearance next year. However, due to budget constraints, lawmakers didn't make the change permanent. So the estate tax is due to come back to life in 2011 — at a higher rate and lower exemption. Estate-tax experts didn't expect Congress to allow the tax to lapse, and are flabbergasted that it is actually happening. "I've been practicing for more than 30 years, and never has the timing of death made such a financial difference," says Dennis Belcher, president of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. "People have a hard enough time talking about death and addressing estate planning without this." Of course, plenty of taxpayers themselves have been eager to live to see the new year. But one wealthy, terminally ill real-estate entrepreneur has told his doctors he is determined to live until the law changes. "Whenever he wakes up," says his lawyer, "He says: 'What day is it? Is it January 1 yet?'""

Financial Crisis Soundtrack 31

German musician Johannes Kreidler made a soundtrack of the global economic crisis composed by running financial graphs through SongSmith. It gets political in a few spots, but is bleakly funny.

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