Japan Builds 59-Foot Gundam Robot THAT CAN MOVE ON ITS OWN

Japan's Gundam Robot is Moving
(Twitter/catsuka)

There is big news if you’re a fan of either anime or giant robots capable of taking over the world and enslaving mankind. Engineers at the Gundam Factory in Japan have built a life-sized giant Gundam robot, built with a mechanical skeleton so it can move on its own.

If you’re an anime fan, you’re already aware of the booming popularity. And if you’re a fan of robots, well, you know they’re going to take over the world. Sure, they start by doing simple chores like mowing the lawn and cleaning your floors, but even after a self-driving car killed an autonomous robot, people still think it’s a good idea to start building them this big.

If you’re a numbers guy, the Yokohama Gundam is 59 feet tall and weighs 55,000 pounds. I’m not sure if I mentioned this but it can MOVE ON ITS OWN. For now, anime fans see the robot at the Gundam factory outside Tokyo. Soon, they will be able to see them stomping all over cities around the world (probably).

The huge robot, based on the wildly popular Gundam robot from the anime series Mobile Suit Gundam from the 70s (thanks, Wikipedia) started earlier this year. And if this is where we’re at now, it’s not hard to imagine a future where these things are EVERYWHERE.

It’s not the only Gundam replica in Japan, but the RX-78-2 Gundam robot is the only one that can move.

Definitely an astonishing engineering feat. But perhaps they were too preoccupied with whether or not they could, instead of asking if they should.

Hacker Turns LEGO Super Mario Into Super Mario Controller

Hacker turns LEGO Super Mario into controller
(Twitter/r1ckp)

There are so many different ways to play video games. Some people prefer PC games, while others flock to the newest gaming consoles. You can use your keyboard, a wheel fit for Rainbow Road, or even your entire body. There’s really no wrong way to play video games, as long as you’re having a good time. A hacker from Hamburg decided to put that to the test, building one of the most unique gaming controllers in existence. VR may let you put yourself in the game, but Rick’s controller let him bring Super Mario out.

Self-proclaimed hardware hacker Rick recently took to Twitter to show the world his incredible creation, a LEGO Mario that he had programmed to act as a controller while playing Super Mario. Leaning LEGO Mario forward makes on-screen Mario move forward. Bouncing LEGO Mario on the LEGO pad makes him jump, and tapping him on the LEGO pipe makes him slide down the on-screen pipe (all of these components came with the LEGO Super Mario set).

“I heard about the Lego Mario set in a podcast and did not find any technical info or teardown on the web. I had a spare amazon giftcard, so I ordered one to reverse engineer it and see what’s in it,” Rick told The Dad. “My wife suggested to play Mario with it and I loved the idea.”

In just four hours, Rick managed to figure out how to intercept LEGO Super Mario’s Bluetooth signals and program them to communicate with the on-screen Super Mario. Rick is far from an amateur when it comes to programming and engineering, if that wasn’t clear. He tinkered around with electronics as a teen, studied electrical engineering at his university, and has worked in the fields of software development and electronic development for 15 years.

The Super Mario project was far from the first fascinating piece of technology Rick has created. “I build a lot of devices that intersect between art and electronics,” he explained.

He’s made a Robo-lamp that tracks objects, reminiscent of the inexplicably adorable Pixar lamp. A reverse-geocache box and pocket-sized device that measures the moisture of face masks are also among this talented hacker’s creations.

“I really like to inspire other people to build stuff” Rick explains, “especially if it‘s just for fun or because you can.”

10-Year-Old Boy Immediately Finds Ancient Sword With New Metal Detector

Metal Detector Sword
(Facebook/Clonoe Gallery)

There was a time when having a metal detector was every kid’s dream. It was a simpler time, before everything became an app, and back when kids liked to play outside. The metal detector was awesome because you never knew when you were about to find ancient pirate treasure buried conveniently in your Midwestern suburb. And the metal detector craze isn’t gone everywhere, as a 10-year-old boy recently got one and the first time he used it, he found an ancient sword on the banks of a river near his home.

