Due to a neat glitch it is discovered to be possible to change the block data value in Minecraft. This affects wool, stone bricks, logs, slabs, and many other blocks. It can be used for useful things like changing the color of a block of wool or changing whether a stone brick is mossy or not.
It requires sticky pistons, a bit of redstone dust, a few redstone torches, and water.
If it doesn't work try moving it to different coordinate areas.
"Note that it's sensitive to orientation (don't rotate it) and to chunk borders (move it a bit if it doesn't work)."-Zhul
Try not to build it in the +X & +Z direction.
If this works, my mind will be blown right out my face.
I'd imagine that it has something to do with the way that block data are stored when being moved by a piston. This, combined with the sudden expanding/retracting of the pistons in your setup probably causes this data to be lost.
And if it does work, all I have to say is, "Fix your game, Jeb!"
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Very interesting discovery, and a great source of cheap stone slabs. This is also the only way of turning dyed wool into white wool, colored wool cannot be dyed in crafting tables.
Here's something I discovered that might shed some light. Create the same machine, but leave out the third piston. Instead have the redstone wire feed directly into the sticky piston with the damage value block.
When you break the torch the block will get pushed up and briefly flicker into its lowest damage value appearance, but then return to its normal form. This may be just a visual glitch, but perhaps it actually is that lowest data value block for a brief moment. Maybe the game first transports the block, then figures out when the correct data value is.
EDIT: Redacted a bit more that now seems definitely inaccurate, instead of probably inaccurate!