Shock of shocks, this week saw not one -- but two -- important robot stories.
The United States is sending a Canadian-built 'bot into space to lend a hand to the International Space Station. And robot immortality awaits those eager R2D2s that will be inducted into the Robot Hall of Fame next month.
Not bad for a country that does not know an automaton from a neutron. Our sense of robots is strictly set on "Terminator" mode. The fact that robotics is thriving around the world is lost on most Americans.
Throw in that NBC and Fox are trying to make their own iTunes video service for the Web and there is much strangeness loose here on the "Strange New World."
These are our picks for the top tech stories of the week.
This week, we saw yet another august class inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. Despite her refusal to perform, Madonna showed up to receive her prize for years of service to the gods of rock.
Big deal, of course, but we're far more interested in another HoF announcement: this year's inductees into the Robot Hall of Fame at Carnegie Mellon University.
Anthony Daniels, who played arguably the most famous robot in history -- C-3PO -- will again emcee this dorktastic event. This year's inductees are "Star Trek's" Lt. Cmdr. Data, Lego® Mindstorms®, the Raibert Hopper and NavLab5.
The ceremony will be held April 9 at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh.
Maybe someday this young robot will be honored in a Hall of Fame ceremony of its very own. But this week, Dextre (Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator) headed into space.
The Space Shuttle Endeavour took bits of this gangly looking robot into orbit to the International Space Station. Once assembled, the seven-piece, $200 million Dextre will replace humans when dangerous spacewalks are called for.
At about 10 feet high and 5 feet wide, with two arms made of seven joints each, Dextre should be able to do things no astronaut could possibly attempt. Although Dextre was made in Canada, rumors about it trying out for the Canadian Summer Olympic team have been proved false.
We're not sure it's time to cancel your cable subscription quite yet, but the Internet just got a whole lot more programming. NBC and News Corp's new online video streaming service Hulu went live this week and it is actually pretty extensive. It features 250 TV series and 100 full-length movies -- and it's all free.
Well, not quite free. They make their money on ads you have to watch before or during the programming. There is a bit of something for everybody -- the NHL, NBA and some college basketball for the sports nuts and programs like "The Office" and "The Simpsons" for comedy fans.
The big draw of the service won't be its new programming but its library of older programs all in one place. We think that's great because we've had a strange hankering for some "Airwolf" recently.