Rooster Teeth Poppycock

    • Answers to Questions Posed in RT Podcast #458

      1 week ago

      Rooster Teeth Poppycock

      It's time for our regular segment in which @Gafgarian (AKA Jeremiah Palmer) provides answers to the burning questions left unanswered in each episode of the Rooster Teeth Podcast. Read on to get closure for The Sax Machine Plays On – #458.


      Scaramucci Poochie video?

      The original Scaramucci Poochie video has actually been pulled from Jimmy Kimmel's official channel. Here is a reupload of the short clip, though.

      Did Scaramucci give up his business?

      Prior to beginning his 10-day tenure as the White House communications director, Scaramucci did sell his 43.8% share in SkyBridge Capital to HNA Group, a Chinese holding company. Analysts have estimated the value of this sale to be north of $50 million easily. Additionally, he resigned from his position as chief strategy officer and senior vice president at the Export-Import Bank on July 25th. The sale of his shares in SkyBridge were closed in January when Scaramucci stepped down as a managing partner in order to "take a different senior job with the Trump administration." Ultimately, Reince Priebus would successfully block this appointment for months until Scaramucci's July 21st appointment to the position following Spicer's removal. Priebus would be replaced shortly after by John Kelly, who would, as one of his first duties in the new role, remove Scaramucci from his coveted position.

      Unfortunately for the Long Island born entrepreneur, he neglected to obtain a "certificate of divestiture" during his limited time with the Trump administration. This certificate allows federal employees who give up assets for reasons of potential conflicts of interest to be exempt from certain capital gains taxes and requirements. Without this certificate, Scaramucci will likely feel the full brunt of his share sale to HNA Group. This may end up being as much as $12 million owed.

      How many Jews are in the world?

      As of a 2016 census, there are around 14.4 million Jews in the world. Of that number, roughly 8 million live outside of Israel. A further study by the Diaspora Affairs Ministry states that greater than 80% of those 8 million have little to no involvement with their heritage.

      What is off-limits with Whole30?

      We went over this in a bit more detail previously but the quick answer is no added sugar or artificial sweeteners, alcohol, grains, legumes, or dairy. There are very few exceptions to these rules. In addition, the rules state that there is to be "no recreating baked goods, junk foods, or treats." In other words, you are not allowed to use a combination of "on-limits" food in order to create a reasonable facsimile of one of the off-limits items. This is because part of the goal is to cleanse the mind, as well as the body, from any attachments to specific foods, tastes, or cravings.

      Can trumpet players inflate their cheeks at will?

      There are a few things to be reviewed here. The first is that the common picture most get in their heads with regards to the "puffed cheeks" of a trumpet player is the below iconic gif (with a hard "g") of jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie.


      The important takeaway from this obvious freak of nature is that he was obviously a freak of nature. It was originally thought that Gillespie seemed to slowly develop a condition known as laryngocele. This is an empty sac which sits along either side of a person's larynx. This sac's connection to the voice box allows it to expand with a pressure increase inside the mouth. This condition typically occurs naturally at birth due to genetic malformations. It was later discovered that, in Gillespie's case, it was the insane amount of incorrect trumpet playing which caused his cheeks and throat to deform. Ultimately, Gillespie was a prolific trumpet player because he was always playing the trumpet. Peers openly envied his stamina on stage as he was able to easily perform three hour concerts, often rolling one song right into another. This stamina in the live performance music industry was, and still is unheard of. Dizzy had built up his stamina by spending the majority of his waking hours with a trumped against his mouth.

      It is now known that Gillespie actually had what is more commonly referred to as "Glassblower's disease." His commitment to practice and performance would eventually lead to this "disease" which is essentially the extreme elasticity of a person's cheeks. As can be guessed from the name, it is not uncommon among glassblowers who spend a significant portion of their career blowing with high pressure through a narrow metal pipe. This condition can, and is taught to, be prevented in trumpet players by being shown correct embouchure during initial training. An embouchure is simply the form in which a person puts their mouth to a brass or wind instrument. While there is some small debate about what makes a "perfect" embouchure and how much it impacts a player's sound, range, or general ability to play, most have agreed that having a consistent and practised embouchure will generally create a better sound and help to prevent cheeks like Gillespie. Part of this training is the idea that the puffing of a player's cheeks should be controlled and should avoid any real stretching against the elastic limits of the person's cheeks. It is known among jazz historians and trumpet players that Dizzy Gillespie had a relatively poor embouchure which was likely never corrected when he first started playing. This poor technique combined with his exceptionally long hours of constant playing and training would eventually lead his cheeks to be, arguably, more famous than his playing.