Well done Fionntan Hughes, Derrylaughan who found this old sword near his home. Fionntan got a new metal detector for…

Posted by Clonoe Gallery on Friday, July 31, 2020

Treasure hunting isn’t as much fun as it used to be. These days, it’s more about eccentric millionaires burying a chest and sending people on a futile chase than it is about finding something old and cool. Treasure just doesn’t seem as much fun in real life as it does when Nicolas Cage is involved.

But stories like this renew our faith in the simple joys of a metal detector and an imagination. A 10-year-old boy in Ireland begged for a metal detector for his birthday. His dad delivered, and the two went out on their property with a cousin to see what they could find. After a couple of hits on small metal trinkets, the boy landed on something more substantial. A 300-year-old sword.

“I felt excited… it was a sword and it was just here… I didn’t really expect anything too big,” the kid told BBC Newsline. Antique arms experts believe it’s a basket hilt-type sword used by English officers from 1720 to 1780.

After their discovery, the boy’s dad reached out to the National Museum’s Northern Ireland archaeology curator for more insight on the sword, as he didn’t want a piece of history to just keep decaying in his garage.

It’s unsure what will happen to the artifact, but to be a boy who pulls an ancient sword from the ground sounds like the start of a straight-to-streaming TV series. Even if he doesn’t have magical powers or a future as the chosen one for mankind, he will have a pretty badass story and a great bonding experience with his dad.

Computer Programmer Makes Doom Playable on a Pregnancy Test

doom pregnancy test
(Twitter/Foone)

Until 2020, pregnancy tests have had one primary function. A life-changing function, sure, but there have probably been many people who buy a pregnancy test and think, is this all there is? Shouldn’t this be able to do more? And now it can, as one computer programmer was able to play Doom on a pregnancy test.

It is no secret that our appreciation of gaming is vast here. We’ve seen the science that says playing video games with your kids is good for their health and beneficial to their development. We even have a gaming league just for dads. So when one computer programmer was able to take the “Will it run Doom?” challenge to the epic next level, we have to tip our collective The Dad cap.

Foone Turing was the programmer who was able to take the “Will it Doom?” challenge and just completely blow it out of the water. For those unfamiliar with the long history of the “Will it run Doom?” challenge, it basically boils down to people trying to play the legendary video game on appliances, gadgets, and anything that would surprise you. Think calculators, fridges, ATMs, etc.

And now, pregnancy tests.

Foon is a programmer who works with decades-old hardware, so if anyone was gonna pull off something like this, it was them. He started by posting a video of the classic game on Twitter but then was able to up the ante and actually play Doom on the pregnancy test using a wireless keyboard.

As he explains on Twitter, he did have to make a couple of essential changes, namely the CPU and screen, but it’s still amazing he could get the game to run in a pregnancy test shell on a 128-by-32 pixel display.

I will never look at a pregnancy test the same again.

Pilots Landing at LAX Baffled After Passing a Guy in a Jetpack

Pilots at LAX Pass Man in Jetpack
(Youtube/CBS This Morning)

We’ve hit a point in 2020 where nothing is all that surprising anymore. Carole Baskin of Tiger King fame cursed us with a very questionable 50 Cent cover, you can now crack open a cold one with your dog. Oh, and we’re in the middle of a pandemic that somehow seems to leave us with more questions every single day. In any other year, what happened to these pilots as they were approaching LAX last Sunday would have left us flabbergasted. This year, all we can really say is, “yeah, that sounds about right.”

3,000 feet in the air, one baffled American Airlines pilot contacted the control tower with an unusual issue. According to LiveATC.net, the first pilot to make the call was traveling from Philadelphia to L.A.. “Tower, American 1997,” he said, “we just passed a guy in a jetpack.”

The perplexed air traffic controllers tried to collect more details, learning that the airborne airhead was just about 300 yards away from the plane. Before long, a SkyWest pilot called the control tower confirming, “tower, we just saw the guy pass by us.”

While there are jetpacks that can reach altitudes of 3,000 or more, the hefty price tag combined with the technical skills a person would need to operate them leads to the assumption that they’d also learn some of the regulations. Or, at the very least, they’d realize that flying them near one of the world’s busiest airports is at best a bad idea.

