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Volume 396

Relax. Have a drink. That’s an order from your government! This week’s coolsh*t features a nation’s libations liberations, the real World Cup, and a squirrel armed to its tiny little teeth. Plus, the latest episode of the podcast.

Just Come For One...

It would appear that Gen Z are a frightfully sensible bunch. If you believe some studies, the days of young people waking up in a ditch on the side of the A52 just off Skegness are long gone and have been replaced by a generation of sickeningly motivated hustlers starting businesses from their bedrooms. In fact, Gen Z are so sensible that the Japanese government are now encouraging their younger population to get pissed. They recently launched a nationwide competition to revitalise the alcoholic beverages industry which has been shrinking due to demographic changes, lifestyle choices and the coronavirus pandemic. In other words: their population is falling, so they want young people to drink enough to compromise their morals. The country’s national tax agency’s Sake Viva! campaign asks people aged 20 to 39 to come up with ideas for new “products and designs” to “stimulate demand among young people”. You know we’re living in strange times when it’s up to the government to tell people in their early 20s to ‘loosen up a bit’.

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Adorable Crime.

Squirrel warfare is no laughing matter. Just look at the ongoing feud between the precious reds and the invading barbarian greys. Now the few remaining reds have been forced to seek sanctuary on Merseyside, of all places – a fate nobody free from coercion would ever opt for. Saying that, I’ve lately started feeling slightly sorry for the grey squirrel. The anathema displayed towards them by the Great British public has at least a faint whiff of squirrel-based xenophobia about it. But squirrel warfare is about to be stepped up, as one particular fluffy little rat is about to be tooled up. The trailer for the new game, ‘Squirrel with a Gun’, was released this week – and the internet has embraced it, because apparently violent crime is nothing short of adorable when being performed by a squirrel. This must be what Gen Z are really in to.

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Gluten Intolerance Olympics.

This story is dedicated to a finance director who has attained a level of mastery over Excel that will no doubt be discussed for generations to come. The Floyd Mayweather of Excel, if you will – but without all the dodgy shit Floyd did. Whatever this man doesn’t know about spreadsheets isn’t worth knowing. Now, he may be able to put those skills to the test against other global icons of Excel on the highest stage. ESPN, as in ESPN the largest sports network in the world, have decided to launch The World Excel Championships. It’s like the World Cup for people who have never been in direct sunlight. This is what happens once you start referring to eSports players as ‘athletes’. I hope you’re all happy with yourselves.

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Clash of the Condiments.

Heinz have a stranglehold on the global tomato ketchup market. People have been known to end relationships after discovering that their significant other buys supermarket brand ketchup. Heinz’s latest campaign shows that their bottle is so iconic that even AI is unable to conceptually separate the brand from the sauce. They tapped up our old mate DALL-E to create ketchup art, and all of the various executions bear a striking resemblance to Heinz. However, Hellman’s weren’t having it. A freelance creative came back unofficially on their behalf with this response video to show how a text-to-image program recognising a brand doesn’t offer a consumer any compelling reason to buy that product, and that they ought to focus on this physical plane of reality when contemplating their consumption of condiments. While I’m not sure it’s a particularly cutting response that will have the Heinz senior execs quaking in their boots, you’ve got to admire the quick thinking of this mystery freelancer. They saw a campaign getting a lot of attention and managed to seamlessly attach their name to it and put themselves in the shop window. This is a far more effective way of promoting oneself than adding a ‘#OpenToWork’ watermark on your LinkedIn profile picture.

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Gamble-Free Gambling.

You hear a lot about the deleterious effects of gambling, but it turns out those deleterious effects only exist if you’re gambling badly. This story isn’t necessarily new, but it is new to me – which is arguably more important if you’re a solipsistic narcissist. A retired couple in Michigan have managed to earn a fortune over the last couple decades by exploiting a lottery loophole. Jerry and Marge Selbee noticed a ‘special feature’ on a lottery game called a ‘Rolldown’. Different from the usual rule where the jackpot keeps building until someone hits all six numbers – if the jackpot reached $5 million, and no one matched all six numbers, all the money ‘rolled down’ to the lower-tier prize winners, who matched five, four or three numbers. I’ll be honest with you, I copy and pasted that previous sentence and I’m not entirely sure what it means. But Jerry was, and he was able to turn that confusing statement into $23million. If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.

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Less Hard Time.

The government have just announced plans for the UK’s first ‘smart prison’; a move presumably inspired by some members of the government fearing that they might be behind bars before too long. The prison will be powered by solar energy and will produce zero emissions – plus, more importantly, it will focus on making conditions far more liveable, providing prisoners with devices such as laptops and tablets. It’s still only in its construction phase, but is set to open its doors in 2025. I imagine they aren’t allowed sharp objects that close to the prisoners, so that particular ribbon-cutting will probably be conducted with a plastic spork. While some ‘tough on crime’ Conservatives may be appalled by this idea, the available evidence shows that improving conditions within prisons actually reduces levels of recidivism. The logic being that giving prisoners access to information and the ability to learn new skills (besides turning a toothbrush into a lethal weapon) while inside, will grant them greater opportunities once they get out, making them less likely to reoffend. If prison is truly supposed to be rehabilitative – at least for relatively low-level offenders – then it’s hard to see a strong argument against this line of thought. Although they ought to be careful not to make prison too nice. With the current cost of living, some civilians may be tempted to chore some Cheerios just to score a cheap place to live for a bit.

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The Coolsh*t Podcast - Ep. 22.

Discussing the moral dilemma one faces when choosing between basic human rights or same-day delivery.

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