Toy Uterus Lets Kids Give Birth

May 19, 2018
EL SEGUNDO, CA–Toy and game giant Mattel Inc. today announced the worldwide availability of Baby.I.Birthed.It, a wearable pouch in which kids can grow a range of Mattel-brand biomechanical dolls and pets. “I.Birthed.It is a spin-off accessory to our popular Barbie.Gives.Birth,” notes Mattel spokesperson Randy Doo. “Now kids can share the experience with Barbie. The pouch gets big, just like Barbie.Gives.Birth’s tummy, and, after nine weeks, Barbie has a little baby to take care of, and so does the child.”

Baby.I.Birthed.It consists of a colorful cotton-poly blend “pouch” or “babypack,” with hypoallergenic shoulder straps that hold it in place against the child’s abdomen. A zippered, vinyl-coated sack inside the pouch contains a soup of non-toxic resins and nano-assemblers responsible for growing the Baby and simulating, through control of the density and viscosity of the resin substrate, the changing effects of pregnancy on gait, posture, and center of gravity. I.Feel.My.Baby, a special patch, sold separately and worn on the child’s skin, delivers time-release, child-safe “simulants” that emulate some of the symptoms popularly associated pregnancy, including “morning sickness” and a “healthy glow” in the cheeks and eyes.

“I.Brithed.It is an educational toy, and we’ve taken great care to provide a fun and accurate experience for the kids,” explains Mattel R&D Director Amy Ollie. “Sure, the babypack comes in bright rainbow colors, and is stain-resistant and machine washable, but we’ve also done a lot of work to make sure that things are as anatomically accurate as possible. I’m particularly proud of what we’ve done with the navel.”

After the gestation period, during which the child is able to feel the growing doll moving and kicking, the inner sack is unzipped to reveal a writhing, cooing doll that imprints immediately upon the child’s voice and simulates most of the moods and functions of a three-month-old baby. When the child is done playing with the Baby, the inner sack can digest and reuse the underlying resins with only moderate material loss. Refill packages (sold separately) permit the toy to be reused indefinitely.

“In our initial release, I.Birthed.It only delivers the Mattel Baby,” notes Ollie. “But it’s really a toy birth platform that eventually will deliver products from across the Mattel line, and from our strategic partners. We’re already in talks with Gund to offer a Gund.Bear.I.Birthed.It refill that will grow one of their interactive bears. Our American Girl brand add-on will be released for the holiday season, and we’re currently market-testing a Hotwheels.I.Birthed.It for the boys that grows a fully-functional Hotwheels car with a miniature, biomechanical driver.”

Demand for Baby.I.Birthed.It is reportedly high, driven in part by promotion of the toy in schools as a key part of the Mattel Interactive Curriculum.

Critics of the company point to its history of promoting gender stereotypes through its products. BarbieWatch Director Gil Heamp: “I.Birthed.It is just another in a long line of attempts by Mattel to commodify and monetize the gender stereotypes that persist in American culture. What message are they sending by integrating a simulated experience of childbirth into their curriculum?”

Baby.I.Birthed.It is currently available for purchase through retail outlets worldwide.

McDonald’s New ‘Surplus Value Menu’ Pays You To Eat

July 13, 2067
OAK BROOK, IL–In yet another example of the through-the-looking-glass pricing schemes that have become popular among consumer products bellwethers over the past 18 months, McDonald’s announced today that it will begin paying its customers to eat select combinations of its menu items. Starting August 1, customers ordering from the new “Surplus Value Menu” will also receive cash payments ranging from $.15 to $1.45. The flagship of the new menu, the “Big Mac Surplus Value Meal,” including a Big Mac Classic sandwich, french fries, and a branded soft drink, costs the customer nothing, and comes, instead, with a cash payment of $.99.

“A number of related insights lead to the development of the ‘Surplus Value’ strategy,” explains McDonald’s Marketing VP Friedrich Shank. “The first is that we live in an attention economy, and in an attention economy you pay for eyeballs, or, in our case, stomachs. The second, and more important, is that consumers with more money buy more. Ford kept wages high so that his workers could afford to be his customers. We’re taking that one step further and paying our customers so that they can afford to be our customers. A huge percentage of our potential worldwide market continues to live at the subsistence level and can’t afford our products. This new strategy will bring them into the McDonald’s fold.”