The Los Angeles Police Department was contacted, as commercial airline airspace is highly regulated near airports. For safety reasons, it would have been illegal for anyone but the assigned pilots to fly there. After sending out helicopters to try to track down the hovering hooligan, the LAPD returned empty-handed. The identity of the man in the jetpack remains a mystery.

Although this jetpack sighting was a first for these pilots, according to the FAA, unmanned aircraft sighting reports have drastically increased over the past two years, and the agency now receives about 100 such reports per month. More people than ever are operating drones, but many don’t take the time to learn the rules and regulations for doing so. “The agency wants to send out a clear message that operating drones around airplanes, helicopters and airports is dangerous and illegal” the FAA website states.

The investigation into the flying felon is ongoing, but hopefully, in the future, he remembers to stay grounded.

Digital Snowday! Remote Workers and Learners Experience Zoom Crash

Digital Snowday
(Getty/SanyaSM)

This is the world we live in now, with huge chunks of society relegated to the online ecosphere. Schools around the country have gone remote for the first semester and many workplaces have shifted to operating remotely since the spring. More than ever before, we live in a world of Facetime and Zoom. So when Zoom crashed for huge portions of the country on Monday, that outage united kids ready for their first day of school with remote workers everywhere in a first-of-its-kind “Digital Snowday.”


Everyone is finding their own speed on Zoom. While we may be a little partial to the dad who dressed in different costumes to Zoom-bomb his wife’s conference calls, we’re all getting used to it at our own pace. Some are even going the extra mile to nerd out with their Zoom backgrounds. But we’ve never realized how dependent we’ve become on the video teleconferencing platform until it crashed on Monday.


Starting in the morning, the service wasn’t working for millions of users in the eastern half of the country That meant no school, no work meetings, some court proceedings were affected. It was a total mess. But, for the remote students, it’s the closest they’ll come to a snow day. Sure, they no longer have a commute and won’t see classes canceled for icy roads when that video conferencing program goes down, it’s quitting time for a large portion of the country. Service was restored to affected users by 4:00 p.m.

Thousands and thousands of meetings had to be rescheduled, and what was the first day of remote school for many kids was completely junked, but we need to look at the positives. Sure, it’s horribly frustrating to teachers already gamely giving it their all in the brave new remote learning world. But it’s also a rare occurrence (hopefully), as Monday’s outage was the first of its scope.

And we all learned a lesson from #ZoomDown. When our trusty video conferencing platforms fails us, we need a contingency plan. So next time Zoom craps out for huge swaths of the world, just cross your fingers that Microsoft’s servers are still stable, and fire up that Xbox.

Government Creates Task Force to Monitor Potential Alien Encounters

UFO Navy Jets
(Department of Defense)

In any other year, the government’s acknowledgment that they have footage of unidentified aircraft that may or may not be extraterrestrial in nature would be the biggest story of the year.

In 2020, it’s barely been noticed. But unlike murder hornets, we may be hearing more about this story as time goes on.

Back in April, video was released of three videos taken by US Navy pilots showcasing objects acting erratically in the sky, and flying in patterns that don’t make sense. They’ve been classified as UAPs – unidentified aerial phenomena – and even though the public may not be paying much attention, the government is. So much so that the Pentagon has created a task force to monitor these things and, presumably, to help gather and analyze information surrounding any such sightings.

On August 4th, Defense Secretary David Norquist announced the formation of the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF).

“The Department of Defense established the UAPTF to improve its understanding of, and gain insight into, the nature and origins of UAPs. The mission of the task force is to detect, analyze and catalog UAPs that could potentially pose a threat to US national security,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

The formation of the task force comes on the heels of the Senate requiring the secretary of defense and director of national intelligence to prepare a public report detailing what they’ve learned about these UAPs. Hopefully, they’ve already checked out the Berkshire UFO episode of the new Unsolved Mysteries on Netflix!

This is the first time the United States government has created – or admitted its created – a team to investigate potential alien contact, and it makes sense that it’s happening in 2020. Stay tuned for news that the Navy has discovered Atlantis!

