# Think Labyrinth!January 24, 2011 6:15 AM   Subscribe

Mazes: generate them, solve them, learn about them.
posted by a snickering nuthatch (25 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

That's funny, I just clicked over here after trying this Maze, here in hyperlinked form. (I had never heard of it until this morning -- my friend posted it on Facebook)
posted by Toothless Willy at 7:09 AM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Burhanistan, was the haiku intentional?

You have two minutes
to draw a maze that takes me
one minute to solve

If so, well played sir.
posted by jquinby at 7:24 AM on January 24, 2011

How do I add David Bowie?
posted by flatluigi at 7:27 AM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

This reminded me of Theseus and the Minotaur, which kept a roomful of web developers distracted for an afternoon several years ago.
posted by malevolent at 7:31 AM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Now I want to play dungeons of daggorath.
posted by cashman at 7:36 AM on January 24, 2011

I haven't seen this site in a dozen years and had forgotten about it - thanks for reminding me it exists! Mazes are endlessly fascinating yet can be extremely simple in concept; they make a great metaphor for, among other things, obfuscation.

One of the few projects I've ever seen to any sort of completion was a method for representing a three-dimensional maze in an isometric projection by considering the cells as integer points on a grid and then exploding the grid until it resembles a lattice. The result ends up looking like a weave maze and isn't really practical for large sizes as the area required to display the maze increases exponentially ( if x,y, and z are the cell dimensions of the maze and w is the average of x and y, then the dimensions of the isometric projection are ((tilesize*((w*2)-2)*(z*2))+tilesize), (tilesize*((z^2)*((z^2)-1))) where tilesize represents the size of the graphical tiles used to represent the cells).

The only tangible thing to arise from this project was a set of 1-inch hexagonal tiles that can be used to... well, whatever you'd use little isometric tiles for. They make great Penrose triangles or whatever you'd like to fiddle around with - just print them out, cut them up and while away the times. Please let me know if you come up with a novel use for them, I always thought they'd make great fridge magnets.
posted by Appropriate Username at 7:57 AM on January 24, 2011

The page on life-sized mazes reminded me of growing up in the Silicon Valley, CA and driving up to visit my grandparents near the Oregon border. Every couple of years we'd stop at a little run-down maze where you had to find 4 different towers to get your booklet stamped - I also remember that in the summertime they sold watermelon slices, which I thought was really neat.

I can't remember the name anymore - something like VOOM or ZOOM.
posted by muddgirl at 8:06 AM on January 24, 2011

Remember, a maze and a labyrinth are not really interchangeable terms..
posted by chambers at 8:06 AM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Every couple of years we'd stop at a little run-down maze where you had to find 4 different towers to get your booklet stamped - I also remember that in the summertime they sold watermelon slices, which I thought was really neat.

There are a variety of places 'round here that do corn mazes in the fall with the same deal. We've taken the kids out there and had a place trying to find all of the check-in stamps. They're even creepier (and harder) at night with a flashlight.
posted by jquinby at 8:13 AM on January 24, 2011

You'll never get out of this maze.
posted by Gankmore at 8:35 AM on January 24, 2011

muddgirl : The WOOZ. I had my 16th birthday there. Fun place- it closed, then burned down, and is now a car dealership, the internet tells me.
posted by Four Flavors at 9:15 AM on January 24, 2011

WOOZ! I swear I sometimes still dream about that maze! This also explains why I have so many fond memories of Vacaville.
posted by muddgirl at 9:37 AM on January 24, 2011

How do I add David Bowie?

You don't need to add David Bowie. David Bowie is everywhere.
posted by asperity at 9:48 AM on January 24, 2011

jquinby: "Burhanistan, was the haiku intentional?

You have two minutes
to draw a maze that takes me
one minute to solve

If so, well played sir
"

I really hope you're joking...
posted by theichibun at 9:49 AM on January 24, 2011

It's a little known fact that many haikus are hidden in Hollywood screenplays. If you listen carefully, you might hear whole scenes written in blank verse, too - craftily disguised as corny lines.
posted by iotic at 11:31 AM on January 24, 2011

Has the Infinite Maze appeared on MeFi before?
posted by zamboni at 11:51 AM on January 24, 2011

From chambers's link: Popular consensus also indicates that labyrinths have one pathway that leads inexorably from the entrance to the goal, albeit often by the most complex and winding of routes.

I don't know, that's not so popular with me. I think some little subset of the world up and decided they would use two synonyms to try to distinguish the referent of those synonyms from something else, which I would call a "winding path or route". It really irritates me when small groups do this, because there is nothing inherent in the etymology of either word that makes it suitable to create the distinction. It's lazy coining of terminology and used as a "gotcha" for unsuspecting users of the language who know the breadth of its etymology by the narrow partisans of the peculiar usage formulated by the "in-group". For chrisakes, learn a little Latin or Greek and come up with a new word, rather than confound common usage like this.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:52 AM on January 24, 2011

Awesome.
posted by Quonab at 12:54 PM on January 24, 2011

I should note that the Riddle of the Maze, as linked to by Toothless Willy, is broken in a way that potentially renders it unsolvable. There are three points in the maze wherein clicking a textual link will take you to the wrong destination, but clicking on the image works expected.

Sadly, even with those corrected for, I don't see a solution, though I may have made a typo while creating my graphviz file...
posted by SemiSophos at 3:14 PM on January 24, 2011

You have two minutes to draw a maze
that takes me one minute to solve.

Before your baby brother becomes one of us for the length of a feature film.
posted by katillathehun at 3:25 PM on January 24, 2011

Oh! Thanks for the catch, SemiSophos. I hadn't fully vetted the link myself because I'm bad at mazes if I can't just turn left at every fork.
posted by Toothless Willy at 5:16 PM on January 24, 2011

Well I, for oune, welcome our new slime mould ouverlourds.
posted by kaibutsu at 9:23 PM on January 24, 2011

Update: The maze is solvable, but it's tricky. Also: Don't use the text links. Seriously. Only click on the picture.
posted by SemiSophos at 2:46 PM on January 25, 2011

I learned (possibly in The King's Quest Companion) that if you are ever in a (properly-termed) labyrinth, if you keep your right hand on the right wall at all times (or left hand on left wall), you will eventually find the way out. At least, I think it was labyrinth and not maze. Maybe it works for a maze too?
posted by IndigoRain at 2:45 AM on January 27, 2011

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