“Could Get Boring”

Is this screen familiar to you? It was to me this past weekend when I switched hard drives in my computer. Though my first thought wasn’t that elevator music needed to be playing through my speakers as the files migrated, that’s apparently an option. Instant Elevator Music automatically plays downbeat tunes while you wait for programs to open, files to copy and downloads to download. Softonic reviews it as being “pretty funny,” “low on resources” and customizable, with only one knock everybody saw coming: “could get boring.”

Riled Rodent Shocks Shoppers

A frame taken from video shows the moment a rat leaps toward a man who was trying to walk past it on an escalator at a shopping mall in Manila, Philippines; image from DailyMail.com.

Shoppers at a mall in Manila, Philippines, were forced to face their fear recently when a manic rat aggressively charged them as they walked down a stopped escalator, the Daily Mail reports. Video posted on the newspaper’s website shows the rat lunging at people as they try to make their way past, prompting the shoppers to jump and sidestep their way to safety. After giving several of the shoppers what appears to have been the jolt of their lives, the restive rodent is seen running down and off the escalator and under a nearby rack of clothing. No reason was given for the escalator being stopped.

This “ANYmal” Gives This Editor the Creeps

You may have seen a video making the rounds on the Internet in the past few weeks showing a robotic “dog” quickly and jerkily making its way up to an elevator call button panel, quickly punching a button, then hopping in for ride. The video serves as a showcase for a new software framework developed by roboticists in Switzerland that operates a prototype four-legged robot called ANYmal. Both the software and ANYmal were developed by Robotics Systems Lab of ETH Zurich, and will be presented at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Robotics and Automation Society’s upcoming conference in Mexico on November 15-17.

While the ANYmal is undeniably neat, it kind of gives me the creeps. It’s freaky fast, bringing to mind the zombies in the movie World War Z or the rapidly evolving vampire-like monsters in The Strain series. UPDATE: A colleague pointed out the video may have been sped up. Still freaks me out.