NASA Dads Killed Time After SpaceX Splashdown by Making Prank Calls

NASA Dads Kill Time After SpaceX Splashdown by Making Prank Calls
(YouTube/AmericaSpace Twitter/Enterprise_Flt)

Imagine you’ve spent the last two months in space. You made history by being the first astronaut to travel to the International Space Station in a commercially-built spacecraft, and you’re finally back on Earth counting down the seconds until you can see your family. You’re bobbing up and down in the Gulf of Mexico after a successful splashdown, and the only thing left for you to do is kill time while the crew inspects your capsule. What do you do with that time? This was a question astronauts Robert L. Behnken and Douglas G. Hurley faced on Sunday as they became the first astronauts to travel to the International Space Station and back on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Capsule. The choice was pretty easy for these dads – may as well make some prank calls.

During a Houston welcome-home ceremony, Hurley recalled, “Five hours ago, we were in a spaceship, bobbing around, making prank satellite phone calls to whoever we could get ahold of. Which was kind of fun, by the way,”

You don’t have to take Hurley’s word for it. Several people who were on the receiving end of the pair’s prank calls stepped forward to back his story. One of those people was Anthony Vareha, NASA’s 91st flight director. He stated on Twitter, “I received one of these calls at the flight director console. It started with an opening line like ‘Hi it’s Doug and Bob and we’re in the ocean.’ I think my response was ‘Yeah, I can see that.’”

Megan McArthur, a NASA astronaut, and Behnken’s wife was another recipient of the unexpected phone call. She stated, “On my phone it said ‘Spam Risk’. Glad I answered anyway!” which is pretty unfair, considering how many times I’ve answered a “spam risk” call and never once has it been from an astronaut.

After nine weeks in space, these NASA dads fully deserved to blow off some steam. Apparently, prank calls truly are the universal time-wasters. Next time you’re about to send a “spam risk” call to voicemail, maybe do a quick check to see what the people at NASA are up to that day.

NASA Dads’ SpaceX Mission Was a Splashing Success

NASA Dads’ SpaceX Mission Was a Splashing Success
(Twitter/NASA)

If ever there was a time to take a vacation from Earth, now would be ideal. For nearly two months, astronauts and dads Robert L. Behnken and Douglas G. Hurley have been soaking up the atmosphere in the International Space station after being the first astronauts in history to travel to space in a commercially-built capsule. NASA hired both Boeing and SpaceX to build spacecrafts that can transport astronauts between Earth and the International space station, and SpaceX’s first mission was a success.

Not only was SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule the first privately-built capsule NASA sent to orbit, but it was the first time since 1975 that any American space crew had utilized a water landing, otherwise known as a splashdown. NASA and SpaceX staff weren’t the only ones counting down the minutes until the Dragon Endeavour’s return.

“I’m happy you went into space, but I’m even happier that you’re coming back home,” Hurley’s son Jack told him early Sunday morning.

“Wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, Daddy, wake up! Don’t worry, you can sleep in tomorrow. Hurry home so we can go get my dog!” Behnken’s son Theo exclaimed, which just goes to show that if you promise your kid a dog, even going to space for a while isn’t going to make them forget.

On Sunday, after a 21-hour voyage from the International Space Station, the two Astronaut dads splashed down safely in the Gulf of Mexico. The landing went mostly as planned, with the capsule deploying four large parachutes to slow its descent to 15 miles per hour for landing. There was a small delay caused by toxic nitrogen tetroxide fumes around the exterior of the capsule, which was caused by one of the spacecraft’s fuels – fortunately, the crew was able to clean the fuel tanks without much trouble. The capsule was pulled from the water by a crane and set down on a boat nearby where staff was waiting to help the astronauts out of the spacecraft.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine was thrilled by the success of the mission. He explained that the Crew Dragon endeavor signified “a new era of human spaceflight where NASA is no longer the purchaser, owner and operator of all the hardware. We are going to be a customer, one customer of many customers in a very robust commercial marketplace for human spaceflight to low Earth orbit.”

That’s one small step for dads, one giant leap for dadkind.