Fielding questions from concerned investors, Shirley Wheere, McDonald’s IR Chief, noted that “McDonald’s is adopting this new strategy from a position of market strength. We continue to dominate the quick-service and education channels. The ‘Surplus’ strategy aims at top-line growth, from which we expect notable bottom-line follow-through.”

“Sure, I’m concerned,” opines independent industry analyst Orna Kincklenum. “Whenever you see something like this it gives you pause. Dramatic loss leader pricing is a desperate measure. You don’t amputate the limb unless it’s about to fall off anyway.”

Economic and business theorists characterize strategies like the “Surplus Value Menu” as attempts to “extract internal value from negative enterprise externalities.” Harvard economist J. Yis Prudome explains: “The classic example would be the relationship between a polluter and a company that supplies clean-up equipment and services. If, by polluting, I make business for the clean-up guys, I can partner with them, both to tailor my pollution in order to make their clean-up more efficient, and, more importantly, to get payment in exchange for agreeing to continue polluting and making more clean-up business. To understand how a company like McDonald’s can afford to do something like this, you just have to ask yourself who, outside the firm, benefits when people eat more Big Macs? That’s who’s paying you to eat them.”

Others tie the McDonald’s announcement to its recent retention of FeedBank, the financial services and consulting subsidiary of temporal networking giant Futurefeedforward. “If you look at the SEC filings of all of the companies who’ve announced something like this in the past year,” points out Plum Difference, director of investor and consumer advocacy group FIGHT, “you’ll see that all of them partnered with or hired FeedBank in the months preceding the change in business strategy: BP, International Paper, MT&T, all of them. FeedBank pushes the idea that the time value of money is about to reverse, that future dollars are worth more than present dollars. What’s happening is that FeedBank is helping the big guys pawn-off their present dollars on an unsuspecting public.”

The Surplus Value Menu will be available, beginning August 1, and for the foreseeable future, at participating McDonald’s franchises worldwide.

FeedBank Launches Inter-Temporal Intra-Personal Banking Portal

Oct. 21, 2157
GRAND CAYMAN–FeedBank, the banking subsidiary of research and financial services conglomerate Futurefeedforward, announced today the availability of Chronocents, the first internet banking portal dedicated to facilitating transactions between customers’ present-day and future-side accounts. “We’re proud to be pioneering this market space,” declares FeedBank VP of Operations Nancy Beely. “For the first time consumers will be able to transfer funds from future deposits to their present-side accounts, and vice-versa.”

Inter-Temporal Intra-Personal banking–“IT/IP” as it’s known in the trade–has been hailed by proponents as a re-invigorating paradigm-shift for the staid banking industry, and dismissed by critics as, in the words of Fed Chairwoman Rebecca Deeferper, a “dangerous joke” and “quite possibly fraudulent.”

IT/IP exploits “temporal networking,” a proprietary data communications technology developed by FeedBank’s parent company. Temporal networks permit the transmission of data between the future and the present by means of “retrograde quantum effects.” In the case of IT/IP, this data includes financial transactions between present-day accountholders and their future accounts.[p]
“For us, the trick was in figuring out how to handle Intra-Personal fund movements,” explains FeedBank’s Beely. “We’ve been working successfully with temporal technologies since our founding, but consumer Intra-Personal transactions proved more complex than we initially thought.”

To enable IT/IP, FeedBank defines for each customer a Personal Monetary Marketplace, or PMM. Each “temporal instantiation” of the customer acts as a buyer or seller in the market, and the dynamics of a customer’s PMM defines, over time, a Personal Exchange Rate. Beely explains: “In order to achieve market-style efficiencies, we set up a market in which a customer at any given point in time bids on funds. In essence, customers sell their own money to themselves, but with the added benefit that the customer gets the optimal amount of capital when they need it most. It works just like international currency markets, but here all of the market players are you at different points in time.”

