Things are running smoothly out here in the blogosphere. It’s time to throw a spanner in the works with this week’s What I’ve Been Reading.

  • The “leaked” information about Microsoft’s upcoming successor to the XBox 360 turned out to be a hoax, perpetrated by some bored dude on the Internet who wanted to prove a point about the state of games journalism. Though Destructoid didn’t fall for the hoax, they gave their opinion on the matter anyway. That site’s Allistair Pinsof explains that since the information was reported as rumour anyway, the fact that it was reported is completely moot.
  • Another week, another set of articles in the newly flared-up debate on the supposed links between video games and real-world violence. Patrick Miller weighs in on the issue, saying that we need to change the terms of the debate and refuse to participate in conversations that pigeonhole the medium as one that breeds violent killers. On the other hand, Simon Parkin of Eurogamer, in a brilliant investigative piece, uncovers the seedy underbelly of the modern military shooter business, where arms manufacturers license likenesses of their weapons to be used in video games for the sake of “realism.” This debate just got a whole lot more complicated.
  • In the recent excellent 30 Rock series finale, Kenneth Parcell, the new head of NBC, asked why we never see any baby pigeons. Well, wonder no more. Back in 2008, Danny Freedman of Popular Science already answered that question.
  • Do you love the “fresh-squeezed” taste of certain orange juice brands? Well, those juices may not be as “natural” as you think. Adam Clark Estes of The Atlantic Wire uncovers the hi-tech chemical processes involved in producing Minute Maid’s Simply Orange.
  • Ever wanted to literally shoot fish in a barrel? Now you can with Ryan Evans’ CoD of Duty!
  • And finally, just for fun: the L.A. Noire blooper reel. How can a video game have a blooper reel? you ask. Well, I’ll tell you. The special mo-cap technology used to capture the actors’ performances replicates their words and facial expressions in the game world 1:1. The result is hilarious and kind of terrifying.

Well, that’s it for this week. Tune in next week for parsley, sage, and thyme. But not rosemary. Fuck rosemary.