Friday, December 26, 2003

I opened up my Supermags on Christmas day. First thought: Yay! The box is unusual in that you have to tear it (it seems) to open it, unlike my Lego sets, which come in boxes you can close again. Inside the box is cheap styrofoam with six compartments, four for the spheres (16 in each compartment), one for the 108 short rods (2 layers, each with 6 rows, each with 9 rods), and one for the 72 long rods (2 layers, each with 6 rows, each with 6 rods). It would've been nice to have a manual with some building suggestions and technical specs. Instead, it's a tiny pamphlet with one suggestion on what to build, a marketing paragraph, and a list of their other Supermag products. Ick.

Something that's really neat about playing with magnets is that they are easy to clean up. You just sweep a magnet along the floor and it picks up all the other magnets and spheres. They even line themselves up to some extent.

One of the dangers of playing with magnets is that they can wipe your credit cards, library cards, hard disks, etc.

Each of the rods is hexagonal, has "Plastwood" (the manufacturer's name) written on one side, and "supermag" written on the opposite side. On the side with "supermag", there is a letter and a number. I start reading them from the short rods ... P8 R3 O1 P4 Q8 Q1 P2 Q3 Q1 Q6 O5 P8 O8 R6 P4 Q4 O1 P7 O4 R5 O7 Q7 R5 O8 Q8 R3 P7. I thought at first that each rod in the set might have a different letter/number pair, maybe corresponding to how they were laid out in the box. However, there are no 9's, and there are 9 short rods in each row. There are 6 rows in each layer but there are only 4 letters (O P Q R). Investigating more, I decided to pull out all the 8's. There are 3 O8s, 4 P8s, 5 Q8s, and 1 R8. No obvious pattern here. Do the letters and numbers correspond to polarity? No, there's no obvious connection. So I'm really not sure what the letters and numbers mean. The long rods have letters S T U V and the numbers go up to only 4.