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Acme
  • The canonical supplier of bizarre, elaborate and non-functional gadgetry -- where Rube Goldberg and Heath Robinson shop. Describing some X as an "Acme X" either means "This is insanely great", or, more likely, "This looks insanely great on paper, but in practice it's really easy to shoot yourself in the foot with it. " Compare pistol. This term, specially cherished by American hackers and explained here for the benefit of our overseas brethren, comes from the Warner Brothers' series of "Roadrunner" cartoons. In these cartoons, the famished Wyl E. Coyote was forever attempting to catch up with, trap, and eat the Roadrunner. His attempts usually involved one or more high-technology Rube Goldberg devices -- rocket jetpacks, catapults, magnetic traps, high-powered slingshots, etc. These were usually delivered in large cardboard boxes, labeled prominently with the Acme name. These devices invariably malfunctioned in violent and improbable ways.