An early episode of SpongeBob SquarePants contained a particularly moving scene. Upon seeing Patrick Star approached by the dangerous Man Ray, a villain who had kidnapped Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy, our hero calls out, “Not so fast, archvillain. We still have the Orb of Confusion!” The Orb of Confusion was a simple blue glass sphere small enough to fit in SpongeBob’s hand, with a single on-and-off switch. When the switch is flicked, a ripple effect visually centered on the object emanates outward. Anyone caught in the wave can do nothing but stand there dumbfounded, slobbering, and babbling nonsense. The device enabled our hero to save the day, but at what cost?