February 24, 2016

Hunters kill at least as many animals illegally as they do legally — and with busy and underfunded wildlife law enforcement, anti-poaching teams can be strapped for the resources to catch the criminals. So wouldn't it be nice if there were some sort of zombie deer officials could keep an eye on, and then nail poachers when it was shot at — with no harm to an actual deer?

In fact, there is a kind of zombie deer roaming the American wilderness, along with robot elk, bears, turkeys, foxes, and wolves, The Washington Post reports. Across the nation, wildlife law enforcement are using taxidermy robot decoys that look and move like real animals in order to trick poachers into pulling the trigger. Officers drop into a region where they've been tipped off about illegal hunting and then set up the decoy, using a remote to move its head, tail, or legs. The officials can then arrest an illegal hunter who shoots at the decoy — and the mechanized animal can go on its merry, robotic way.

Without using decoys, "To have a poacher, a wild animal and a law enforcement officer at the same scene, it's like winning the lottery,” the Custom Robotic Wildlife owner Brian Wolslegel said. Plus, if the poacher gets caught, "the animal already died in the process."

But undead robots can still look real and alive, even after being shot 100 times. That is in part because they are filled with Styrofoam, so bullets pass through their cores without any problem. If the motor gets hit, it's replaceable. Law enforcement can make up to $30,000 in fines off each robot.

However, because the robots are outfitted in actual animal skins, they can look a little creepy to the knowing eye. Watch below. Jeva Lange

1:51 p.m. ET

It's really, really hot out there, folks, and at least one presidential candidate isn't having it. Speaking to supporters at the Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center in Virginia on Monday, Trump said he wouldn't pay the bill for using the ballroom because the air conditioning wasn't turned on.

"I don't know what hotel this is, but you ought to try turning on the air conditioning or we're not going to get you paid," Trump ranted mid-speech.

In his extended rant, Trump said he is "really good" at the hotel business and knows owners can save money by turning off the air conditioning.

"But this is ridiculous," Trump said. "So then there'll be an article, 'Donald Trump refuses to pay the bill.' Of course. And you know what, the smart people say, 'Trump is smart.' The other people would say, 'Oh, isn't that terrible.' Ok. I think the ballroom and the people that own this hotel should be ashamed of themselves." [The Associated Press]

Hotel Roanoke officials maintain that the air conditioning was actually on and working the way it was supposed to for the entire event. Jeva Lange

1:48 p.m. ET
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Democratic National Convention continues with its second day Tuesday, as Hillary Clinton is set to become the first woman to ever win a major party's nomination for president. After an opening night filled with protests and boos from supporters of her primary rival Sen. Bernie Sanders, reports suggested Tuesday that Sanders might be planning to interrupt to the roll-call vote to nominate Clinton to request a vote by acclamation — a move Clinton herself pulled for President Obama at the 2008 convention for the sake of party unity.

However, when Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver was asked Tuesday morning whether the senator might be willing to make such a statement, Weaver demurred. "I don't want to give up all of the intrigue yet," Weaver said.

Aside from Clinton's historical nomination, Tuesday's agenda includes speeches from former President Bill Clinton, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), former President Jimmy Carter, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, and actress Lena Dunham. Also speaking are mothers who have lost their children to police violence, including the mothers of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice. Becca Stanek

12:56 p.m. ET
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

The wildly popular smartphone game Pokémon Go has led people to dead bodies, toward muggers, and off of cliffs, but since launching in Japan, a whole new danger lurks for those trying to catch 'em all: nuclear radiation. Tokyo Electric Power Company, which operates the reactors at Fukushima, site of the 2011 meltdown, says that virtual Pokémon characters are roaming the contaminated grounds and could potentially lure users into the evacuation zone.

Even though it has been five years since the nuclear disaster, the land around Fukushima is still very dangerous. What's more, Pokémon Go developer Niantic said that the region is supposed to be a dead zone, where no characters appear.

Everyone agrees that you definitely shouldn't enter the contaminated grounds, even if a MewTwo could await; even Tokyo Electric employees are forbidden from playing on site. Some things just aren't worth it. Jeva Lange

11:27 a.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) reminded California delegates at a Tuesday morning breakfast in Philadelphia that there might be a steep price to pay if they keep up their booing at the Democratic National Convention. "It is easy to boo, but it's harder to look your kids in the face who would be living under Donald Trump. Trump is the worst candidate for president in the modern history of this country," Sanders told the delegation, which includes the biggest group of "Bernie-or-bust" delegates, after a day of his supporters heckling speakers and booing even Sanders' calls for party unity.

Sanders said that while "elections come and go," the regret that would come with failing to elect Hillary Clinton would be "forever." "This is dangerous stuff," Sanders said. "So our job is to do two things. It is to defeat Trump, it is to elect Clinton. But it is not to end on Election Day." Becca Stanek

10:55 a.m. ET
Brendon Thorne/Getty Images for Walt Disney Studios

Actor Harrison Ford had a brush with death in an accident on the set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens during filming in 2014, although he luckily managed to escape with just a broken leg, The Independent reports. Ford was walking through the door of the Millennium Falcon spaceship when he allegedly was knocked to the ground and crushed by a hydraulic door, said Andrew Marshall, the prosecutor arguing the case against the production company.

"It could have killed somebody," Marshall said. "The fact that it didn't was because the emergency stop was activated." The door still reportedly crushed Ford's pelvic area with power comparable to the weight of a small car, breaking his leg, and he had to be airlifted to a hospital in Oxford.

Ford, then 71, who plays the character Han Solo, said in the original films the door would have been closed simply using a pulley or a stage hand. "But now we had lots of money and technology and so they built a f---ing great hydraulic door which closed at light speed," he said.

The Disney-owned production company, Foodles Production (UK) Ltd, admitted to health and safety breaches surrounding the incident. Jeva Lange

10:03 a.m. ET

Well, it was a good run. Self-described democratic socialist Bernie Sanders tossed his hat into the ring for the presidency as a Democrat, but he now says he will resume being an Independent when he heads back to the Senate:

"He was never really a party guy," Greg Guma, the author of The People's Republic: Vermont and the Sanders Revolution, told The Daily Beast earlier this year. "His career was to be a voice and a candidate." Jeva Lange

9:47 a.m. ET

For Utah state Sen. Mark Madsen (R), last week's Republican National Convention was the last straw. The Republican state senator announced Monday that, after witnessing firsthand the state of the party as a Utah delegate, he will no longer be a member of the Republican Party. Instead, he will become a Libertarian.

"Every decision and inclination I had before was reinforced," Madsen said of the convention's role in shaping his exit decision. As a support of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Madsen said he was particularly disappointed in the way the crowd reacted when Cruz refused to endorse Donald Trump and instead urged the party to vote its "conscience." "No party is entitled to my membership or my support," Madsen said, adding that the way things are headed for the GOP "makes me want to cry."

Madsen noted his change in alliance is "largely symbolic," however, as he is retiring at the end of the year. Becca Stanek

See More Speed Reads