Posts tagged ‘cube’

Watering Hard to Reach Plants

I did an interview with the BBC a few weeks ago and I was on the show with Caroline Bloor, head of consumer testing at Good Housekeeping. I shared a few secrets with the audience and she shared a few secrets too, including how to water hard to reach plants.

If you’ve got hanging plants or otherwise hard-to-reach botanicals, you’ve probably overshot the pot with the watering can.

Instead, trying putting ice cubes in the pot. They’ll melt slowly and water the plant. They’re much easier to water with and if you drop one, it’s much easier to clean up than its thawed relative.

Thanks for sharing this secret, Caroline.

Broken Secrets | By: Chad Upton

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Photo: ell brown (cc)

May 7, 2010 at 12:14 am 1 comment

How Do You Solve a Rubik’s Cube?

When you bought your Rubik’s cube, it was already solved. If you just left it alone, you wouldn’t have to solve it. I’m just saying.

Of course, we all know it’s impossible to leave it alone. You have to mess it up. At first, you turn a couple rows and then turn them back. Then you turn a few more and a few more again and eventually, you can’t get it back! Now, you have to actually solve the puzzle.

To make a short story long, you’ll try to solve it by working very little over a long period of time.

Rubik’s cube will sit on your shelf for a few days before you try it again. Over the next six months it will get picked up by a few smartypants friends who want a crack at it. After another year, you may pick it up and work on it for a short time, maybe even get one or two sides complete. Again, you’ll put it down for the next rainy day. It will seem like you’ve worked really hard on it, but you haven’t. Still, there comes a time in every cube owner’s life when they decide it needs to be solved, at any cost.

From my experience, there are three approaches to solving a Rubik’s cube.

I learned the first strategy from my brother when we were children. Every time we visited my Grandfather, he’d be working on his cube. On one visit, our small minds were blown when we realized he solved the cube. As I already stated, it’s impossible not to mess up a solved Rubik’s cube, and that’s especially true when it belongs to someone else.

When my grandfather realized we unsolved the Rubik’s cube, he told us that we’d have to re-solve it before we left. He was serious, or at least we thought so at the time. My brother’s solution, which I thought was pretty clever: peel off all the colored stickers and reapply them on matching sides. Although we got all the colors in the right places, it was still a big mess — similar to our paint-by-numbers work.

These days, I’d consider that cheating. But, it’s a good strategy to be aware of, you never know when you’ll be in a hostage situation that is one Rubik’s cube away from freedom.

The second approach comes in true internet style: have your computer solve it for you! Your computer is probably smarter than you anyway, why let that talent go to waste?

There are a number of web-based Rubik’s cube solvers. Basically, you paint the onscreen Rubik’s cube to look like yours and it generates a list of moves required to solve it. Click here for one that I have vetted. It works on the traditional 3 x 3 cube, and also on the newer 2 x 2 and 4 x 4 cubes. This is still cheating. But, it’s much less detectable than relocating the colored stickers.

Finally, the official approach, sanctioned by Rubik himself. This is the cross, corner, middle, top, corner method. It’s a combination of moves that systematically solve the cube. Once you know these moves, you can solve any cube. For the complete tutorial, click here.

The original 3 x 3 cube is a classic. But, they have released many different versions of the Rubik’s cube and similar puzzles. There is even a touch screen Rubik’s cube called the TouchCube. Click on the picture to check it out.

Broken Secrets

Written by: Chad Upton

[Available on Kindle]

January 19, 2010 at 12:26 am 3 comments

Use Hot Water To Make Crystal Clear Ice Cubes

Ice made from cold water looks cloudy because air that is trapped in the water become suspended in the ice. If you boil water before pouring it in the ice cube trays, you release most or all of the air that would otherwise be trapped in the water — making the ice cubes crystal clear.

Crystal clear ice cubes look great when used with designer ice cube trays. For any holiday or event, designer ice cubes are a cool thing to entertain guests and spark conversation.

Ikea has a few designer ice cube trays that you can pickup or Amazon has hundreds available for delivery, including: Christmas Trees and Snowmen, Penguins, Ice Invaders, Peace Signs, Hearts, Homer Simpson, Stewie (Family Guy), Stars, Skull and Crossbones, Butterflies, Dinosaurs …etc.  They even have molds to make Shot Glasses and Stir Sticks out of ice.

Another secret: the ice cube trays can also be used as Jello molds!

Remember, you’ll have to boil water to make it hot because you can’t use hot water from the tap – explained here.

BrokenSecrets.com

Sources: Illinois Dept Physics

December 24, 2009 at 1:05 am 4 comments


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