Yes, the Friends Reunion Show 2014 Is a Hoax.

The poster/image about a Friends 2014 Reunion TV show being confirmed is indeed a hoax.

A British site, Metro.co.uk (article here) and others breaks us the bad news, that, there is no such Friends reunion TV in the works at all. The image is as old as at least January 2014, and Friends show creator Marta Kauffman, “has stressed there will be no reboot of the show or a reunion.” The creator of the original hoax image states that it bore his Twitter username when he first posted it, but someone else apart from his knowledge cropped the image and removed his name and from there perhaps it gained steam.

One version, appearing on Facebook recently, has a link underneath as if to give it credibility, but the link (here, but caution) merely goes to an Amazon.com page for the entry of a paperback book that celebrates the 10 seasons of the show and may likely be a kind of ad click that gives whoever created the link a kickback for purchases made after visiting that link.

When Does SNSD’s Mr Mr Music Video Come Out?

According to the wikipedia page for the Mr.Mr. EP, there was a data loss of some kind during the editing process where a large chunk of footage was lost or deleted, preventing the MV from being released when previously expected, and forcing a re-shoot of the lost footage. Insiders and SMent reps claim the company is working on data recovery also.

The original intended release date for the MV (music video) was Feb 19, a day before their intended M! Countdown comeback on Thursday Feb 20 — but the comeback has been pushed to Thursday March 6th, so hopefully March 5 might be the music video release date.

Do you have any more info? Please post in the comments!

Correction! It’s out now on Feb 28 :-3

The Old-School Path I Think Nintendo Needs To Reconsider to Stay Current

I started pretty early on the Atari 2600 and the TI-99/4A in the early 1980s. I started the NES at perhaps age 8 (~1985) playing games like Final Fantasy 1, Super Mario Bros 2, Contra, Tetris, and TMNT 1&2 quite frequently — and such games were often easily the best birthday or Christmas present I ever got. I never graduated to SNES or N64 except when visiting friends who had them, and I had the NES for the longest of any childhood system. As an adult (age ~25) I bought the Gameboy Advance specifically for Golden Sun, for how much it reminded me of Final Fantasy 1 and was rigidly turn-based (waiting indefinitely for you to take a turn) and eventually became hooked hardcore on Advance Wars to the point that I take it on road trips (somewhat common it our family) and play it for just about the entire trip and frequently being surprised at how fast it seemed between refuels.

I have heard that Nintendo is having some problems, and I think Nintendo needs a new direction in general than the weird directions they’re taking now. To me, Nintendo needs to focus on a few older and more widely successful concepts than where they are currently headed. I think if they went back to those tried-and-true directions, their marketshare (and stocks, possibly) just just explode and become a serious contender again.

#1 – Nintendo needs to enter the app market full steam.

Nintendo’s best games, to me, barely require any hardware behind it. The NES had fairly complicated games, and the processors of most mobile devices are leaps ahead of that — if there were official releases of classic (ported, with a twist perhaps) NES games as an official Nintendo app, you better watch out. Nintendo needs to refocus back into the arena of the kind of game that would require far simpler hardware, but that run on current mobile devices.

On problem with that idea is button-mashers. In my day, there was some serious controller wringing, and I could see how it would be problematic if kids started mashing some serious button if they were on a touch screen and possibly damage the hardware — so Nintendo could instead simply develop a hardware similar to how they already have a steering wheel for the Wii mote — develop an exterior controller device that has physical buttons for mashing, that attaches to the mobile device or otherwise bluetooths commands/etc.

An official line of Nintendo ported game apps is something I would definitely sink my money into — and I have yet to purchase any app at all, ever. The iPod Touch 5 is my first app device, and I have not yet purchased any app at all because I don’t find anything really worth it, even for $0.99. I would easily pay $30 or more, per, for an official Nintendo release to my liking, though — and as I understand it, that’s rather astronomical for apps.

#2 – The Skylander concept, as a whole, to me is vastly under-utilized.