      Pufferfish inflates with water?

      Yes... sometimes. They are commonly known by many names, but the most scientifically accepted common nomenclature are the pufferfish and the porcupine fish, these fish are members of the slightly different Tetraodontidae and Diodontidae families, respectively, and have all evolved to protect themselves from predators by quickly increasing their size by as much as three times their normal size.

      There are over 100 different species of pufferfish, with variations is diet, coloring, location, additional body attributes such as small spikes or ridges, and size. This latter trait actually has a pretty large range, with the smallest pufferfish, the dwarf pufferfish of Southwest India, measuring at less than inch and the largest, the stellate pufferfish, known to grow up to 47 inches in length. Both of these are before "puffing" and while the stellate fish is typically capable of relatively small expansion when compared to its smaller relatives, having a four foot long, 1.5 foot diameter fish, suddenly puff up to a three foot fish featured beach ball in front of you, would be quite the intimidating sight.

      "Puffing" is something that they instinctively understand the mechanics of upon hatching and will practice by attempting to puff despite them being largely unable to accomplish a complete "puffing" prior to adulthood. These "mechanics" involve the forced unhinging of their jaw in order to suck in more water... or air if the fish is out of water. Yep, they DO puff up with air if they happen to be out of water, alive, and attempting to puff themselves up. Initially all of this water, or air, is stored in the mouth allowing for easy expulsion in the event that the potential threat immediately retreats. If that is not the case, millions of years of evolution allows the pufferfish to essentially block off his mouth by moving the valve that would normally block his esophagus forward. Afterward, the body contracts forcing the water, or air, down the esophagus and ultimately inflating the stomach up to three times larger. Deflating is much the same process in reverse, obviously, however, because of their muscle structure, their ability to expel water, or air, from their stomach is a slower process which is typically done in multiple steps as opposed to the singular step of the forced inflation.

      It is important to point out that pufferfish are still fish and, while they have the ability to puff with air, they have not evolved to do so and it just happens to work because of their method of sucking in and swallowing water. This makes it very difficult for them to expel air in order to deflate and it is not uncommon for a puffer to swallow too much air during capture. The excess air can become trapped in the stomach which can, in many cases, lead to their death. With that in mind, @burnie is correct that puffers do, in nearly all cases, puff with water however they are capable, and have even survived, puffing with air instead.

      Blobfish at depth?


      Most of us know the blobfish from the unfortunate image on the bottom, which, I'll be honest, vaguely resembles my great-uncle Beep. This image, nicknamed Mr. Blobby, is of a 2003 specimen captured off the coast of New Zealand at a depth of over a kilometer. There are eleven known species of blobfishes, also known as fathead sculpins or psychrolutes, and all are typically found at extreme depths. Creatures living at these depths have evolved various biological and anatomical attributes in order to help them survive under immense the immense pressure. Some of these attributes include gas-filled swim bladders and, in the case of Mr. Blobby, malleable and spongy bones. It is these soft bones that cause Mr. Blobby at depth look like the fish in the top image because their jelly like bodies use water as their primary structural support. Unfortunately, this means that, when brought to the surface, Mr. Blobby collapses and becomes the jellied mass in the bottom picture.

      Interestingly, my research also led me to find out that the majority of blobfish photos online are not actually blobfish and, in fact, are usually not even fish. Because of their rarity, most images of "blobfish" are actually silicone replicas of Mr. Blobby based on the popular image above and a plasticine model. Due to the captured detail of this original model, the photos taken of their silicone molds are easily mistaken as real blobfish and have spread a false narrative that all decompressed blobfish look just like Mr. Blobby. However, because of their very soft bone structure, blobfish that go through decompression tend to have very different looks based on their individual anatomical traits and other various factors that can shift their appearance greatly.

      Nobel and dynamite?

