Weimaraner nose

ART-PROTECTING DOGS: Riley the Weimaraner has been employed at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts to help protect works from pests (picture posed by a model).  PICTURE:  Atanas Teodosiev/Unsplash

Australia's Macquarie Dictionary left some scratching their heads this week when it named 'Duck milkshake' its word of the year for 2017. Never heard of it? You're not alone - but chances are you do know of the phenomena it was created to describe. The phrase was coined by Australian cartoonist Ben Ward in mid-2016 to capture the idea of a seemingly innocent person or thing that receives the adulation of the internet masses before that turns sour when some sort of fatal flaw in the person or thing is revealed. Ward described it as follows in his tweet:  "The whole internet loves Milkshake Duck, a lovely duck that drinks milkshakes! *5 seconds later* We regret to inform you the duck is racist." Thus to "milkshake duck" someone means to reveal something that ruins their previously-beloved status (the SMH has published list of recent examples). Macquarie, meanwhile, says while 'milkshake duck' is the official committee's choice for Word of the Year, the public can vote for the People's Choice Award at its website. Other contenders include Endling (a creature that's nearing extinction) and framily (to describe a group of friends that's close like a family).

 Spotted a swan in Singapore? It may not be what you think. The island nation plans to deploy five robotic swans at reservoirs to monitor water quality, the country's water agency has reportedly announced. Developed by the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Environmental Research Institute and the Tropical Marine Science Institute, the robots will collect data which will then wirelessly be transmitted back to base for analysis, doing away with the need for using boats and staff to do so. And the "swanbots" - as some have dubbed them - are even robust enough to survive bumping into a kayaker or small boat in the water.

Boston's Museum of Fine Arts has gone to the dogs (for help in nosing out pests that could damage its artworks). The museum has reportedly added a Weimaraner puppy named Riley to its staff and once its training is completed, its job will be to sniff out insects and other undesirables which could potentially cause damage to the art. The breed is apparently particularly suited to the task due its ability to work for long hours without getting bored (and, it's been suggested, its short tail will also mean Riley shouldn't bump any other precious objects off pedestals while working!)