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5 Animals Playing Video Games

To make your Monday complete, I present you with a variety of videos featuring animals playing video games, along with analysis of whether they are good at the games. BEHOLD:

1. Real Lizard Eats Virtual Ants

A bearded dragon plays "Ant Smasher," an Android phone game. He or she is excellent, clearly differentiating between ants and other insects in the game, but seems to do a little unnecessary lip-licking. Best YouTube comment: "Thumbs up? if you are an Ant and you find this offensive."

(Via Kottke.org.)

2. Bonobo Plays Ms. Pac-Man (With Help)

With some encouragement by researcher Susan Savage-Rumbaugh, this bonobo plays Ms. Pac-Man. Skill level: low -- ghost avoidance strategy needs work. (See a bit more of this in Savage-Rumbaugh's excellent TED Talk; a snippet of this Pac-Man video is shown at the very end, minus narration.)

3. Cats Play "Game for Cats" on iPad

Two cats attempt to master an iPad game called, appropriately, Game for Cats (iTunes link -- the game is free). The cats seem generally confused by the notion of a screen, and attempt to go underneath the iPad, with unsatisfactory results. Their claws also keep getting stuck on the carpet; for optimal play, perhaps a carpet isn't a great idea. In general, the cats seem pretty interested in smacking those mice, though their technique isn't optimal.

Related: there's a similar app in which cats "paint" as they stomp on virtual mice (iTunes link; app costs $1.99).

4. Cat Frustrated By Duck Hunt

This poor cat does a great job playing Duck Hunt, but lacks the Nintendo Zapper Light Gun -- so that obnoxious in-game dog keeps popping up and mocking the poor feline's apparent failure. Skill level: excellent. Virtual dog's conduct: unsportsmanlike.

5. Hamster Inhabits Real-World Platformer

While not a video game per se, some industrious hamster owner has put together a diorama version of a platformer game (reminiscent of 8-bit NES games like Super Mario Bros.) and unleashed his hapless hamster into it. The hamster does a pretty good job traversing the maze, but takes a few breaks to do some adorable self-grooming.

Got More?

Leave comments with any videos I missed! (Note: the "dog playing Tony Hawk" you see all over YouTube is fake.)

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Star Wars © & TM 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
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Pop Culture
How to Perform the Star Wars Theme—On Calculators
Star Wars © & TM 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Star Wars © & TM 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

The iconic Star Wars theme has been recreated with glass harps, theremins, and even cat meows. Now, Laughing Squid reports that the team over at YouTube channel It’s a small world have created a version that can be played on calculators.

The channel’s math-related music videos feature covers of popular songs like Luis Fonsi’s "Despacito," Ed Sheeran’s "Shape of You," and the Pirates of the Caribbean theme, all of which are performed on two or more calculators. The Star Wars theme, though, is played across five devices, positioned together into a makeshift keyboard of sorts.

The video begins with a math-musician who transcribes number combinations into notes. Then, they break into an elaborate practice chord sequence on two, and then four, calculators. Once they’re all warmed up, they begin playing the epic opening song we all know and love, which you can hear for yourself in all its electronic glory below.

[h/t Laughing Squid]

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Somnox, Kickstarter
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technology
This Cuddly Robot Is Designed to Lull You to Sleep
Somnox, Kickstarter
Somnox, Kickstarter

For people seeking all the benefits of a human sleeping companion without the human part, there’s a new Kickstarter-backed product. As Mashable reports, Somnox, the self-proclaimed “world’s first sleep robot,” is designed to give you a more comfortable, energizing night’s rest.

The bean-shaped cushion is the perfect size and shape for cuddling as you drift to sleep. Beneath its soft exterior is hardware designed to get you to deep sleep faster. Somnox rises and falls to mimic the movements of human breathing. Lay with the pillow long enough and the designers claim your breath will naturally sync to its rhythm, thus prepping your body for sleep.

Somnox can also be set to play sounds and music. Some content, like guided mediation, lullabies, and gentle heart beats, come built-in, but you can also upload audio of your own. And you don’t need to worry about shutting it off: Once you've customized its breathing and audio behaviors through the app, the device does what it's programed to do and powers down automatically.

Having a robotic sleep aide will cost you: You need to pledge about $533 to the team’s Kickstarter to reserve one. Even with the steep price tag, the campaign surpassed its funding goal.

[h/t Mashable]

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