On this day :
1814 Napoleon exiled to Elba, 1721 Moravian missionary David Zeisberger is born, 1888 Henry Ford marries, 1862 Confederates surrender Fort Pulaski, 1951 Truman relieves MacArthur of duties in Korea, 1870 War is narrowly averted, 1968 Last survivors of ferry accident rescued, 1970 Apollo 13 launched to moon, 1979 Idi Amin overthrown, 1988 Cher wins Best Actress Oscar for Moonstruck, 1931 Dorothy Parker resigns as drama critic for The New Yorker, 1961 Bob Dylan plays his first major gig in New York City, 1803 Talleyrand offers to sell Louisiana, 1977 President Carter hosts White House Easter egg roll, 2004 Phil Mickelson wins first major at Masters, 1963 Troops from Hawaii sent to South Vietnam, 1972 B52s strike North Vietnamese positions, 1919 International Labor Organization founded, 1945 The US army liberates Buchenwald concentration camp,

Essays

Of Stopping Robots

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I kind of smiled when I heard about it. A competition called, “Man with tools v/s Robots.” I immediately said yes, for I was sure I could do something. I had to choose between making a remote controlled robot and being given a simple tool to stop it. A competition on a Saturday meant that mom would allow me no matter what. I wanted to be the Man with the tools so that I don’t have to work hard making a robot. Call it wisdom or laziness.

            The next Saturday I was sent to a place. Obviously a venue is needed. The place had different grounds to suit the robot’s needs - Metal, marble, mud, sand and water. I went to the “Man with the tools” registering counter. The instruction said I must stop robots from doing what they do. Simple, I thought it was.

            First opponent – the robot could move in any direction. I was given a block. I placed it in front of the robot. I thought it was done. But the robot turned ninety degrees and went around the block. The guy at the controls smiled. He raced it at high speed. Immediately I placed the block in such a way that it impacted half the robot’s body and flipped it on its side. Man won.

            Second foe – the ground was beach sand, and the robot could dig a tunnel and come out. I had a plastic bowl. I observed that the robot worked on the clap of a hand. I covered it with the bowl, thinking it won’t hear. It did. Then I had an idea. I picked up the robot and dropped it into the bowl. Since there was no sand below it could not dig. The owner’s hands went red with all the clapping. I won.

            I kept on winning till I reached the finals. I was given a toy robot! The opponent’s robot was a robot killer. Hesitatingly, I made my robot fight. My robot ran towards the other but it was crushed under the other’s weight. I have never seen a robot so strong for its size. My robot’s moving parts were all gone, and the enemy was going to finish him and win. But its battery ran out and it stopped. My robot was broken but not destroyed. I won the tournament. Hooray!

            The first prize was an expensive robot. Thank God I had not made one for the tournament. It would have been a waste of energy. Next year I will again take part. But this time I will be on the Robot’s side.

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