Rube Goldberg


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Rube Goldberg

A slang term for an unnecessarily complicated solution to a problem, or a problem with a solution that is itself problematic. The term refers to a 20th-century American cartoonist who drew large machines performing simple actions for which a machine is not necessary.
References in periodicals archive ?
The late Rube Goldberg, a Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist for newspapers in both San Francisco and New York, drew roughly 50,000 cartoons during his career, many depicting zany machines that relied on chain reactions to accomplish some goal, according to Rube Goldberg, Inc.
But for every genuinely useful smart gadget, there are plenty that simply seem like a more elegant manifestation of those primitive Rube Goldberg devices.
The Rube Goldberg exercise was a "boss level" task--a term that refers to the difficult battle against a villain at the end of many video games.
Alexander Kerfuchs, the first-person narrator of young Austrian author Clemens Setz's novel Die Frequenzen (The frequencies), short-listed for the 2009 German Book Prize and awarded the Bremen Literature Prize, at one point recalls his childhood fascination with the idea of the Rube Goldberg machine: "I dreamed of it for several consecutive nights, as if it were a vision of my own future.
More familiar selections include the OK Go music video "This Too Shall Pass," which features a Rube Goldberg apparatus, a complicated machine designed to perform a simple task, and the "Human Mirror" video, in which a subway car is lined by apparent twins mimicking each other's movements, by the comedy troupe Improv Everywhere.
That's because these teens were preparing to compete in Purdue University's Rube Goldberg Machine Contest.
What remains is a Rube Goldberg contraption that will launch this country into a new phase of healthcare apartheid.
No Rube Goldberg cobbling of multiple revenue streams gets close to balancing against probable state spending in 2009-10.
In a less talented writer's hands, The 19th Wife could have turned into a Rube Goldberg contraption.
While looking for a "couldn't find," I imagined an army of evil, one-eyed space aliens sneaking into the house in the middle of the night and hauling off all those bits and pieces of "stuff" to build an otherworldly Rube Goldberg contraption.
It has thirteen chapters covering such topics as an introduction to particle physics, the Anthropic Principle, the origin of string theory, the myth of uniqueness and elegance, and why he believes that the universe is a Rube Goldberg affair.