      Alfred Nobel would hold over 350 patents across varying fields, including electrochemistry, optics, biology, physiology, and of course engineering. While it was Italian chemist, Ascanio Sobrero, who invented nitroglycerin in 1846, it was Nobel who recognized the unfortunate volatility of the explosive was hindering its uses. In 1863, Nobel would patent a safer blasting cap for nitroglycerin detonation and, in 1866, dynamite was born. Nobel created dynamite by mixing nitroglycerin with silica into a far more stable paste. He would later fashion this paste into hardened thin cylinders in order to easily slip them into established bore holes during excavation.

      This success came only a year after building the Alfred Nobel & Co. Factory near Hamburg, Germany and it was the mass marketing of Nobel's little controlled explosion stick which led to the construction of the United States Blasting Oil Company only a year later and the US patent on his invention would come the following year, in 1867. Nobel would go on to, as previously mentioned, invent several industry leading innovations including an improved blasting cap, or detonator, blasting gelatin, and smokeless blasting powder he referred to as ballistite. Ballistite, though not terribly successful in his industry would later be a key base in solid fuel propellant for rockets.

      Nobel would spend the next 30 years refining and inventing new forms of explosives but it is clear from all accounts about this time that the international political world, namely the growing levels of destruction which the countries of the world were attempting to reach, weighed heavily on the Swedish industrialist. In 1876 he would meet with Austrian countess Bertha von Suttner who would have a profound impact on this world view. While she largely preached about forced peace and protested the growing military machine, Nobel dedicated the last ten years of his life to working directly within that machine. Using his factories and connections to design and further military technology in the advancement of cannon and rocket design as well as, of course, explosive powders. During their conversations on the topic, Nobel would relate to Suttner that "Perhaps my factories will put an end to war sooner than your congresses: on the day that two army corps can mutually annihilate each other in a second, all civilised nations will surely recoil with horror and disband their troops." Nobel did not live to see the unbridled mutually destructive military machine released upon the world in World War I though, in some ways, though controversially, his prediction did begin to materialize with the advent of atomic warfare with World War II.

      Regardless, it was no doubt due to these conversations with Suttner that upon his death in 1896, the Nobel Prize foundation's creation at the direction of his will also included the Peace Prize. He stipulated that "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses," should be awarded the Nobel Peace prize. Nobel prize categories are in the fields of physics, chemistry, literature, economics, medicine, and peace. While all Nobel prizes are awarded to highlight a significant act of progress and/or research in a topic which, as a whole, is seen to "better" mankind, perhaps none are inherently controversial as the last category. Some of the more controversial include the "fan-service-like" awarding of the prize to Barack Obama only nine months into his first term or the 1994 honoring of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, whose award was as a result of Israeli peace talks which ultimately failed to broker any peace.

      Another prolific scientist who may be one of the few people able to truly empathize with Nobel, Albert Einstein, said of Nobel's Peace prize, "Alfred Nobel invented an explosive more powerful than any then known – an exceedingly effective means of destruction. To atone for this 'accomplishment' and to relieve his conscience, he instituted his award for the promotion of peace." While this is obviously much conjecture, it is likely not far from the truth.

      Did they wax Kit Harrington's ass for boat sex?

      According to a recent interview with Jonathan Ross, Harrington claims to have a "naturally hairless bum." Jon Snow went on to say that, upon learning of his butt's cameo, he "did his homework" and performed "lots of squats" in preparation; however, no waxing was necessary.

    • Fan Art Friday #93: Sugar Pine 7 Logo by Xuelder

      1 week ago

      Rooster Teeth Poppycock

      It’s time for our weekly look at the best Rooster Teeth fan art from our community, curated by the fine folks at BIGBITE!

      This week’s featured artist is Christian, AKA @Xuelder, for this Sugar Pine 7 logo.


      Christian lives in New Orleans, where he’s working on an indie game project and looking into freelance in the greater games industry and any art opportunities.

      To create this illustration, Christian used a program called Marmoset Hexels and traced over the regular Sugar Pine 7 logo to make a scalable vector. Using shaders, gradients, and post effects, he added the animatic VHS effects. The text was imported from Fire Alpaca.


      Want a chance to be featured in future Fan Art Fridays? Head over to the Fan Art Friday thread in the Art forum to find out how!

    • Fan Art Friday #92: Ruby by mikururun

      2 weeks ago

      Rooster Teeth Poppycock

      It’s time for our weekly look at the best Rooster Teeth fan art from our community, curated by the fine folks at BIGBITE! We're a little late due to the holiday, but better late than never.

