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Questions and Answers about Combat Robotics
from Team Run Amok


 Aaron's Greatest Hits

Not all the questions we receive at Ask Aaron are serious. Some are odd, some misdirected, and a few are incomprehensible. Aaron enjoyed dealing with these questions, and I've collected some of his best responses in this special section.

Killer Robot drawing by Garrett Shikuma Q: how can robots help us deal better with hurricanes and why? [Ontario, California]

A: Few people in Nebraska are threatened by hurricanes, so send a swarm of killer robots into low Atlantic and gulf coastal areas to drive the puny human inhabitants toward Nebraska. Problem solved.

Robot haiku:

That's obviously
A question from your homework.
Do your own research.

Q: 16ft diameter by a 1ft drop how much sand would you need to make level

A: I've read thru your question several times and can't find anything in it that relates to combat robots. Maybe you can find a website called 'Ask Some Guy About Sand'?

Robot haiku:

Where do they come from?
Search: Robot Answers Questions
Will bring you right here.

Q: what is the best name for a male cattle dog Tramp, Bandit, Taz, Ace, Duke or Hawk?

A: Taz is good, but consider Hazard, Blendo, Mauler, Panzer, Ziggo, or Mechadon.


Q: A lift system in 40 story build is to be driven using steel rope wrapped round a drum (diameter equals 50cm). the maximum load to be transported is 1000kg at a time. the motor is coupled to the drum through some gear reduction system.
1. select a gear of your choice
2. justify why you choose the design
3. implement your design.
remember that acceleration and deceleration must be smooth and less intrustive on the passengers inside the lift.

A: Replace the passengers with robots. Robots are very patient and will not complain about a slow trip, and robots are also able to resist high acceleration. Lift gearing is no longer critical, which is fortunate since you gave me no motor data.

ROBOT questions, please!


Q: How can I survive the inevitable rebellion of the robots?

A: Keep plenty of snack food and energy drinks on hand and watch the video at right.


Q: In the Builders Data Base you claim that Zpatula's strategy is classified. Now that Zpatula is inactive would you be willing to share with us exactly what your strategy was?

A: Our strategy was never really a secret, but 'classified' sounded better than 'wait for the other guy to make a mistake' so we wrote that down.


I visited some of the coaches at my old high school today. They had a couple of questions for 'Ask Aaron' that deserve special attention:

Q: If I have the arms and legs of a robot, how do I put them in the same place? IE form the body?

A: Bodies are over-rated -- just go with the arms and legs.

Q: Where do I go to fight my combat robot?

A: Try one of those tough robot bars on the wrong side of the tracks. Make a remark about the batteries on the waitress.


Q: why do you have a banana on your shirt?

A: Ummm... 'cause a banana would look stupid on my hat?


Q: How quickly does the average robot get outdated?

A: I'd say the average robot proves itself obsolete about 20 seconds into its first match.

Superior robots survive to fight another day - with updates.

Blammo!

Q: If you could state your philosophy for building robots in one statement what would it be?

A: A combat robot is a tool for defeating other robots. The best tools are simple, reliable, and easy to use.


Q: how do you ask a robot a question?

A: Use a loud voice and hold a big hammer in one hand. If you don't get an answer, strike the robot with the hammer and ask again.


Q: Hey do you have any good ideas for painting easter eggs? happy Easter!!

A: Krylon gives a nice, shiny result. Don't eat them, and don't try to feed them to your robot.


Q: Can you help me find info. about afganistan?

A: Sure. Afghanistan is a French speaking country in South America, just north of Botswana. Everyone there is left-handed and walks with a limp. Their economy is based on the production of roller skates, whipped cream, and bandages. The great national holiday is 'Platypus Day' (November 4th) when everything orange is set on fire and thrown into the closest river, of which there are none. November 5th is 'Rebuild the Country Day'. If you move there, do not paint your house orange.


amyf95's dancing robots Q: Are robots real?

A: Yes, but they don't think you are.


Q: what is the real name for your bottom? [Liverpool, England]

A: Liverpool.


Q: What is the stupidest thing a robot builder could possibly do?

A: Decide to build a robot. It's stupid, but it's fun.


Q: I have heard about a robot called Malavio do you [know] who he is? [N.I.Person]

A: I know a robot named 'Malvolio', after the character in 'Twelfth Night' written by some guy named Shakespeare. I would have liked Shakespeare better if he had written about robots. Ray Ebert's 'Malvolio' fought at Robotica season 1 and went on to a fairly long career as a combat middleweight.


Q: Hi Aaron.. I was wondering if you could train my battle star gallictica robot with a g4500 ram hardrive to make eggplant parmesian....

A: Sure, but when I'm done it won't give up the eggplant without a fight.


Q: What exactly WAS 'Wacky Compass's weapon?

A: Enthusiasm.