Regulatory and industry officials have shown little inclination to respond to the challenges IT/IP is sure to make to the banking establishment. “Most of them are very old-school,” notes Jupiter analyst Marcus Gee. “They just don’t get the scope of the revolution. Temporal borders don’t matter anymore, and the financial world has got to re-invent itself. FeedBank is part of that process. We’re maintaining a ‘super duper buy’ rating.”

When reached for comment, International Generally Accepted Accounting Principles Czar Terry Fishfish remarked that the accounting body had “no comment on what [FeedBank] is doing other than to warn consumers not to get involved in financial schemes that lack sufficient public oversight.” U.S. IRS spokesman Finny Marinoffal was less circumspect: “There’s a reason they’re so offshore,” he pointed out on a recent conference call. “They don’t want to make it easy for us to figure out the tax implications of their schemes. Taxpayers proceed at their own risk, at least as far as my office is concerned.”

“We have made every effort to assist GAAP and relevant tax officials in defining appropriate policy concerning our products,” explains FeedBank’s Beely. “They were utterly unreceptive to our innovations and left us with no choice but to go offshore. The launch of Chronocents should be a wakeup call for them, a shot across the bow of the establishment. Regulators have got to adapt, or go the way of the dinosaur.”

New Clothing Line to Help Publicly-Held Individuals

May 28, 2063
WASHINGTON DC–In the wake of recent court decisions upholding rulemaking concerning disclosure requirements for publicly-held individuals, SEC Inc. has begun to market and license apparel designed to satisfy the complex and sometimes arcane regulations. The clothing, marketed as “disclothing,” bears dynamically-updated mandatory personal disclosure statements, and, for post-IPO individuals, a current trading price and volume ticker. “We realize that most individuals who have decided to go public lack the legal and financial resources to thoroughly understand the disclosure requirements to which they are subject,” explains SEC spokesperson Eva Jump. “So we’re trying to bring to market some user-friendly products that’ll make it easier for people to take advantage of the capital markets.”

The garments are made from Light-Emitting Polyester–commonly known as Leppy–and currently include traditional khakis and blue, button-down oxfords. “We are only currently offering two styles of disclothing,” points out Jump. “But we do have agreements with a number of popular manufacturers, including AOL-Gap and J. Crew. They’ll be bringing out some very stylish outfits later this year.”

Each piece of disclothing satisfies disclosure regulations by boldly displaying any recent 8-k filings detailing, in particular, events that may have materially adverse effects upon the individual. “At first I was a little uncomfortable wearing a shirt that said ‘RECENTLY DIVORCED’ and ‘DRINKS DURING LUNCH,'” explains Jamie Dougle, a publicly-held insurance executive and mother of three. “But, once I realized how much easier compliance would be if I wore these clothes, there really wasn’t any decision to make.”

SEC rules now provide a safe-harbor from civil liability for incomplete or improper disclosure for publicly-held individuals wearing disclothing 90% or more of the time they spend in public. The garments measure the amount of time they are worn through random genetic signature tests of the wearer’s skin, measure the time during which they are the outermost garment by means of light-sensitive sensor-threads, and plot all information an a GMT synchronized calendar. GPS triangulation helps the garments to determine when they are in public and when in private, and bluetooth local RF protocols permit all of the garments in an individual’s wardrobe to exchange and synchronize data.

Though lauded for its convenience by the majority of publicly-held individuals nationwide, disclothing is not without its critics. “I opposed the spin-off of the SEC precisely because I knew it would introduce ‘innovations’ like these,” exclaims Senator R. Rodney (G-New Mexico). “We’ve seen little public debate over the accelerated adoption of rules enabling individuals to sell themselves on the market, and now we see the Commission acting more like a private-sector hawker of consumer goods than like an independent regulatory corporation.”

“I know that some people are worried about the ‘privacy’ implications of the clothes,” admits Dougle. “But a lot of the same people told me I was becoming a ‘slave’ by offering myself on the market. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’m now publicly owned. Isn’t that what being a real part of the community is all about?”