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Google doodles 20,000 leagues under the sea

In celebration of Jules Verne's 183rd birthday, Google creates an interactive doodle that sends you to the depths.

I fancy that the only fun place to work at Google these days is the Doodle Department.

And today the members of this elite crew have created an homage to Jules Verne, whose 183rd birthday it would have been today, had he not, well, died in 1905.

Today's doodle has its own delightful Verneacular. You can toggle a little joystick thingy up and down, as you sink toward 20,000 leagues under the sea or rise from it.

Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET
Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Verne actually became a bit of a miseryguts after his nephew, who may not have been all there and ended up in an asylum, shot him in the leg.

Indeed, this seems to have led Verne to think less optimistically about life. It also led him to consider whether technology was the road to joy.

Even before he was shot, he wrote a book called "Paris in the 20th Century," which was then put away. It is Verne's vision of 1960.

Some might find it interesting, for it describes the life of Michel Dufrenoy, who lives surrounded by lovely skyscrapers, calculators, fax machines, gas-powered automobiles, and even, get this, a communications network that connects the whole world.

And yet our hero, a poet, is unhappy. For the world has no art. Engineering and banking control everything.

You will be stunned to hear that Defrenoy's life ends tragically.

"Paris the the 20th Century" was kept in a bottom drawer and only published in 1994. And I wonder how many folks at Google and other fine engineering concerns have read it.

I don't know if many people go to these days. But, if you go there today to play with this lovely doodle, perhaps you can also get hold of "Paris in the 20th Century."

Just for a little work-life balance.