Loafer (also the loafer) is a c/7 orthogonal spaceship found by Josh Ball on February 17, 2013. Its name refers to its slow speed and loaf-pushing behaviour.
It is the fifth smallest known spaceship in terms of cell count (after glider, lightweight spaceship, middleweight spaceship and heavyweight spaceship), excluding some nontrivial flotillae. Despite this, it did not occur naturally until April 1, 2020,[note 1] making it the first spaceship of a non-standard speed to occur in an asymmetric soup.
The loafer ranked second place in the Pattern of the Year 2013 competition in a belated vote held in 2018 on the ConwayLife.com forums, behind the Snark.
Adam P. Goucher found an 18-glider synthesis for this spaceship on the day of its discovery which Matthias Merzenich reduced to 8 gliders the following day. Two loafer guns were built by Shannon Omick on February 19th of the same year, using these syntheses.
Uses and reactions
Paul Tooke built a sawtooth that uses loafer's ability to turn a middleweight spaceship into a loaf.
Mike Playle found a stable loafer-to-Herschel conduit, apparently by means of the same search program (or its earlier version), that gave the world the Snark a month and a half later.
On 11 June 2016, Simon Ekström created a loafer-to-glider conduit, based on a loafer-to-pi found by Aidan F. Pierce.
The loafer can be cleanly destroyed by an eater 1 positioned at the loafer's foot.
Loafer about to get eaten by an eater 1
- ↑ Coincidentally, this occurred exactly two years after Dave Greene posted a fake loafer-producing soup on April Fools' Day 2018.