Beautiful game, beautiful trivia

Beautiful game, beautiful trivia
By Mark Mason on 25-10-13 13:20. Comments (0)
150 years ago tomorrow, in a pub in Covent Garden, a group of men got together and founded the Football Association. So started a century and a half of arguments about such crucial issues as whether the one-handed throw-in should be outlawed (it finally was in 1882) and what the minimum height of a corner post should be (it's currently 1.5 metres). But the world's most popular sport also gives us some of the world's most compelling trivia. To celebrate the anniversary, here are 10 of my favourite footie facts:

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Inspired by my book Walk the Lines: the London Underground - Overground, each of these trivia-packed walks uncovers London’s history by following a section of a Tube line ... at street level.


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Rubik's Cube

A Rubik’s cube has more combinations than light travels inches in a century. This is my favourite illustration of how a very small number of factors can produce an absurdly complicated situation. A silly little toy, with only three squares in each of its three dimensions. How can that get complicated? Well, as anyone who's ever tried to solve one just by guessing will tell you, it gets very complicated. The number of possible combinations is 43,252,003,274,489,856,000. Forget billions - that's 43 quintillion and change. (In fact the cube's manufacturers just said ‘billions' in their advertising, figuring that no one would know what a quintillion was. It's a billion billion.) The number of inches light travels in a century, meanwhile, is a mere 37,165,049,856,000,000,000. Or thereabouts.