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Sidelines

On the record

“In our courses you will have the possibility to renew the natural contact you have with the angels. Use angels and your own power to create miracles in your own life.”

Norway's Princess Märtha Louise's school for communicating with angels opens on 22 August and courses are already sold out. But TV pastor Jan Hanvold has unkindly called the clairvoyant princess “an emissary from hell”. Sidelines wonders who the angels prefer to talk to.

Scorecard

Credit: M. JENNIONS

Left-clawed crabs

You'd think that being a left-clawed Australian fiddler crab when 98% are right-clawed would give you an advantage in a fight. But it turns out that left-clawed crabs are less likely to fight, and when they do, they usually lose. Perhaps that's why they are so much rarer...

Ghost crabs

In a study involving off-road vehicles on sandy Australian beaches scientists discovered that no ghost crabs buried less than 5 cm deep survive being run over 10 times, while more than 70% survive if buried at depths of 20 cm. Someone should tell the crabs.

Number Crunch

26 is the latest estimate of the maximum number of moves needed to solve any Rubik's cube.

63 hours is the time a supercomputer took to whittle down to this number from a best estimate of 29 moves.

20-something is the theoretical estimate of the maximum number of moves ever needed — a number still unproven.

43 billion billion is the total number of Rubik's cube positions.

Sources: BBC, Spiegel, Proc. R. Soc. B, Mar. Ecol.

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Sidelines. Nature 448, 845 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1038/448845a

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