The Weird Workplace


LONDON, U.K. — Signs at museums often say, “Please don’t touch,” but one waiter didn’t quite get the message when he or she accidentally knocked the thumb off of a Roman statute at a London museum, according to the Telegraph. A spokesperson for the British Museum said it took the “unfortunate incident” seriously but said the famous “Townley Venus” had been fully restored by conservators and the work was “straightforward.” The statue, described as “one of the British Museum’s most important Roman sculptures,” dates from the first or second centuries A.D. and is a marble copy of a fourth-century B.C. Greek Venus. Named after collector Charles Townley, it was found in Rome in 1775 and sold to the museum in 1805. “We have taken the incident seriously and have retrained all individuals responsible for events,” said a museum spokesperson, adding staff have been reminded to be “fully practiced in moving themselves around historical objects” while being “always conscious of the potential risks.”


TRENCIN, SLOVAKIA — The shovelling prowess of two brothers was on display recently when they won a grave-digging competition at an international exhibition of funeral, burial and cremation services. Ladislav and Csaba Skladan, 43 and 41 respectively, beat out 10 other two-member teams from Slovakia, Poland and Hungary, according to Reuters. “I had to focus on speed today but usually, when the weather is nice and I can chat with my brother, it’s a dream job,” said Ladislav. Their grave was also the neatest, according to a five-member jury. It’s about both showing and appreciating the hard work of grave diggers, said Ladislav Striz, who established the contest last year. “Most Slovak graveyards are so crowded and spaces between graves so narrow that we need human diggers instead of machines,” he said. “They work hard, come rain, come snow.”


MEXICO CITY — Air travel has its challenges, but most passengers aren’t expecting venomous creatures to be a problem. That’s what happened on a recent Aeromexico flight en route to Mexico City when a green snake was seen slithering along the overhead bin, according to Reuters. A video clearly shows the reptile crawling up by the lights and eventually dangling from its tail, almost falling to the floor. Media reports suggested the snake was a venomous green viper, and the airline said it was working to determine how the reptile entered the cabin. Understandably, air traffic controllers gave the plane priority to land.


LONDON, U.K. — Looking to brighten up the commute of workers, two London-based telecom companies were offering a ride to the office in “unicorn”-drawn carriages for three days in October. The white horses with multi-coloured manes, “horns” and hooves pulled “unicabs” with room for four lucky passengers. “Fancy riding a unicorn to work? We thought so,” said a post from Three, which partnered with ZTE to “inject a little sparkle” into commuters’ day — and celebrate the launch of a new smartphone.


SAN FRANCISCO — One of the worst parts of travel — aside from snakes — is lugging luggage around. But one company has come up with a solution: A robot suitcase. The device will stick close to you, moving as fast at 10.8 kilometres per hour, and navigate past obstacles and through crowds, according to the Mirror. The robot, created by Travelmate Robotics, works in a similar way to autopilot systems found in Tesla cars by automatically finding the best routes. If stolen, it will take appropriate measures to get back to its owner. And since it’s fitted with a GPS, the owner can use an app on her phone to track the case’s location. “We’ve made a robot that can learn on the fly in real time, navigate complicated obstacles and even become something that you trust and have affection for,” said a spokesperson. “We’ve made a robot that doesn’t look like something from Terminator or from the Matrix. Instead, it’s a practical companion that helps you and acts as an extension of yourself.” The robot is available for about $540. 

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