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Evolution in 244 steps

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A cabal of engineers from the Purdue Society of Professional Engineers and Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers has broken the world record for a Rube Goldberg contraption, executing a review of history from the Big Bang to the Mayan 2012 apocalypse in 244 steps — to water a single flower.

The Rube Goldberg competition asks college students to create an intricate device to complete an everyday task in the spirit of the cartoonist it is named after.

This year, students were challenged to water a flower in the most steps possible.

Breaking the time machine record was not the goal but a happy byproduct for the 17 students on the team that have worked on the project since October.

The machine beat the existing world record of 230 steps, set last year by Katsumi Takahashi and students at Michigan's Ferris State University. The complex project took 3,500 hours of work to complete and the Purdue team is seeking confirmation of its record-breaking victory from Guinness World Records.

The ten module execution starts with the firing of a toy gun and moves from the caveman to the Ice Age, ancient Egypt, the world wars, the moon landing through to the "Mayan Calendar" end-of-the-world prophecy for 2012.

The Purdue team has its video here. ®

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