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YouTube / Jimmy Kimmel Live

A Rube Goldberg Zipper-Zipping Machine

YouTube / Jimmy Kimmel Live
YouTube / Jimmy Kimmel Live

Since the late 1980s, Purdue University has invited students to make Rube Goldberg machines accomplishing simple tasks in absurdly complex ways. Each machine has to occupy at least a 6-foot cube, perform at least 20 steps, and achieve a stupidly simple task. This year the winners made a charmingly goofy machine to zip a zipper. Here they are walking us through the process (the action starts around 3:05):

This may leave you wondering what YKK stands for. Find it and many others in our list of 56 Acronyms and Initials All Spelled Out.

And according to Wikipedia, here's the list of previous tasks set out for the Purdue contest:

2014 Zip a zipper

2013 Hammer a nail

2012 Inflate a balloon and pop it

2011 Water a Plant

2010 Dispense an Appropriate Amount of Hand Sanitizer into a Hand

2009 LittleBigPlanet Contraption Challenge 6

2009 Replace an Incandescent Light Bulb with a More Energy Efficient Light Emitting Design

2008 Assemble a Hamburger

2007 Squeeze the Juice from an Orange

2006 Shred 5 Sheets of Paper

2005 Change Batteries and Turn on a 2-battery Flashlight

2004 Select, Mark and Cast an Election Ballot

2003 Select, Crush and Recycle an Empty Soft Drink Can

2002 Select, Raise and Wave a U.S. Flag

2001 Select, Clean and Peel an Apple

2000 Fill and Seal a Time Capsule with 20th-century Inventions

1999 Set a Golf Tee and Tee Up a Golf Ball

1998 Shut Off An Alarm Clock

1997 Insert and Then Play a CD Disc

1996 Put Coins in a Bank

1995 Turn on a Radio

1994 Make Cup of Coffee

1993 Screw a Light Bulb into a Socket

1992 Unlock a Combination Padlock

1991 Toast a Slice of Bread

1990 Put the Lid on a Ball Jar

1989 Sharpen a Pencil

1988 Adhere a Stamp to a Letter

1987 Put Toothpaste on a Toothbrush

(Via Devour.)

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Watch Boris Karloff's 1966 Coffee Commercial
TAKWest, Youtube
TAKWest, Youtube

Horror legend Boris Karloff is famous for playing mummies, mad scientists, and of course, Frankenstein’s creation. In 1930, Karloff cemented the modern image of the monster—with its rectangular forehead, bolted neck, and enormous boots (allegedly weighing in at 11 pounds each)—in the minds of audiences.

But the horror icon, who was born 130 years ago today, also had a sense of humor. The actor appeared in numerous comedies, and even famously played a Boris Karloff look-alike (who’s offended when he’s mistaken for Karloff) in the original Broadway production of Arsenic and Old Lace

In the ’60s, Karloff also put his comedic chops to work in a commercial for Butter-Nut Coffee. The strange commercial, set in a spooky mansion, plays out like a movie scene, in which Karloff and the viewer are co-stars. Subtitles on the bottom of the screen feed the viewer lines, and Karloff responds accordingly. 

Watch the commercial below to see the British star selling coffee—and read your lines aloud to feel like you’re “acting” alongside Karloff. 

[h/t: Retroist]

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Watch a Chain of Dominos Climb a Flight of Stairs
iStock
iStock

Dominos are made to fall down—it's what they do. But in the hands of 19-year-old professional domino artist Lily Hevesh, known as Hevesh5 on YouTube, the tiny plastic tiles can be arranged to fall up a flight of stairs in spectacular fashion.

The video spotted by Thrillist shows the chain reaction being set off at the top a staircase. The momentum travels to the bottom of the stairs and is then carried back up through a Rube Goldberg machine of balls, cups, dominos, and other toys spanning the steps. The contraption leads back up to the platform where it began, only to end with a basketball bouncing down the steps and toppling a wall of dominos below.

The domino art seems to flow effortlessly, but it took more than a few shots to get it right. The footage below shows the 32nd attempt at having all the elements come together in one, unbroken take. (You can catch the blooper at the end of an uncooperative basketball ruining a near-perfect run.)

Hevesh’s domino chains that don't appear to defy gravity are no less impressive. Check out this ambitious rainbow domino spiral that took her 25 hours to construct.

[h/t Thrillist]

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