What Is It? game 165



It's once again time for our collaboration with the always amusing What Is It? Blog. Can you guess what the pictured item is? Can you make up something interesting?

Place your guess in the comment section below. One guess per comment, please, though you can enter as many as you'd like. Post no URLs or weblinks, as doing so will forfeit your entry. Two winners: the first correct guess and the funniest (albeit ultimately wrong) guess will win T-shirt from the NeatoShop.

Please write your T-shirt selection alongside your guess. If you don't include a selection, you forfeit the prize, okay? May we suggest the Science T-Shirt, Funny T-Shirt and Artist-Designed T-Shirts?

For more clues, check out the What Is It? Blog. Good luck!

Update: dj2kenne was the first with the correct answer: the object is a TV antenna rotator. A lot of people knew the answer, and a lot of people made up great meanings for the letters N-E-S-W-N -you really should go read them all! The prize for the funniest answer goes to amanderpanderer, who said:
Back when the internet was a more clearly defined series of non-searchable tubes for conveying information, people were bombarded with information shooting out of the pneumatic delivery devices and into their offices, living rooms and school dorms. Being less savvy at identifying the sorts of information being sent to them, internet users often relied on external devices like this one to help them distinguish between the relevant and irrelevant materials being delivered. This is the 1953 InternetIdentificationIdentifyer, or III, in stunning bakelite brown. This device sat near the pnuematic exit and served to classify and catagorize the material presented.

The catagories are:
News, Entertainment, Sex, Wikipedia, and (of course) Neatorama.

Now we have RSS feeds, so I never miss a Neatorama posting. Ah, progress!

T-shirts will go out to both winners.

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My first idea was that it's a HuffDuff, a high frequency direction finder (HF/DF), used in WW2 to triangulate and pinpoint the position of moving enemy radio transmitters (that is, radio transmitters on German U-boats).

It was featured prominently in Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon. Of course Wikipedia shows that those machines looked way more complicated, so the antenna finder in the other comments are more probable.
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Check out Twaggies' very funny clip:

Tech Fails - Twaggies by Twaggies
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