Kyle Sauvé, left, Keith Campbell and Jean-Pierre Brien pick up hitchBOT from the couple that travelled with the hitchhiking robot from Halifax to New Brunswick. The robot’s creators hope it can bum rides all the way to Victoria.


Bumming rides from a trio of road tripping dudes and a couple on a camping getaway, hitchBOT the talking robot is covering ground in its quest to hitchhike unaccompanied across Canada.
With a beer bucket for a body and gumboots on its feet, the child-sized robot has travelled at least as far as the New Brunswick-Quebec border since Sunday morning, when it was left on the side of the road near the Halifax airport.
“I couldn’t be more pleased. It’s really fantastic,” said David Smith, a McMaster University researcher and co-creator of the hitchBOT project.
Smith and a team of students and professors from McMaster, Ryerson and the University of Toronto — hitchBOT’s “family” — built the robot and programmed it to converse with drivers that pick it up. The goal is to see if a specially designed talking robot can successfully thumb its way across the continent to an art gallery in Victoria.
hitchBOT can tweet and post photos to Instagram, track its position with GPS and share knowledge of its whereabouts. It has foam tubes for limbs, yellow gloves and boots, and an extendable rod to lean back when it’s on the side of the road with its thumb out. It also features an LED panel for a “face,” which can show text and faces to express emotions.

Last week, Smith and his daughter drove hitchBOT to Halifax for the start of its journey.
BtoYHOEIgAEx-cL“It was literally less than two minutes from the time we set the ’bot on the road and the first vehicle pulled over,” said Smith. The first people to give a ride to the robot were a couple on their way to camp in New Brunswick, he said.
Jean-Pierre Brien and his friends Kyle Sauvé and Keith Campbell were travelling to a wedding in Saguenay, Que., when they realized hitchBOT was also on the road. Following the robot’s progress on its website, the friends from Halifax saw that the couple who first picked up the robot had left it at a campground in New Brunswick’s Kouchibouguac National Park.
They drove the robot through New Brunswick, tweeting photos of the experience and introducing hitchBOT to people at rest stops. “It was really great that we were able to bring him out and introduce him to people and have a few laughs along the way,” said Brien, 27.
“We got a lot of funny looks,” added Sauvé.
Instead of taking it all the way to Saguenay, they left the robot at an information centre in Campbellton, N.B., a small town right across the Quebec border. They wanted to give someone else a chance with hitchBOT.
“We could’ve taken him further but I kind of like the idea of taking him part of the way and then passing the torch,” said Campbell.
That’s exactly what Smith and his team hoped for when they conceived the idea for hitchBOT.
“That’s the great part,” said Smith. “People can kind of collectively tell a story.”
Aside from regional knowledge and information about its quest to the west, hitchBOT can also spurt out random comments. Unprompted, the robot started telling Brien and his friends that it wanted a pet dog, so they stopped and bought it a plush toy dog, which they left with it in Campbellton.
Since then, according to the robot’s website, hitchBOT hasn’t moved much, having been taken east through northeastern New Brunswick before returning to the Campbellton area.
Regardless, Brien and his friends have faith that other summertime road trippers will follow their lead and make sure the robot makes it to B.C. in one piece.
“It was pretty easy to get it this far,” said Brien. “I’m sure it’ll keep right on trucking.”
You may not even be thinking about back-to-school shopping yet, but some retailers are getting a jump on that other important consumer holiday: Christmas.
(At least according to the Naked News Department!)
1144045-Cartoon-Of-A-Chorus-Line-Of-Naked-Men-Dancing-The-Can-Can-Royalty-Free-Vector-ClipartWe all know someone who brags about having their Christmas shopping done before Halloween, and Costco stores appear ready to help them this year. Christmas trees, decorations, wrapping paper, and other seasonal items began appearing on the big box stores’ shelves in recent days.

Many customers were caught off guard, while some were happy to be reminded of their favourite holiday.
“Absolutely it’s crazy,” one Ottawa Costco customer told CTV News. “By the time Christmas comes around you don’t even want to take out your own decorations you’re so sick of them.”
“I was shocked,” said another customer. “It’s too early, but still it’s nice to see it.”
Another customer said she is already counting down the days to Christmas.

