The Zen approach to Web video

We’ve made the case for the odd, mind-bending brilliance of Japanese television before, but now we’d like to call attention to its more meditative potential. An industrious YouTube user has collected in one video more than 20 clips of a Japanese television show’s entrancingly meticulous Rube Goldberg machines (devices that use complicated mechanical processes to fulfill a simple goal, named for their San Francisco cartoonist creator). The Japanese show, whose title translates as Pythagora Switch, features the Goldberg sequences as program IDs.

The clips, most no longer than a minute, usually begin with a marble dropped in a Goldberg device that initiates an insanely elaborate chain reaction. Balls roll down ramps made up of books, cups swing around like tiny carnival rides, little arrows fly toward a target — all of which eventually triggers the strangely calming theme song and a title card displaying the show’s logo. Nerdiness has seldom been so lovable.

WATCH the Rube Goldberg machines

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The Zen approach to Web video