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Volume 402

This week’s coolsh*t contains the secret to immortality. We’ve got a sempiternal Sith lord, planetary protection planning, and a divorcee's furniture being given a second chance. Plus a return to normality in this week’s podcast.


NASA have achieved a multi-world first this week: playing space billiards. I’m painfully aware of the mixed metaphors between that last sentence and the title. I’m not going to change it; I just wanted you to know that I know. Anyway, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) undertook its first mission this week, successfully crashing into an asteroid at 15,000mph. Without context, that probably doesn’t sound terribly successful, but the goal of the mission was to redirect said asteroid and thereby evaluate DART’s capabilities as a planetary defence technology. This particular asteroid was just minding its own business and offered no threat to us Earthlings, but the logic is that the same technology could be implemented to redirect an asteroid with more malevolent intentions. This would completely undermine the premise of ‘Don’t Look Up’. If only the technology had been available a couple of years ago; they would never have had to make that terrible film.



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Another Man's Trash.

A sofa is for life, not just for your third year of uni. Too much furniture is being abandoned on street corners, and IKEA have had enough. As part of the launch of their Life collection, IKEA have promised to buy back any unwanted furniture and rehome their abandoned products, “even in the saddest of circumstances”. So now an Ottoman previously used for rolling spicy cigarettes could be given a happy home as a diplomat’s footstall. And if you’re getting a divorce, don’t worry about it, because you can flog a wardrobe for a tenner to help out with the alimony payments. And if you haven’t recently dealt with a tragedy that’s forcing you to sell your belongings, you can pick up a bargain. Everybody wins. Sort of.

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Daft Vader.

The singularity is near. We’ve previously spoken about the prospect of digital immortality, but it turns out that it may be a reality in the not-so-distant dystopian future. And by not-so-distant future, I mean the present. So, the past now, technically, I suppose, which is actually the opposite of the future. Star Wars fans were surprised to hear 91-year-old James Earl Jones still voicing Darth Vader in the new Obi-Wan Kenobi series, but that’s because it wasn’t actually James Earl Jones at all – although it was his voice. He gave permission to Ukrainian start-up Respeecher to recreate his voice using AI technology and archival recordings. As a nonagenarian, you’d imagine Jones probably can’t be arsed to stand around in a booth all day repeating line after line while some producer says “once more, with feeling”, so this makes a level of sense for him. But Respeecher also provided the voice for Luke Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill, who is still very much alive and probably could have done with the paycheque.

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Making Plans for Nigel.

Finally, a social cause I can get behind. The Nigels of the world are in trouble and they need our help. Despite previously being a popular name, times have changed.  Very few parents are looking down at a fresh-faced new-born and thinking, “Aw, he looks just like a little Nigel.” It’s just one of those names that you can’t imagine anyone under the age of 40 having. There’s a theory that Nigels aren’t birthed in the conventional sense and instead miraculously spawn wearing little business suits. One pub landlord, Nigel Smith, recognised the desperate situation he and his kind currently find themselves in, so he held a festival of Nigels. 372 Nigels assembled from all corners of the world to celebrate all things Nigel. Entertainment was provided by other Nigels – two DJs, an MC, a comedian, a busker, and, my personal favourite, a group of Morris dancers all called Nigel. God Save the Nigels.

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Fight... And Win.

This deserved a mention simply because any brand even loosely associated with football (and anyone who happens to work with those brands) has at some point over the last year thrown around the idea of incorporating Ted Lasso into some form of content. Us included. And lo and behold, EA got it done. The show’s eponymous manager, as well as all of the AFC Richmond squad, will be fully playable characters in FIFA 23. Hang on a minute, I thought EA had lost the naming rights and were going to be forced to call the new game something like ‘EA FC Super Soccer 23’? I’ve been had. Although, that would have actually sounded a lot more Ted Lasso. To mark the partnership, EA and Apple TV+ have released this trailer, featuring an Oscar-worthy 3-second cameo from Wayne Rooney just about managing to pull off a convincing portrayal of Wayne Rooney.

N.B. If you don’t understand the reference in the title, I’d recommend you watch this video to appreciate some fine American Soccerball culture.

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Babies Vs. Vegans.

Breaking news: foetuses hate kale. Researchers have found that babies in the womb react positively when their mothers eat carrots, but appear to cry when they are subjected to second-hand green vegetables. And if the above picture is anything to go by, when they eat turnips, they start to look like them. The study, published in the Journal of Psychological Science, is the first in the world to look at how unborn babies react to taste and smell. The results indicate that exposure to even just a small amount of flavour was enough to stimulate a reaction, as it’s believed that the babies can experience the flavour of their mother’s food by inhaling or swallowing amniotic fluid in the womb. Yum! They had considered having a third group of mothers who would eat Big Macs and smoke ciggies, but apparently there were ethical concerns with that idea. Political correctness gone mad. Bloody wokies.

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The Coolsh*t Podcast - Ep. 25.

Talking romance in the frozen food aisle. This might give you chills.