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Volume 360

How does £1 a month for rent sound? This week’s coolsh*t is giving you that opportunity, thanks to a minuscule maisonette. We’ve also got post-apocalyptic photography, rhyming robots, and, hopefully, the last time anyone will talk about Squid Game for a very long time.

Rt. Hon Rihanna.

Well, this came from left field. Rihanna, as in the Rihanna, now must officially be addressed as The Right Honourable Robyn Rihanna Fenty, following a historic ceremony in her native Barbados in which Ri-Ri was declared the nation’s new ‘National Hero’. She joins an exclusive club, becoming just the 12th person and only the 2nd woman to receive the honour. However, this one was particularly special, as it was part of a ceremony in which Barbados declared itself a republic by swearing in its first president, Sandra Mason, and officially cutting ties with The Queen following nearly 400 years of British rule. I know that’s home team, but fair enough really, yeah? Presenting the award, Prime Minister Mia Motley said: “On behalf of a grateful nation, but an even prouder people, we therefore present to you, the designee, for national hero of Barbados, ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty. May you continue to shine like a diamond.” Pretty sure the line is actually, “shine bright like a diamond”, but I wouldn’t want to ruin their big day. I wonder who would become our national hero if the UK ever became a republic. People still like Noel Edmonds, right?

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Tight Squeeze.

IKEA, perhaps more than anyone, are champions of being economical with space. That and meatballs. IKEA Japan are taking this volume parsimony to a new level, offering a rental opportunity in an apartment that measures just 10SQM. I know, what an outrageously small gaff. But they’re listing it up for just 99 Yen per month. That’s about 66p, by the way. All of a sudden it doesn’t sound like such a bad option. As the most populous urban area in the world, with a total of 14 million people living in the city, Tokyo has (necessarily) become particularly adept at what is referred to as ‘micro-living’. IKEA are showing those 14 million people that they can kit out even the tiniest of homes to make it feel like a comfortable living space. And it does look incredibly cosy, to be fair. This place genuinely is available for one lucky winner, so get your applications in ASAP. The entrance window slams closed today, so you can still just about squeeze in before the deadline. Much like you’ll have to squeeze into your new humble abode each day. But for 66p PCM I’d probably live in a flat that was on fire.

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Keats Vs. Beeps.

If I’m not mistaken, I think this nice lady might have appeared in a previous coolsh*t when she became the first AI artist to draw without any human input. Clearly she is quite the Renaissance woman, as this time she’s made history with her writing, becoming the first ultra-realistic robot to write and perform her own poetry ‘as a human would do’ at Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum. The poem itself was a response to Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy to mark the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death. And here I am without a card. Ai-Da was allowed to read an English translation of Dante’s poem, and from that she then used her unique algorithms, a data bank of words and speech pattern analysis to write her own piece. Due to the charming and mysterious idiosyncrasies of WordPress, I wasn’t able to imbed the video, but if you do wish to see Ai-Da’s recital, you can do so here. Pretty spooky, right? What’s perhaps most remarkable is that she can churn out roughly 20,000 words every 10 seconds. Soon enough we’ll get a coolsh*t-writing robot and I can put my feet up and enjoy a daiquiri in the Bahamas.

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NERF Squid Game.

YouTube is a hotbed of raw creativity. This is not an example of that, it’s basically just a rip-off – but it is still pretty impressive. Mr. Beast, who’s famous for creating elaborate videos in which he typically gives away a sh*t load of money to his millions of subscribers, was up to his old tricks again this week, creating a real-life Squid Game. And this wasn’t some cheap knock-off; he almost perfectly recreated the sets of the actual games. In fact, the only real difference was the distinct lack of people getting shot. Saying that, the end was always likely to prove tricky. How do you replicate a fight to the death in a PG manner? Musical chairs, obviously. And the winner genuinely walked home with $456,000. From a game of musical chairs. Madness. At least on ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire?’ you’ve got to answer some questions (or have a mate nearby who needs a Strepsil). Granted, this does slightly fly in the face of the point of the show, which was meant to provide a dystopian view on capitalism gone mad, and die-hard fans of the original have been very vocal in their criticism. But would any good YouTube video be complete without some people moaning in the comments trying to ruin all the fun?

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Is it Us?

Have you ever wondered what the Earth would be like if humans weren’t around? French photographer Romain Veillon ponders that notion in his latest book, titled ‘Green Urbex’, in which he illustrates, through over 200 photos of abandoned spaces across the globe, what a reality without humanity might look like. The result is a mixture of slightly creepy, Walking Dead-esque decay, along with some scenes that actually look quite idyllic. The book is split into 3 sections to demonstrate how buildings and other manmade infrastructure degrade and rot before eventually returning to nature. The first and second sections depict dilapidated and run-down spots that have been recently abandoned, while the third section demonstrates how, over time, the overwhelming greenery and vegetation takes over. So, are we the problem? Are we ruining all this beautiful scenery? Nah, probably not. Who needs stunning views and breathable air when you can have an indoor rollercoaster and a Saltbae restaurant?

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RIP Virgil.

We’re always a little torn as to whether we ought to include any sort of in memoriam in coolsh*t, but it would have felt inappropriate to not mention this. We’ve lost some incredible talents this year, but I think anyone involved in the creative industries can attest that this one just hit a little different. One of the most prominent creative forces of the last decade or so, Virgil Abloh, died this week aged 41, following a 2-year, private battle with a rare form of cancer. Just considering what he’s achieved in that 2-year period alone really spins your head. Best known as the founder of Off-White, artistic director of Louis Vuitton and creative director of Kanye West’s Donda, as well as a collaborator with many other brands, artists and musicians, Virgil was an example of someone who made it in the creative business thanks to genuine talent, not social clout. Obviously, the news of his death is the furthest thing imaginable from coolsh*t, but we ought to recognise his lifetime’s lasting contribution to all the coolsh*t in the world. He leaves behind a truly generational legacy. RIP.

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