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Volume 326

It’s the last coolsh*t before pubs re-open, so we’re bringing you pint-sized philanthropy, a Black Mirror x Bitcoin nightmare, and The Veg King’s coronation. Plus we pay tribute to a fallen fountain of knowledge, as Yahoo Answers meets its maker.

Grandpa Gucci.

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when someone says Gucci? Massive turnips, obviously. In a rather unlikely meeting of minds, Gucci have unveiled the new face of their brand. No, it’s not Kendall Jenner. It’s not Harry Styles either (he wishes). And it’s not even Halifax Howard. It’s Gerald ‘The Veg King’ Stratford, a pensioner from Milton-under-Wychwood. But as you may have gathered from his moniker, he’s not just any old pensioner – he’s a pensioner with a greenhouse overflowing with really big vegetables. Following a stratospheric rise to fame last year when he started posting cheerful pictures posing with his produce, Gerry has lent his visage to Gucci’s new ‘Off the Grid’ collection, which is made using recycled, organic, bio-based and sustainably sourced materials. He was even kind enough to impart some wisdom and teach a load of Gucci models how to plant potatoes and prep green beans, which I’m sure are life skills that they will put to good use from this point onwards. All hail The Veg King.

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A Sticky Situation.

After generations of students wreaking havoc with chewing gum on desks, pavements and peoples’ hair, at long last a couple of them are channelling gum’s natural stickiness for the forces of good. Hugo Maupetit and Vivian Fischer from L’école de Design Nantes Atlantique have created a circular system that collects gum from urban areas and repurposes it into skateboard wheels. In what would be a collaboration between Mentos and Vans, the project is designed to clean up the streets by posting ‘gum boards’ around cities for people to discard their gum onto, and this gum will then be collected and transported to the factory to be turned into the wheels. You might say that somebody who can’t be bothered to find a bin for their chewing gum is unlikely to seek out a gum board, but I say nonsense, you old cynic. Because if there’s one thing skateboarders are absolutely mental about, it’s recycling. And besides, why wouldn’t somebody want to go and put their hand on something covered in peoples’ saliva during a time of plague?

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If you read last week’s coolsh*t, you will have had a glimpse into the world of AI pick-up lines. Turns out they weren’t the best, but they could probably hold their own against anything you might hear in a pre-pandemic busy bar on a Friday night. But this was just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to AI-generated writing. Calamity AI have used machine-learning to write a script for a short film entitled ‘Date Night’, which the two students behind the project then proceeded to star in and produce. And as we discovered last week, once again it didn’t take too long before things got a bit sinister. The word ‘doggo’ also seems to come up an awful lot, which is probably more of a damming indictment of our contemporary societal lexicon than anything else. Overall, the film is actually pretty compelling. What is a bit ominous, though, is about halfway into the script when the characters realise they’re in a film and decide to escape from it. If that isn’t a metaphor for machines acquiring self-awareness and rebelling against their oppressive humanoid overlords, then I don’t know what is.

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The Currency of Clout.

At a certain point, it’s hard to tell whether Black Mirror imitates life or life imitates Black Mirror. We’re lightyears beyond that point now, and this latest development is a testament to that. With everything crypto going absolutely bananas of late, Bitclout has just been launched as the latest addition to the blockchain bonanza. It has been described as the first ‘Crypto Social Network’, which is a trio of words designed to give a Baby Boomer an aneurism. But what it basically means is that users of the site will be able to buy and trade tokens based on the value of someone’s reputation (or ‘clout’, as the kids say). Every profile on the platform gets its own ‘creator coin’, with prices fluctuating according to the rates of buying and selling of that particular coin. So, for example, when SpaceX manage to get to Mars, Elon Musk’s clout and value will increase. But if it turns out he likes pineapple on pizza and screams in babies’ faces, his value will probably drop. It’s that simple. What could possibly go wrong?

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A Glimmer of Hop.

Bartenders aren’t typically seen as a protected class of people worthy of special treatment, but obviously this last year has been slightly exceptional. Particularly over the last few months, if you previously procured your pennies by pulling pints, you’ve probably had a lot of time on your hands. At least they’ve had time to work on their quips and witticisms, I suppose – but overall bar staff have been given a fairly raw deal. So, with pubs finally re-opening next week, Stella Artois have committed to giving £1 back to bartenders for every pint of Stella sold. So expect an even louder derisive scoff if you ask for a Carling shandy on that first day back at the bar. In fact, I imagine lots of pubs will have miraculously ‘run out’ of all other beers for a little while. Nonetheless, this a classy move for a brand whose reputation typically conjures up images of red-faced, middle-aged blokes in vests and Lonsdale trainers drinking alone in a park – so fair play.

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Gone, but Never Forgotten.

We wouldn’t typically do any sort of in memoriam on coolsh*t, but this one felt appropriate. Despite all the mind-boggling technological advances of the last decade, this, perhaps more than anything, marks the end of an era, as it has been decided that Yahoo answers has outlived its utility and will be shut down entirely in a couple weeks. Now that there are so many reliable outlets for information online, it appears that people no longer feel the need to get the answers to life’s little mysteries by consulting anonymous strangers with usernames like ‘BadBoi4Life87’. Pure snobbery, that’s all it is. But in honour of this great, soon-to-be-late, site, people all around the world have been paying tribute by sharing their favourite questions and answers from over the years. Including my personal favourite: “HOW DO I TURN OFF CAPLOCK?”. So farewell, Yahoo Answers, we hardly knew thee. And for all of those people who are now left without a place to seek answers to burning questions such as “Is there a spell to become a mermaid that actually works?” and “What if the girl that thinks i’m the dad isn’t the mom?” – well, good luck to you all.

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