# Blog

### Fighting on the beaches

By Mark Mason on 04-06-19 13:26. Comments (0)
Did you know that the half-finished manuscript of one of the 20th century's most famous novels was carried around the battlefield during D-Day?

### A pilgrimage to Lord's

By Mark Mason on 09-07-13 10:22. Comments (0)
After the incredible first Test at Trent Bridge, the Ashes roadshow now heads south to the capital. The second Test is being hosted by the venue that, whenever I'm pushed to name a favourite place in London, often gets the nod: Lord's.

### State Opening of Parliament - the rehearsal

By Mark Mason on 08-05-12 12:12. Comments (0)
Tomorrow sees the Queen popping down from her home to the other famous palace in SW1, the Palace of Westminster. Yes, it's State Opening of Parliament time. Black Rod knocking on the door, the Lord Chancellor walking backwards and all that. (Unless you're Ken Clarke a couple of years ago - he forgot to walk backwards, and therefore turned his back on the Queen. Oops.) All very silly, and not really that interesting. What I found fascinating, though, was watching the rehearsals for the State Opening, which took place in the dead of night last Friday.

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### Walks

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.

### Magical Thinking

Learning magic tricks to expand your brain's potential

Content

### 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.