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Volume 386

If the trial in this week’s coolsh*t is a success, it would already be the weekend. We’ve also got a bogus Banksy, Lilliputian innovation, and the 8th wonder of the world: Binley Mega Chippy. Plus, the much-anticipated return of the podcast.

Slackers' Charter.

As of this week, 70 UK companies and over 3,300 people will be taking part in the largest ever 4-day working week trial. Can I just say on behalf of the rest of the workforce: don’t f*ck this up, people. The six-month trial was organised by 4 Day Week Global in partnership with the think tank Autonomy, the 4 Day Week Campaign, researchers at Cambridge University, Oxford University, Boston College, and the Union of Workshy Little Feckers. And this isn’t a luxury reserved for the white-collar scumbags, with participating employers ranging from chippies to large financial firms. The trial is centred around the 100:80:100 model, which means workers receive 100% pay for working 80% of their usual hours, but will still be committed to being 100% as productive. “Yeah boss, course we’ll be as productive – scout’s honour.” To show solidarity with this trial, I will also be committing myself to spending one working day per week doing ‘eff all.

*This was finished, but having read on, I’ve just clocked this gem: “And Wyatt Watts, 25, team leader at Platten’s Fish and Chips, said: “When I first heard we were going to be working less hours with the same pay, I thought to myself, ‘What’s the catch?’”. Surely he’s done that on purpose?

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NOT Banksy.

This is a very strange story. So strange, indeed, that I would conjecture that we’re yet to hear the last of this. Having to prove not who one is but who one is not must be a strange situation to find oneself in. Plus, the more you protest, the more it seems like you are in fact the person who you are claiming not to be – you’re very quickly into “he who denied it, supplied it” territory. That’s the unfortunate Kafkaesque paradox that a Welsh local councillor is currently contending with, having been forced to resign this week after being subjected to allegations that he’s Banksy. William Gannon had been serving on Pembroke Dock Town Council but claimed his position had become untenable due to all of the attention he was getting following the circulation of rumours regarding his secret identity. Granted, some bald Welsh politician bloke doesn’t seem like the prime suspect to be an enigmatic graffiti artist, but when you dig into Bill, the evidence starts to stack up. For example, he’s an artist with a particular focus on community works and has a history of living out of a van, driving around the UK and spray-painting walls. Curiouser and curiouser. Yet he vehemently denies the claims and has taken to wearing a “I AM NOT BANKSY” badge on his lapels. Me think the councillor doth protest too much. Bang to rights – throw away the key.

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Mr. Crabs.

Microscopic crabs are not typically cause for celebration. However, times have changed. Well, kind of. Unless they were deliberately put there in the name of science, you should still probably get that looked at. In more positive news, Northwestern University engineers, led by John A. Rogers and Yonggang Huang, have created the world’s smallest remote-controlled walking crab robots, measuring up at just half a millimetre. That doesn’t sound terribly useful, but the crabs can bend, twist, crawl, walk, turn, and even jump. That also sounds like a waste of time, but the idea is that they will be capable of performing practical tasks inside small, narrow spaces – like, for example, your body. Yeah, that got your attention. There’s a load of technical mumbo jumbo about how these little crustaceans work, and while I’m sure it’s very interesting, I wasn’t able to wrap my head around it – mainly due to a lack of trying. The long and short of it though: at some point these things may save your life. Although I still haven’t worked out why they had to make them look like crabs.

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Top Binley.

TikTok gets given a hard time – often understandably so. However, this feel-good story is a shining example of the immense (and bizarre) utility of its algorithm, and how that algorithm can be channelled into worthy causes. Binley Mega Chippy is a regular chip shop in Coventry. Or, rather, it was until about a week ago. Now, it’s a tourist hotspot attracting visitors from all corners of the globe. Nobody quite knows how this all got started, but the earliest trigger for the frenzy can be traced back to a TikTok user posting a video of a slideshow of pictures of the takeaway set to someone singing “Binley Mega Chippy” to the tune of “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow”. Fast forward a couple weeks and over 9000 videos have been made with the song. TikTok is a weird place. Since then, literally thousands of people have visited the chippy to sample the finest grub in the Midlands. So many people that the police had to get involved the other day to control the crowds. When asked about the newfound virality of his shop, owner Kamal Ghandi said, “No idea. It might be God. I think actually it is a gift from my mother-in-law, when I bought the shop she prayed that it would be successful.” That seems like the most logical explanation. Although, in fairness to that crackpottery: has anyone got any better guesses?

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Bun the Ting.

Sorry, where are my manners? I’m still yet to say: Happy Jubilee. The festivities of the weekend just gone have somewhat divided opinion, with Britons having been rather bifurcated into two opposing camps. In one camp, there are those who are obsessed with the royals and decided to whack on all their smartest Union Jack clobber and stand outside Buckingham Palace to watch Rod Stewart sing a weird rendition of Sweet Caroline. In the opposing camp, there are the great many people who found the celebrations and all those involved to be, well, just a little bit potty. Kesselkramer wanted to create a memento for that latter group who fall into the sceptic tank, so they decided to celebrate the occasion with a sarcy collection of crockery. Designs include a lizard Lizzy, a Pam St-Clement celebration, and a Prince Andrew Pizza Express Easter egg, with the agency saying that each plate is “perfect for gathering dust on your magnolia mantelpiece or raising an eyebrow at your neighbourhood street party”. Bit of provocateuring never hurt nobody. This is where we find out one of these got somebody garrotted with bunting…

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Art... Attacks?

If you read coolsh*t a few weeks ago, you may recall DALL-E, the text-to-image program that uses AI to generate basically any image imaginable. That’s the first time I’ve ever noticed ‘image’ in the root of imaginable. No doubt some Latin shit going on there. We’ll leave that to the etymologists and logophiles. Anyway, where were we? Ah yes – DALL-E has been doing all sorts of wild shit that the people behind it are finding awfully befuddling. Essentially, the inmate appears to have taken over the asylum, as DALL-E is inventing its own language independently of any external input, and it’s using that gibberish, indecipherable language in order to categorise imagery. Currently, it appears to be obsessed with birds. Give him time, he’s only young. However, it is looking increasingly likely that AI doesn’t work quite how we’d expected it to. One AI and security consultant said, “I feel less like a ‘coder’ and more like a fucking microbiologist and cognitive behavioural psychologist […] “Neural networks are not ‘code,’ they behave more like Petri dishes.” I don’t want to say how I really feel about this, so I’ll express my view in another secret language: “we’re all uckedfay”.

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The Next Gen Economy.

Ever wondered why young people aren’t buying new stuff and why they hate your rainbow icon in pride month?

We answer these questions and more in our upcoming White paper. We are on the precipice of a paradigm shift in the way the Next Gen interact with brands and organisations. We call this The Next Gen Economy.

The full report will be dropping in the next couple weeks. Watch this space…