On this day :
1812 War of 1812 begins, 1778 British abandon Philadelphia, 1923 Checker Cab produces first taxi at Kalamazoo factory, 1864 Union hero Joshua Chamberlain is wounded at Petersburg, 1979 Carter and Brezhnev sign the SALTII treaty, 1984 A radio host is gunned down for his controversial views, 1972 Mysterious crash at Heathrow, 1815 Napoleon defeated at Waterloo, 1983 First American woman in space, 1942 Film critic Roger Ebert born, 1937 Novelist Gail Godwin is born, 1967 The Monterey Pop Festival reaches its climax, 1847 Alexander Murray departs for the Yukon, 1798 Adams passes first of Alien and Sedition Acts, 1960 Arnold Palmer wins US Open, 1965 SAC B52s are used for the first time in South Vietnam, 1966 Westmoreland requests more troops, 1915 French troops halt fighting in Artois region, 1940 Hitler and Mussolini meet in Munich,


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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