      This week’s featured artist is Michelle Lambrecht, AKA Miku AKA @mikururun, for this illustration of Ruby.


      Miku is a freelance artist/unemployed nurse based in Chile. She was listening to music while working on some other artwork when "Red Like Roses" came on. Miku says the song “exploded in her mind” and she was inspired to create this piece in Photoshop.


      Want a chance to be featured in future Fan Art Fridays? Head over to the Fan Art Friday thread in the Art forum to find out how!

    • Fan Art Friday #91: Neo by vjane

      3 weeks ago

      Rooster Teeth Poppycock

      It’s time for our weekly look at the best Rooster Teeth fan art from our community, curated by the fine folks at BIGBITE!

      This week’s featured artist is Elz, AKA @vjane, for this drawing of Neo.


      Elz lives in Paris, France, where she’s a student/research engineer/neuroscientist (whoa). To create this piece, she sketched the lines with a pencil on paper and then colored it with MyPaint on her computer. Overall, it took about six hours to complete.


      Want a chance to be featured in future Fan Art Fridays? Head over to the Fan Art Friday thread in the Art forum to find out how!

    • Fan Art Friday #90: KFSchnee by Xuelder

      1 month ago

      Rooster Teeth Poppycock

      It’s time for our weekly look at the best Rooster Teeth fan art from our community, curated by the fine folks at BIGBITE!

      This week’s featured artist is Christian, AKA @Xuelder, for this KFSchnee logo.


      Christian lives in New Orleans, where he’s working on an indie game project and looking into freelance in the greater games industry.

      On RWBY Rewind, Chad stated he wanted a KFSchnee design, so Christian granted him his wish. To create this illustration, he used a program called Marmoset Hexels and free-hand drew it. Hexels uses six- or three-sided polygons called Hexels and Trixels, respectively, instead of the traditional four-sided pixel. This creates stylized low poly style art fairly easily. The text was added in Fire Alpaca.


      Want a chance to be featured in future Fan Art Fridays? Head over to the Fan Art Friday thread in the Art forum to find out how!

    • 6 Dumb Questions About Pawpaws (RT Food #2)

      1 month ago

      Rooster Teeth Poppycock

      By @charlesaustin


      What kind of stupid idiot would look for tropical fruit in a Missouri forest? A pretty smart one, it turns out. Though you won’t find mangoes and papayas, you will find something surprisingly similar: the pawpaw. This fruit doesn’t get as much love as its truly tropical brethren, but it has a long and interesting history as a native North American fruit that grows as far north as Ontario and as far west as Nebraska.

      Within the pawpaws’ indigenous area there lies another indigenous creature: Alex Branson, a writer who has contributed to Poppycock as @bransonbranson and who currently hosts the podcast Episode One. He was introduced to the fruit by a park ranger friend in Missouri, where the two of them sometimes forage for pawpaws in the fall. Today he shares his pawpaw prowess.

      So what does this dumb thing taste like anyway?

      “They’re like a mango in terms of the pulpy texture, but they taste a bit like a banana. It tastes like a tropical fruit. There are seeds in the middle that you’ve gotta spit out because they’re poisonous,” he says.

      But even if you avoid the poison, you may not avoid a headache.

      “The first time I got some, and I was getting people to try them, people were getting headaches,” he says. “Everybody thought I poisoned them. My parents wouldn’t eat them after my brothers got headaches.”

      “I got a headache too the first time I had one. After that it was fine.”

      Is wandering around and looking for a pawpaw patch a pain in the ass?

      “Wandering around and looking for a pawpaw patch is a pain in the ass,” Branson says.

      You rarely stumble on a fresh pawpaw patch in a Missouri forest, meaning you’re better off joining someone like Branson’s park-ranger friend and visiting pawpaw patches he’s discovered in years past. But even then, few trees in a patch actually bear fruit.

      “Every place we’d found fruiting would be a hillside that gets a lot of sun, with a disturbed treeline. The best place we found was where there was a big thunderstorm the previous year, which made a big clearing in the park.”

      These pawpaw trees soaked up a lot of extra sunlight and bore more fruit.

