"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."


Friday, March 18, 2022

Robot Maker Shows Off Mechanical Goat

by Christopher Hodapp

Here's your first goat story of 2022.

Ah, the myth of the Masonic lodge goat continues to be told and retold. Despite 200 years of accusations from non-Masons that we ride goats as part of our initiation, it's never been true. It's a superstition that non-Masons repeat, and even some juvenile-minded Masons will use to frighten new initiates. Masons don't haze candidates, and if your lodge does, you should be ashamed of yourself.

But those Odd Fellows guys, on the other hand...

The Odd Fellows and lovers of goat lore have a new reason to rejoice. Motorcycle maker Kawasaki has just debuted a robotic mechanical goat at the 2022 International Robot Exhibition (iREX) in Tokyo. Officially known as 'RHPBex,' the industrial robotic billygoat comes complete with both feet and wheels attached to let it handle any terrain, and is capable of carrying more than 350 pounds of riders and cargo on its back. 

Bex even sports an impressive pair of curved horns on its head to give it just the right touch of Baphomet leitmotif.

No word as to whether Bex has occasional fits of head butting and making bleating noises.

For industrial clients, Bex has several different combinations of modular modifications to choose from - although there's no word yet if you can order one without the slightly creepy head and horns.

As time marches on, more and more companies are looking to replace a shrinking workforce of humans with robots. (I was accosted by a roving security robot in a supermarket chain in Wisconsin two years ago. It looked so much like a Dalek, I expected it to start yelling, "Exterminate! Exterminate!" when I set foot in the frozen food section.) If you think robotic machines still rare, Business Insider reports that almost 30,000 industrial robots were sold in the U.S. alone last year. And already increasing labor shortages were only accelerated under COVID restrictions of the last two years. 

So, given that not only the Freemasons, but ALL fraternal and voluntary associative organizations have seen their memberships decline in an almost straight line since the late 1950s, a robotic goat could do double lodge duty, playing a role in initiation rituals as well as sitting on guard outside as Tyler when not needed in the lodge room.

Somebody get the Odd Fellows on the phone.

Photos: Kazumichi Moriyama / YouTube.

1 comment:

Your comments will not appear immediately because I am forced to laboriously screen every post. I'm constantly bombarded with spam. Depending on the comments being made, anonymous postings on Masonic topics may be regarded with the same status as cowans and eavesdroppers, as far as I am concerned. If you post with an unknown or anonymous account, do not automatically expect to see your comment appear.