My image of Nintendo hardware was a system that you plugged physical objects into, and that the physical objects had value. Nowadays you need to be very careful with Wii discs and the physical interface is too “sharp” and needs to go BACK to being something you connect like a wrench to a nut, rather than like a delicate disc into a slot.

One of the charms of the NES, to me, was the actually plugging of the physical game into the physical deck — and that interaction feels lost today. The wiggling, the blowing in the end, even if those things did no real good (but seemed to), I got a sense of buying a physical object and playing with a physical object in connection with video games. The Portal of Power and figure-collecting concept, to me, could be a tipping-point revolution for Nintendo if they created portal AS THE hardware system, and that the figurines were the GAMES.

I know there is a Wii version of Skylanders, but I’m not talking that particular intellectual property per se — instead, it would be seemingly rather easy to fit, say, a Raspberry Pi into a portal-of-power-looking case. Games could then be manufactured in the forms of figurines, and would themselves, be collectible. The interaction of putting a game figurine on the portal (and some kind of brief LED light show to signal the loading process, perhaps) would re-invent that blowing-in-the-end or wiggling action of seating a Nintendo GamePak inside the NES housing that I found charming.

The actual Skylander property, and the Disney rip-off Infinity (let’s be honest, that is a complete and blatant cheapshot copycat of the highest order), just as a game, are disturbingly expensive. The portal and game combo runs ~$70 and figurines are $13-ish, each. That is the kind of price that a SYSTEM should cost, not an add-on for existing systems. I, would, however, totally spring for a $70 system that had $15-30 games without a second thought, though.

If Nintendo could whip up a kind of system where the hardware deck itself were a kind of portal-of-power concept, and where games took the forms of figurines, people might even buy the SAME GAME over and over just to have an official figurine of their favorite game character or as a complete set for their own glory. That would also drive the market in terms of rarity for exclusive retail-store-only releases of characters, or special unique character editions for promotions that could escalate demand for figurines and still sell copies of the same game on them.

#3 – The account concept needs to be completely abandoned, if not scaled back massively.

By this, I mean the idea that game saves are stored on the deck hardware, rather than on the game hardware, and the idea of “accounts” to set up are required in order to play something. The NES and GBA didn’t have accounts (not even a visible operating system), and save games were stored on the game cartridges, not on the operating device. You didn’t have to sign in to something — you could just turned it on and the only interface was through the game. There was no user tracking or stat collecting across several games.

If that kind of thing appeals to many people, perhaps reconsider making the “deck” hardware itself to be a single user, so that a family that owns one could collectively contribute to the game completions count or whatnot as a collective unit, but had no particular password or username. The whole user/pass concept to me is a foreign idea to my image of Nintendo in general, and does not fit well in practice. I didn’t want to be recognized by the system.. I am me enough as it is, I don’t need additional false-me’s running around doing things.

Save games were the game characters at a certain point in games, not “me” or a user account, and were native to the cartridge. That created rarity of cartridges, to me, that someone could have played up to a certain point on a particular cartridge, and then leant or sold to me so I could play off that cartridge’s progress. That was one charm of renting game cartridges that had save games — you could find rental carts that had save games on them that were bizarrely-high levels for a rental, and you could also contribute to that save and pass it along to the next person when you returned it.

Am I just an oldschool gamer wanting to play my old games on the newer systems? Sure. But I’m willing to bet there are a lot of us out there who have been supporters of Nintendo from the earlier days and would fork over some serious change to get those days back in ways that made sense then..

Did Obama Order FEMA Burial Coffins? NO. Here’s Why.

Rumor has it that the US President Barack Obama has ordered thousands of “FEMA coffins” and has them stockpiled, and those rumors also show supposed photographic evidence.

However, the photos often provided as evidence simply show coffin liners commonly used by burial agencies, who put coffins inside this kind of liner before burying a coffin, instead of burying a coffin in direct contact with dirt. The plastics company that makes them, Vantage Products Corporation stores around 50,000 of them at a time, to help supply the market for approximately 900,000 ground burials in the US each year.


