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Volume 380

The king is dead, long live the king. This week’s coolsh*t features a Twitter takeover, postal pisstakes, sensory deception, and a big ol’ cyborg. But if that’s all a bit much, you could always just listen to the podcast.

The Social Revolution.

I’m sure this won’t be breaking news to you, but that Tony Stark-wannabe South African bloke is buying Twitter for a modest $44bn. And some people aren’t too happy about that. In fact, quite a few high-profile names have said that they plan to leave their platform should the deal go through. First there was… ah, sh*t, what was their name again? Then, erm, so-and-so expressed their concerns, swiftly followed by some serious words of lament from Thingymabobby Jackson. I’m sure Mr. Musk is terrified that a semi-recurring character from the third season of How I Met Your Mother is thinking about jumping ship. The vision behind the takeover is to make Twitter a “digital town square” that is “maximally trusted and broadly inclusive”, champions free speech, and debates “matters vital to the future of humanity”. He’s also adding an ‘edit’ button. Sounds absolutely awful, you can see why it’s so controversial. Saying that, I’ll be willing to eat these words if he does end up taking over the world.

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In With The New.

What a stroke of luck: just as there appears to be a potential, err, ‘mass exodus’ from Twitter on the horizon, it turns out there’s a new kid on the block of the socialsphere that’s been garnering quite a bit of attention from Gen Z. Actually, it has been for a few weeks now, but I must have missed that particular memo. BeReal is a social network positioning itself as the antithesis to the hyper-manicured, unrealistic, filtered world of Instagram by encouraging users to, you guessed it, be real. The app sends out a notification at a random time during the day, which gives users a two-minute window to upload two photos taken simultaneously on their phone’s front and rear camera to show the reality of their lives, warts and all. Maybe not warts actually, that’ll probably get you banned – unless Elon’s in charge of the content moderation (or lack thereof). So, what do we reckon: the start of something new, or just another Houseparty flash in the pan?

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Stamp of Approval.

The story of the group of Ukrainian soldiers who risked their lives defending a naval base on Snake Island by telling a Russian Warship to go fuck itself has very quickly become the stuff of legend. And thanks to the wonders of 21st century capitalism, that act of defiance has been turned into a shit ton of merch. First there were t-shirts, then hats, and now, stamps. The commodification of acts of valour feels a bit dodgy, but the stamps are actually a pretty decent idea. The Ukrainian postal service issued 1 million and is selling 700,000 of them in Ukraine. Of the remaining 300,000 stamps in circulation, 200,000 are being held back for sale in territories currently controlled by Russia. The remaining 100,000 were sold online and they’ve already become collector’s items. And that last 100,000 are proving to be particularly fruitful, with prices on eBay having skyrocketed over the last week. There are no doubt some slightly icky interpretations of this, but we’re just going to view it in the most charitable way possible. Although having trolling now being a staple of warfare is definitely going to take some getting used to.

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Salt isn’t terribly good for you. Naturally, everything in moderation is fine – well, most things – but food can be pretty bland, so it’s easy to find yourself reaching for the saltshaker on an all too regular basis. They even added it to caramel for Christ’s sake, and that was already delicious. Controversial take of the week: salt doesn’t make caramel nicer; it just makes it saltier. I said what I said. This is all beside the point, though. Actually, no it isn’t – this is exactly on top of the point. Too much salt = bad, so Japanese scientists have developed some chopsticks that amplify the taste of salt without actually adding any. To simulate the saltiness, a weak electrical current is used to transmit sodium ions from the food to the mouth, as it travels through the chopsticks. Wacky, yes – but great for bringing down sodium intake. Although I expect some people will be looking at this thinking ‘Na’. That’s a joke for all my chemists out there.

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Gin & Skeletonic.

Japanese company Skeletonics has unveiled its latest exoskeleton — the Arrive. We had said a couple weeks ago that we’re already basically cyborgs due to our dependence on technology, but we didn’t mean it quite this literally. The Arrive is a 9-foot kinetic exoskeleton that expands the range and function of human movements. The ethos behind Skeletonics revolves around embracing a new era of technology in which we can work, and perhaps even fuse, with technology in a manner that will be beneficial for our progression as a species. What could possibly go wrong? It’s all fun and games until your 9-foot kinetic exoskeleton suddenly decides it doesn’t want to be at the pub anymore and would rather overthrow its fleshy overlords.

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Top Beer.

This one may divide opinion a little. In fact, we’ve inadvertently bookended this week’s coolsh*t with a couple slightly controversial characters. Saying that, this one did punch Piers Morgan, which’ll probably make him slightly more palatable in the eyes of some of you. The real reason why we’ve included Jeremy Clarkson, though, is because he has had an advert for his beer banned by The Advertising Standards Agency. Granted, that doesn’t sound terribly surprising given his track record, but the ad is surprisngly rather tame. It was deemed unacceptable because Clarkson implied that drinking a lot of lager will make you quite drunk. Shocking stuff, I know. What’s interesting about this, though, is that this is Clarkson’s second banned beer advert, with the first having resulted in a great deal of media coverage (likely a lot more than if the ad hadn’t been banned), which resulted in enormous sales, with Hawkstone Lager being the UK’s number one best-selling beer on Amazon. So, the question is, did he create this second ad with the hope and expectation that it would get banned in order to drive sales? Perhaps there really is no such thing as bad publicity…

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The Coolsh*t Podcast - Ep. 8.

A paragraph isn’t sufficient space to unpack all the craziness going on with Twitter at the moment. Listen to the latest podcast for more musky musings. Plus a bit of ad chat for good measure.

Listen to the Podcast