The following morning (Friday) I had signed up for the guided tour of Berlin. Since the rest of the weekend is packed with puzzling, this was the only day I really got to see the city. Lots of other folks were on the tour as well, including Dick Hess, Brian Young, and Trevor Wood.
Charlottenburg Palace. This is the largest palace in Berlin and dates back to the end of the 17th century. Unfortunately, we couldn't take photos inside without buying a permit, but here's a photo of the outside.
Reichstag building, where the German parliament meets. This was a really beautiful building! It had a magnificent glass dome on the top that we got to walk up into, and there was a great view of the city. Unfortunately it was a bit rainy at this point so my photos didn't turn out very good. Instead, here's a photo of this really cool mirror array in the dome that brings natural light down to the parliament.
That was the end of the tour, so we made our way back to the hotel. At this point it was around 5:30, so I had a few hours to kill before the 7:00 founder's reception. Of course, I decided to head over to the design competition room to get in a bit of puzzling before the reception.
After the reception, they moved the puzzles back to the competition room, where I of course followed them. After another hour or so they closed up the room and I headed back down to the lobby.
Oskar van Deventer, who was showing around some of his newest inventions. The one he is holding looks a bit dull: just two cubes connected by a rod, right? No, this was probably one of the coolest twisty inventions I have seen in a while: The two cubes are connected so if you rotate one face, the other correspondingly colored face rotates! It is called the Dumbbell Cube and you can check out a video demonstration from Oskar here. There is an interesting gear system that drives the whole thing, very cool idea!
video). It looks more or less like a regular cube with the cuts proportioned somewhat differently, but in fact you twist the corners rather than the faces, as you can see in the photo. The stickers were peeling a bit and getting jammed in the mechanism, so I didn't play around with this one.
Well that's it for now! Next up, the puzzle exchange and banquet.
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