In 2017, patent number KR20170003315A was granted to a Korean inventor for a "Mama Robot Device". The inventor's name is only given in Korean, so I'm not sure what it is, but Google translates it as Jeong In-pil.
The Mama Robot is creepy in many ways. As far as I can tell, it's a device that allows children to punish themselves when they know they've been naughty but their parents are away.
The child is able to decide how many lashes with a cane they deserve, and the Mama Robot will then deliver the punishment. As it does so, the prerecorded voice of the parent will admonish the child, but simultaneously the Mama Robot will weep "such that the sad feelings of the parent punishing are conveyed to the child."
A camera inside Mama Robot will record the entire event and then send the video to the parent's phone, as proof that punishment has been served.
I wonder, how many years of therapy would it take for a child to recover from having Mama Robot installed in their home?
while the headline... says ‘mother’ the illustration suggests something rather different. Traditionally American motherhood is, stereotypically speaking, wholesome and fairly innocent, yet the look on the model’s face is neither especially innocent nor entirely wholesome. Indeed, as Kathleen Barry has pointed out, her ‘atypical stare and casual posture conveyed smoldering sexuality rather than maternal concern’. ‘Mother’s world’ is about housework and children, it is not supposed to be erotic—indeed, the worlds are usually separate—yet the expression on the model’s face is alluring and ﬂirtatious. The associations here are more complex than the headline and body copy would suggest, so that the word ‘mother’ in the headline both invokes and denies the associations of motherhood. This ‘inner contradiction’ between copy and illustration is a rhetorical device used constantly in advertising to play on the opposition between appearance and reality, to create in effect double meaning or paradox. The paradox... is that the illustration shows us an attractive female model, but the copy asks us to ‘Think of her as (our) mother’. These jarring ideas create the appeal of the advertisement; the inner contradiction makes us take notice. However, paradox also means that apparent difference conceals real similarity: she may be attractive and alluring, but she is also your mother.
It also inspired some copycats, such as this 1971 ad from Southwestern Bell:
However, not all American Airlines stewardesses appreciated the ad:
David Phillips was so eager to become a grandfather that in 1969 he built a 9-foot statue of a pregnant woman outside his house as a subtle hint to his son, Bill, and daughter-in-law that they should hurry up and start producing children.
I found a picture of the statue under wraps, but unfortunately not one of it uncovered. Nor could I find out if Bill Phillips and his wife ever did succumb to the parental pressure and hade children. But I did find out that he was a minor celebrity as a trumpet player. You can read his bio on the Canadian Encyclopedia. He was a founding member of the band Canadian Brass. The bio also reports a rumor that he played the trumpet solo on Penny Lane, which he didn't, but apparently he was famous enough as a trumpet player that the idea seemed plausible to some people.
Great Falls Tribune - June 4, 1969
Calgary Herald - June 6, 1969
The trumpeter who actually played the solo on Penny Lane was David Mason. See video below.
Back in 1931, Dr. Mandel Sherman, director of the Child Research Centre, wanted to find out the exact number of ways in which children annoy their parents. He came up with the oddly specific number of 2,124 different ways.
He arrived at this number by having a group of parents carry notebooks around with them for a week and record each time their child annoyed them.
Some of the ways in which the children annoyed: being disobedient, being too slow or too quick, not being neat, primping, etc.
Personally, I think he seriously lowballed that number.
We've encountered the work of Dr. Sherman before. Back in 2009, I posted about his advice that instead of training kids to be successful in life, we should train them to accept the inevitability of failure. That way, they'll be much happier when they actually do end up as mediocre flops.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.