When Things Just Work


I finally found something to motivate me to do a new post.  I needed something a little lighter than heavy issues like the Golden Rule.  Doesn’t the title of this article  sound great, when things work out just like you hoped, just like you planned?  Well, sometimes it really happens.  A 2-minute video was just sent to me by an engineer friend (thanks, KW!).  This Honda commercial called “COG” or “When Things Just Work”  is 9 years old, but it was shown in Europe, and not in the US, and then on the internet.  I never saw it back then, but I don’t watch a lot of TV.  At the time, this commercial won every award for advertising:


This video shows the 2-minute commercial, and then some interviews with people who made it, and shows some bloopers of how things went wrong in the 606 attempts to film the commercial, then it shows the commercial again.  According to Wikipedia, the project took 7 months from start to finish (the technician in the video who says 6 years must be on drugs, LOL).   It had a budget of one millions pounds (1.6 million US dollars), but I could not find the final cost.  Taking all of that into account, perhaps the entire project should be called “When Things Just DON’T Work” or “How To Spend Millions of Dollars Moving Spare Parts Around In a Big Room.”

Still, I can’t stop watching this epic commercial over and over.  After over 600 attempts, they finally got it right, and it is a beautiful thing!!  As Henry Ford said, “Success is 99% failure.”  He should know….. he invented the first automotive assembly line in 1913.  If we keep trying, struggling and learning from our mistakes, we will finally get it right.  Recognizing the mistakes and learning from our mistakes is the really hard part.

I am convinced that the events in the video are all real, with no computer graphic funny business.  That was the stated goal of the project.  Otherwise, why would it take 7 months, 606 takes, and a budget of  one million pounds?  Everything that you see happened in real time exactly as you see it.  The tires roll uphill because the technicians attached or inserted very heavy weights to make them do so.  This is not “cheating” or “fake”, as some nitpickers on Youtube have whined….. you can’t cheat the laws of physics.  They were just making use of gravity in clever ways, throughout the whole sequence.

Everything you see in the sequence (besides the walls, floor, various supports, ramp and Honda Accord at the end) are parts from two cars. The voice is that of Garrison Keiller. The commercial was so well received by Honda execs when they saw it, that their first comment was how amazing the computer graphics were. They almost fell out of their chairs when told that the images were real without any graphics manipulation.

So watch it and enjoy!!!


And then another friend, KJ, a great mechanic and ingenious tinkerer, sent me another video, music video this time, perhaps even MORE ambitious than the Honda commercial.  It is done by a band named OK GO, singing their song “This Too Shall Pass.”  In their Rube Goldberg layout, they become part of the action, which is very elaborate.  Check it out:


Other than WOW VERY COOL, my only comment is, I feel sorry for whoever had to clean up the mess!!!


And now, may I introduce a new Rube Goldberg video I actually found on my own.  It was done very recently (November) by the extreme geniuses and tinkerers at RED BULL (energy drink), and it already has over 12 million views.  RED BULL sponsors an army of athletes of many different types, and they brought them in to do this delightful video.  Two of the extreme athletes are Danny MacCaskill, with cat-like abilities on a bicycle, and Robbie Maddison, dirt-bike jumper extraordinaire  (FYI, Robbie rode as Daniel Craig’s stunt double in the incredible riding in “Skyfall”, the latest James Bond flick).   They are both featured in videos elsewhere in my blog.  If you are interested in seeing a video about the riding in “Skyfall”, I have put it here as a bonus:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIcNaX0vmuE&feature=player_embedded#!

RED BULL calls this video “The Athlete Machine”, which does not begin to do it any justice.  So enjoy:


As the helicopter lifts off, we must assume that the “kluge” continues with Pat Moore, on the ski slopes, in the next video?  Stay tuned…..


Standing on the shoulders of giants

“On the shoulders of giants”… The blind giant Orion with his servant Cedalion on his shoulder

PHILOSOPHICAL NOTE:  All of these videos, but especially the RED BULL video, show the synergistic effect of precisely coordinated efforts.  The coordinated efforts of many different people,  using many different skills and materials,  in clever ways,  can produce an overall result that is far more than the sum of the parts.  In these videos, the result is very entertaining, because that is the limited goal of the project.  In real life,  or in government,  the result of coordinated efforts can be the difference between life and death for individuals, or between freedom and tyranny for societies.  In technology,  the result is cars,  computers,  factories,  skyscrapers and cities.  Our civilization is one huge Rube Goldberg contraption.  We are all just a cog in the machine.  But what a glorious machine it is….. and we all reap the benefits.  The precise coordinated efforts,  and sheer genius,  that go into the making of a car or a computer are mind-boggling….. if you will just take a moment and allow your mind to be boggled,  the next time you turn the key, or push the button.  We all stand on the shoulders of giants,  as Isaac Newton once said of his own discoveries.


Now, as I am prone to do, I kept searching, and I found even more goodies, as one is prone to do, when one keeps searching.  Here is an encouraging video of kids trying real hard with no million-dollar budget.  They are swinging on a shoestring, and their video is still inspiring, as they find different ways to ring the bell:


And yes, there will be more to see, if you come back later.  So many videos, so little time…..


Just in time for Christmas,  I found a vintage Mythbusters TV video,  from 6 years ago.  They decided to make a Christmas Rube Goldberg contraption,  just for Christmas, just for fun.  So here it is, with wishes from me to you for a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a MORE PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR,  if that is possible with the idiots we have in the government….. where things  (and people)  JUST DO NOT WORK….. LOL…..




Jesus the reason for season merry christmas loopGotcha snowball








About goldenmeantx
Truth seeker, fact finder, amateur philosopher, amateur historian, ex-soldier, ex-motorcycle racer, world traveler, rancher, hunter, gun owner, dirt bike rider, mountain bicycle rider, husband, father, grandfather, hard worker, good friend to all who put up with me, and even some who don't.

One Response to When Things Just Work

  1. goldenmeantx says:

    Reblogged this on goldenmeantx and commented:

    Sorry to reblog this, but I just found a very recent, incredible Rube Goldberg video. If you liked the first two videos, you should like the third one. Reblogging will give you notice to check it out!

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