Matsushita Electric Industrial runs a state-of-the-art retirement home near Osaka, Japan, and according to a BBC News report in February uses robotic companion bears to comfort the residents (average age: 82) and also to continually check health signs. Among the fur-covered bears' skills: They can respond to voice command and can monitor residents' alertness by timing their responses to spoken questions. [BBC News, 2-21-02]
This is the perfect metaphor for a desirable geek boy; cute, cuddly, and full of practical applications!
And the third and final news item: I got a lovely birthday postcard from Devil's Tower National Monument , which I visited with JS last month on the way out here. I must have made quite an impression on it, because the card it wrote was quite sweet. It's not every day I get hit on by a National Monument (National Parks, sure. We all know how THEY are). It is a little suspicious that the card was postmarked from JS's home state instead of Wyoming, but I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation. And how does this fit the topic, you ask? Indian mythology gives the structure the name...Bear's Lodge.