Bird’s-eye view – from MGU.

Hi folks!

Do you know where the following pics are taken?

Or, for those who don’t live here – any guesses where this is?

And now?

What if I give you three guesses?

All right – let me tell you it’s Moscow. Guessed right? Ok, then, how about… from where exactly did I take the pics?

They were taken from Moscow State University (MSU) [MGU in Russian] – one of Moscow’s Seven Sisters (aka wedding cake buildings) – from the 32nd floor, from a window of MSU’s Earth Science Museum.

It’s a really excellent museum. It’s just a shame we only had an hour there. Will have to return for a longer browse – a lot longer, as the museum is housed across a full seven (7!) floors (24th – 31st). The geography, geology and history of our planet are what this museum’s about. My fave volcanoes are featured, as are seas and oceans, tundra and jungles, meteorites and stalactites, and on and on…

Example: Moscow – rather, the land it’s today located on – was at the bottom of the ocean millions of years ago, and here’s the proof – various seashells sourced locally.

Check out the red star set in the ceiling: there are similar ones on the Kremlin’s towers:

Woah – robot! So it’s not just natural science here – man-made stuff too…

It was developed in Kaluga in 1966 (52 years ago!). An analogue robot! It could: walk, and react to things that get in its way (photo-light detectors in the ‘eyes’), pick up the phone and work as an answer-phone; turn lights and domestic appliances on and off; regulate the temperature in the room; distinguish voices; and more (eek, forgotten; I wonder if its memory is better than mine?). The museum director told me how, when Steve Wozniak visited, he couldn’t believe his eyes, and couldn’t be pulled away from it for ages!

Btw, it’s made of aluminum, weighs around 100kg, used 13 electric motors, and has a built-in telephone and two tape machines! It’s the work of Soviet inventor Boris Grishin. And I’ll say it once more – it was made in 1966!!

// Sadly, it was left to gather dust in a corner of the inventor’s apartment for decades. Well at least it’s here in the museum now. But if only it was further developed, improved over those decades. The world may not have been the same as it is now!

More!: the right hand was made with a telephone receiver in mind; the left hand – to hold a bottle, which it could then pour two glasses of water from (you can see the two glasses on a tray in the pic above). All this reminds me of The Proud Robot by Henry Kuttner. Not read it? Do so!

Dusk approaching…

… And that was that. A nice little sortie – and right on my doorstep (for a change:).

That’s all for today folks, but back tomorrow with another rewind back to Fiji (this is what happens when I finally get round to editing all my mid-Pacific pics!)…

See you tomorrow!…

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