The NBA Is Using Fans With Webcams in Virtual Courtside Seats

NBA Webcam Fans
(Bleacher Report)

The NBA restart has been fantastic television and has already given us some great highlights. The league seems to be doing everything right, as no players have tested positive for COVID-19. And the NBA has become the first of the major pro sports leagues to have fans back in courtside seats. Yeah, OK, so they aren’t there in person, but the league has utilized virtual fans on their courtside video screens.

This isn’t the fake fans the NFL is planning to use, these are fans watching and responding to the action real-time (with a delay of a few seconds) and reacting on webcams. The league is displaying the groups of fans on the 17-foot LED screens surrounding the floor. The league is utilizing Microsoft Teams “Together” mode to put fans in the virtual courtside seats.

The results are kind of cool actually. It’s better than nothing, and because they constantly change up what’s on the screens, it doesn’t get too boring either.

And, you never know who is gonna show up. Eagle-eyed fans even spotted a few former players, including former All-Stars Chris Bosh and Kerry Kittles.


The process for getting to snag one of the virtual seats is different for each team. Some teams have a form on their website for interested fans. Others have been just reaching out to season ticket holders and team VIPs. A few NBA sponsors also have some real estate, and are running contests for fans to snag “seats.”

If you are one of the lucky ones to get to watch from one of the virtual seats, there are a few rules. Seats are limited to one person each, no signs, no inappropriate messages, and no offensive behavior. Moderators monitor each fan “section” can have the power to remove them.

So, if Chris Bosh magically disappears, it may be technical difficulties, or he may have been given the boot (this is just a joke, only the New York Knicks would get out a legend).

12-Yr-Old Proudly Shows Dad His Social Awareness Machine Invention

12-Year-Old Proudly Shows Dad His Social Awareness Machine Invention
(Twitter/kylegotjokes2)

For the past several months, we’ve been told to practice social distancing to protect ourselves and those around us from COVID-19. A seemingly simple task, right? Stay six feet apart to prevent the spread of droplets from one person to another. If you’ve ever tried to eyeball the length of a shelf or cabinet though, you’ve probably realized that we aren’t great at it. Add to that already difficult task the fact that people are often moving targets, and we really have to use our noodles to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

12-Year-old Keashon Harris from Pennsylvania noticed this problem in his own everyday life, so he decided to solve it. Keashon’s invention is simple – the device which he calls a Social Awareness Machine (or S.A.M.) measures a distance of six feet in front of the person holding it. If someone comes within that six feet, the machine lets out a high-pitched beep.

“It beeps and screams at you”, Keashon says laughing, in a video that has accumulated over 200,000 Twitter likes in less than a week. The video shows Keashon presenting the S.A.M. to his dad – although he’s modest, he’s clearly very proud of what he built. “This is basically a machine that you made to monitor people are staying at least six feet away from each other, right?” Keashon’s dad echoes, showing both interest and a hint of awe at his son’s creation, the type of parental affirmation that kids can’t get enough of (even if they don’t show it).

The video itself was shared by Keashon’s dad with the caption “Proud dad moment”, but the 12-year-old’s dad is far from his only cheerleader. This honor student is being hailed as a genius, with his seemingly simple invention helping to solve a prevalent problem. Comments like, “your son has an AMAZING mind! he’s going places,” and “I can’t wait to see where this young man is headed in the future. This is incredible,” overflow in response to the video. A proud dad moment, absolutely – but also a renewed confidence that the world is in good hands with the next generation.

SIGN UP NOW FOR THE DAD GAMING LEAGUE

The Dad Gaming League Launch Announcement

Our days are filled with housework, work-work, and keeping one or more small humans happy and alive. We wouldn’t trade it for the world, but sometimes dads need a break.

This year, The Dad is teaming up with Planters to bring you the first-ever The Dad Gaming League–a season of big games, delicious snacks, and comfortably moderate stakes! Each month we’ll host a tournament of a fan-favorite game, hosted and live-streamed by The Dad. Sign up today!

MONEY, SWAG, AND SNACKS (OH MY)

We have over $5000 in prizes, but giveaways aren’t only for sweaty try-hards. We’re parents. We just want everyone to try their best and have a good time. We’ll randomly give away cash, cool swag, and Planters snacks to people who sign up, not just the elite gamers. Get eliminated first in a particularly embarrassing fashion? You get a prize! 

