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Volume 337

Breathe deeply and find your inner peace, courtesy of some coolsh*t. We’ve got innovations galore this week with sonic meditation, flying Formula One, and an Aldi knock-off version of the sun.

The Capri Sun.

Just as summer’s about to get going, the longest day of the year already came and went this week. Doesn’t feel like the peak of summer yet, does it? I swear that fateful day gets earlier every year. They should just make it later. But as the nights slowly start drawing in, we just sit by and do nothing about it. The same can’t be said for the people of Viganella, Italy who decided to make their own sun. Well, kind of. Due to the town being set on the side of a steep valley and surrounded by mountains that block the sun’s rays, Viganella is deprived of any sunlight from November until February. But they decided they weren’t having it anymore, so local architect Giacomo Bonzani was commissioned by the Mayor to install a massive mirror on one of the peaks above the town, reflecting light into its main square, thus keeping the Viganellans warm and happy. That might be the greatest innovation since the spork.

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Good Vibrations.

To the untrained eye, this might just look like a woman lying supine on a fairly uncomfortable, slightly caterpillar-like, futuristic bed. But little do you know, that very same bed could actually provide the path to enlightenment and inner peace, man. If you’ve ever attempted to meditate then you’ll know that sitting on the floor doing nothing is actually a lot more difficult that it sounds. One moment you’re focusing on your breathing, getting those chakras in order, and then suddenly you catch yourself wondering why you never hear the word ‘reckful’. But this Opus Soundbed has a sonic solution. It produces penetrating spatial sound waves and vibrations to cocoon you in an immersive experience that’s meant to create out-of-body, life-changing moments of profound clarity and clear profundity. At least that’s what they say. But why would they lie? And apparently if you order now they’ll even throw in a free set of beads, some king skins and an undergraduate philosophy degree.

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The Rock.

Not Dwayne Johnson, but equally massive – one of the largest known diamonds in existence was discovered in Botswana this week. Technically it was actually discovered a couple weeks ago, but it was presented to the President this week. I bet he was fuming when he found out it wasn’t a gift. At 1098-carat, it’s believed to be the third largest in the world. Perhaps I’m showing my immaturity and goldfish-like tendencies by basically saying ‘oooh, big and shiny, I should put that in coolsh*t’, but there’s slightly more to it than that. The discovery couldn’t have come at a better time, with Botswana having suffered from dramatically declining diamond sales during the pandemic. The official Botswana Government Twitter account wrote that “proceeds from the diamond will be used to advance national development in the country.” Which is just about sufficiently vague enough for me not to question it any further. I wonder how long it’ll be before Lil Uzi Vert tries to shove it in his forehead.

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Heads Up.

The world of sport is constantly evolving. At some point, people decided to stop jousting and start kicking a ball around a field. So it stands to reason that the sports of today will at some point give way to a new era of currently unfathomable games. But flying cars? So soon? We still haven’t even got over cricket yet. But apparently flying car racing is already upon us – or above us – thanks to the recent invention of the Airspeeder Alauda Mk3. The remotely-piloted electric racing car is the product of a collaboration between automotive and aviation experts, and it produces the same power as an Audi SQ7 SUV but weighs half as much – so it’s probably fairly nippy. With 10 models already built, Airspeeder are preparing to announce their pre-season, an internal racing competition with pilots drawn from within the Alauda team. Then, if nothing goes wrong – like anyone falling out of the sky, for example – they’ll invite external teams to compete in the inaugural Airspeeder EXA Series. Best case scenario, this is the future of sports. Worst case, it’s just as dull as F1 except now you get a sore neck from having to look up the whole time.

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Winging It.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. And when you’re an enormous chain of chicken restaurants facing a nation-wide wing shortage, make thighs. Surprisingly only one of those sayings has permeated mainstream culture. But that’s precisely what the artist formerly known as Wingstop have done, following a swift rebrand to ‘Thighstop’. It must have taken them literally dozens of minutes to think of that one. And they’ve even enlisted the help of self-proclaimed ‘Chicken Boss’, ol’ growling Rick Ross, to help spread the message. They say everything’s bigger in America, and that certainly seems to apply here. When KFC faced a chicken shortage a few years ago in the UK, all we had was this woman lamenting over being forced to go to Burger King, of all places. However, I actually reckon this could turn out to be one of those happy accidents, because, hot take, the thigh is far superior to the wing. Don’t @ me. Penicillin was discovered by accident too, you know.

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That's a Wrap.

If you’ve seen Only Fools and Horses, you’ll know that British law was changed many years ago to allow Sikh motorcycle riders to wear their turban and not get charged or fined if they fail to wear a helmet. 40 years later, that same exemption has recently been introduced in the US. Yet Sikh riders still want something to protect their melons. And for some reason the Trotters Crash Turban™ was presumably deemed unfit for purpose. This inspired Zulu Alpha Kilo and Pfaff Harley-Davidson to create Tough Turban, made of a fabric that can be wrapped like a traditional turban, but also doubles as a protective helmet. The design prototype is formed from 3D-printed chainmail using protective technology such as non-Newtonian foam, which hardens when struck, thus dissipating impact and protecting noggins. It’s also covered in a laminate called Dyneema, which apparently makes it bulletproof – although I’m not sure that’s the primary danger when you’re on a motorcycle. But I’m not a one percenter, what do I know?

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