(image from Archive.is/568SX)

When a backhoe is used to dig a burial pit, the hydraulic stabilizers press down on the ground of nearby burial plots and could crumple below them had they been buried exposed directly to the earth. The coffin liner helps reduce the deterioration of the coffin itself by preventing the coffin from coming in direct contact with the earth, and helps stabilize the dirt layer above it for when the stabilizers put so much more weight than normal and preventing the earth from collapsing onto the coffin and possibly destabilizing the surrounding earth.

In an article from August of 2008 (months before Obama was even elected in November of that year), the managing editor of the Morgan County Citizen writes, (titled, “Conspiracy or simply storage? Theories surface around vaults stored in Madison“) that Vantage Products Corporation Vice President of Operations Michael Lacey began getting an overwhelming number of calls starting around July 2007 after someone published a rumor about his company’s inventory.

An American TV program, Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura, has an episode that examines these ordinary coffin liners as if it were some outrage that they could possibly fit up to 4 bodies at once, and after speaking with an official to discover that they’re being stored for peoples’ pre-needs, asks “Who in the hell needs this many coffins?” as if a single sourced ordered all of them for later mass-implementation. That’s a bit like asking who needs thousands of pounds of cranberries, which could be used to be lodged in peoples throats to choke them, unless they’re expecting to lodge them in the throats of that many people in a giant undercover cranberry-related choking massacre. No, that many cranberries would naturally be distributed across the nation or world markets that have existed for decades. Not a single group of people need millions of coffin liners, likewise, as this stockpile of liners go to supply part of the nation’s very ordinary need for coffin liners.

The Ventura show also very weakly (!) attempts to connect Halliburton to Vantage by suggesting that Vantage was once an R&D arm of Hercules Inc, and that Hercules was a part of Halliburton. The particular Hercules that relates to Vantage is Hercules Powder Company that produced chemical and plastics products such as Cool Whip containers and has ties to DuPont, not Halliburton. Ventura doesn’t describe what ties Hercules supposedly has to Halliburton, if it even really does.

Ventura does so little research that he refers to the “coffins” as having lids included — but the “coffin” IS the lid in this case. and doesn’t “hold” anything like a typical lidded container would. A normal burial coffin rests on a flat surface that would otherwise appear to be the inside of the “lid”, and the shell of the coffin liner latches onto the base like a kind of protective dome, encasing the actual coffin inside the liner with the connections on the flat surface the coffin rests upon.

DemocraticUnderground.com has a post back from September of 2006 discussing the matter, well before Obama was even a twinkle in the eye for the presidency.

Several other sources have investigated the issue into even greater and more intricate detail to demonstrate the falseness of this hoax, including Misery Index, Metabunk.org, Waffles At Noon, and Popular Mechanics.

Did Justin Bieber Call #JulieGunn a name, leading to her suicide?

An article written by an unofficial user-blogger on NationalReport.net seems to be the primary source for outrage that American pop singer Justin Bieber had made an accusation of an Australian teen named Julie Gunn, that supposedly led to her suicide. The article itself is not the journalistic work of National Report, but is actually a “blog using our site” kind of submission and isn’t subject to the same journalistic scrutiny as authentic journalism.

Dozens of comments below the post seem to take the submission seriously, but fail to offer any verification of the incident. Many comments even go so far as to say they are disgusted with Bieber and, in effect, commit the identical crime accuse Bieber of committing by name-calling a name-caller.

There are several problematic elements to the article.

* For one, the content of National Report is suspect. At the bottom reads: *DISCLAIMER: The National Report is an online portal for “citizen journalists”. The views expressed by writers on this site are theirs alone and are not reflective of the fine journalistic and editorial integrity of National Report. Advice given is NOT to be construed as professional. If you are in need of professional help, please consult a professional. National Report is not intended for children under the age of 18. Calling people who submit content “citizen journalists” seems to be the more distinguished way of saying, “we don’t verify anything these people write.”