The Wacky Compass - combat robot


Q: A series of questions I felt you would 'appreciate':
  • What is a good motor? Don't get into all that technical babble, just tell me if its good.
  • I bought a motor, and when I connected it to the little circuit board thing, little sparks appeared. You should have warned me. You suck.
  • Why hasn't any builder just simply mounted a shotgun on their bot? Ya, I researched - the weapon rules.
  • I just did an elaborate paint job on my combat robot. How can I stop the paint from getting dirty or scratched?
  • Why do people say that you should test your robot's strength by stepping on it? When I stepped on my antweight, it broke.
  • This has nothing to do with combat robotics, but what is Hillary Duff's favorite flavor of ice cream?
  • I speak on behalf of the entire Pleo community. When I saw that video of 'Vicious Verdict' cruelly slaughter that innocent Pleo, I realized that your sport is a cruel and evil one. Be warned: Next time you sickos hold another robot bloodfest, the Pleo community shall come and avenge the lost Pleo!
  • I just ordered a whole bunch of parts, but I just realized I have no freakin clue what any of them are. Quickly: what does the weird box with the green circuit board inside do?

A: I'd think this was a lot funnier if I hadn't received at least one serious version of each of these questions (except the Pleo avenger, that's new). Sometimes the hamburger is very bad. The answers I'd like to give, in order:

  • They're all pretty much the same. Pick one that's a pretty color.
  • I feel really bad about that. Don't do it again.
  • Great idea - go for it.
  • Throw a sheet over it and store it in your basement.
  • It's an antweight - you should have had an ant step on it.
  • Don't know, but mine is WD-40.
  • I'm so ashamed...
  • Green? You got green? Send it back, you need purple.

Q: how many days until 29th of november 2010

A: BEEP - I am a robot that will answer any question - BEEP - Type your question and I will answer it - BEEP

I get a lot of these questions. It seems there's a rumor about an omniscient robot out on the internet that can answer any question. A lot of the phrases people Google to search for this fictitious robot land them here at 'Ask Aaron'. Excited, they stumble blindly into the first text box they see and start typing.

Do they ask for a way to end human suffering? Do they attempt to unravel the philosophical mysteries of the ages? Do they seek the holy grail? No. The popular questions are:

  • "who is sitting next to me",
  • "what is my cat's name", and
  • "does [insert name] love me".
If you want to be loved, get rid of 'Mister Mittens', go to the animal shelter, and rescue a dog. A cat hangs around because you feed it - a dog will love you forever. Your dog should be the one sitting next to you. Name him Jeff. Now go take Jeff for a walk. Beep.
Q: When 'Bunny Attack' took on 'Tyranabot', were the house bots getting yellow cards for destroying 'Tyranabot'? Did any one used the drop zone in Robot Wars Extreme Warriors? Is Robot Wars Extreme Warriors gonna be on this summer? Where can I find the Robot Wars Extreme Warriors recordings? Wasn't 'Tornado' like 'Tricerabot 3.0', and 'Rosie The Riveter 2'? Would 'Storm 2' ram 'Run Away' out? Could 'Tut Tut' destroy 'Diotoir' or 'Ruf Ruf Dougal'? Do any of the US Robot Wars Robots got SRiMech's? Has 'G-Force' look like 'The Tick'? Is there gonna be any Robot Wars Extreme Warriors recordings on The Science Channel this summer? Does 'Sobek' have a saw? Did 'Tiger Cat's axe go the same as 'Terrorhurtz's axe? Would 'Xylon' flip out 'Major Tom'? In Robot Wars, did the battling songs came from a live rock and roll band? What were the songs called?

A: No; yes - several; not that I know of; none are commercially available; kinda; maybe; unlikely; yes - our own 'The Gap' could self-right; sorta; don't think so; not that I remember; not at all - Tiger Cat's was electric and ineffective; possibly; no; I have no idea.


Q: What happened to "monster"? he did good in robot wars, then competed in battlebots, then he just droped of the face of the earth.

A: I'm not sure how you figure 'Monster' did well at the 1997 U.S. Robot Wars. He had two fights and lost them both. Overall record: 2 wins, 5 losses.

I'm not going to take more 'what happened to' questions because the answer is almost always the same: they built, they fought, they got tired of it, and they quit.

Following the above post, Aaron continued to get "What happened to..." questions, and he developed an interesting method of handling them:

Q: What happened to los gringos locos from 1995 and did the team build anything else?

A: The Los Gringos Locos team competed at Robot Wars 1995 with a lightweight robot officially named 'Pain Mower'. The robot is better known as 'Los Gringos Locos' because the team name was lettered prominently on top.