“I was actually really happy about it because I’m a Christmas fanatic,” she said, while eating an ice cream cone in the summer heat.
17865-Clipart-Illustration-Of-A-Nude-Middle-Aged-Cacuasian-Woman-With-Black-Curly-Hair-Preparing-To-Take-A-ShowerBut at Ottawa’s Tinseltown Christmas Emporium, where Audy Czigler sells holiday wares 365 days a year, business doesn’t slow down just because Santa is sipping summer holiday Mai Thai’s on a beach somewhere.
“There’s quite an influx of Christmas in July parties that we’ve noticed,” Czigler told CTV. In fact, business is so good that the store is expanding.
With a report from CTV Ottawa’s Eric Longley
Read more:
So, you thought cows were just stupid and docile eh?
A farmhand from the Northwest Territories has died in a strange accident on a ranch in B.C.’s north Okanagan.
untitledThe BC Coroners Service says 49-year-old Allen Powder died July 1 as he was transferring cattle from one corral to another at a ranch near Cherryville, north of Kelowna.

The Yellowknife resident was working with another man as they moved the animals.
One of the cows became agitated and aggressive, and Coroner Larry Marzinzik says it attacked the victim!
(Another victim of “Mad Cow Disease!”)
Read more:

police13The police officer charged in last summer’s shooting death of Sammy Yatim while the Toronto teenager was aboard an empty streetcar will face a new charge of attempted murder, according to a report. (Const. James Forcillo is already charged with second-degree murder!)
You might remember that Yatim, 18, was shot dead on July 27, 2013, as he stood aboard an empty streetcar while surrounded by police.
Now, here’s the rub, bunky!
Why is this cop not only out on bail, but still on active duty at the Toronto Police Services?
Here’s another ne of those articles ya don’t see every day, folks!
Some 5,000 giant anteaters are thought to exist in the wild, and encounters with humans are rare and largely harmless. The hairy animals with long noses and an appetite for insects do sport “pocketknives” for front claws, AFP reports, which they typically put to use digging into anthills. In two separate incidents in Brazil, however, the 4- to 7-foot-long animals have dug into people instead, and the hunters who encountered them bled to death “These injuries are very serious and we have no way of knowing whether it is a defense behavior acquired by the animals,” one researcher says, adding that it’s important to give the anteaters space.
Adding to the trouble: Anteaters have poor vision and are known for being easily startled.
And another one:
46-year-old Salvador Martinez told police he killed, skinned, and refrigerated Onyx, the Chihuahua-dachshund mix because he was worried there wasn’t enough food for everyone living at his house. (His girlfriend told cops in Albuquerque, New Mexico, that wasn’t true!)
BUT THEN……., what did they mean with this next line?
Martinez was committed. He went so far as to use the Internet to find ways to cook the family pet.
Did they mean he was committed to cooking the animal, or was he committed for WANTING to cook the animal?
“It is extremely disturbing to know that someone would be that brutal with a family animal,” Torrance County Sheriff Heath White told KRQE.
White added there were several children home at the time and they “had full knowledge of what was taking place with their family pet.” (However, a woman identifying herself as the ex-girlfriend of Martinez posted in the comments section of the KRQE story that her grandchildren were not present at the time of the grisly discovery.)
untitledWhite confirmed “the carcass was still inside the refrigerator being prepped for dinner,” when Martinez was taken into custody. (Eating a dog is legal in New Mexico, but he will be charged with extreme animal cruelty and child abuse.)
However, Martinez will probably land in the slammer for another reason.
In 2003, he was convicted for transporting cocaine into the US from Mexico.
His current arrest landed him in federal custody for probation violation.
Winter cold kills more than twice as many North Americans as does summer heat, according to a report released today by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
AND FINALLY: Our apologies to Indian wrestler Rajeev Tomar who lost the men’s 125kg freestyle final match to Canada’s Korey Jarvis and settled for the silver medal in the 2014 Commonwealth Games at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) here Tuesday.
We thought it was the “Indian Wrestling” we did when I was a kid, but apparently this was normal wrestling and the guy was from India!!!!
(An understandable mistake! -Ed.)

Indian wrestling is a tradition passed down as a fun and competitive sport for everyone. Whether it is in college dorm rooms or on a family camping trip, you can find and participate in Indian Wrestling everywhere you go. Why not try an Indian Wrestling competition for your next family get together or college bonding experience?

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