Spider-Man better not be planning a trip to Germany any time soon.
Three years ago, German engineering firm Festo provided proof-of-concept of a mobile robot elephant trunk they'd created, controlled by artificial muscles. Now, that robot trunk has been fully-realized - it can learn, it can crush you, and it's probably about to be purchased by one Doctor Otto Octavius.
Look, we've all padded an expense account or two at some point in our lives.
There's no shame in it, and frankly, anyone who denies doing it here and there comes off as a litte Ned Flanders-style creepy. There's such a thing as taking it too far, though, and Hans Peter Martin, an Austrian member of the European Parliament, may have taken the cake, including one particularly eye-catching item on a recent bill he expensed to that august body -- a 2,200 euro charge labelled "elephant."
If you're travelling through Siberia in the depths of winter and your transportation breaks down, you pretty much have two options. 1)Freeze to death rather quickly. 2)Break out the vodka, start pounding shots like a frat pledge, and probably still freeze to death, but more slowly and with a better attitude about it. You can consider that second method now officially endorsed by elephants after a trailer carrying a pair of pachyderms from a Polish circus broke down in the bitter cold of the Novosibirsk region of Siberia, forcing their handlers to feed them cases of warm water mixed with vodka to keep them warm
. The tricked worked, and the elephants are fully recovered from their chilling ordeal, if probably a little hungover.
I mean, not speak it like terribly well or anything, but still! This is Koshik
, an elephant at a South Korean theme park who has picked up a couple words of korean language that he can vocalize to his trainers by sticking his trunk in his mouth.
Researchers have just finished a two year study of the animal, trying to understand how it came to imitate human language so accurately. Well, accurately for an elephant. Don't take our word for it, though -- listen for yourself in the following video.
GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons
recently returned from safari in Africa, and uploaded a video of his adventures to the web. This may seem innocuous enough, but the video was about Parsons' elephant hunt, where he hunts and kills "problem" elephants. The video shows the elephants being shot at, Parsons posing with the killed bull, and a group of locals in GoDaddy hats butchering the animal for its meat.
Parsons says that his hunt was beneficial for the locals, whose crops are sometimes destroyed by raiding elephants. But his explanation has failed to quell critics. PETA
, (whose site happens to be hosted by GoDaddy), has dubbed him "the scummiest CEO of the year" and announced its intention to switch hosts. A rival company, NameCheap, has offered a special deal
to new customers who transfer from GoDaddy where 20% of their fees will go towards elephant conservation. Others are simply criticizing Parsons for spending what is a no-doubt substantial sum of money to kill elephants, instead of providing non-lethal ways to locals for defending their crops.
Though Parsons' critics have been vocal, their criticisms are unlikely to lead to many direct repercussions for the elephant-killing CEO. GoDaddy is a privately held company, and Parsons does not answer to a board of directors, nor does the popular reaction for or against him have any impact on the company's stock. As it appears that Parsons was engaged in a legal elephant hunt
it is almost certain that charges will not be brought against him. But whether Parsons' elephant shoot was smart PR is an entirely different matter.
The video is embedded below. Be warned, it is graphic.
Before Twitter existed to pique our dreams, before the Fail Whale surfaced to break our hearts, there was the Fail Elephant. Australian designer Yiying Lu devised the ancestor to Twitter's current uh-oh indicator way back in 2002: Originally titled "Lifting a Dreamer," it was meant to be "a visual greeting" to the overseas friends of a designer who was constantly on the go. Lu tells LTL Prints that the pictures symbolized "this giant wish [to see her friends and family] that is so heavy (the elephant), and the birds represented my free spirit and good wishes."
How, then, did it morph from elephant to whale? It involved a pun: