Google and Rubik’s Cube: Puzzle unlocked

May 28, 2014 15:15 UTC

It seems incongruous: A $350 billion Internet behemoth and a quaint toy that had its heyday in the 1980s.

And yet, when Erno Rubik, the 70-year-old Hungarian architect that invented the puzzle that bears his name, sought a partner to celebrate Rubik’s Cube’s 40th anniversary, Google was a natural fit. And the search engine company understood the connection.

rubik.JPG“We want to create order and they also want to create order,” Rubik said about Google. “The Internet, if chaotic, is useless. We need tools that can help us in the chaos.”

The result is a $5-million multimedia exhibition that debuted at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ and will tour the world in coming years. What Google gets out of the project is an opportunity to connect with the next generation of talent.

“We were both born out of the desire to simplify something complicated,” said Robert Wong, Vice President of Google Creative Lab. “In the case of the cube, it was spatial geometry. In the case of Google, it was the Internet. We’re simple enough for young people to use, but also advanced enough to engage and satisfy the world’s deepest thinkers.”

College football fans tackle player-union debate

May 9, 2014 21:43 UTC

“I just wiped tears from my eyes,” said Paul Elder, a fan who writes about Auburn University’s football team for a website called Track ‘Em Tigers. A clip from last year’s game-winning pass against the University of Georgia had just appeared on the jumbo screen at the school’s annual “A-Day” exhibition in April at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Elder is 65 and towers at six feet four inches tall. “It just brought me back to that moment when I was here to watch that play last year,” he said. “Moments like that are like a drug, you keep coming back for more.”

Many Auburn football fans, for whom following the team involves long drives, good barbecue and waiting for the nirvana of the gridiron, proudly say they are a “family.” The crowd at the spring game Elder recently attended hosted 70 thousand fans on a weekend that both overlapped with Easter and threatened to rain. They are also driving a business that is growing so fast, athletic regulating bodies can’t keep up.  Television contracts, ticket sales and wealthy booster donations place Auburn’s football program among the most lucrative in the nation.

Against the backdrop of this passion and the NFL’s draft this week, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) faces a challenge from a regional National Labor Relations Board decision that said in March that football players at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois qualify as employees who are eligible to unionize.