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Volume 327

Happy Friday, here’s your weekly dose of coolsh*t. On the menu today: monkey mind control, apocalyptic automobiles, and a blinking good webcam. Oh, and can't forget about those long-awaited post-lockdown pints. Hallelujah.

King Pong.

Mind control, Elon Musk, primates and old school video games. These could be the interests listed on Joe Rogan’s Tinder profile – but they’re not. They’re the key components of Neuralink’s latest video, which features a macaque named ‘Pager’ playing Pong. Which is impressive enough in itself, but as you may have gathered, he’s playing using only his mind. After being trained up on the joystick, the training wheels were removed as link chips were installed and Pager was left with nothing but his own monkey brain to take on the computer. And I think it’s fair to say he did a pretty decent job. He’d still get slapped up on Fifa though. While this is a bit of a party trick, Musk – as he so often does – took to Twitter to explain how this technology will enable someone with paralysis to use a smartphone with their mind faster than someone using thumbs. But after that fleeting moment of seriousness, his Neuralink partner Max Hodak rather ruined it slightly by stating very plainly, “We could probably build Jurassic Park if we wanted to.” Seriously? There are literally 5 whole films on why that’s a bad idea.

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On the Road.

Oh, look who’s back. Macaques playing video games wasn’t quite enough for Mr. Musk, so he decided to steal his own thunder with the big reveal of the Tesla Cyberlandr, a modified version of the also-unreleased Cybertruck. That’s like showing the trailer for a sequel before the first film even comes out. Unorthodox? Sure. But what did you expect? The Cyberlandr comes kitted out with solar panels, a sliding door, retractable steps, heated flooring, a sink with a voice-controlled tap, a hob, a refrigerator, a table, chairs, a bed and even a shower – which is such a long list of amenities that I got bored and took a break halfway through writing it. But, to be fair, it really does like the perfect vehicle for cruising into the apocalypse in style and comfort. But can it play Pong though?

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Eye Spy.

The idea of having a camera staring at you all day can be a little unsettling, but fortunately we tend to kind of forget about it. Well not anymore! Say hello to the new Eyecam, which will never allow you even a momentary feeling of privacy. It’s made of several motors, silicone, and human hair to replicate a real human eye socket by blinking, rolling, wincing and staring at you while you’re just trying to make it through your Monday morning Zoom call without yawning too much. It’s also got a high-resolution camera inside the pupil, connected to a Raspberry Pi Zero, so it can recognize faces. Yikes. The project’s designer, Marc Teyssier, said the project “highlights the privacy issues of sensing devices; is it watching? Is it listening? Are you really sure?”. I mean, yeah, I suppose – but I think I preferred the blissful ignorance, to be honest. Plus my Amazon recommendations have been pure fire lately, so they can keep spying as far as I’m concerned.

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Floor Board.

If you’ve found this coolsh*t a little tech heavy, then, firstly, get with the times, you luddite. But if that’s a little abrasive, then please accept this nostalgic peace offering. Remember when people used to actually play board games? Me neither. But apparently they did. In fact, some people loved board games so much that they were willing to create giant versions of them on their living room floors. This was the discovery made by a couple who recently moved into their lovely new home only to be greeted by an enormous Monopoly board when they ripped up the carpet. What are the chances? They’re the orange cards placed near the ‘Go’ space. But this has well and truly confused the internet, with people across the globe now wanting to know why and how it got there. Personally, I’d like to think that the previous occupants were giants so this just felt like a normal board to them. Or perhaps this is an alternative to that harrowing ‘wizard’s chess’ scene in the first Harry Potter where Ron gets clarted off the horse. Well I don’t see you coming up with any better theories…

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Moving House.

If you’ve ever moved house, then you’ll know that it’s a massive faff packing up your gaff. It takes forever and you swiftly learn that you own a lot more useless crap than you had previously thought. Now just imagine if you had to do all that, but you had to take the actual house with you as well. Firstly, you’d probably need a bigger moving van. And secondly, what the hell am I talking about? Well, I’ll tell you – this is the issue currently facing residents of Kiruna, a town in the far north of Sweden. After mining the holy hell out of the world’s largest iron ore mine that happens to be on their doorstep, the consequent land deformation on the town’s western border has begun to subsume it, putting residents at risk. So, naturally, they’ve decided to up sticks and transport the entire town, building by building, along with its 20,000 residents, down the road a little bit over a period of 100 years. Because what else would you do? Although it would be an awful lot easier if they all just lived in Cyberlandrs.

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Pints Galore.

If there’s one thing capable of uniting man, woman and child in a collective feeling of unadulterated joy, it’s a cold pint at the pub. Ok, maybe not children, but they can stay home and play on an iPad or something. Or leave them in the car, just remember to crack a window. The point, though, is that as of this Monday just gone, pubs in the UK are back with a vengeance. In what felt like a historic moment, thirsty patrons throughout the country visited their locals for that first post-lockdown pint. Well, besides this one monster who decided to order, of all things, a bottle of corona, which you can get from any garage or corner shop for about a quid. Absolute national disgrace. But anyway, to capture this moment in time, photographer Jake Lewis cycled around London to picture people with their pints, producing truly heart-warming results. But these are just the tip of the iceberg. And I mean that quite literally, as it was snowing up North (because of course it was), which gave us glorious photos like these of 100%, thoroughbred, Stella-fuelled blokes nursing pints in a blizzard, not giving a single shit. Oh wow, is it 12pm already? I’m off for a pint. Ciao.

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