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Aug 5 – 100000 robotic lawn mowers can sing Happy Birthday to Curiosity (husqvarna.com)
98 points by viblo on Aug 5, 2022 | hide | past | favorite | 35 comments

There's absolutely no reason to do this, and yet it's awesome and I'm glad Husqvarna is doing it.

Now I want to look at a new robomower!

There is indeed absolutely no reason to do this - and I'm personally anti-lawn (I prefer a nice naturally overgrown green space outside my home). But even I can get on the "this is awesome" train.

> Now I want to look at a new robomower!

Me too. And then I saw the price (of the higher end Husqvarna at least). Ha! Nevermind.

The reason is marketing

Haha, yeah, just look at the second line of the grandparent comment...

Fortunately this is opt-in. Imagine being that guy managing a fleet of these things mowing a giant golf course and three times a day just stop for no reason and start singing.

If they are automated, how would you know?

If a tree falls in a forest ...

Was anyone else expecting a lawn-mower-based version of the Floppotron[0]?

(E.g. here's the Star Wars theme[1] played by the Floppotron, from the inventor's YouTube channel[2]).

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floppotron

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KS02q0BUnY

[2] https://www.youtube.com/user/sh4dowww90/videos

Sounds fun and all, but mark my words - after a year or two we will see some bug reports about lawn mowers randomly singing "Happy Birthday", and no one will know why.

> the loneliest robot in the universe

No. This was and will always be Marvin the Paranoid Android getting stuck on Sqornshellous Zeta for 1.5 million years.

Also, Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity and a few others may disagree. (Would Viking 1 and 2 qualify as robots?)

I'll be very concerned if Curiosity finds any mattresses up there to converse with.

It will need to find a swamp first.

Two people on HN who seem to really know where their towels are. I am delighted.

Can Curiosity really claim the title of “loneliest robot in the universe”?

I'd put the voyager probes as more lonely. Not to mention any number of defunct spacecraft that are still operating out there. They don't have off switches. Somewhere out there is a space probe periodically trying to phone home only to discover we are no longer listening.


""The oldest one I've seen is Transit 5B-5. And it launched in 1965," he says, referring to a nuclear-powered U.S. Navy navigation satellite that still circles the Earth in a polar orbit, long forgotten by all but a few amateurs interested in hearing it "sing" as it passes overhead."

This reminds me of the article "What football will look like in 17776?" a short story about football from the perspective of space probes. https://www.sbnation.com/a/17776-football

Thanks for the link. I hadn't seen this before and enjoyed it very much.

Yeah, mars is getting pretty crowded at this point! I guess the voyager probes might be lonelier, if you count them as robots.

At least as lonely as WALL-E...

No, because a robot cannot feel loneliness yet.

Relevant xkcd... https://xkcd.com/695/

That is so sad :(

There's a fan-made version (I think from xkcdsw) with a happier ending https://i.imgur.com/VbKV9DF.jpeg

this is the sorta thing that makes you realize we're all human and maybe we like all these cool toys b/c they're fun

I absolutely love this.

Ha feels worthy of a minor plot-line out of (future) Futurama


Is it just me or is your comment completely off-topic? Is there some connection that I missed?

Is it just because there's "lawnmower" in some past offtopic comment quoting a video that you felt the need to try and derail conversation here?

That's 10 minutes I'm not going to get back.

I'm not that commenter but I'm also prone to tangential dot connecting in situations like this. The only explicit connection in that comment to this post is the word lawnmower, yes. The implicit assumed connection is that we all know what Oracle is, and who Larry Ellison is, and the behavior of those two parties, and that further we may be amused by an anecdote about them containing the word lawnmower that the commenter remembered.

My understanding is that this type of tangential comment is in general tolerated, or even celebrated on HN in the spirit of being open to intellectual spontaneity, especially when the article is "light" in content and there's not much folks want to discuss about it. This is kind of a fluff-y marketing piece by Husqvarna so, might as well share general lawnmower related content of amusement.

OK. My own personal take is, it confused me-- did I click on the wrong article? Does Ellison have some connection to this vendor? Then, I find out it's just a joke bringing up a topic that annoys me (and evidently annoys the person posting) in what would otherwise be an innocuous fluff piece.

I like tangents, but this is an awful tenuous excuse to inject an 11 year old rant about Ellison into the discussion.

I disagree and think that the comment was funny and on topic.

My point was to compare how far in only 11 years lawnmowers have progressed towards being more anthropomorphic and human like, flexibly upgrading their abilities and learning new behaviors and skills, joyfully singing together in support of their relatives who've inspired humanity by exploring distant planets, while in that same amount of time Larry Ellison hasn't become any more human, or even remotely anthropomorphizable, or grown spiritually, or improved itself in any way, or sung a song of celebration of anyone else's life but its own, or contributed to humanity by one iota, and is still exactly like an old soulless antique gas powered lawnmower that it was so aptly compared to 11 years ago.

