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Handshake looks at the evolution of the Rube Goldberg machine

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Crazy contraptions. Zany reactions. A totally pointless denouement.The mechanical complexity and circuitous reactions in a Rube Goldberg machine have always captured the tinkerer’s imagination. So as big fans of tinkerers, contraptions, and circuitousness, we at Handshake decided to bring you the top five videos of Rube Goldberg machines.

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  1. “The Way Things Go” (1982) by Swiss artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss was originally an art installation meant to make us look at everyday items a different way. But thanks to the interwebs, this short vid blew up online as classically ingenious, if a bit destructive, appropriation of the Rube Goldberg Machine.
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  3. The Honda commercial entitled “Cog” (2003) exploded online too both shortly it aired in Britain and later as a Super Bowl ad in the States. Car parts tumble onto each other to create a cool captivating kinetic sequence of events. Some people in the art community called “Cog” a rip off of “The Way Things Go” because it used similar items and methods, but it’s not nearly as artsy or pyrotechnical. Plus, this video obviously had some help from computer animators at the end, though most of the action in it seems legit.
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  5. One of OK Go’s videos for the song “This Too Shall Pass” (2009) features a Rube Goldberg machine.
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  7. Creme That Egg! (2008) is one of the most innovative user-made machine vids on YouTube. If the wind-up model band halfway through the contraption doesn’t bring a smile to the your face, the resulting phrase and smashed Cadbury egg at the end definitely will.
  9. Pythagoras Switch (Pitagora suitchi) is an Japanese children’s show where kids learn about physics and math, do experiments and even submit videos of their own Pythagoras Switch (Japanese name for a Rube Goldberg machine) at home. Great to see a show like this exists for kids, complete with an Algorithm March no less. It’s only a shame we don’t have anything similar on U.S. television.
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