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Volume 425

Toothbrushes, brush strokes and strokey Teletubbies. This week’s coolsh*t will ruin your childhood. We’ve also got singing stout for St. Paddy’s Day, sticky light, and a toy that must absolutely not to be played around with. Plus a new-look episode of the coolsh*t podcast.

Time for Zeroes.

It’s St. Patrick’s Day today, so you know what that means… alcohol-free Guinness? Are you sure this is the right script? There must have been some sort of mistake… Really? Alright, if you say so. This is like playing football without a ball. However, I’ve heard from reliable sources/sauces that even the most learned of Guinnesseurs would struggle to tell the difference between the zero and the real deal – although you’d probably start to have an inkling after your 4th or 5th. This year Guinness have given the lion’s share of their St. Paddy’s Day marketing budget to the zero – and they’ve done so courtesy of some pints singing Bonnie Tyler. Hero… sounds like zero… get it? Very clever. But to give them their due, ‘Make it a St. Patrick’s Day to remember’ is terrific copywriting for a booze-free beer. To amplify the celebrations, 50,000 free pints of Guinness 0.0 will be available across Ireland over the course of the weekend. They’re literally giving the stuff away. Sounds like it’ll be quite the party.

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I had to go to the dentist the other day; he asked me to open up, so I told him I get sad sometimes. Not what he meant. It is an interesting line of work though, dentistry. But the stereotype that they’re all failed doctors is incredibly unfair… They could also be people who just really have a thing for teeth. Not sure which of those you’d rather have in your mouth, to be honest. Sorry if any dentists are reading this. I’m not sorry if you’re offended, just that you’re a dentist. The reason this is relevant (ish) is that it occurred to me that dental hygiene is an area that hasn’t kept pace with the technological innovation we’ve seen over the last few decades. Sure, toothbrushes may have become more expensive, but that’s about it. Until now. French start-up Y-Brush have created a ‘smiling’ electric toothbrush that vibrates in the mouth and cleans teeth fully in 10 seconds. The brush comes in 4 available sizes (small, medium, large and Sarah Jessica Parker) and can last up to 3 months on one charge. The future is now.

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Keeping Track.

Siemens and Avicar have unveiled a sports car with no doors, windows or seats. No, it wasn’t left unattended in downtown LA for half an hour – it’s actually meant to be like that. What we have here is essentially a very large, very fast, very expensive toy car. One doesn’t dare imagine the type of brat that gets given one of these for their birthday. The Gen0 can be driven remotely from up to 4,000 miles away as a headset receives a feed from livestream cameras, with microsecond reactivity and tactile response allowing the driver to control the vehicle in real time. Very soon we’ll live in a reality in which we drive cars that we are not sat in and we sit in cars that we are not driving. It feels like those two things somehow managed to go right past each other without ever meeting – like left wing peaceniks of the late 20th century and the current crop of conservative isolationists fundamentally disagreeing on almost every premise but within 40 or so years managing to reach the same anti-war conclusions. Whatever. Back to the toy cars. Broom broom.

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Tubby Custard Couture.

I’m convinced by this point that fashion is just one big practical joke. And Christian Cowan might be one of the best jokers of them all. She certainly has a knack for turning heads with some, err, somewhat avant-garde collections and launches. Previous efforts included everyone’s favourite fisherthem, Sam Smith, wearing a cape made of 300,000 hand-embroidered emerald sheen black pheasant feathers. Now, following on from Cowan’s successful collaboration with Doritos, comes the Teletubbies capsule. And it is absolutely haunting. In fact, it’s exactly as haunting as you would imagine a display of half-naked, oiled-up adults next to beloved childhood characters to be. But it’s got people talking. Us included. Suppose that was the point. Played. Although Tinky Winky does provide a bit of a distraction from the clothes…

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If you had any idea how many hours – nay days, weeks, and possibly even months – I spent as a child trawling through the internet trying to find a working lightsaber, you would be appalled and impressed in equal measure. But then eventually that fateful day comes when someone says, “You’re 24, it’s time to let it go”. Well, Dr. Applebaum certainly has egg on his face now, because a ‘real’ lightsaber was unveiled on stage at SXSW this week. At least it looks pretty bloody real. It even went ‘beeshheww’ and everything. You can shove your ChatGPT right up your AI hole. This is the type of technological innovation that people actually need. Who cares about epoch-altering artificial intelligence when you can have a tape measure with some LEDs attached? It might even be able to cut Disney’s prices.

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Thinking Inside the Box.

Spring has sprung. Festival season will soon be upon us. But for anyone over the age of 17, the lustre of sleeping in a urine-soaked tent for 5 days may have slightly waned. MaawaX has an answer: a modular, reusable, and recyclable carboard shelter that pops up out of a suitcase. Having continued reading the article after writing those first couple sentences, I’ve been rather embarrassed to discover that the MaawaX structure was actually designed to deliver disaster relief in emergency-stricken areas, not to provide an area for teenagers on MKAT to relieve themselves – which, on the balance of things, feels arguably even more worthwhile. Designed with refugee camps and urban homelessness in mind, the pop-up can instantly expand 16 times to create over 3.5 cubed meters of volume on site without the need for tools or specialized assembly. The units are integrated with solar panels, connected devices and weather protection, and the company who manufacture them have just partnered Jordan Hashemite Charity Organisation to deploy its pop-up shelter in refugee camps in Jordan. Bet you feel bad for saying they could be used at a festival now.

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