The robot lost its first and only fight, to 'Kitty Puff Puff'. Depressed, 'Pain Mower' made its way to the center of the Golden Gate Bridge and leapt off - only to land on the deck of a freighter bound for the Philippines. After hitching a ride into Manila, 'Pain Mower' worked in a laundry for several years and saved every penny until it had enough money to open a small auto parts store. It married a lovely girl named Maria and had four children: two boys, a girl, and a toaster. The family is doing well.

Tommy Van Gelder and the rest of Los Gringos Locos never, to the best of my knowledge, built another robot.

'Pain Mower' AKA 'Los Gringos Locos'.


'The General' combat robot. Q: What happened to 'The General'? Was he turned into 'Scrap Metal' from BattleBots?

A: Pat Boon competed at Robot Wars 1996 with middleweight 'The General', sponsored by the University of California at Santa Barbara.

The robot lost its first and only fight, to 'Traxx'. Depressed, 'The General' made its way to the center of the Golden Gate Bridge and leapt off - only to land on the deck of a freighter bound for the Philippines. After hitching a ride into Manila, 'The General' worked in a laundry for several years and saved every penny until it had enough money to open a small appliance repair shop. It married a lovely girl named Rosalinda and had four children: two girls, a boy, and a microwave. The family is doing well.

Pat Boon never, to the best of my knowledge, built another robot. 'The General' had a design that looked like Robert Masek's lightweight 'Scrap Metal' at BattleBots 2.0, but I can find no other relationship between the two.



Q: What happened to the bot Yo mama?

A: The featherweight robot won its first fight at the 1996 Robot Wars against 'Rampage', but lost its second fight to 'Spike'. Depressed, 'Yo Mama' made its way to the center of the Oakland Bay Bridge and leapt off - only to land on the deck of a freighter bound for Hong Kong. After hitching a ride into the city, 'Yo Mama' worked in a meat locker for several years and saved every penny until it had enough money to open a small cell phone repair shop. It married a lovely girl named Suen and had four children: a girl, a boy, and two flip phones. The family is doing well.



Q: What is the story to the robot G.O.R.T.?

A: The superheavyweight robot fought two matches at BattleBots and lost them both. Depressed, 'G.O.R.T.' made its way to the center of the Golden Gate Bridge and leapt off - only to land on the deck of a freighter bound for Costa Rica. After hitching a ride into San Josť, 'G.O.R.T' worked as a bouncer in a tavern for several years and saved every penny until it had enough money to open a small juice bar. It married a lovely girl named Linda and had four children: a girl, two boys, and a blender. The family is doing well.



Q: What happened to Clephrechon?

A: 'Cleprechaun' lost two out of three matches it fought at RoboGames 2006. Depressed, 'Cleprechaun' made its way to the center of the San Mateo Bridge and leapt off - only to land on the deck of a freighter bound for Alaska. After hitching a ride into Anchorage, 'Cleprechaun' worked as a fish gutter in a cannery for several years and saved every penny until it had enough money to open a small Ski-Doo repair shop. It married a lovely girl named Taliriktug and had four children: a girl, two boys, and a stapler. The family is doing well.



Q: What happened to Thwonkis Mobilis? What was his weapon? What happened to Spirit of Frank? Can I have info on Cooker? Oh! what hapened to Creeping Death and Robot Redforn Junior? Why did I eat so much sugar? That is all.

A: Featherweight 'Thwonkis Mobilis' fought two matches at the '97 US Robot Wars and lost them both. Depressed, 'Thwonkis' made its way to the center of the Golden Gate Bridge and leapt off - only to land on the deck of a freighter bound for Nicaragua. After hitching a ride into Managua, 'Thwonkis' worked as an electrician in a petroleum refinery for several years and saved every penny until it had enough money to open a small bingo parlor. It married a lovely girl named Grizelda and had four children: a girl, two boys, and a soda can. The family is doing well.

I think something similar happened to 'Spirit of Frank', 'Creeping Death', and 'Robot Redford Junior'. I've never heard of 'Cooker' -- if you mean 'Cooks', I believe it was crushed by a cable car immediately after its loss to 'Ominous Brick of Havoc' in 1997.

Q: ...and what happened to Jim Smentowski?

A: Jim Smentowski got depressed and jumped off the Golden... no, wait! Jim went on to build a whole bunch of very successful combat robots and open the Robot Marketplace.



Q: Do you have any, I mean ANY information on the robot wars 1997 entry land shark?! He's such a creative entry with no info other than a single picture on Team nightmares site!

The Landshark - one loss and gone. A: It's been a while since I did one of these -- hope I remember how...

Willis Wong's heavyweight 'The Landshark' fought a single match at U.S. Robot Wars '97 (video) and lost to Vic Lang's 'Z'. Depressed, 'The Landshark' made its way to the center of the Golden Gate Bridge and leapt off - only to land on the deck of a freighter bound for Uruguay. After hitching a ride into Montevideo, 'The Landshark' worked as a caddy at the Punta Carretas golf course for several years and saved every penny until it had enough money to open a frozen yogurt stand. It married a lovely girl named Rosalinda and had four children: a girl, two boys, and a coffee grinder. The family is doing well.

