What’s 17 feet tall, weighs 2,200 pounds and has a British accent?
This robotic giraffe that President Obama met at the White House on Wednesday.
The giraffe, created by Lindsay Lawlor of San Diego, was on the South Lawn as part of the first-ever Maker Faire, an innovations gathering of more than 100 “makers” from 25 states. Obama also viewed electric guitars, a skateboard, a prosthetic foot, slippers, a toy robot, and various 3D printers, according to pool reports.
The wheeled robotic animal, whose name is Russell, is powered by a 12-horsepower hybrid fuel-engine motor.
It was operated by Russell Pinnington, Lawlor’s programmer, from inside the White House. Lawlor named the giraffe after Pinnington, who is British, instead of paying him for his work. The giraffe can play music, carry up to 30 people, and speak.
Here’s video proof of their exchange, courtesy of BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski:
Todd Gillman of the Dallas Morning News described the contraption in a pool report:
The neck and head undulated slowly. The mouth opened and closed. The neck swayed gently side to side. Ears flapped. Horns were made from lava-lamp type things with sparkles inside.
Lawlor offered the president a ride aboard his giraffe, but Obama declined.
Obama did compliment Russell’s ears.
This is the second news appearance for giraffes, real or robotic, this week. On Monday, Delta Air Lines tweeted a photo meant to be celebratory after Team USA’s win in the World Cup, featuring a giraffe to represent Ghana, the losing country. The photo was instead a huge mistake, as there are no wild giraffes in Ghana and, more importantly, there’s a lot more to Ghana than its supposed wildlife.
The giraffe news cycle could be worse, though. Remember Marius?
What We're Following See More »
"An emerging theory among U.S. military investigators is that the Army Special Forces soldiers ambushed in Niger were set up by terrorists, who were tipped off in advance about a meeting in a village sympathetic to local ISIS affiliates...The group of American Green Berets and support soldiers had requested a meeting with elders of a village that was seen as supportive of the Islamic State, and they attended the meeting at around 11 a.m. local time Oct. 4...Such meetings are a routine part of the Green Beret mission, but it wasn't clear whether this meeting was part of the unit's plan."
"The long-awaited sentencing of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was delayed Monday after a legal battle erupted over the word 'but' in President Donald Trump's most recent remarks about the case. Bergdahl's defense team argued that their client could not get a fair shake from the court because Trump, during a Rose Garden appearance on Oct. 16, at first said he couldn't talk about the case and then added: 'But I think people have heard my comments in the past.'" Trump has called him a traitor and suggested he should be executed.
"Tony Podesta and the Podesta Group are now the subjects of a federal investigation being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, three sources with knowledge of the matter told NBC News. The probe of Podesta and his Democratic-leaning lobbying firm grew out of Mueller's inquiry into the finances of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort."
"President Donald Trump’s campaign digital director, Brad Parscale, will be interviewed Tuesday by the House Intelligence Committee, his first appearance before any of the panels examining the issue of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Mr. Parscale confirmed his scheduled appearance. The Senate committees also probing interference haven’t scheduled time with Mr. Parscale, he said, declining to comment further."