It's a battery powered doohickey that uses an ultrasonic sensor to detect whenever someone approaches within six feet - at which point, it starts playing Rick Astley's peerless contribution to contemporary art and culture. Or, in Zach's terms, "unleashes cheesy music on unsuspecting passers-by".
But what makes it so good is that when you walk away from it, the music pauses… resuming from where it left off the minute you - or anyone else - approaches once again.
Once upon a time there was a geek prank frequently perpetrated in chatrooms and messageboards known as 'duckrolling'. It involved offering a link to something really cool, that when followed, proved to be nothing more than an image of a toy duck on wheels. For example, check out this awesome image of a vintage Cherry SG Les Paul with blah blah blah, or this intense photograph of an anaconda trying to swallow a cow.
This practice evolved into 'rickrolling', where you’d link to promised footage of something rather cool but ended up merely being a clip of Rick Astley performing his breakthrough single ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’. Like the footage of the pelican trying to swallow a pigeon. (Okay, if I was a proper geek, I'd have uploaded the Rick Astley clip with a different title so that you wouldn’t realise until it was far too late.)
Now, Gizmodo reports, computer science student Mayniac182 has raised the bar, turning an assignment entitled The Disadvantages and Advantages of Networks into a giant acrostic featuring the lyrics to ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’.
Impressive. It took eight hours to format, apparently. And it had to be that song for it to be a proper, glorified rickroll. It had to be a rickroll for it to be recognised by fellow geeks, like the one marking it (if indeed the marker managed to spot it).
But I think it would have been more impressive to include the lyrics to something a bit more challenging. Bob Dylan's ‘Jokerman’, for example, for a bit of Christianrockrolling:
Standing on the water casting your bread While the eyes of the idol with the iron head Are glowing. Distant ships sail into the mist. You were born with a snake in both of your fists While a hurricane was blowing.
Or Frank Zappa’s ‘Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch’:
There's a ship arriving too late To save a drowning witch She was swimmin' along Tryin’ to keep a date With a Merchant Marine Who told her he was really rich But it doesn't matter no more . . . She's on the ocean floor 'N the water's all green down there 'N it's not very clean down there 'N water snakes 'N rusty wrecks Is all that she can see As the light goes dim And she's tryin’ to swim Will she make it? (Boy, we sure hope so…)
I look forward to that paradigm shift. Or one better: where the geek’s gotta cheerleader there, gonna help with the paper, let her do all the work and maybe later you’ll get this reference if you’re a Zappa fan.
Meanwhile, here’s the paper (click to enlarge so you can actually read it!):
FYI: The actual clip of a pelican trying to swallow a pigeon: