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 »
"Even if House Republicans manage to get enough members of their party on board with the latest version of their health care bill, they will face another battle in the Senate: whether the bill complies with the chamber’s arcane ... Byrd rule, which stipulates all provisions in a reconciliation bill must affect federal spending and revenues in a way that is not merely incidental." Democrats should have the advantage in that fight, "unless the Senate pulls another 'nuclear option.'”
The House has passed a one-week spending bill that will avert a government shutdown which was set to begin at midnight. Lawmakers now have an extra week to come to a longer agreement which is expected to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass before President Trump signs it.
President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."
Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.