See also FAQ #32.

Q: so in other words, you have no info.....lol.

A: I gave you the builder's name, the robot's competition record, and a link to a video. What are you complaining about?



Q: What happend to Jess Jackson and 'Boy Howdy'?

A: Middleweight 'Boy Howdy' fought one match at the '95 US Robot Wars and lost to 'La Machine'. Depressed, 'Boy Howdy' made its way to the center of the Golden Gate Bridge and leapt off - only to land on the deck of a freighter bound for Myanmar. After hitching a ride into Rangoon, 'Boy Howdy' worked as a juice squeezer at a roadside drink stand for several years and saved every penny until he had enough money to open a small barber shop. He married a lovely girl named Mintaya and had four children: a girl, two boys, and a master cylinder. The family is doing well.

See also FAQ #32


Q: Mg+O2=mgo [Suwanee, Georgia]

A: Congratulations, you've made magnesium oxide.


Q: Did the Robot Wars teams built other robots instead of the same ones?

A: Would you like to re-word that question?

Q: I'll ask the question again and i'll ask it pacificlly. Did the robot wars extreme warriors teams built other robots instead of the same ones?

A: I didn't understand the question the first time, but now that you've asked it again I understand it perfectly.

Most of the teams ate two and saved the third one for later. Some ate one and saved two. A few didn't even know it was lunch time.

Q: if you were in g4 tech tv robot wars uk couldn't Psycho Chicken be a replacement for Terror hurtz and your robot Run Away be a replacement for Thunder pants?

A: See answer to previous question.


Q: I AM PLANING ON BUILDING A DRUM BOT BUT RAN INTO A PROBLEM WERE COULD I FIND BLADE TEETH TO ATTACH TO THE DRUM

A: A common solution is to thread bolts into the drum and use the exposed heads as impactors. You can start with the bolts holding down your shift keys.


Q: How are robots different from computers?

A: Well, your computer won't go berserk, tear a big hole in the garage door, and put a gash in your leg that requires 23 stitches.


Q: I saw an older question in the Robot Events archive that said the house bots were given to charity. I also saw that someone on YouTube said they have Dead Metal in their garage. Is that true?

A: I have no idea what happened to the HouseBots following their donation to charity. I suppose they must be stored somewhere -- just like I store the Holy Grail and the Mona Lisa under my bed.


Mudkips
Q: do u like mudkips?

A: and mudkips liek me.

 


Q: Hey Aaron, what is the funniest bot name you ever heard?

A: Most attempts at funny robot names don't do much for me, but my favorites are:

  • Delicious Monkey
  • Electric Lettuce
  • Evelyn a Modified Dog
  • The Prussian Pitchfork of Pain
  • Wack-a-tron

Q: How do I start my robot?

A: Pump the gas twice, depress the clutch, and turn the key to the right. See: FAQ #2.


Q: What do you get if you mix acid and carbonate?

A: We only answer robot questions here, so we'll have to modify your question: if a robot made of a carbonate ran into another robot made of an acid, you'd get a cloud of carbon dioxide and a puddle of water. Robot questions, please.


Q: What is a robot?

A: Robotics pioneer Joseph Engelberger once said: "I can't define a robot, but I know one when I see one."


Q: How do I make my robot faster?

A: Try pointing it downhill. If that doesn't work, write back and tell me enough about your robot that I can make a reasonable suggestion.


Q: Can you tell me how to make a robot walk?

A: Take away its bus pass.


Q: Do you know the dimensions of 'Botwork', 'Sater', 'Ghettobot' and 'The Mangulator'?

A: Sorry, no. I also don't know Philippa Forrester's phone number, Craig Charles' shoe size, or how many bolts held the Robot Wars arena together.


Scott LaValley's 'Domore' - Robot Wars 1995 Q: What does 'Domore' do any way?

A: More than 'Dolittle' but not as much as 'DoAll'. The main weapon was a pneumatic spike, but it could also spin. You have to remember that robot combat was still new in 1995 and nobody knew what was going to work.


Q: The ad for the Oregon Street Fight video has 'metal' spelled 'mettle'.

A: Yea, it's a pun. Look up 'mettle'.

Q: I don't understand the 'mettle' pun.

A: Never try to explain a pun.


It greatly saddens me to announce that my son, Aaron Joerger, died very suddenly on the afternoon of October 18th, 2013 of an apparent pulmonary embolism. He was 22 years old. Aaron's obituary.

The 'Ask Aaron' project was important to Aaron, and I have decided to continue the site in his memory. Thank you for the many kind messages of sympathy and support that have found their way to me.

- Mark Joerger, Team Run Amok




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