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Volume 363

Well, here we are. That’s another year’s worth of coolsh*ts in the books. To cap off 2021, we’re bringing you a pollution-free night sky, Jurassic Park 9, and the opportunity to become a monarch (no, really). Over and out until next year. See you in 2022.

Hatching Plans.

Oh, what are we doing here? This’ll be the moment that historians look back on and say, ‘somebody should have stopped them’. As we enter what will technically be the fourth calendar year of the pandemic, it appears that covid will soon be the least of our concerns, as dinosaurs will once again roam the planet they once called their home. This week, scientists announced the discovery of a perfectly preserved dinosaur embryo that was preparing to hatch from its egg, “just like a chicken”, apparently. In fairness, chickens are terrifying, pre-historic beasts that should be treated with respect and caution. The embryo, which is believed to be an oviraptorosaur and has now quite adorably been named ‘Baby Yingliang’, was discovered in Ganzhou in southern China and researchers estimate it to be at least 66 million years old. That’s great – now leave it alone. We’ve all seen the films.

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Post-McDonald’s lethargy and shame is a very real thing. It always seems like a better idea before you actually eat it. Then a couple Mayo Chickens later and you feel like you need to immediately go for a jog, do some push-ups, or call your priest. McDonald’s China have recently introduced some new measures that may help off-set that Big Mac anxiety. Exercise bikes instead of chairs. So now you can put a week’s worth of calories down your food hole and immediately burn them off. It seems so… simple? Whether people will actually use them is another matter entirely. And if these were to be rolled out in the US, I suspect they’d have to be reinforced. Or perhaps the real danger would be that people would actually use them and soon you’ll walk into a Maccies and see half a dozen people wheezing on the floor gasping for air after trying to back a 5k bike ride and a whole share-box of nuggets.

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Lights Out.

Over 80% of the world’s population live under light-polluted skies. This means that in many cities, where in the past you would have seen stars in the night sky, the only twinkle you’ll now see will be from a neon sign or perhaps a radioactive pigeon. In their new project ‘Seeing Stars’, Daan Roosegarde and UNESCO Netherlands have tried to restore the beauty of the universe in one Dutch city – at least for one night. In collaboration with the residents, government, and businesses of the city of Frankener, the project sees all non-essential household lights, billboards, and streetlights switched off. This is intended to create a sense of connection between people, based on the logic that looking up at the clear night sky will make us all feel like just one small part of the immense cosmos. It’s a nice idea, but you would be slightly terrified if nobody had warned you and you were unceremoniously plunged into complete darkness during your walk home after work.

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Eye-Eye, Captain.

Throw out those reading glasses; you don’t need them anymore. Allergan’s VUITY eye drops have been approved by the notoriously fastidious U.S. Food and Drug Administration this week, meaning they can now be rolled out en masse across the country. The drops are used for the treatment of presbyopia, which is basically just the gradual deterioration of our eyes that over time renders us unable to focus on nearby objects. Short-sightedness, to the layman. Set to replace the need for reading glasses or surgery, VUITY was tested in two phase-three clinical studies where 750 participants aged 40 – 55 were administered the drops once daily, and the results showed better scores on reading charts and improved vision in low light after 30 days. Get somebody special the gift of sight this Christmas.

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Monarch Wanted.

A small island off the coast of Cumbria is looking for somebody to become its new king or queen, and all they’d have to do is run a pub. I’m trying to see the catch here. Having met a few people who work in local government, I was under the impression that it involved a lot of spreadsheets and litter-pickers, but the details of this recruitment process by the local council off the coast near Barrow-in-Furness has thoroughly flipped my pre-apprehensions on their head. The role of landlord of the Ship Inn sounds a bit like the role of captain of The Flying Dutchman – they are essentially signing up to dwell there for all eternity. As well as running the pub, the successful applicant will need to manage and maintain the island itself. However, it gets a bit weirder than that, as the new pub landlord must be declared the new ‘King of Piel’ and take part in a coronation in which they sit on a throne and have buckets of beer poured over their head. You can see why other countries think some of our traditions are a little anarchic and peculiar. Although, to be fair, I’m not sure being doused in lager is any more bizarre than having an old lady rest a sword on your shoulder and declare you a Knight of the Realm.

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Crisp Flavour.

The fact that vodka is made from potatoes always sounds like something a bloke just made up one day for a laugh and was never questioned on. It’s a little hard to wrap your head around. Yet it demonstrates that a thing can be so much more than the mere sum of its constituent parts – just look at The Black Eyed Peas, haggis, or Leicester City’s title-winning team of 2015-16. However, crisp brand Lay’s are re-establishing the potato x vodka connection by releasing a Portland Potato Vodka in collaboration with Eastside Distillery. Just in time for Christmas, too. Because nothing says festive cheer like polishing off half a bottle of vodka and watching Indiana Jones. With it currently being Christmas Eve, that seems like a good note to leave things on. We’ll be back in the new year with more coolsh*t. Merry Christmas. Don’t drink too much.

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