      “The pawpaws get so heavy on [the tree] that they look weak,” he says. When you find a pawpaw tree with fruit, “you’ve just gotta grab it and shake the shit out of it.” But since the pawpaws hang so heavy, you’ll often find a few right on the ground.

      “Just because one’s on the ground doesn’t mean you don’t pick it up,” he says. “Without any preparation, you can pop that sucker open. You gotta be messy when you eat it, cause there’s no clean way to eat it. They’re a good food to eat over the sink.”

      Are there any shitty pawpaw nursery rhymes?

      “There’s an old nursery rhyme about going down to the pawpaw patch,” he says. I checked Wikipedia and he’s basically right. There’s a folk song that goes like this:

      Where, oh where is dear little Nellie?
      Where, oh where is dear little Nellie?
      Where, oh where is dear little Nellie?
      Way down yonder in the pawpaw patch
      Pickin' up pawpaws, puttin' 'em in your pocket
      Pickin' up pawpaws, puttin' 'em in your pocket
      Pickin' up pawpaws, puttin' 'em in your pocket
      Way down yonder in the pawpaw patch

      Sounds like a banger.

      Will hipsters find a way to ruin this fruit?

      Of course they will. They’ll probably start bands to do ironic covers of the pawpaw folk song too.

      Branson says, “They’ve got these festivals now where people have semi-cultivated them and are growing them. There’s some NPR article where they called it like the ‘Hipster Banana.’”

      “For a while they said it was a thing people couldn’t grow, you had to forage it. But apparently some people have their own pawpaw trees and are growing them. But from [foraging for them in] the wild, I know they’re hard to get to bear fruit.”

      If George Washington shared an elevator with an opossum and had to strike up some small talk, what would they talk about?

      Certainly their shared love of pawpaws. George Washington liked to eat chilled pawpaws for dessert. Opossums, raccoons, and squirrels also like it for dessert.

      But is it time to rethink the Founding Fathers’ views on pawpaws?

      George Washington liked his pawpaws chilled, but Branson thinks this is pretty stupid.

      “People eat them with ice cream, and try to do shit like that, but i don’t think it’s good for that. The whole point about pawpaws is that they’re rare and they’re interesting. If you put it with ice cream, then you’re not really eating a pawpaw. The whole thing about it is that it’s like a super weird, alien fruit that you can find in areas you would not expect. Personally I just think it’s best to have as an errant fruit you find,” he says.

      “It’s just the satisfaction of finding something in the woods and just immediately eating it. It’s really primal and stupid and makes you feel like, yeah, I could have survived in the wilderness 10,000 years ago. I found it. And I ate it. And now I have a headache.”

    • Fan Art Friday #89: Pixel RWBY by marcloure

      1 month ago

      Rooster Teeth Poppycock

      It’s time for our weekly look at the best Rooster Teeth fan art from our community, curated by the fine folks at BIGBITE!

      This week’s featured artist is Marcos Loures, AKA @marcloure, for this RWBY pixel art.


      Marcos lives in Minas Gerais, Brazil, where he’s an animation and digital arts student on his way to be a game developer. This is the first piece of fan art he has ever made, so he wanted to do something simple yet cool. This piece was created in Photoshop CC 2014 using a digital tablet. Each image is 64x64 pixels except for Yang’s; Bumblebee needed 2 extra pixels, so Yang's image is 64x66 px.


      Want a chance to be featured in future Fan Art Fridays? Head over to the Fan Art Friday thread in the Art forum to find out how!

    • Fan Art Friday #88: Oscar by vjane

      1 month ago

      Rooster Teeth Poppycock

      It’s time for our weekly look at the best Rooster Teeth fan art from our community, curated by the fine folks at BIGBITE!

      This week’s featured artist is Elz, AKA @vjane, for this illustration of Oscar from RWBY.


      Elz lives in Paris, France, where she’s a student/research engineer/neuroscientist (whoa). To create this piece, she sketched the lines with a pencil on paper and then colored it with MyPaint on her computer. (Side note: Elz says, “If you're looking for a good free software for painting, definitely go check out MyPaint.”)

      This illustration was inspired by a quote from Ozpin to Oscar: "Greatness in knowing that, when the world needed help, you were the one to reach out your hand." Elz says it captures how everyone has something unique that they can choose to put forward to help others and serve a greater cause, and that will be a game-changer at a certain point.


