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Is That a Pentakis Dodecahedron in Your Pocket, Or…

As you are doubtless aware, a pentakis dodecahedron is a Catalan solid that boasts 60 isosceles triangle faces, 90 edges (2 types), and 32 vertices (2 types).

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Sometimes I think disparaging thoughts about the French people who have nothing better to do than watch television shopping channels in the middle of the night and purchase anything that catches their eye, even if they know in their heart of hearts that they will never use whatever it is that they just bought. Of course, we’ve all succumbed to the siren song of the Hand/Slap Vegetable Chopper when we were young and foolish. And, of course, we quickly realized that it was a pain in the nether regions to be obliged to spend the rest of the evening dismantling one’s slap chopper into its myriad elements, each of which required painstaking cleaning. Even sadder was when we realized that we could do just as well with a sharp knife and a chopping board, which quickly resulted in the slap chopper fading into the gloom at the back of the cupboard of “things we will never, ever use again.” Having said all this, every now and then when my guard is down, something will pop up metaphorically shouting “your life won’t be complete without me to share it with you.” For example, I just saw this video of dice created in the form of pentakis dodecahedrons, which — as you are doubtless aware — are Catalan solids that boasts 60 isosceles triangle faces, 90 edges (2 types), and 32 vertices (2 types).  
The 60 faces are covered with letters that are distributed in roughly the same way as the frequencies by which they are employed in the English language, which makes these little scamps useful for all sorts of word games. You can purchase these dice from The Dice Lab. I’m sorely tempted, even though I know deep in my soul that I would never actually use them. Of course, all I need is one, which would allow me to break the ice when meeting someone new by saying, “I know what you are thinking… ‘Is that a pentakis dodecahedron in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?’” at which point I would whip out the dice and say, “Its pentakis dodecahedron!” I’m sorry. What can I say? I’m easily amused and it’s just been that sort of day.

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David Ashton

The trouble is, Max, you’d need at least 4 or 5 Pentakis Dodecahedrons in your pocket in order to do anything serious with them (like challenge your questioner to a word game) and such a bulging pocket might give casual observers entirely the wrong impression.

Given that I can play Jumble.com for free, or get a Scrabble set for around the same price, I’m unlikely to spring $24 for 5 of them I’m afraid. But had a fossick on their web site – who’da thought there were so many different kinds of dice?

David Ashton

Well if I bought the scrabble set instead, that’s got a good approximation to the letter frequencies. So if you behaved yourself I might carve you a set of Pentakis Dodecahedrons for your birthday….

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