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Volume 331

Holy ravioli, this week’s coolsh*t has the pasta of the future-a, real-life Iron Men, and a birthday bash for a legend. Plus there’s a little pat on the back for everyone who’s sh*t at sport.

Iron Men.

When I saw the title ‘Royal Navy Tests Out Futuristic Iron Man Style Jet Packs’, I immediately assumed they were going to be incredibly underwhelming. You know, like those pony water cannons you can strap to your feet that propel you skywards for a good 3 seconds before drilling you back down in to the ocean. But I had to park my cynicism, as these actually look pretty impressive. This video of the Royal Marines’ trial of the suits was released this week by the company who make them, Gravity Industries. Which is a strange name, given that it seems odd to name your company after the very thing your product is fighting against. That’s like calling an abattoir ‘Happy Cows Industries’ or something. Although I bet that actually exists somewhere… Regardless, these look like a significant leap forwards in making life that little bit more like a marvel movie.

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Failing with Style.

A lot of sports adverts follow quite a tried and tested formula of showing somebody overcoming something difficult to achieve something worthwhile. Sure, they can be inspiring, but they also might rub people up the wrong way. There’s a razor thin line between being inspired by sporting greatness and the complete opposite, looking at something ostensibly unachievable and thinking ‘I’ll never manage that, time for another biscuit’. Nike’s new ad takes a different approach, by celebrating people who are basically a bit crap at sport but are giving it a go anyway. And this really struck a chord with me – mainly because I went to my first jiu-jitsu class this week and got folded up like a pretzel by a 50-year-old woman with a limp and a lazy eye. A humbling experience, I assure you.

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Billionaire Boards.

Los Angeles, despite being on fire half the time and possessing a veritable army of people living in camps, remains a hotbed for ground-breaking creativity. It’s appropriate then that the next generation of billboards would be launched smack bang in the middle of Sunset Boulevard, with the construction of a futuristic new digital media tower designed to blur the lines between advertising and public art. Reimagining the classic sign on a stick, ‘Sunset Spectacular’ is a three-sided, full-motion digital media tower that is “interactive, inhabitable, and programmed”. Apparently these kinds of designs are still banned in some cities in the US – including just down the road in Santa Monica – which struck me as bizarrely anti-progress at first. But then I realised that having an immersive blur of movement and colours portraying make-believe worlds right on the side of the road probably isn’t the best recipe for keeping drivers’ eyes firmly affixed on said road. However, these are intended to be the future of billboards, so get used to it and remember to keep those hands at 10 and 2.

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Magic Macaroni.

Flatpack pasta is the culinary innovation that nobody was asking for but everybody needs. Pasta can get a bit dull, so a research team at Carnegie Mellon university have found a way of spicing it up a little – by making it morph. You might be thinking that the line from flatpack furniture to flatpack pasta isn’t such an obvious one, as I don’t think anyone’s ever struggled to close the boot of their car because of the enormous ravioli obstructing them. However, the concept of morphing food could apparently have a huge environmental impact, as it reduces space requirements during transportation and storage and will eschew the need for mountains of plastic packaging. And to prove their product’s efficacy, they sent some woman on a hike to cook up a load of pasta using river water. Which is an incredibly strange flex and she’d probably have been better off just taking a sandwich rather than packing a saucepan and an electric hob for her leisurely stroll in the woods, but she certainly looked pretty pleased with her pappardelle, so fair play.

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Birthday Boy.

There aren’t many things that are nigh-on universally agreed upon amongst rational, civilised people, but the fact that David Attenborough is well alright might be one of the few. He turned 95 the other day, and people have been reliving some of the best moments of his illustrious career. That includes the BBC, who released this video recapping his 95 years in 95 seconds. Because after decades of service to a company and a lifetime littered with achievements, what more could you hope for than for your life to be summed up in the time it takes to boil a kettle? I hope they at least sent him a cake too. The video is pretty mental though, featuring clips from his first appearances on the tele back in 1954 when Churchill was prime minister and ‘global warming’ still sounded like a good thing. So this provides a valuable reminder that times change, but the one constant is that David Attenborough remains a sound bloke.

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Culture for Profit.

In case you missed it, we released our latest Next Gen insight report, Culture for Profit, last week. This week, we’ve got the film, featuring some expert voices from IKEA and Depop talking about the value of culture for brands, plus the pitfalls for brands who get it wrong. The full report is still available to download, so get on it.

Download the Report