Tag Archives | Toys

Just in time for Xmas: Big Brother Barbie

Barbie is a horrible toy. We can all agree on that. But now we can despise her for something other than the ridiculous body image and vacuous statements on consumer culture she sells the kiddies.

This Barbie can spy on your family.

Sorry citizen, you have comitted a thought crime. The appropriate agencies have been notified.

Sorry citizen, you have comitted a thought crime. The appropriate agencies have been notified.

Vigilant Citizen sounds the alarm:

In an attempt to revitalize its Barbie brand, Mattel will soon launch Hello Barbie, a Wi-Fi-connected doll with artificial intelligence that “talks” to children by recording what they say and responding accordingly. All of the children’s interactions with the doll are recorded using a microphone and are sent to a remote server through Wi-Fi. The recorded voices are then interpreted by an algorithm in order to generate an appropriate response. While some might find this innovation fun and interesting, others see a big-brotherish nightmare as the toy has the capability to ask personal questions to little girls, record their answers (and everything else the mic picks up) to then transmit the information to a remote location.

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A Cute Political Theory

I woke up with cable this morning, in a hotel room, with a few free hours before work. I haven’t had cable in a while. This, coupled with the absence of clothing and the abundance of toy commercials aired during cartoons, led me to form a completely unremarkable political theory.


There wasn’t anything on any of the seven Showtime channels. I found my way to Cartoon Network. I was content letting my mind wander to animation, but then the commercials started, and didn’t stop. Toys, toys, toys. A plastic Mario on a ‘hovering’ plastic car. Another toy commercial, for a creepy mask and Spiderman web shooters. Two for the girls: fluorescent comb-able plastic ponies and collectible princess dolls.

While their parents are sleeping, reluctant to let go of the tasteless bliss of dreamless sleep and return to the land of dental plaque and insurance premiums, children are bombarded by footage of euphoric children intercut with the faces of facsimile animals and their favorite cartoon pals.… Read the rest

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Google Patents ‘Creepy’ Cuddly Toys to Run Your Home

Would you let Ted run your home? Google is thinking you just might and has patented some Internet-connected toys that can do just that, per BBC News:

Google’s R&D team has looked into making internet-connected toys that control smart home appliances.

google toys

The firm has published a patent that describes devices that would turn their heads towards users and listen to what they were saying, before sending commands to remote computer servers.

The three-year old patent was spotted recently by the legal technology firm SmartUp.

It described the proposal as “one of Google’s creepiest patents yet”.

Privacy campaigners have also raised concerns.

A spokeswoman for Google was unable to say whether this was a product the firm might develop and sell.
“We file patent applications on a variety of ideas that our employees come up with,” she said.

“Some of those ideas later mature into real products or services, some don’t.

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Bootleg Toys by “The Sucklord”

Have you ever wanted to get your hands on a pink Stormtrooper or a Sleestak in a business suit? The Sucklord has you covered. Meanwhile, watch this video where he talks about villains and such.

“The Sucklord” by Joey Garfield from ghostrobot on Vimeo.

From Suckadelic’s website: “SUCKADELIC is an evil arts organization specializing in Bootleg Toys, illicit remix records, and duffed out Supervillain Soap operas and is universally regarded as the sleaziest brand in the game. Ruled from a hidden Sweatshop by the intergalactic criminal and cosmic playboy, the SUPER SUCKLORD, Suckadelic has continued to pump highly addictive pop culture crap into the veins of willing victims since 1997.”

via Vimeo

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Satan’s Toy Box

Turmoil in a ToyboxThis crazy video features an insane look back on the toys and cartoons of the 1980’s by a couple of confused evangelical Christians who see the Devil in every detail. Author Phil Phillips and Pastor Gary Greenwald would be just a couple of bumbling buffoons if their brand of humorless hysteria hadn’t been part of a bigger trend that lead to the “Satanic Panic” of that era — a time when hundreds of unsubstantiated cases of so-called Satanic ritual abuse were reported around the United States.

The good people at i09 published a short version of this video. Here are some of their favorite bits:

• Dungeons & Dragons “game pieces” scream when you set them on fire!

• “It’s called necromology.”

• Darth looks “almost exactly” like the Norse god Odin

• Smurfs are blue with black lips… just like corpses.

• “There’s a form of witchcraft [in Star Wars] called ‘Obi witchcraft.'” Obi obi obi!… Read the rest

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Dangerous Chemicals Found in Thousands of Products for Children

Pic: Muu-Karhu (CC)

Pic: Muu-Karhu (CC)

Troubling news for the parents among us: Toys and other children’s products contain low levels of a wide range of “chemicals of concern”:

Via Scientific American:

Cobalt in plastic building blocks and baby bibs. Ethylene glycol in dolls. Methyl ethyl ketone in clothing. Antimony in high chairs and booster seats. Parabens in baby wipes. D4 in baby creams.

An Environmental Health News analysis of thousands of reports from America’s largest companies shows that toys and other children’s products contain low levels of dozens of industrial chemicals, including some unexpected ingredients that will surprise a public concerned about exposure.

The reports were filed by 59 large companies, including Gap Inc., Mattel Inc., Gymboree Corp., Nike Inc., H&M and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., to comply with an unprecedented state law.

Keep reading.

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Toys To Introduce Your Kids To The Post-Democracy Era

The Toys for the State of Exception tumblr is your buying guide for toys and actions sets for children to play militarized-anti-unrest police force make-believe:

Curated by Leigh Phillips, European Union affairs journalist and science writer (EUobserver, Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Nature, Scientific American, New Statesman, Jacobin, amongst others).

Chilean Carabinero riot squad, Riot Police Multipurpose Helicopter, Chinese Urban Pacification Unit playset, Micro Machines ‘Operation Secure City’, German riot police.

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Presenting Amazon’s Predator Drone Toy For Kids

Looking to instill your children with some patriotic values? That’s where the Maisto Fresh Metal Tailwinds U.S. Military Aircraft – Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) RQ-1 Predator comes in, for sale now via Amazon:

The RQ-1 Predator can serve in a reconnaissance role and fire two AGM-114 Hellfire missiles. The aircraft, in use since 1995, has seen combat over Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bosnia, Serbia, Iraq, and Yemen.

The customer reviews explain:

“Educationally, this toy can’t be beat – inculcating a predilection for indiscriminate, imperialist violence against non-combatants from oppressed and marginalized communities is precisely in accordance with truly “American values!”

“I’m purchasing one of these drones for my nephew as a visual aid. I’m training him that if he can use these drones to kill enough innocent people he’ll be named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year twice and win the Nobel Peace Prize someday.”

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Possible next step for the UK Police Service?

Combat knife and grenade as standard

Police do not carry guns as standard in the United Kingdom. However some young British would-be coppers will be getting an interesting alternative option in their stockings this year. Why bother with a gun when you can pack a grenade, combat knife (complete with knuckle guard) and military style hard hat?

Might come in useful in the event of a re-run of the spontanious rioting that blighted 2011. Certainly puts a different twist on the idea of the UK being ‘policed by consent’.

Merry Christmas!

Nick Margerrison

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Toy Surveillance Glasses For Kids

Play objects often mimic the realities of the adult world. The hot gift for for sale this holiday season is children’s SpyNet Glasses, which allow the child to steathily record video of everyone around them and upload the footage. The line of toys also includes a mock taser:

The SpyNet HQ glasses provide stealthy video recording, disguised as sunglasses! Get all the intel, in plain sight! Records up to 20 minutes of video – upload to your computer and SpyNetHQ.com!

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