Most exciting of all? We’ve teamed up with Planters to create the first-ever official The Dad Gaming esports jersey. All Event winners will get these bad boys. And we’re giving them to 25 random people just for signing up!

The Dad Gaming League Jersey

Gaming and snacks go together like that video game plumber who dresses in red and his brother who dresses in green. So we’ll be dropping tons of epic Planters snack loot boxes. And while gaming, we’ll be throwin’ back some Planters Pop-and-Pours, designed with gamers in mind. These aerodynamic containers let you snag a delicious mouthful of Planters snacks while keeping your hands and controller free from salt and oil! 

Joel gaming with pop n pour

(Rules and restrictions apply. See for details.)

HOW TO PLAY

You can play in as many of the events as you want. After signing up, each month we’ll send you specifics for how to join each event.

SCHEDULE 

  • August 21 – Fortnite
  • September 18 – Mario Kart
  • October 9 – Rocket League
  • November 13 – Apex Legends
  • December 11 – Super Smash Bros
  • Week of December 28 – TBD Bonus Holiday Tournament

JOIN THE LEAGUE! 

BOOTCAMP

Interested in gaming, but worried about lookin’ like some sorta noob? Fear not! We’ve got you covered. Each month we’ll release a The Dad Gaming Bootcamp article outlining strategies and need-to-know terms relevant to each game, so you’ll have plenty of time to get up to speed. The Dad Gaming League is designed to level-up all dads together!

Nothing is better than sharing the controller, and some awesome snacks with the kids. 

So pull up a gaming chair, dim the lights, pop some Planters Honey Roasted Peanuts – maybe some Cheez Balls for your little squadmate, and get ready to game!

SQUAD UP

Fill out the form and join the squad! 

You can also join us to hang out and talk gaming, parenting, and gaming while parenting in our Facebook group. Or follow us for gaming content on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Twitch.

Pick up the sticks, grab a Pop and Pour, and we’ll see you out there.

This article and The Dad Gaming League are sponsored by Planters. Enjoy delicious snacks without gunking up your controller with Planters Pop and Pour!  

NFL Unveils New Helmet Visor to Limit COVID Spread

Oakley Face Mask
(Oakley)

As professional sports continue to grapple with the best way to approach the COVID world, the NFL and Oakley have come up with (part of) a solution. The league and brand unveiled a new clear, plastic face shield for players’ helmets. The face shield is aimed to help limit the spread of droplets that could spread the virus.

Is it perfect? Obviously not, but it’s a start. The NFL, more than most of the team sports that have resumed thus far, involves a tremendous amount of close contact. The players in the trenches are breathing on each other all game long, so whatever additional safety measures the teams can take will likely be needed.

The face shield is a full visor, running the length of the front of the helmet. The typical visor, while rarely used, covers only a player’s eyes. The face shields aren’t mandated by the league but are strongly encouraged, and each team has been provided the new face shields in advance of the planned start to training camps next week.

The NFL is still tinkering with the design of face masks, and the NFLPA Medical Director has said they could have versions made with material similar to surgical or N95 masks to provide even more safety for players.

Astonishingly, the face masks are one of the few new developments the NFL has announced. Compared to the leagues that were forced to halt seasons in the spring due to the spread of COVID-19, the NFL has had more time than anyone to develop their safety precautions. Yet, here we are, close to when training camps should start, and the league has done precious little to reassure its stars they will be safe on the field.

With no hard details, NFL stars are starting to sound the alarm on social media. JJ Watt released a list of what the players know and don’t know, and others, such as Russell Wilson, expressed family concerns with playing in an uncertain environment.

“I am concerned. My wife is pregnant. NFL training camp is about to start. And there’s still no clear plan on player health and family safety. We want to play football but we also want to protect our loved ones. #Wewanttoplay.”

While the NFL’s plan to apparently hope for the best that the virus would be gone by now isn’t working, they can work with their players to quickly get up to speed and attempt a start to the NFL season this fall.