This Record-Setting Machine Runs For 4 Mesmerizing Minutes To Light A Christmas Tree In An Amazing Way

Watching the events unfold is far more dramatic than it should be.

Even if you don’t recognize the name, if you’ve exposed yourself to pop culture, you’re probably familiar with a Rube Goldberg machine. The board game Mouse Trap was based entirely around one, and they’ve shown up in The Goonies and an OK Go video as well. They keep popping up because, well, they’re a lot of fun.

Whereas most inventions strive to create the most efficient process possible, Rube Goldberg enthusiasts shoot for the exact opposite. In this video, they take a task that’s very ordinary – turning on the lights of a Christmas tree – and turn it into Byzantine mess of switches, slides and other complications for no other reason than the fun of it. This particular one in Riga, Latvia takes a staggering four minutes to run its traps and lead to its inevitable (but still thrilling!) conclusion.

Before we suck the fun out more, let’s just enjoy the marvel of it:

Of course, in this day and age, the intent can’t solely be fun and whimsy, which is why this particular machine was put together by a Scandinavian e-commerce firm called Scandiweb. To the company’s credit, they really committed to the design and execution of this contraption which requires 412 individuals steps in the chain reaction to get the tree lit. That’s good enough to take home the world record for the “biggest” one to date. At first blush, the involvement of a media-hungry sponsor may cast a pall on the project, but it’s far better than if a city had paid for this exercise in decadence.

There are many, many simpler ways to light a Christmas tree, but this crafty device has the lofty distinction of being the most needlessly complex, which is pretty fun, too.

If you find that piece awakens a hunger you never knew existed for even more Rube Goldberg machines, then this video should give you a quick fix:

via GOOD / YouTube

Last Friday, millions of people in 150 countries across the globe took to the streets to urge world leaders to enact dramatic solutions to combat climate change.

The Climate Strike was inspired, in part, by Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old girl from Sweden who has captured worldwide attention for her tireless work to hold lawmakers responsible for the climate crisis.

The strike gave people across the planet the opportunity to make their voices heard before the U.N. General Assembly Climate Summit in New York City on Monday.

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The Planet
Julian Meehan

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Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

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Climate Action Tracker

In 2016, 196 countries signed the Paris Agreement, pledging to combat climate change by taking action to curb the increase in global temperatures. The Paris Agreement requires countries to report on their emissions and what steps they're taking to implement those plans. Now that the countries are coming together again for the U.N. Climate Action Summit in New York City, it's worth taking a look at what kind of progress they've made.

The Climate Action Trackerkeeps tabs on what each country is doing to limit warming, and if they're meeting their self-set goals. Countries are graded based on whether or not their actions would help limit warming to 1.5 degrees C.

According to a recent article from National Geographic, The Gambia, Morocco, and India are at the head of the class. "Even though carbon emissions in The Gambia, Morocco, and India are expected to rise, they'll fall short of exceeding the 1.5-degree Celsius limit," the article reads. Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United States, on the other hand, get a big fat F. "Projected emissions in Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the United States are far greater than what it would take to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius."

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The Planet

September 20th marks the beginning of a pivotal push for the future of our planet. The Global Climate Strike will set the stage for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where more than 60 nations are expected to build upon their commitment to 2015's Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

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Ottawa Humane Society / Flickr

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In 2018, it launched a new effort to reinstate cruel hunting practices in Alaska that had been outlawed under Obama. Hunters will be able to shoot hibernating bear cubs, murder wolf and coyote cubs while in their dens, and use dogs to hunt black bears.

Efforts to end animal cruelty by the USDA have been curtailed as well. In 2016, under the Obama Administration, the USDA issued 4,944 animal welfare citations, in two years the numbers dropped to just 1,716.

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