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Volume 348

Mind-controlled Mercedes or a pedalling Pierre? The real world's open again, so you’ve got to get about. This week’s coolsh*t is giving you some options. And if you don’t fancy any of them, why not have a VR float around the International Space Station? Bon voyage.

Magneto's Merc.

Cars are changing. The aggressive growl of the Ford Mustang will soon be replaced by the gentle hum of a lithium battery, and it looks like we’re all just going to have to be fine with that. However, while the visceral pleasure of driving a car may be somewhat lost, we’ll at least have some new gadgets to fiddle with. Even if Elon Musk did just say that his self-driving cars are ‘not great’, which is probably slightly disconcerting for the people who have been snoozing in the backseat during their commutes for the last few months. Mercedes are taking a different approach. At the IAA Mobility Showcase this week, they announced the inclusion of brain-computer interfaces (BCI) on the VISION AVTR, meaning it can be controlled by the power of thought. It works by attaching the BCI device to the user’s head, which subsequently measures brain waves that send information to the car, in turn telling it what to do. Let’s just hope it isn’t too sensitive. You wouldn’t want the fleeting thought of ‘ooo, look at that squirrel’ to now be interpreted as a command to follow it up a tree.

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It's in the Jeans.

Jeans have had quite an interesting evolutionary history. From workman’s jeans, to ripped jeans, to skinny jeans, to Billie Jean, to baggy jeans. Although the early days of jeans are probably most associated with the American west and chaps like George and Lenny suffocating rabbits and trying to grow alfalfa, they actually originated in Genoa, Italy – hence the anglicized name, ‘jean’. You may not have known that, but Diesel did. They decided to recreate the oldest known jeans fabric in history, unveiling the finished product this week at the Genova Jeans Summit. Based on the oldest historical reference – a nativity figurine created in the 18th century which shows a man wearing denim trousers – Diesel used handmade Italian textiles and workmanship to recreate the fabric and garment as they existed nearly 300 years ago. And don’t they look smart? Pricey though, no doubt. But don’t worry, you can just wait until Boohoo release the made in Taiwan version for a fiver.

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Aldi Astronauts.

Although it may appear that the known universe has become the plaything of billionaires in recent times, space travel is about to become more available to regular scum like you and me. Or at least a poxy knock-off version of space travel, but beggars can’t be choosers. And, to be fair, there’s an awful lot of work going into creating this phony space experience. ‘Space Explorers: The ISS Experience’ is an upcoming series and immersive VR production from TIME in collaboration with NASA. It’ll be made using custom-built cameras designed to operate in zero-gravity and will comprise over 200 hours of filmed footage from the astronauts capturing their lives in space. Although I don’t think they’re going to make you sit through all of that. And I wouldn’t expect it to be quite like Geordie Shore. Things get really interesting in the 3rd and 4th episodes, which will be available as immersive VR experiences and screened in select domes and planetariums. But if that’s not good enough for you, you could still always try to buy a ticket on Jeff Bezos’ ‘cocket ship’.

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You Utter Plank.

It’s funny how our conception of time is entirely contextual. A minute, for example, usually feels relatively brief. Yet if you’re doing a plank for that minute, it becomes a miserable, hellish eternity. This Aussie bloke evidently hates himself and decided he needs to be punished for some reason, as he elected to hold that abdominal-aching pose for 9 and a half hours. That’s a new world record, by the way. And he actually smashed the last record by over an hour, which is kind of just showing off by that point – that’s like the planking equivalent of when a team are 5-0 up and just knock it around for the last few minutes to get the “wahey’s” from the crowd. Seriously impressive stuff. Although Australia is still pretty much fully locked down, so I suppose there’s nothing else to do.

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Hungry For Apples?

It’s becoming increasingly common to see mega stars supposedly getting ‘real jobs’, being declared Creative Director at this or that label. Kendall Jenner and Molly-Mae are the latest, but this is a phenomenon that has been going on for a little while. Now, you don’t even necessarily have to physically exist to earn the title. Ad agency DDB FTW shocked their LinkedIn followers this week when they announced their latest hire, with Jerry Smith taking up the reigns as their new CD. For those of you actual adults who don’t still watch cartoons: Jerry Smith is the fictional father of Morty in Rick & Morty – a show about an alcoholic, dimension-hopping, genius scientist saving the multiverse with the help of his gormless grandson. And Jerry, well, Jerry is just the worst. Cowardly, spineless and basically just an all-round drain on those around him. So why hire him? In fairness, he does have some relevant experience – as an ad-man himself in the show he won critical acclaim in a simulated world for his ingenious ‘Hungry for Apples?’ campaign, which definitely wasn’t in any way derivative of ‘Got Milk?’. Best of luck to him in his new role.

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Relaxi Taxi.

Ordinarily, if a strange man asks if you would like to take a nap in the back of his vehicle while he drives around for a bit, you’re probably best off politely declining. However, if that typically problematic proposition presented itself to any Parisians this past week, they may now regret having passed on it. Ikea’s travelling siesta pods have been out in force in the French capital, as a fleet of 8 electric bikes towing an equipped sleeping capsule have been offering weary workers the chance to take a power nap between 1:30pm and 6:30pm, all the while being gently rocked to sleep by the twists and turns of the roads and the ambient sounds of car horns, construction, and swearing. With much of the workforce now reluctantly heading back into the office a couple days a week after spending a year and a half working in their pants, Ikea have recognised the benefits of a well-rested worker. Speaking of which, is it 2pm already? I’m off for lie down. À bientôt.

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