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Volume 335

Travel into the future with this week’s coolsh*t. We’re bringing you robotic row boats, the London underground on steroids, and art that isn’t in the eye of the beholder.

Cogito Ergo Dumb.

I wasn’t sure whether to include this or not. On the one hand, it’s pretty bloody stupid. But on the other hand, you’ve got to salute the absolute upper echelon, top-level sh*thousery. Italian artist Salvatore Garau sold a sculpture for $18,000 this week. Given the exorbitant sums that you often see art go far, that doesn’t seem all that noteworthy. But allow me to add one more tiny detail: that sculpture only exists in his head. In other words, it doesn’t exist. Titled “I am” like a piss-taking cogito ergo sum deduction of reality, the work is said to exist only in a vacuum – whatever that means. Garau even had the nerve to tell the buyer that it should be displayed in an unobstructed, private area that is five by five feet. And I thought some NFTs seemed a bit silly, but this is really something else. All of a sudden, spending 5 grand on an NFT digital racehorse doesn’t seem like such a bad investment.

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Don't Row Your Boat.

Forget self-driving cars, we’ve got bigger fish to fry. Self-rowing row boats. Formally known as Roboats. A fleet of them have just been introduced in Amsterdam, a place previously famous for its, err, tulips. Designed and created by the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions and MIT, Roboat is a research project designed to ease congestion around the city by making greater use of Amsterdam’s 100km of canal. They’ll be used for transporting cargo as well as passengers – which will presumably primarily consist of giggling teenagers on holiday who want to ride the magic boat. The developers have admitted that the steering still needs some ‘fine-tuning’, which wouldn’t exactly fill you with confidence. But I suppose the stakes are slightly lower when you’re pottering past some mallards at 4mph rather than hurtling along a motorway at 100. So if some people get unlucky and have to take an unplanned dip in the Herengracht, then that’s just the necessary cost of progress.

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Produce Purses.

I know people go absolutely nuts for any kind of upcycling these days, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it done to quite this extent. Swerving the crocodile, lizard, pigskin, ostrich, skipper or lambskin approach for a change, Hermes have decided to make some luxury handbags out of fruit and veg. Now I’d expect this from some hippy dippy, anaemic, vegan brand, but this is Hermes we’re talking about. My main perception of them previously was as the brand who make the belts with the great big ‘H’ on them that are worn exclusively by Love Island impersonators in spray-on jeans and tight white shirts who like to pose with bottles of Ciroc in nightclubs. I’ve probably personalised that slightly, but these bags are actually a serious step up as far as I’m concerned. And I don’t think we should underestimate the level of artistry that’s required to weave several dozen asparagus into a luxury item. How long till we see a Kardashian sporting one of these?

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Hop in the Bath.

When I sneak off for a crafty pint of ale in the bath, it’s seen as a cry for help. But apparently if you pay some people a load of money to do just that, it qualifies as a luxury retreat. Bloody hypocrites. Although these lot have gone one further, as they’ve decided to actually fill the bath with beer. WeWantMore have just opened the first Belgian beer spa in the old city centre of Brussels – because people with drinking problems need some R&R too. But apparently it’s not just for a laugh – the hop flower contains the most powerful known antioxidant, Xanthohumol. And they’re combining that with the age-old adage of “chill out, have a drink” to create an immersive experience designed to soothe travellers’ weary souls. And to get them bladdered so they spend more, probably.

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As fun as the prospect of self-rowing rowboats is, they’re probably unlikely to have particularly profound implications on the future of travel. This ‘Hyperloop’ thing, on other hand, just might. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard about it, but I’m ashamed to say I still don’t entirely get it. But, as far as I can tell, it’s basically a bunch of massive tubes through which passengers will be catapulted in a sort of levitating missile at previously unfathomable speeds. So take the London underground but minus the wheels, speed it up a bit, and add a load of LED lights. Oh, and it’ll get you to Manchester in about 20 minutes. But at these speeds, surely it can’t be safe? Well, they’ve got an answer to that, and it’s called vibranium. I was going to make a joke about how that sounds like the fictional metal they used in Black Panther, but having just Googled it, it turns out it actually is the stuff from Black Panther. Well, obviously it isn’t, and it probably won’t give you superpowers, but that’s what they’ve decided to call it. Surely they’re just taking the piss now?

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realsh*t: Vaccinated?

Has the vaccine become overly politicised? Are there any legitimate concerns, or are you by necessity an anti-science anti-vaxxer if you’re feeling sceptical? Do we have a responsibility to get it? Have you had it? Are you gonna?

We spoke to SELFHOOD to hear how they’re feeling about the jab.

Real People, Real Time… Realsh*t.

More realsh*t