      Want a chance to be featured in future Fan Art Fridays? Head over to the Fan Art Friday thread in the Art forum to find out how!

    • Fan Art Friday #87: RWBY Animation by Elessar7

      1 month ago

      Rooster Teeth Poppycock

      It’s time for our weekly look at the best Rooster Teeth fan art from our community, curated by the fine folks at BIGBITE!

      This week’s featured artist is Nicholas Sharp, AKA @Elessar7, for this RWBY-inspired animation.

      Nicholas lives in Minnesota, where he’s a barista and aspiring game developer. He created this animation during his spare time over the span of about seven months. The models and animation were done in Maya; the level was built in Unreal Engine 4 and shot with Sequencer; and the music was added with Adobe Premiere.


      Want a chance to be featured in future Fan Art Fridays? Head over to the Fan Art Friday thread in the Art forum to find out how!

    • Answers to Questions Posed in RT Podcast #457

      1 month ago

      Rooster Teeth Poppycock

      It's time for our regular segment in which @Gafgarian (AKA Jeremiah Palmer) provides answers to the burning questions left unanswered in each episode of the Rooster Teeth Podcast. Read on to get closure for He Loves Barbies – #457.


      K-pop music video as Nazis?

      Pritz is a South Korean pop group that made some minor headlines in late 2014 when they performed at a horse racetrack wearing the outfits in the picture below:


      Naturally, this caused a bit of an uproar across fans and news outlets. The band claimed ignorance and their managing talent agency responded with, "the thought never occurred." They went on to say that the armbands were not inspired by Nazi armbands but rather a multi-directional traffic sign. The arrows intended to represent the group's intention "to expand without a limit in four directions."

      Pritz would shortly follow up their live performance with a music video featuring the controversial outfits, as well as several live performances. Despite the negative feedback, the group, and talent agency, still stand behind their outfits.

      Gal Gadot pronunciation?

      We actually tackled this one a few weeks back in the answers to #442. Here is that post's response:

      According to the Amazonian princess herself, in a 2016 Jimmy Kimmel interview, the proper pronunciation is actually "guh-DUTT," with a hard T at the end. However, another video, shown below, is a mashup of various news reports and announcers attempting to pronounce her name. One of the first pronunciations is of Wonder Woman pronouncing her name as "guh-DOTE"! This video is older, and the clip older yet so this difference could be attributed to an audio flub or even a purposeful "Americanization" of her name. That said, since Gal actually takes time to correct, and teach, Kimmel the proper pronunciation, it seems safe to say that is the most accurate. That or, as she is supposedly known around movie sets for her sense of humor, she is just quite the prankster and is secretly teaching everyone to say her name slightly different.

      On a related note, her parents' original surname of Greenstein would've been far easier to pronounce for us all.

      Blueprint Batman sheets?

      15gap26a1.jpgApparently we all shopped at KMart, hah! As soon as you mentioned the blueprints I immediately knew exactly what you were talking about. Along with the sweet Batman linens, I also had the below Star Wars bedding which I recently stumbled across in a vintage booth at an arts flea market. Nothing makes you feel old quite like having the word "vintage" tacked onto your memories.


      Plural of LEGO?

      As confirmed on the Podcast, the plural of LEGO is just "LEGO." Like sand, you have buckets of LEGO or, if you absolutely must have an "s," LEGO bricks. The battle against the added "s" has been a relatively constant thorn for LEGO for years. As early as 1980, the below message was printed on several LEGO set boxes.

      Dear Parents and Children:
      The word LEGO® is a brand name and is very special to all of us in the LEGO Group Companies. We would sincerely like your help in keeping it special. Please always refer to our bricks as 'LEGO Bricks or Toys' and not 'LEGOS.' By doing so, you will be helping to protect and preserve a brand of which we are very proud and that stands for quality the world over. Thank you!

      You may wonder why this is such an issue. Why do they care if you are adding an "s"? Their reason is actually pretty sound and, unlike the GIF vs "JIF" debate, has very real consequences. In the world of trademarks the worst thing that can happen to a brand is the genericization of their company's assets. This is the reason why Google is against you saying, "I'll just google it" when referring to searching the internet. Notice the purposely used lowercase "g" in that statement. Every use of Google's brand as a verb dilutes the brand itself, and continued use could eventually lead to the complete dissolution of their trademark. It is for this reason that LEGO, over 35 years ago, printed messages on boxes letting us know that they would like our "help in keeping it special." This is a very literal statement. By adding the "s," we are potentially dooming the LEGO brand. Unfortunately, this brand is the only protection LEGO has left, as their patent on the configuration of the brick expired in 1988. This means that the only thing stopping a company like MegaBlocks from capitalizing on the LEGO name is their trademark on those four letters.

