Ode to Buckyballs, on the day of their demise

Oh Buckyballs, my Buckyballs. The addictive magnetic desk toy succumbs to government pressure and resigns itself to life as a cherished relic of the past.

Buckyballs collection
I play with my Buckyballs all the time. Amanda Kooser/CNET
Buckyballs, I hardly knew ye. The powerful little magnets came into my life only recently. Lured by a $5-per-set blowout sale, I loaded up with purple and orange Buckyballs and silver and gold Buckycubes.

When I opened my first box, I thought, "How tiny!" And then I began to play. Sure, they're supposed to be relaxing desk toys, but I found myself bent over the table, squinting and swearing, as I tried to form them back into the perfect square they came in.

Buckyballs transform. (Click to enlarge.) Buckyballs

When I finally achieved the box structure, I felt triumphant. Then I squished the shape into amorphous oblivion once again. This is the joy of Buckyballs. The power of creation. The power of destruction. The challenge of building beautiful, orderly forms from magnetic chaos.

If you don't already own some Buckyballs, then you have a very short window of opportunity to obtain a set. There are only a few thousand left from the manufacturer. Once they're gone, they're gone.

Buckyballs have fallen before a force stronger than magnetism: pressure from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The issue is that Buckyballs are not safe for children. Ingesting the strong magnets can cause severe internal damage.

Buckyballs come with warnings about keeping them away from children. I keep them far away from the curious cats at my house, as well. Those warnings haven't been enough to keep the consumer watchdog pressure off of the desk toys. Buckyballs are finally giving up the legal fight amid increasing government pressure.

This isn't necessarily the grand finale for all things Buckyball, however. Big Buckyballs are still for sale, as are kits that include magnetic rods. There's even a vague statement about getting ready "for the next generation of Bucky."

Perhaps Buckyballs will make like a phoenix and rise from the ashes of its own destruction, more beautiful than ever. In the meantime, I'll console myself with making cylinders, cubes, and necklaces from the sets I already own. Buckyballs are dead. Long live the Buckyballs!

Large Buckybigs will still be available. Buckyballs
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