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Volume 431

Can you see yourself living here? This week’s coolsh*t is bringing you fake real estate, magic mushrooms (not those ones), and a ticket off this planet… for a couple hours. Plus a new, and some might even say improved, line-up on the coolsh*t podcast.

Morel Dilemma.

A shaman once said to me, “whatever problems life throws at you, mushrooms can always provide the answer”. And by shaman, I mean some bloke with long fingernails standing behind a bin. And by me, I mean I overheard him talking to the bin. However, his ramblings may indeed turn out to be sage (albeit hallucinatory) advice. And the problems and solutions we’re referring to have nothing to do with third eyes, machine elves or transcendental experiences – they’re grounded entirely in real-world pragmatism. We’ve previously seen shoes, coffins, and, just this week, houses made from mycelium, the root-like structure of a fungus. And now, it turns out that some fungi also possess qualities that can break down polypropylene (which makes up almost a third of the world’s plastic waste) in just 140 days. So, there you have it. Mushrooms: good for plastic breakdown, good for emotional breakdowns. Result. Does this mean we can have proper straws again?  

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Rent Bots.

You might buy your next house on TikTok. Only joking, you’re never buying a house. But if you do happen to be one of the fortunate few with savings stashed away or wealthy, dying relatives, then that initial statement may actually apply to you. When Noah Berghammer was turfed out of his New York sublet, he took his gripes to TikTok and was able to find a fancy apartment that he could live in for cheap just so long as he agreed to feed the owner’s cat. Naturally, Noah agreed. Unfortunately, he is not a man of his word and Mittens has since passed on to the great litter box in the sky. This isn’t an entirely unique story, though; it’s part of what’s being described as a TikTok property boom. But there’s a dark flip side to this boom. Rather than having to turn up in real life for a series of back-to-back 5-minute slots, estate agents have started using the platform to host virtual viewings that can reach millions. And I for one think it’s absolutely fantastic that renters will now be competing with even more desperate people for the privilege of paying £1000 a month to live in a broom closet with a leaky toilet. Cheers, TikTok. Maybe these Republican nerds should ban it… 

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Sneak Dogg.

These sneaky stoners. Turns out marijuana is a gateway drug, but that gateway happens to lead to impish hijinks and savvy self-promotion – although I don’t think that’s what Mr. O’Connor was warning us about in PSHE. It was 4/20 last week, so naturally a load of weed-smokers linked up in Hyde Park to discuss the meaning of life, consider whether God exists, and to debate serious issues like which is the best Starburst. It’s orange, by the way. In between all that, the crowd were delighted to see that Snoop Dogg had decided to turn up. Except he hadn’t really. It was just some bloke who looks an awful lot like Snoop Dogg. But that didn’t stop near enough every person there from following him around like the Messiah and flooding their socials with this ersatz Snoop. Little did they know they were actually providing an extraordinary amount of free advertising for Releaf, an all-in-one medical cannabis subscription service whose logo just so happened to be on fake Snoop’s t-shirt. Like we said, sneaky stoners. But you have to admire the ingenuity (read: shithousery). 

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Graphic Content.

The argument that shoot-em-up video games could encourage gun violence always felt like a weak one. I played an awful lot of FIFA growing up and it certainly didn’t give me the drive nor the determination to become a professional footballer; it just gave me sore thumbs and a crippling Pringles addiction. However, one rebuttal to that argument was always that video games felt sufficiently far removed from the reality of violence. But thanks to the magic of graphic technology, that excuse perhaps no longer holds. The video above shows the first-person perspective from Unrecord, a new game which uses Epic Games Unreal Engine 5. And despite the name, it looks pretty bloody real. So real in fact that plenty of Discord dorks have been refusing to believe that it really is gameplay footage. But alas, for better or for worse, it is indeed gameplay that has been designed to resemble the grainy body-cam footage you can see in some deeply unpleasant real-world videos. Simulated violence just got a little less simulated and a little more violent. Good luck, kids… 

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Robert Plant.

Maybe that rapping mystery footballer from last week wasn’t your cup of tea. Perhaps you’ve got a hankering for a more natural, earthy sound. Well, my fine, feathered friend, I do believe we may have just the ticket. Plantwave uses patented sonification technology to convert biorhythms from plants into real time music for indoor environments. Studies reveal that we spend roughly 90% of our time indoors, which is a phenomenally depressing statistic… from one point of view. From another: most of human history has been spent fleeing from nature in an attempt to stay alive, so the fact that we now have the inverse problem and are spending too much time safely sheltered indoors is at least a good marker of progress. I will however acknowledge that that isn’t a terribly popular take. Whatevs. You enjoy your poxy plant music. I’m going back to InfoWars 

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Hot Air.

We’ve been hearing rumours of this stratospheric hot air balloon for quite some time, but now it’s finally been given a name and a launch date. Well, a rough launch date. They’ve said they’re aiming for 2025, which feels incredibly soon. And if this speech by Jose Mourinho is anything to go by, that’ll come around before you can say this might be a bad idea. And based on SpaceX’s explosive launch last week, the prospect of being jettisoned into space may not seem quite so appealing at the minute. Yet here we are. ‘Celeste’ is offering luxury trips into the stratosphere and has been described as the ‘most pristine spaceship of the 21st century’. Granted, it’s been described as that by the company who make it. Plus they also keep calling it ‘ground-breaking’, which feels like a really stupid adjective for something that flies. But apparently they’ve already got a long waiting list for the first flight, so what do I know? Suppose people enjoy going on cruises for some reason…  

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The Coolsh*t Podcast - Ep. 49.

Space balloons, AI monocles, nostalgic drivers, and Louis Vuitton dumbbells.

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