      A more recent, and less friendly announcement from the company on the proper use of their brand name includes bulleted instructions on proper use.

      Please help us to protect our brand name:

      • The LEGO brand name should always be written in capital letters.

      • LEGO must never be used as a generic term or in the plural or as a possessive pronoun, e.g. “LEGO’s”.

      • When the LEGO brand name is used as part of a noun, it must never appear on its own. It should always be accompanied by a noun. For example, LEGO set, LEGO products, LEGO Group, LEGO play materials, LEGO bricks, LEGO universe, etc.

      • The first time the LEGO brand name appears it must be accompanied by the Registered symbol ®.

      An unfortunate side effect of the LEGO Group's recent, and succinct, message is that it has inadvertently drawn out some proponents of the term’s genericization. This stance is typically supported by the claim that LEGO originates from the Danish "leg godt" which means "play well" and is typically used as an adjective. They go on to point out that the generalization of a brand has never originated from an adjective and had its generic use be a noun. Instead, more frequently, the genericization occurs when a noun becomes a more widely used noun, such as aspirin, or a noun becomes a verb, as in trampoline or yo-yo.

      Interestingly, while researching this, I learned that the addition of the "s" when discussing LEGO is apparently a very "American" thing to do. This was initially thought to be because of the tendency, in English, to immediately append an "s" to signify plurality; however, it seems that most English speaking countries, including Australia, the UK, and India, do use the proper form of LEGO in most cases. The added "s" seems to be a majority American thing to do. There is no real known origin, and it likely cannot be tied back to a single use case. Just know that in the event LEGO does lose its trademark due to a determined genericization of their brand, it is likely our, meaning Americans’, fault.

      Now that you know a bit of both sides of the argument, what are your thoughts? I know there are quite a few international RT Community members, so naturally we need to know which form of LEGO you, and those around you, tend to use. And, of course, strawpoll!

      Do they still make Bionicle?

      Bionicle were a line of advanced construction LEGO sets which were launched as part of LEGO Group's Technic series in 2001. In order to create more interest for the understandably more difficult building concepts presented by Bionicle, a robust storyline accompanied the Bionicle universe. It was this fully developed backstory which led to the series' name. Bionicle, coming from the combination of "biological chronicle," was chosen because of the storyline emphasis on a science fantasy world inhabited by biomechanically engineered protagonists and antagonists.

      Though hesitant at first, LEGO investors quickly saw the realized potential of the Bionicle brand as it became one of the most successful lines in company history, netting them £100 million in its first year. Over the next decade, Bionicle would appear in a multitude of formats, from comic books and novels to video games and four direct-to-DVD full length feature films. Despite this popularity and the reception of multiple toy rewards over the next decade, Bionicle was discontinued in 2010. It did make a very brief resurgence just in time for holiday season 2015, only to fall again shortly thereafter.

      What does Disney XD stand for?

      According to Disney's President of Entertainment for Disney Channel Worldwide, Gary Marsh, Disney XD does not actually have a meaning. It was only chosen due to the aesthetics of the letters next to each other. This is despite the use of the abbreviation on a previous Disney website iteration featuring an interactive web interface known as Disney Xtreme Digital.

      Crossfire remix?

      There are a few remixes floating around out there on them interwebs but perhaps the most popular is a bit from 2011 featuring Mr. Freddie Wong and hair metal band Steel Panther. Here's the video!

      On a related note, my best yard sale find to this day was the moment 10-year old me stumbled across some grandma selling her poor grandson's Crossfire for $3. It was one of a handful of commercials in my life that have totally delivered on their promise. The game was legitimately fun to play, even if the guns had a tendency to jam on you and there were no explosions when your marbles would hit the opponent's spinners.

      Kids with seizures and cannabis oil?

