Charles Eames is my hero and my house is full of Eames chairs (half of which are broken because the rubber pucks dried out and split, small design flaw) but I never knew about his "do nothing machine" shown in BoingBoing. It is part of a Life Magazine Solar Power Back In The Day slideshow, every picture of which I remember from my childhood.
Mark Frauenfelder described it earlier in BoingBoing, quoting an article:
In the late 1950's, as part of the Alcoa company's "forecast collection", the eames office created the solar toy. This toy was unique in many ways; but the most unique aspect (particularly in light of the way things seem to be done today) was the fact that charles eames was interested in creating a toy that did nothing.
Well it hardly does nothing. Eames himself said "It is not supposed to do. It is supposed to be. Its whole function is in its being." Interesting.