U. of Wisconsin keeps 'Rube Goldberg' crown

Contingent takes home top prize for second straight year for invention that shows how to water a plant in 135 steps while recounting the story of a haunted Louisiana mansion.

For the second straight year, a team from the University of Wisconsin-Stout has won a national collegiate competition to build the Rube Goldberg device. "Best" should be put in quotes, of course, as the contraption in question--named after a legendary New Yorker artist famous for cartoon creations in which machines turned a simple procedure into inordinately complex routines--showed how to water a plant in 135 steps while recounting the story of a haunted Louisiana mansion.

As you can see in the video below, the winning entry--dubbed "The Westing Estate"--would have made the great Goldberg proud. And just to add a touch of authenticity, Goldberg's granddaughter was on hand for the competition, which took place at Purdue University in Indiana and attracted about 2,000 spectators.

In 2010, the University of Wisconsin-Stout similarly took home the top prize for its "Valley of the Kings" invention, which recounted a chronology of events following the death of King Tut.

This story originally appeared on CBSNews.com.

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