Destroy the Planet by Watering a Plant

May 30, 2011
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Destroy the Planet by Watering a Plant

That’s right, the winners of this year’s Rube Goldberg award created a machine that destroyed the world as we know it, just to water a plant. Every year, Geeks and Techies gather to compete in the Rube Goldberg awards, where the winner accomplishes a task using the most steps possible. (They must be applying for a government job). Many people are familiar with the contraptions built in old cartoons to accomplish menial tasks in complex ways, but were not aware that those contraptions are Rube Goldberg machines. This year Purdue broke a Guinness World Record with their contraption. Check out the story and see the video of this amazing machine.

The theme of the Purdue’s machine was Time Machine. It chronicled the history of the world from the Big Bang all the way up to the Armageddon and Apocalypse. One of our favorite parts was the jousting during the middle ages piece. No one would think that some of the brightest minds would come together to build machines to accomplish tasks that we could accomplish ourselves much faster and with better efficiency; but some of the brightest minds also brought us the IRS. (Not that we ever cheat on our taxes).

The winning machine watered a plant while putting on a good show. The machine’s process ended in a mock destruction of the world and life as we know it. But not to worry, at the end of the machine’s 244 steps a little flowering plant got watered to start the process over again. Kind of anti-climatic to think that the history of the world can be wrapped up in a two minute video.

Rube Goldberg’s granddaughter Jennifer George was on site for the competition. Zach Umperovitch, captain of a team that has won three national championships and set two world records in the past seven years was quoted as saying, "If Bruce Willis, Will Smith and Charlton Heston joined forces to build a Rube Goldberg machine, this is what it might look like. Of course, those guys wouldn't be as crazy as we are to invest 3,500 hours to accomplish a task a toddler can do in mere seconds."


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