Saturday, April 08, 2006

Rube Goldberg's Legacy

I sat down today with my four kids to play an enthralling game of MouseTrap - a game that has been around since 1963, and is still as much fun today as ever (especially when played as it should be -with four hyper-excited kids on the lounge room floor...) The game itself is based on what is known as a Rube Goldberg Machine.

Rube Goldberg was an American political cartoonist, who became renowned for drawing exceedingly complex inventions to accomplish very simple tasks.

Just like the one in MouseTrap - (Where the player turns the crank, which rotates the gears causing the lever to move and push the stop sign against the shoe , which tips the bucket holding the metal ball which rolls down the stairs and into the pipe which leads it to hit the rod held by the hands, causing another ball to fall from the top of the rod, roll down the groove, fall into and then out of the bottom of the bathtub, landing on the diving board. The weight of the ball catapults the diver through the air and right into the bucket , causing the cage to fall from the top of the post and trap the unsuspecting mouse, which causes my son to scream "Noooooooo!" and then smash the whole apparatus and run screaming to his room.)

For the record, Lincoln was the winner!

And to further the goldberg-ness, check out this incredible video of some Rube Goldberg machines. (Although the cutesy Japanese jingle may cause you to smash your PC and run screaming to your room.... You have been warned!)

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