* Secondly, the submission refers to the supposed victim as a “pudgy sunbather” who “recently endured Justin Bieber’s cruel taunts.” Those taunts alone would have gone viral within seconds of having been uttered. How a sunbather of any kind could be approached by an international pop star and have such comments made to without anyone else in the entire world know about it and fail to report it is rather nonsensical, especially “two days later” afterward. The submission itself even suggests that “everywhere she went” she endured jokes about how Beiber called her a name. How did strangers know about it so fast, if it weren’t already viral? Yet, this article is the first post any reference to it has been made.

* Third, the author, “Manfred Peregrine” seems to be a well-known troll writer whose Facebook page is littered with comments about how his articles are insane and silly — comments that were made well before this article was posted. His Facebook page (not a profile), found here, to me suggests the man is nothing shy of a hit-grabber and sensationalist tabloid-style writer with other strange articles like ear-gauging toddlers and Christians who commit suicide so they won’t have to live in a gay-accepting world, despite no other coverage of those topics being widely known. A half-Elvis, half-Michael-Jackson love-child seems like something this guy might likely be writing about next.

In addition, there are a few counterclaims currently up about it.

Twitterer @kissesfromjdb writes: Justin didnt call her a beached wale so all you guys hating Justin stfu and Julie Gunn i hate you for causing drama. pic.twitter.com/u6nNpcwH6G

The pic shown describes an announcement by currently-non-existent (deleted?) Twitter account @juliegunn_ announcing: this is fake, sry beliebers, it was wrong of me to do this I know I shouldn’t have but I was paid to be an article. it was only to make justin look bad and I feel horrible please stop spreading this, but this pic is the only reference I can find to it. but I can find no other reference to substantiate that tweet was ever made.

The earliest tweet about the incident I can find is from, as of this post’s writing, 18 hours ago by @kerakumiko: I don’t want to believe this 😔💔 #justinbieber #juliegunn pic.twitter.com/jV9keoVGGt with a cropped screenshot that shows that the article was posted “20 hours ago” meaning it had only been 2 hours after the article was posted that somehow the Twitterer had found mention of it. Surely if a post about this topic could be found by some random Twitter user within 2 hours of it being posted, then someone else would have mentioned it within the 2 days between Bieber having said it and Julie Gunn having committed suicide, and “everywhere” Julie went being teased about it. That just doesn’t add up.

As a side note, for all of those who feel disgusted with Bieber for making such comments (if he even did): take care not to commit the very crime you accuse him by name-calling. If you’re against name-calling, why would you bother doing it? Wouldn’t that make you against yourself?

Edit: The rumors that Bieber did actually call a fan a “beached whale” have been repeatedly and consistently discovered to be false and completely fabricated. For instance, here, here, here, and here. The girl he interacted with in photos of a sunbathing blonde near a hotel pool is named Jordyn Dore, who claims she met the girl that supposedly had been insulted but doubted the story to be true.

Open Letter to Mass Retailers, From Mass Retail Grunt

I have an open letter to mass retailers of America, having been an employee of one such mass retailer for the past 6+ black Fridays. I may not have the hardcore inside figures, but by observation, the majority of frenzied money-spenders (who avidly shop the giant black Friday event which supposedly contributes 15% to the $400+ billion spent during “holiday” shopping) only show up for doorbuster type sales and little else. They’re not there because of the proximity to a holiday, they’re there for their precious deal on the specific item they desire.

Industry-specific retailers have enormous lines outside the door during the year for release-day events like the next big tech device — people seem generally interested in perceived deals on items they want regardless of the season, rather than shopping in conjunction with a season. Our store (not open 24hr) has several regulars who are waiting for the store to open on regular non-holiday days of the week throughout the year because of both everyday products (some of which are collector’s item type exclusives) we sell and just making our store a regular place to visit for friendliness and personal interaction of the same people, as if an employee were a kind of schoolmate or otherwise consistent common-interest type person to interact with.