If it annoys you so much for me to remind everyone not to fall into the trap of anthropomorphizing Larry Ellison, just because actual lawnmowers have evolved so much, then you've already fallen into that trap yourself and need to be reminded more frequently than every 11 years not to waste your empathy on a lawnmower that has none.

Speaking of "results that fall short", its own "Ellison Foundation" bullshit charity web site doesn't even have a valid https certificate. Why can't a lawnmower care enough to simply hire some real humans to maintain its own self aggrandizing pseudo-charity web site, at least as well as its minions maintain all those other web sites that actually make it money?


>www.ellisonfoundation.org Issued by R3. Expired: Tuesday, May 31, 2022 at 02:16:03 Central European Summer Time. www.ellisonfoundation.org certificate has expired


>Larry Ellison, one of the world’s richest people, asks for a second chance at charity

>$60 billion hangs in the balance.

>“Good motives are rarely enough,” Ellison writes on the website of his charitable foundation, which he relaunched a year ago next month. “Good philanthropy needs the ambition to make sustainable change and to not be satisfied with results that fall short.”

>The founder of Oracle says he wants to be judged on his results at the Larry Ellison Foundation. But he must also reckon with the fact that for all his success in the world of making money, he has not succeeded in the world of giving it away. He has basked in positive publicity for promises to donate millions and then retracted offers with little explanation; sunk hundreds of millions into moonshot projects like life-extension research before suddenly pulling funding; and made public promises about charitable giving that he appears nowhere close to fulfilling. Nothing has quite worked out.

>And so Ellison’s recent decision to reboot what could be a $60 billion charity amounts effectively to a do-over after years of wandering in the philanthropic desert. And it offers him a second chance to make right on a record blemished by erratic cancellations, unusual legal maneuvers, and unmet pledges. A year after its relaunch, however, Ellison’s foundation is doing nothing publicly about the once-in-a-lifetime pandemic that has created a crisis moment for philanthropy. His company, meanwhile, has built a coronavirus database that critics see as junk science.

>Recode’s review of Ellison’s charitable record reveals how the longtime Oracle CEO has used his charity money to pursue everything from backing idiosyncratic pet projects to smoothing over disputes with angry shareholders.

>And the personal leverage Ellison has often gained through his philanthropy challenges the broader theory that exempting the : -wealthy’s donations from taxes actually helps solve the world’s problems. There is new pressure across the world of billionaires to focus their philanthropy to address inequities in society, rather than just pursuing their passions or funding their alma maters.

>In some ways, Ellison’s charitable track record is a case study of the shortcomings, loopholes, and lack of accountability that define Big Philanthropy. He has relaunched his mission to focus on more attainable goals rather than unorthodox projects, but the question of how he will be held accountable to his promises this time around persists.

>Ellison’s personal representatives declined repeated requests to make him or foundation officials available for interviews about his restart and his checkered past — a reminder that big-money charity is often a black box.


>“You can only buy so many boats and planes,” Ellison said in 2003. “And I’ve tried.”


>Larry Ellison has abruptly shut down the foundation he spent years setting up

>The Oracle billionaire has made a drastic decision yet again so he can focus on combating Covid-19.

>Larry Ellison is abruptly shutting down the work of his charitable foundation, Recode has learned, yet another whiplash moment in the philanthropic history of one of the world’s richest people.

>Ellison has decided to disband the team and program that worked for his sole philanthropy organization, the Larry Ellison Foundation, as part of an attempt to refocus his giving on combating the coronavirus, according to an email sent by the leader of one of Ellison’s grantees and obtained by Recode. Ellison will run that upcoming program through a “medical philanthropy” — one that does not currently exist. It is unclear what shape this new effort will take.

>The sudden decision reverses at least two years of costly work by Ellison’s aides to plot a new path forward for the philanthropic efforts of the Oracle founder, who was seeking another chance to give away his $70 billion after decades of false starts and unmet promises.

>Recode reported last week on Ellison’s blemished track record, including the fact that his foundation, which is based in the United Kingdom, was doing nothing publicly to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, Ellison has evidently decided to do over this do-over.


>Yet it is still another remarkable change of heart. The closure of the London-based operation would be at least the third time that Ellison has, with little warning, shut down parts of his philanthropy program, leaving grantees in the lurch. In 2005, he decided one day to stop spending his money on researching infectious disease. And in 2013, after spending hundreds of millions of dollars on the cause, Ellison told aides out of nowhere to halt all new funding for anti-aging research, which had been his foremost philanthropic passion. So this fits a pattern.


I am now tempted to spend time creating a deep fake of Larry Ellison singing happy birthday to Curio-chan.

On the other hand, I feel I would be insulting Curio-chan.

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