Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Brawndo - The Thirst Mutilator

Tommy and I are extremely pleased to announce that Lizzie has gotten her first corporate sponsorship ever. Actually, come to think of it, has any hamster ever had a corporate sponsor before? Maybe Hampton of Hampster Dance fame would be the closest contestant, but pumped up on Brawndo - The Thirst Mutilator I'm sure Lizzie is more than a match for old Hampton, especially with all those electrolytes pumping through her veins. One sip of this stuff and she'll be charging off across America at light speed.

Of course, the improved running is just the beginning. Initial clinical tests revealed Brawndo can give incredible new abilities we never thought possible. Here are just a few of the results of our tests:

6x increase in upper body strength

Development of pop-star-quality pipes and a seductive voice to match

With such a dramatic increase in strength, intelligence and dexterity from drinking Brawndo on a twice-daily basis, our lab hamsters began taking on all kinds of new activities:

(Note: Brawndo is intended solely to be consumed by humans and plants. Like other processed human food and drink, we do not recommend or endorse actually feeding Brawndo to your pet hamsters)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Goodbye to the Grand Canyon!

After more than a month of trekking through the vast virtual desert wilderness, Lizzie finally made it out of the Grand Canyon! It was tough work fording the rivers and climbing over all those canyons and plateaus, but nothing is harder to stop than a hamster on a life-long mission. In between roughing it in the wild and fighting off hawks and coyotes with her bare paws, Lizzie was able to stop and help this poor, drunken tourist from falling to his doom. Frankly, I think he's enjoying himself way too much given the only things between him and a rocky end are 482 feet of air and a 3 ounce hamster.

"Stop laughing and waving or you'll become yet another example of Darwinism!"

Lizzie featured by Small Animal Channel

A couple weeks ago, Tommy and I gave an interview for Small Animal Channel about Lizzie. The article was just posted up today! Check out how we came up with the idea for Hamster Across America and our other plans for Lizzie here:

A Hamster Takes the Wheel

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Lizzie wins 2nd at Petco Hamster Ball Derby

Hey everyone! This past Saturday was the annual hamster ball derby at Petco. Of course, we just had to go and have Lizzie compete for pride and glory. A small contingent of friends came out to cheer her on. No doubt roused by the strong show of support, Lizzie won the initial heat to qualify for the finals, but came in 2nd against a much younger fellow Syrian. Congrats Lizzie on your performance!

Monday, September 22, 2008

More Experiments

Rodents' love of chewing can wreak serious havoc on everything in their cages, as we discovered during our first few attempts at wiring up Lizzie's cage. Lately I've been experimenting with a laser cutter to create unique toys for her to chew on and keep things interesting (seriously, you'd be bored too if your universe mostly consisted of a glass tank).

A particularly successful prototype has been to cut out little pieces of cardboard that can be interlinked to form all kinds of different structures. Think K'Nex for hamsters. Also pictured is a more ambitious project to create fun, safe home for Lizzie. All of the pieces are connected using slits and pressure nubs so no glue or any other materials that could potentially have been hazardous were used in anything. Just pure, good old cardboard. ;)

"Mine! Keep off!"

"Yesssssss, from this castle I shall rise to dominate. They will all fall before me. One day, it shall all be mine...but first, nap time."

Monday, September 8, 2008

How Fast Does a Hamster Run?

As more and more people get interested in tracking Lizzie's progress we've more and more great quesitons. One such question came as a comment on our Instructable from mrbob1001 and asked "Have you ever calculated [Lizzie's] top speed?"

To answer the question I constructed a graph of Lizzie's speed distribution, how much of the time she runs at different speeds.

From this graph we can tell a couple interesting things. First it appears that her sustainable top speed is about 2.5 mph. In addition while she can go that fast she prefers to run at around 1.85 mph. Interestingly enough her time running at each speed looks like it might be a standard distribution around that center point slightly skewed because of  the ramp-up necessary while she accelerates from a stop. A slightly more detailed graph is available here.