Mass retailers should consider scattering out doorbuster type events throughout the year and emphasize less during the winter holidays. Sucker-punch or cheap-shot retail sales during the holidays generates far more irritation with the commercialization of thanksgiving and Christmas, than it does happy customers that would be willing to offer repeat business, from my experience.

Here is my proposal that you send your figures-analysts to task just to explore, at least.

1. Have more regular doorbuster spend-frenzy events throughout the year. They could be centered on things like a popular video game release date instead of a holiday. You might even begin to influence the date popular video games (or other retail industries that have pivotal season-based sales) are released, by making predictable scattered mid-year doorbuster type events. People line up outside our store for ordinary sales of release-day things a lot, not just on Black Friday.

2 A monthly cosplay or dress-up kind of event is also something to consider, such as a talk-like-a-pirate day doorbuster or a president’s day doorbuster event. This is one facet of consumerism-heavy conventions that is a major draw to foot traffic even among those not particularly interested in making purchases.

3. Make it a special point that the thanksgiving-Christmas season is just an ordinary facet of the year’s sales, with a reduced emphasis on doorbuster events out of respect for the season. That single facet would earn you a much longer lasting respect as a retailer throughout the year to generate loyal and regular shoppers instead of just a place to visit once per year during one particular doorbuster event. Your employees will less stressed by the season and be able to enjoy it more by being well rested, and you will need to hire less temporary workers and establish better long-term employment figures (and sales figures to support them). Being the retailer that first genuinely explored the Christmas de-emphasis concept could earn you even bigger cred.

4. Consider testing this concept out on a few scattered stores that perhaps are lower performers, but also on one or two bigger performers to see whether sales rise during the year and generate bigger numbers in foot traffic, that might perhaps draw media attention and generate foot traffic by people who take pride in the point of de-emphasized Christmas commercialism. Your store-card conversion figures might also leap because of an increased appreciation of the company and what it stands for, rather than eye-rolling cheap-shot tricks that seem to be the primary strategy.

Dear Egypt – Here’s How To Solve Some Problems

Dear Egypt:

You seem to have some trouble figuring out how to have all of your people represented by a single government. It would seem to me that the solution is to have several governments, perhaps hundreds, that each represent differing ideas. Perhaps several states within Egypt that are free to have those beliefs on their own and that people may move to if they wish to hold one belief or another, which will also agree to merely cooperate with other states that disagree on topics in the interest of forming states that are willing to peacefully coexist without reducing each other in violence.

I would propose several clusters of your citizens who possess general leadership skills to get together independently, instead of enormous protests, and form your own smaller states each with clear goals and willingness to work with the other states. Not to fight against each other, but to work together with other states to ensure that each person may hold the wishes that another state desires to support, under the common cause of “the freedom to live in a state that represents what I believe” even if those states disagree with one another.

Why do you insist on finding one enormous government to represent so many different ideas? The more representatives there are, the more clusters of people will be represented. Even if the current false government you have now limits you to 8 or 9 at a time in a group, representatives of those clusters of people can write down goals of that 8 or 9 could speak with representatives of other groups. Going out into the street and shouting is like a clanging cymbal with no orchestra. Amass a common writing of all your collected goals.

1. Gather in groups of 8, just to entertain the current regime’s protest limitations.

2. Write out all of the wishes of each person in the group.

3. Decide between yourselves which person will speak for the group.

4. Name your group somehow, but be flexible if another group tries using the same name.

5. Approach other groups about your group’s desires in a purely statistical way, not for debate.

6. Form special groups with special tasks, such as organizing what other groups desires are by category, organizing group names, group representative contact information, and others.

7. After gathering lots of information, inform the groups only about the people that agree with them.

8. Respect that other groups may have different opinions, but agree to coexist at least until you can get better organized.

These are just some ideas to try, and are perhaps too simple to deal with your more complicated situation that I have not well researched, but it is at least a direction to consider.

Sincerely, ablestmage.