Refers to any device reminiscent of those drawn by American cartoonist Reuben (Rube) Goldberg (1883-1970). Each of Goldberg's inventions typically accomplished some task by an extraordinarily complicated and humorous means. Published as the "Crazy Inventions" in American newspapers, his drawings pictured an assemblage of ordinary objects, mechanical gadgets, and the oddest odds and ends linked together to perform simple operations. A "Rube Goldberg device" then, must be an incredibly impractical scheme or contraption, accomplishing by complex means what could have been done quite simply.Related resources: The official Rube Goldberg site offers information on the annual Rube Goldberg Machine Contest, a competition designed to pull students away from conventional problem-solving and push them into the chaos of imagination and intuitive thought. Participants are given an elementary challenge: something as modest as peeling an apple, sharpening a pencil, or putting toothpaste on a toothbrush. Instead of just "solving" the problem, students have to make the solution as complicated and as convoluted as possible.Also see absurd, incongruity, signature, and technology.