Something for Nothing - Netflix

Consumer journalist Harry Wallop discovers how to live well for free and meets people who have saved loads of cash in various different ways.

Something for Nothing - Netflix

Type: Documentary

Languages: English

Status: Ended

Runtime: 60 minutes

Premier: 2013-06-18

Something for Nothing - Rube Goldberg machine - Netflix

A Rube Goldberg machine is a machine intentionally designed to perform a simple task in an indirect and overcomplicated fashion. Often, these machines consist of a series of simple devices that are linked together to produce a domino effect, in which each device triggers the next one, and the original goal is achieved only after many steps. Over the years, the expression has expanded to mean any confusing or complicated system. For example, news headlines include “Is Rep. Bill Thomas the Rube Goldberg of Legislative Reform?” and “Retirement 'insurance' as a Rube Goldberg machine”. The expression is named after the American cartoonist, Rube Goldberg, whose cartoons often depicted such machines.

Something for Nothing - Similar expressions and artists worldwide - Netflix

Austria—Franz Gsellmann worked for decades on a machine that he named the Weltmaschine (“world machine”), having many similarities to a Rube Goldberg machine. Denmark—called Storm P maskiner (“Storm P machines”), after the Danish inventor and cartoonist Robert Storm Petersen (1882–1949). France—a similar machine is called usine à gaz, or gas refinery, suggesting a very complicated factory with pipes running everywhere and a risk of explosion. It is now used mainly among programmers to indicate a complicated program, or in journalism to refer to a bewildering law or regulation (cf Stovepipe system). Germany—such machines are often called Was-passiert-dann-Maschine (“What happens next machine”) for the German name of similar devices used by Kermit the Frog in the children's TV show Sesame Street. India—the humorist and children's author Sukumar Ray, in his nonsense poem “Abol tabol”, had a character (Uncle) with a Rube Goldberg-like machine called “Uncle's contraption”(khuror kol). This word is used colloquially in Bengali to mean a complicated and useless object. Japan—“Pythagorean devices” or “Pythagoras switch”. PythagoraSwitch (ピタゴラスイッチ, “Pitagora Suicchi”) is the name of a TV show featuring such devices. Another related genre is the Japanese art of chindōgu, which involves inventions that are hypothetically useful but of limited actual utility. Spain—devices akin to Goldberg's machines are known as Inventos del TBO (tebeo), named after those that several cartoonists (Nit, Tínez, Marino Benejam, Frances Tur and finally Ramón Sabatés) made up and drew for a section in the TBO magazine, allegedly designed by some “Professor Franz” from Copenhagen. Switzerland—Peter Fischli & David Weiss, Swiss artists known for their art installation movie Der Lauf der Dinge (The Way Things Go, 1987). It documents a 30-minute-long causal chain assembled of everyday objects, resembling a Rube Goldberg machine. Turkey—such devices are known as Zihni Sinir Projeleri, allegedly invented by a certain Prof. Zihni Sinir (“Crabby Mind”), a curious scientist character created by İrfan Sayar in 1977 for the cartoon magazine Gırgır. The cartoonist later went on to open a studio selling actual working implementations of his designs. United Kingdom—a “Heath Robinson contraption”, named after the fantastical comic machinery illustrated by British cartoonist and illustrator W. Heath Robinson, has a similar meaning but predates the Rube Goldberg machine, originating in the UK in 1912. Though Heath Robinson's drawings are extremely similar to the example shown and described above, the expression has gained more a sense of a ramshackle solution to a problem that nevertheless works (though with the implication that it might not do so for long, unlike the 'proper' solution), rather than something needlessly complicated, though it shared that sense initially. See also Rowland Emett, active in the 1950s. The TV show The Great Egg Race (1979 to 1986) also involved making physical contraptions to solve set problems, and often resulted in Heath-Robinsonian devices. United States—Tim Hawkinson has made several art pieces that contain complicated apparatuses that are generally used to make abstract art or music. Many of them are centered on the randomness of other devices (such as a slot machine) and are dependent on them to create some menial effect.

Something for Nothing - References - Netflix