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Volume 346

Well, we had a good run. This week’s coolsh*t covers the beginning of the end, with the initiation of the iRobot annihilation, eyelid-contracting commuting, and a symphony of sleepiness.

It's Happening.

Well, here we are. After all this time, we finally made it. If there have been any recurring themes of coolsh*t over the last year or so, then two of the front-runners for most-mentioned must be Elon Musk and robotics – both tinged with a whispering forewarning of the looming extirpation of humanity, iRobot-style. But clearly the warnings were not heeded, as Mr. Musk has just unveiled plans for a human-sized robot called Tesla Bot. Standing 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing in at 125lbs, the Tesla Bot will be designed to make life easier for humans by eliminating “dangerous, repetitive and boring tasks”. Like doing the washing up, for example, or hoovering, or enacting grisly revenge on one’s foes. It will however have its top speed capped at just 5mph, because, and this is a real quote, “you can run away from it and most likely overpower it”. Why might we need to run away from it, Elon? Elon? Help?

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From one eccentric billionaire to another – except this one is less keen on world domination, just so long as he gets his weekly cut and blow-dry. After a quick trip to (sort of) space a few weeks ago, Richard Branson has his feet firmly back on the ground and is back to developing transport on this planet. We’ve previously mentioned the Virgin Hyperloop, but up until now it had been shrouded in mystery and was essentially just described as a levitating pod that can get you from London to Paris in 20 minutes. Now, some of the working out behind such bold claims has been revealed. The Hyperloop crew explain that passengers will be able to be comfortably catapulted at 670mph due to a “near-vacuum environment inside a tube” that facilitates high speeds and low power consumption by reducing aerodynamic drag. Ok, that makes some level of sense. Then, once inside the tube, pods will quietly travel at such insanely high speeds due to “proprietary magnetic levitation and propulsion”. Ffs, they’re talking about levitating again. But long story short: it’ll probably make your commute an awful lot quicker. If you make it.

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Blood Boards.

What is it these days that’s compelling people to put their blood into products? First Lil Nas X upset two of the most powerful groups in America – Christians and Nike execs – with his blood-infused satan shoes. Now, Mr. Wholesome of skateboarding, Tony Hawk, has decided to dabble with the dark arts by parting with his some of his hard-earned blood for a brand deal. Although, in fairness to the birdman, there is some positive motivation behind this – whereas Lil Nas X was literally just messing with people. Hawk explained that some of the proceeds from the 100 skateboards would go toward tackling plastic pollution through the non-profit 5 Gyres, as well as toward building skateparks in underprivileged communities via his own charity, The Skateboard Project. Note the word ‘some’. The rest of the cash will be split evenly between Liquid Death, and, of course, the Dark Lord Lucifer.

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Don't Stay Off the Grass.

The certainty that the ground underfoot will be firm is one of the simplest and most basic comforts of a normal, sober, real world. However, this Dutch bloke called Daan has decided to take that comfort away and mess with peoples’ ideas of reality with his new artwork. Daan Roosegarde is an artist and founder of Studio Roosegarde, which famously develops projects that merge technology and art in urban environments. In his latest work, he has transformed a solid grass surface into a surreal liquid landscape at the contemporary open-air museum Arte Sella in Italy. Unlike most artwork (as some have discovered to their peril), this work is intended to be trampled upon to provide a new perspective on humanity’s harmonious relationship with nature. My Italian is a little rusty, so I’m not entirely sure what the voiceover in the video is saying, but I think it’s roughly along the lines of: “Corh, look at this, it’s all bouncy and shit. Gianluigi, watch me do a front flip”. Something like that.

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As if it wasn’t enough to have all the money in the world, PSG have decided that they also want all the honey in the world. With Messi having recently walked through the door, Neymar already there, and Ronaldo possibly coming soon, they will have basically completed football. Unleashing those 3 on the French League is like calling The Avengers to deal with a noise complaint. But the advantage of playing in such a typically uncompetitive league is that they must have a fair amount of time on their hands to pursue other hobbies, such as flogging honey. As part of its environmental improvement project, the club installed 10 beehives at the Parc de Princes back in March 2020. Now, they’ve harvested the honey and packaged it up in boxes available at the club store for 40 Euros a pop. That might sound steep, but they’ve got to pay Messi’s wages somehow, so I hope their fans like toast. Actually, no – 100 percent of sales proceeds will be going to underprivileged families throughout Paris. How sweet.

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Am I Boring You?

The humble yawn. One of the more mysterious bodily functions. With any other feeling of, say, happiness, irritation, hunger etc., we’re usually capable of concealing the true inner contents of our minds. But trying to stifle a yawn feels like a Herculean and entirely unnatural task. Perhaps most fascinating about the yawn, though, is that seeing/hearing someone else yawn, or even just reading or thinking about the word ‘yawn’, is often enough to induce a yawn of our own. Supposedly it’s to do with evolutionary impulses that incentivize cooperation, and yawning when somebody else yawns is an indication of empathy. So if you notice somebody who doesn’t catch your yawn, maybe keep an eye on them and keep them away from the cutlery draw. In his new project ‘The Yawn Chorus’, Alex Rothera and his team have set out to discover whether computer-generated yawns can cause contagion. They collected yawns at an exhibition in Dublin by playing a pre-recorded yawn-track and presenting people with yawn-inducing surroundings. And that left us with this: The Yawn Orchestra. See if you can get through these 2 minutes yawn-free.

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