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Joe Haupt via Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Joe Haupt via Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Nintendo May Release an SNES Classic

Joe Haupt via Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Joe Haupt via Flickr // CC BY 2.0

It’s been an interesting time for Nintendo. In 2016, the company appeared to be blindsided by the demand for its NES Classic, a palm-sized Nintendo Entertainment System pre-loaded with 30 games. Even though all its titles were decades old, the $60 console sold for hundreds of dollars due to a lack of supply and a surplus of nostalgia that created a secondary market. Then, Nintendo announced they were discontinuing the item, with final shipments arriving at retailers through the end of April.

One possible reason why: The company may be looking to replace it with an SNES Classic.

According to Eurogamer, Nintendo has initiated development of a reissued Super Nintendo Entertainment System that will share the NES Classic’s tiny chassis and pre-loaded game selection. (Hopefully without the accompanying fits of rage from gamers unable to get their hands on one without paying a huge mark-up.) The Super Nintendo was released in the U.S. in 1991. Fueled by the popularity of titles like Super Mario Kart, Donkey Kong Country, and others, it went on to sell 49 million systems worldwide.

Nintendo has yet to issue any official statement on the SNES Classic. Instead, the company is putting their promotional weight behind the release of the Switch, their portable console that debuted in March.

[h/t Thrillist]

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Big Questions
What Is the Meaning Behind "420"?
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Whether or not you’re a marijuana enthusiast, you’re probably aware that today is an unofficial holiday for those who are. April 20—4/20—is a day when pot smokers around the world come together to, well, smoke pot. Others use the day to push for legalization, holding marches and rallies.

But why the code 420? There are a lot of theories as to why that particular number was chosen, but most of them are wrong. You may have heard that 420 is police code for possession, or maybe it’s the penal code for marijuana use. Both are false. There is a California Senate Bill 420 that refers to the use of medical marijuana, but the bill was named for the code, not the other way around.

As far as anyone can tell, the phrase started with a bunch of high school students. Back in 1971, a group of kids at San Rafael High School in San Rafael, California, got in the habit of meeting at 4:20 to smoke after school. When they’d see each other in the hallways during the day, their shorthand was “420 Louis,” meaning, “Let’s meet at the Louis Pasteur statue at 4:20 to smoke.”

Somehow, the phrase caught on—and when the Grateful Dead eventually picked it up, "420" spread through the greater community like wildfire. What began as a silly code passed between classes is now a worldwide event for smokers and legalization activists everywhere—not a bad accomplishment for a bunch of high school stoners.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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Weird
Massive Tumbleweeds Invaded a California Town, Trapping Residents in Their Homes
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For Americans who don’t live out west, any mention of tumbleweeds tends to conjure up images of a lone bush blowing lazily across the desert. The reality is not so romantic, as Californians would tell you.

The town of Victorville, California—an 85-mile drive from Los Angeles—was overtaken by massive tumbleweeds earlier this week when wind speeds reached nearly 50 mph. The tumbleweeds blew across the Mojave Desert and into town, where they piled up on residents’ doorsteps. Some stacks towered as high as the second story, trapping residents in their homes, according to the Los Angeles Times.

City employees and firefighters were dispatched to tackle the thorny problem, which reportedly affected about 150 households. Pitchforks were used to remove the tumbleweeds, some of which were as large as 4 feet tall by 4 feet wide.

"The crazy thing about tumbleweeds is that they are extremely thorny, they connect together like LEGOs," Victorville spokeswoman Sue Jones told the Los Angeles Times. "You can't reach out and grab them and move them. You need special tools. They really hurt."

Due to the town’s proximity to the open desert, residents are used to dealing with the occasional tumbleweed invasion. Similar cases have been reported in Texas, New Mexico, and other states in the West and Southwest. In 1989, the South Dakota town of Mobridge had to use machinery to remove 30 tons of tumbleweeds, which had buried homes, according to Metro UK.

Several plant species are considered a tumbleweed. The plant only becomes a nuisance when it reaches maturity, at which time it dries out, breaks from its root, and gets carried off into the wind, spreading seeds as it goes. They’re not just unsightly, either. They can cause soil dryness, leading to erosion and sometimes even killing crops.

[h/t Los Angeles Times]

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