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Volume 378

No cash? No problem. This week’s coolsh*t is bringing you the body modification that you’ve been crying out for – even if your wallet hasn’t. We’ve also got some free frijoles, a tiring innovation, and a particularly dark protest. Plus, of course, the latest episode of the coolsh*t podcast.

Lights Out.

Popular movements can have quite mixed results – some of which may involve people getting their heads chopped off. Mercifully, ‘The Big Power Off’ is unlikely to lead to that. This Sunday just gone, thousands of homes across the UK switched off their lights and unplugged their electrical appliances at 10pm to protest the rising cost of energy. Now, there’s talk of the switch off becoming a weekly thing. The idea behind the protest, which was started by Karen Brady (no, not that one), is that diving energy consumption every week could draw attention to the many people who are now struggling to pay their bills. I saw an article this week about an elderly couple being forced to sleep in hoodies – heaven forbid. Having recently started paying bills and discovering that they are shit, I can sympathise with this cause. The next protest is taking place at 7pm on Saturday 16th, so either switch ‘em off or render yourself a scab. I’m sure the energy providers will be positively quaking in their boots.

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Cash in Hand.

Oh, kids and their gizmos, gadgets, whatchamacallits and fuzzlewozzes. One minute they’re playing on their Nintendo DS, then before you know it, they’re injecting microchips into their bodies. Patrick Paumen is a gentleman who has done just that, inserting a microchip into his hand so that he can use that hand for contactless payment. Bet that gives the Tesco employees quite the fright. You’re probably thinking this must be some sort of wannabe Tony Stark, but, actually, Patrick is a 38-year-old security guard from the Netherlands. He’s also got magnetic fingers, by the way. This all sounds vaguely dystopian, but is it not the next logical step in technological progress? Given our reliance on our smart phones, we’re basically already cyborgs, so the idea of that technology being inside our bodies rather than external to them may not be so far-fetched.

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Flower Power.

One of the great benefits of the push for sustainability is that it has caused a rethinking of long-standing practices of manufacture and has resulted in an extraordinary amount of innovation. They make milk out of potatoes now, for God’s sake. With car manufacturers all moving towards EVs, tyre-makers are also now being forced to find more environmentally friendly solutions. Goodyear’s latest project aims to use the roots of a species of dandelion to produce a new kind of natural rubber. While traditional rubber trees can only be grown in tropical climates and take around seven years to harvest, the dandelions can be harvested every six months and are much more resilient to different temperatures and environments. Therefore, this will allow for the manufacture of tyres on an enormous scale without having to result in mass deforestation. Bit of a shit time to be a dandelion, though. The project is backed by the U.S. Department of Defence and will first be tested as military aircraft tyres. That’s not very peace and love, man.

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Queso Pesos.

As I’m sure you’re aware, it was International Burrito Day this week. You weren’t? Well, there’s always next year, I suppose. To celebrate that magical day, Chipotle teamed up with Roblox for a collaboration that allowed gamers to work in a virtual version of the restaurant and earn in-game currency that can be used to purchase real burritos. Christ, I’d heard about ‘The Great Resignation’, but I didn’t realise things had got to the point where fast-food chains are being forced to rely on 13-year-olds on the internet to staff their kitchens. However, considering that a lot of this Web3 malarkey can seemingly fail to yield any tangible results, this is an arguably more palatable use of the metaverse. Rather than buying a digital racehorse’s virtual left leg, this way, you come out of the exchange with something real: a delicious burrito (and possibly a bit of a dodgy stomach).

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Isn’t it lovely when something you thought was lost forever miraculously appears? And isn’t it even more lovely when that particular item happens to be Charles Darwin’s lost notebook? Bloody love it when that happens. The notebooks had been lost for over 20 years and presumed stolen, but this week they turned up outside Cambridge University Library in a pink gift bag with a mysterious note attached, signed ‘X’. At least that’s what the article says, but I’m pretty sure that’s just a kiss. This is a very Zodiac Killer way of returning a library book. After 20 years that fine would be outrageous, to be fair. This feels like the start of a terrible Nicholas Cage film.

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Saw Loser.

You may recognise this bunch of shithouses. And I use that word as an immense compliment. The Weeknd has teamed up with art collective MSCHF to release his latest single, “Out of Time,” as a limited-edition vinyl record pressed into a real, functioning saw blade. I say you may recognise them, because MSCHF have quite the knack of sneaking into coolsh*t with their elaborate, often slightly counter-cultural PR stunts. Previous examples of which include getting sued by Nike for releasing a blood-infused pair of Air Max 95s, and, more recently, buying one original Andy Warhol, producing 999 fakes and selling them all at the same price. This latest stunt has arguably stepped it up a level though. Not because it’s any more audacious, but because it’s in partnership with an artist as massive and mainstream as The Weeknd. Fair play to him for getting involved. Serious cojones mixing with this lot. The unique vinyl blade, of which there will only be 25 copies, is currently up for blind auction on MSCHF’s website until April 8, with a starting bid of $1,000. They don’t suggest you actually use it to saw anything, but don’t let that stop you.

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The Coolsh*t Podcast - Ep. 7.

In the words of Ice Cube: “It ain’t over mother*******”. Check out this week’s coolsh*t podcast to hear how free burritos squeezed out 1p vegetables.

Listen to the Podcast