      To clarify, this treatment while commonly referred to by the more generic moniker of "cannabis oil" was actually, more specifically, cannabidiol or CBD. This compound is one of more than 80 active cannabinoid chemicals in marijuana, including tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is the substance responsible for getting you stoned. CBD can also be found in the non-psychoactive, yet still illegal, hemp plant, though studies suggest that CBD from the marijuana plant are more potent and make for a better medicine.

      This specific discussion references a 2016 study performed by NYU Langone's Comprehensive Epilepsy Center. During a 14-week period, 120 pediatric patients diagnosed with Dravet syndrome were given either a cannabidiol oral treatment or a placebo in order to assess the viability of a cannabinoid treatment for the debilitating disorder.

      The severe childhood-onset disorder affects 1 in 30,000 children in American and can cause developmental delays, including speech, language, behavioral, and balance issues. It is very common for those suffering from Dravet to experience severe epileptic seizures that can have a frequency as high as 30 in a single day. Due to this severity and the spectrum of possible effects, existing epilepsy medications have very little effect on those suffering from Dravet. According to Dr. Orrin Devinsky, the lead author of NYU Langone's study, this can mean death rates as high as 20% before age 20.

      During Devinsky's study, the frequency of seizures was, on average, nearly half for those taking the CBD compound. The placebo group, predictably, did not change dramatically, experiencing only a 13% decrease in frequency. He would also show that 5% of the patients would become free of all seizures, or seizure-like symptoms, while taking the CBD compound. Overall Devinsky did declare the study a success but was quick to insist that there is more work to be done. He would later say, "CBD is an effective drug for this type of rare epilepsy but was not a panacea (or cure-all) for these children," pointing out that the CBD group was not without side effects, including vomiting, dizziness, and exhaustion.

      Devinsky and his peers are encouraged by the study, stating that any legitimate study which shows any form of cannabis treatment as a viable medicinal option is a step in the right direction toward getting the FDA to reclassify the drug. At the moment, due to the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning that it is recognized to be on the same legal level as heroin, LSD, and bath salts, and is not seen to have any "accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse."

      Naturally, proponents of medical marijuana point to Devinsky's study, and many others, as further proof that this is, at best, a misguided and misunderstood incorrect classification and, at worst, an example of the FDA blatantly ignoring fact in order to maintain control over a substance which has a complicated potentiality for taxation.

      Is dabbing also a drug term?

      It is! Dabbing, in drug lingo, is a reference to the DIY vaporization and ingestion of hash or cannabis oil by placing it on a hot surface and ingesting the vapor released as the cannabis concentrate boils and bubbles away. This vapor is typically much more potent than a typical hit of weed and, given the reliance on the specific chemical composition of the concentrate as well as a more complex ingestion process, it is certainly a more dangerous and complicated method of getting stoned.

      Why can law enforcement compel you to unlock your phone with a fingerprint but not if you have a passcode?

      They can do this because a fingerprint is not considered "knowledge" and, due to a literal interpretation of our fifth amendment right against self-incrimination, is not protected under the law. However, a passcode, passphrase, or pass-pattern is protected. In 2014, a Virginia judge ruled that police CAN force you to unlock your phone with your fingerprint; however, it was not until the 2016 San Bernardino shooting that a judge would issue a search warrant that required a suspect to unlock their phone via their fingerprint.

      In iOS 11, Apple fought back against this perceived unconstitutional legal loophole by providing a quick shortcut to disabling your phone's TouchID. To quickly disable your TouchID, simply press the sleep/wake button of an iPhone, running iOS 11, five times in rapid succession. A screen will appear which has options to power off, bring up your Medical ID (if filled out), or make an emergency 911 call. There is also a lone cancel button. Upon hitting cancel, or making an emergency call, your TouchID will be temporarily disabled and you will be required to enter your passcode in order to access your phone. Prior to this update, the TouchID could only be disabled by power cycling the phone, waiting 48 hours without using it, or disabling via settings. All of these methods still work, of course, but the newest method certainly has a more obvious purpose behind it given its ease of activation as well as the lack of direct feedback that the fingerprint scanner has been successfully disabled.

      For those curious, the Virginia judge's decision would also apply to the FaceID scan to be launched with the iPhone X. According to that ruling, a person's fingerprint, DNA, handwriting samples, or likeness are not protected by the fifth amendment. Thoughts on this one? Should it all be protected or are a person's fingerprints and DNA public enough for possible incrimination?

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