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Fifth Grader Contacts the Police for Help—With Her Math Homework

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iStock

Members of Ohio's Marion Police Department recently went above and beyond the call of duty, brushing up on their elementary school math skills in the process to help a fifth-grader with her homework.

As ABC News reports, 10-year-old Lena Draper was stymied by problems that involved a combination of addition and multiplication, so she sought assistance on the local police department’s Facebook page. The student left a message, along with a few questions that left her scratching her head, including “(8 + 29) x 15.”

The police messaged Draper back, and briefly explained the mathematical order of operations to her (refresher: PEMDAS, which stands for "parentheses, exponents, multiplication, division, addition and subtraction"). “Do the numbers in the parenthesis first so in essence it would be 37 x 15,” they instructed. Draper followed up with a more difficult question—"(90 + 27) + (29 + 15) x 2"—and the officers gave her additional help.

While their hearts were in the right place, their numbers weren’t: Draper ended up getting the second problem wrong, her mother later noted, as her math mentors mistakenly instructed her to solve the addition problems in both parentheses, and to multiply that answer by two. (Instead, she should have added the numbers in the second parentheses, multiplied that answer by two, and then added the result to the numbers in the first parentheses.)

The jury’s still out on how Draper did on her homework overall, but the Marion PD received props for their willingness to assist with community issues big and small. They received the praise with modesty, and in a Facebook statement, explained that they try to give back to the community in whatever way they can. This type of incident is “really just who we are as a Police Department," the statement noted. "We are deeply connected with our wonderful citizens and they are incredibly supportive of their Police.”

“We really wondered what first made this child think to call upon us for help with homework,” the Marion PD continued. “We don't mind and it's not unheard of but still pretty rare. I believe the answer is simple ... she was made to believe that we are good people who are worthy of her trust and who will be there for her in a pinch. That kind of thing does not happen by accident.”

You can hear an account of the story in Lena's own words below, courtesy of Inside Edition.

[h/t ABC News]

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JEKCA
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Animals
Build Your Own Cat With These LEGO-Like Blocks
JEKCA
JEKCA

It’s one thing to commission a custom portrait of your pet, but it’s quite another to build a life-size sculpture of them yourself with more than a thousand LEGO-like bricks. That’s exactly what you can do with the cat sculptures made by the Hong Kong-based toy-brick-makers at JEKCA (“building blocks for kidults,” as the company describes itself).

The pet sculptures, which we spotted over on Bored Panda, come in the shape of various breeds and colors that allow you to choose one that looks uncannily like your own pet. As long as your cat looks like a typical orange tabby or tuxedo shorthair, Siamese, Persian, or other garden variety cat, at least. They come in different colors and are available in multiple positions, whether it’s sitting, walking, pouncing, or playing.

Made of more than 1200 individual bricks each, the cat sculptures run about a foot tall, and between about half a foot and a foot long, depending on whether they’re sitting, standing on their hind legs, or walking. They come with instructions for assembly and can be taken apart and built again as many times as you want. But you don’t have to worry about them falling apart, according to JEKCA, since the blocks are secured by screws. “These cats are like real sculptures and will not collapse or break apart,” the company writes on its Facebook.

Six different calico cat sculptures in different positions
JEKCA

You could build one that looks exactly like your cat or adopt one of the brick animals as a pet itself. Buy a whole team of them, and it’ll look like your house is overrun with a cat gang—minus the extreme litter box cleaning that comes with being a traditional crazy cat lady.

The cat sculptures cost between $60 and $90, plus shipping, depending on the size of the kit and how many bricks it requires. You can see them all here. If cats aren’t your favorite pet, the company also makes dogs, birds, and other animals as well. Although, sadly, unlike their domestic pets, their dolphins and deer don’t come in life-size versions.

[h/t Bored Panda]

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Aflac
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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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