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9 Photos of Comic-Con Cosplayers Eating

You don't usually see the heroes of comic books, TV shows and video games going to the bathroom, eating, or sleeping. But unlike fictional characters, the people in the costumes at San Diego Comic-Con do need to do these basic human activities. Here are a few photos we snapped of cosplayers at SDCC chowing down.

1. Lunch Date

Eating in a costume can be challenging. Some cosplayers need to worry about their accessories getting dirty—but the truly lucky ones even have someone else around to help them eat without messing their clothing up.

2. Accessories Not Included

Those worried about their costumes who don't want to be fed by someone else (or who don't have someone else to feed them) tend to find somewhere quiet where they can remove all the accessories that might otherwise get in the way and relax while they snack.

3. Simple Snacks

Some of those in costume choose to eat relatively simple items because they minimize the risk of messing up the costume and are a lot easier to munch on as well.

4. Burger Time

Of course, for some cosplayers, eating actually works with their costumes. In fact, as long as this Children's Hospital character didn't mess up his makeup while enjoying this burger, a little spill wouldn't hurt his look at all.

5. Unmasked

In other cases, eating is actually a pretty simple process, as long as you don't have your mask or gloves on.

6. Costume Capers

As you might guess, the simpler the costume, the easier it is to eat in. Megara's costume even allowed her to store her cell phone while she enjoyed her lunch.

7. Chat and Chew (Or Not)

Like most people, cosplayers aren't exactly thrilled to have people take pictures of them as they stuff their mouths with food. Luckily, they are also incredibly kind and wonderful people, so when I explained to them why I wanted a picture of them with food, they were all really nice about it...though many of them still asked if I could just shoot them holding their food rather than chewing it.

8. Sandwich Smiles

In part, that's probably because they were so darn excited to finish lunch and get back to the biggest pop culture convention in the world.

9. Chow Down

These cosplayers show that if you ever decide to don a costume at a convention, you have a few options: wear something simple; bring something easy to eat that's not messy; or have someone else feed you. You certainly don't want to walk around in a full-body Transformers costume all day without enjoying so much as a granola bar.

If you couldn't care less about the eating, but just want to check out some great cosplay, don't miss my gallery with over 200 costumes, or if you're looking for a pretty face, I also have 50 photos of some of the most lovely women at the convention.

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technology
Aflac's Robotic Duck Comforts Kids with Cancer
Aflac
Aflac

Every year, close to 16,000 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with cancer. That news can be the beginning of a long and draining battle that forces kids and their parents to spend large amounts of time with medical providers, enduring long and sometimes painful treatments. As The Verge reports, a bit of emotional support during that process might soon come from an unlikely source: the Alfac duck.

The supplemental insurance company announced at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that it has partnered with the medical robotics company Sproutel to design and manufacture My Special Aflac Duck, a responsive and emotive sim-bird intended exclusively for children undergoing cancer treatment.

When a child cuddles the fuzzy robotic duck, it can cuddle back. It reacts to being cradled and stroked by quacking or moving its head. Kids can also touch special RFID chips emblazoned with emoji on the duck's chest to tell it how they’re feeling, and the device will mimic those emotions.

But the duck isn’t solely for cuddling. In “IV Mode,” which can be switched on while a child is undergoing IV therapy, the duck can help the user relax by guiding them through breathing exercises. Accessories included with the toy also allow children to "draw blood" from the duck as well as administer medication, a kind of role-playing that may help patients feel more comfortable with their own treatments.

Aflac approached Sproutel with the idea after seeing Sproutel’s Jerry the Bear, a social companion robot intended to support kids with diabetes. Other robotic companions—like the Japanese-made seal Paro and Hasbro's Joy for All companion pets for seniors—have hinted at a new market for robotics that prioritize comfort over entertainment or play.

My Special Aflac Duck isn’t a commercial product and won’t be available for retail sale. Aflac intends to offer it as a gift directly to patients, with the first rollout expected at its own cancer treatment center in Atlanta, Georgia. Mass distribution is planned for later this year.

[h/t The Verge]

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Animals
Want to Recycle Your Christmas Tree? Feed It to an Elephant
Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

When the holiday season finally comes to a close, people get creative with the surplus of dead Christmas trees. One San Francisco-based artist transformed brittle shrubs into hanging installation pieces. Others use pine needles for mulch, or repurpose trees into bird sanctuaries. For the average person, sticking it into a wood chipper or "treecycling" it as part of a community program are all eco-friendly ways to say goodbye to this year's Douglas fir. None of these solutions, however, are as cute as the waste-cutting strategy employed by some zoos around the world: giving them to elephants.

Each year, zookeepers at Tierpark Berlin—a facility that bills itself as “Europe’s largest adventure animal park”—feed the elephants unsold pine trees. The plants are reportedly pesticide-free, and they serve as a good (albeit prickly) supplement to the pachyderms' usual winter diets.

A bit closer to home, the residents of The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee rely on local residents to take part in their annual Christmas Tree Drive. In addition to being nutrient-rich, the tree's needles are said to help aid in an elephant's digestion. But beyond all that, it's pretty adorable to watch.

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