22 Comments

  1. Some solar-powered devices store energy when there’s sunlight and use the stored energy when it’s dark. But I have no clue as to why it helps it bond with the child. Maybe the child is afraid of the dark and the robot dog provides a light source, and because of this, the child will come to love the robot dog.

  2. I think the author may have solar powered yard lights in mind here – the ones that charge up during the day and light your yard or sidewalk for a few hours after dark.

    And I think it should have been “helped Maria bond with him”.

  3. The explanations so far make sense, but why does it matter how the dog is powered? A rechargeable robot dog could just as easily give off light, but the author seems to imply that the fact that it’s solar powered is what is helping it bond with Maria.

  4. Right, she likes having a night-light. But what does that have to do with being solar-powered?

  5. Maybe Maria is a supporter of Greta Thunberg and prefers a greener robot companion?

  6. I agree that there is an overemphasis on the connection between it being solar and Maria liking it. But that is already there in the published dialog, not invented by us commenters. The key feature that actually makes it appealing for her is that it carries onboard power storage, so it can be mobile and come to her to provide night light. And from the point of view of the rest of the family, being solar is a plus, since that means it does not need to be plugged in to recharge , or have its batteries changed.

  7. Mitch4: so this is an advertisement? 🙂

    I’m sure you’re right, it’s just still an awfully thin attempt at humor.

  8. Mitch4: so this is an advertisement? 🙂

    No, but I did spend an inordinate amount of time looking at that Japanese robot dog that apparently has just issued an American edition and sales site 🙂 Completely out of my price range, but I did post a joking remark on Facebook that I was considering getting one for my cats to play with, and got serious finger-waggling replies about it being wasteful and environmentally bad and I could do much better by rescue-adopting an actual dog (no thanks, it would be miserable and so would the cats and I).

  9. Maria has a bed cover full of suns, planets and rockets that indicates she is into astronomy. She is bonding with Humpty, who is solar powered, because of her interest in astronomy.

  10. Maria has a bed cover full of suns, planets and rockets that indicates she is into astronomy. She is bonding with Humpty, who is solar powered, because of her interest in astronomy.

    Ah! I may have the various Holbrook strips mixed up, but it’s possible Maria has recently been on a trip to Mars.

  11. As I commented on the strip when it ran, it’d make more sense for Humpty to be bonding with Gregor (another kid in the strip, who is part plant and photosynthesizes).

  12. Daniel makes a good point. I hadn’t paid attention to the bed cover. So maybe it isn’t actually glowing but instead the light and lines are just emphasizing the bond?

  13. I think Sheep and Carl Fink have it but it does have a logical flaw. There is no reason a solar powered object acts as a nightlight because it is solar powered.

    But…. the first time I saw those solar powered lamps I thought they were counter intuitive as the emitting off light but the energy source to do that is … light. It’d be like …. a machine that produces water by combining hydrogen and oxygen but the hydrogen and oxygen and provided by … submerging it in a lake. …. Okay… storage…. It stores energy from light and later when there is no light it creates light. The fact that the input and out are the same thing is coincidental. That’s fine. I think Holbrook may be having a similar impression but whereas I had a disconnect he had a hyperconnect. That it is powered by sun light then it’s emitting light is somehow, in his mind, apt.

  14. And yes – they just got back from a Mars trip (where they got Humpty), thus first night in the new house (they’ve been staying other places, but have finally settled down).

  15. Oh, thanks! I vaguely recall from the Mars story that they encountered a sort of disembodied spirit of the whole world, which in the end they found a way to embody and capsulize in a physical databank of some sort. Which they wanted to bring back with them? Was that Humpty!?

  16. I thought the robot likes sitting in the sun (to recharge) and the girl likes having a light in her room at night (in a new house) and they have bonded over both liking having a light.

  17. One more followup — this seems to accord with the idea that Humpty in some sense embodies or encapsulates the full data of planetary consciousness that was planet Mars while they were there.

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