On a related note, we love questions! Please feel free to keep asking them in the comments or by email. We'll do our best to answer them and feature the best ones in the FAQ and on this blog.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

How to Track Your Own Hamster

Hey everyone! By popular demand, Tommy has written up an Instructable on how he tracks Lizzie's running and progress across America! Everything you need to know, from the list of materials and equipment to assembly instructions and some basic code to get you started is there. Check it out! Now you too can monitor the activities of your furry little friends. :-D

Instructables: Track How Far Your Hamster Runs.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Main Page Is Up!

Holy crap! I think I need my eyes checked. How convenient my optometrist appointment is tomorrow afternoon. Until then, I may have to call everything I see into question, like the main page actually working and the furry spherical cow having tea with a pink platypus and an anthropomorphic eggplant in the corner of my bedroom.

Even if it is indeed an illusion, I have to say it looks quite fabulous! Major props to Tommy for finally pulling off our lovely Google Maps mashup so we can see exactly where Lizzie is in the U.S.

To get everyone up to speed, Lizzie is not following any particular road or highway. We had originally been considering having her run along I-80, but decided it would be more fun instead for her to cut across and visit famous parks, cities and landmarks. After all, she's a hamster, so she should be able to handle some off-roading to avoid the pesky nuisance of traffic jams, pot holes and angry drivers. Lakes and rivers pose a problem because getting hamsters wet can make them susceptible to wet tail and pneumonia, but let's assume for the purposes of her virtual tour that her wheel is buoyant and water-tight with its own recycling air supply (Oh a hamster submarine! That could be a fun project to work on....). ;)

Looks like at the moment she's finished swimming/sailing across Lake Meade after visiting Las Vegas and is running as I type towards the Grand Canyon. Keep up the good work, Lizzie, and again a huge thanks to Tommy for making this site possible.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Congrats Tommy!

Hey everyone! Just wanted to give a quick shout out to Tommy, who just finished his masters! Congrats! Now you have no excuse to not get the main page working... ;)

In the meantime, Lizzie has become very innovative in her running: she's been running along the TOP of the wheel instead of in it! Kudos for the innovative thinking!

Set me fweeeeeee!!!!
"Let me out of here!!!"

Saturday, July 19, 2008

500 miles at last!

A big congrats to Lizzie for making 500 miles!!! Some treats of fresh blueberries were certainly in order. We're 1/6 of the way there! :-D


Monday, July 14, 2008

Soooooooo close!

As I write Lizzie is just at the cusp of breaking 500 miles (497.24 miles to be exact). Time has really flown since Tommy and I started this project together. It's been a fun few months getting everything working (Tommy gets most of the credit for this!) and designing everything on the site. Not to mention we've made several frantic trips to Home Depot whenever we discovered that Lizzie had once again managed to gnaw through the not-as-indestructible-as-we-thought wires and their protective wrappings attached to her running wheel.

Anyways, a night or two more and she'd have run over 500 miles! With Lizzie still less than a year old, I still have hopes she'll make it to the East Coast. A friend gave Lizzie some new chewy treats to celebrate her breaking the 400 mile mark. What should we get for the 500?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Yes, She is REAL

Just to settle any doubts about the existence of our spunky fur ball, here's Lizzie posing in front of her virtual cross-country transporter:

sad lizzie

Monday, June 9, 2008

We're finally online!

Wooo! After months of being in beta, we've finally finished the site design and navigation! Tommy has been totally awesome working on putting together the Google Maps mash-up to track our little hamster in her exercise wheel. That'll be up soon, we promise! If it's not, I'll be sure to walk down the hallway and remind Tommy to hurry up. ;)

In the meantime, check out our merchandise page here: http://www.zazzle.com/hamsteracrossamerica ! We set up a small gallery on Zazzle, with all the royalties going to the Humane Society. Currently we've got our logo for sale, but it's totally customizable and you can put it on any shirt/color that Zazzle has available. I've been working on some new designs too so check back soon for updates!