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Volume 339

X marks the spot. In this week’s coolsh*t, we’ve got hidden treasures, sausage sportsmen, and synchronised sheep. Plus there’s a reappearance for our favourite phoney artist – and this time he’s brought a mate with him…

Charlatan Showdown.

If I could invite you to cast your mind back a few weeks, you might remember the story of Salvatore Garau, the ‘artist’ who sold an invisible sculpture for upward of $18,000. At the time, we commended his sheer sh*thousery, but it appears that a pretender to the invisible throne has emerged from the woodwork to make a claim for the crown of the King of Bullsh*t. And of course he would be from Florida, which further cements its status as the TMZ of American states. Tom Miller is threatening to file a lawsuit against Garau, claiming the Italian artist infringed on his IP and refused to give him any credit or compensation. Miller erected his own invisible statue, ‘NOTHING’, back in 2016 in Gainesville’s Bo Diddley Community Plaza, and frankly it is astounding that Garau wasn’t aware of that. Now Miller wants what’s rightfully his: an ‘attaboy and a tenner. Keep an eye on this one, something tells me this isn’t over.

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Lionel Messi, Serena Williams, LeBron James, Tom Brady, Floyd Mayweather – we’ve been fortunate to live through an era with so many sporting greats. Well, it’s time to etch another GOAT’s name in the history books, and that name is Joey Chestnut. Mr. Chestnut is a professional eater who claimed his 14th victory in Nathan’s famous 4th of July Hot Dog Eating Contest after a world record-breaking attempt. Because nothing will make you feel proud to be an American quite like watching a man ram 76 frankfurters down his gullet in 10 minutes. And this is a whole world that I wasn’t even aware of, as Chestnut has now just been ranked number 1 by the Major League Eating organisation. So what were the great man’s winning remarks? Something along the lines of, “Believe in yourself”, perhaps? Or maybe, “If you can dream it, you can do it”? Nope, speaking to ESPN, he simply said: “It just felt good.” What a hero.

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Living Billboards.

As we’ve seen, some art isn’t real. But some art is so real that it looks like it’s about to come to life and terrorize the city of Tokyo. This Calico Cat was spotted on a billboard in the city’s Shinjuku district this week, creating an anamorphic illusion to give passers-by a bit of a shock. The billboard utilizes the angular shape of the screen to create the 3D effect, and shows the cat waking up first thing in the morning when the lights come on and falling asleep at the end of the day, with the occasional furball and self-bath in between. So nobody quite knows what this particular billboard is trying to sell, but I’m all for it. I’m not sure billboards really work anyway. Although I do now have the urge to go out and buy a 10-foot tabby.

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Counting Sheep.

Working with talent can be tricky for any filmmaker, but it’s particularly difficult when your on-screen talent is made up of over a thousand sheep just trying to go about their lives. Israel-based drone photographer Lior Patel captured the choreographed movement of a herd of sheep from above, and the results are hypnotic. I should warn you that it’s technically illegal to watch this many sheep and then operate heavy machinery, so maybe grab an espresso after. The video shows the herd moving along the Peace Valley region of Yokneam, which took them about seven months to travel 4km and complete the trip. If my calculations are correct, that works out to about 1 metre every 76 minutes, so I’m not sure what they were doing for all that time. Those shepherds ought to be sacked.

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Storage Hunters.

For most people, a rummage through your wardrobe isn’t a terribly fruitful endeavour. I think all I’d find would be some old shoes and about a decade’s worth of dust. But for one lucky bloke in Maine, a little bit of late Spring cleaning earned him a cool $150,000 after he was digging around in his wardrobe and stumbled across an original Picasso. I don’t know how big this ‘closet’ was, but supposedly when he was sorting his great aunt’s collection of rare books and arts, he discovered Picasso’s 1919 “Le Tricorne” on mixed media, which has since been authenticated and flogged. But something tells me this bloke was probably doing alright for money as it was. Or at least his great aunt definitely was. I’d think my aunt was great too if she left me 150 grand. Although considering a pair of original Yeezy’s just sold for $1.8million, this actually starts to look like a bit of a steal.

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You Feel?

There weren’t enough frightening things in the world, so a group of maniacs in white coats have decided to cloak robots in skin that will allow them to ‘feel’. That sounds a bit like a logline for a really crap film that would probably feature Tom Cruise – but it isn’t, it’s our reality. Oh, and it can also self-heal in the same way as human flesh. Dubbed AiFoam by developers at the National University of Singapore, the so-called “e-skin” is made of a highly elastic, spongy polymer material to replicate the human sense of touch using microscopic metal particles and tiny electrodes. These allow it to measure electrical properties of materials and to change its own electrical properties when it makes contact. These changes are detected by electrodes, which act as nerves, sending signals to the robot to react to and alter the amount and direction of force being applied. So, for example, when it has its newly skin-covered hands fully cinched around its master’s neck, it’ll know to tighten its grip. But this is probably all informed by extremely sound science, right? Oh, actually, the project lead commented, “I was inspired by Star Wars technology”. Yep, we’re doomed.

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