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Volume 446

Put down the kombucha, this week’s coolsh*t contains the true elixir of immortality (according to one strange man and his charlatan doctors). We’re also bringing you vape reincarnation, a counter-Coke conspiracy, and ChatGPT’s latest attempt to take your job, ft. a very fired-up Ashley Walters shouting about sweat.

Suck it and Pepsi.

It’s always fun when brands get a bit snarky with each other. And everyone knows snarkyness hits hardest when backed up with watertight consumer insight.

Pepsi have been taking shots at Coca-Cola this week in an attempt to prove that their product is a superior bedfellow for spiced rum, following a study which found that 56% of surveyed adult consumers prefer Pepsi as a mixer compared to Coke. Granted, Pepsi commissioned the study themselves, but that oughtn’t have any bearing on its credibility. And while 56% isn’t exactly a landslide, it is a greater margin than the one that saw us jettisoned out of the EU.

Rather than just shouting “WE WIN! 56%! THAT’S MORE THAN 44%!!”, Pepsi opted to bring this finding to life with some clandestine creativity. They released a series of high-profile print and OOH placements that reveal hidden Pepsi globes in the logos of leading rum labels like Captain Morgan and Bacardi. Sneaky. That art director deserves a tip of the angler’s cap.

It’s just a shame it won’t make any difference to a single consumer. The fact that we literally call the drink a ‘rum and coke’ probably doesn’t help Pepsi’s sales pitch. But it’s still a nice idea well executed.

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Rah, Where’s My Vape?

If you’ve ever been to Clapham, you’ve likely had your eardrum pierced by the titular question above being bellowed out into the night sky. I’m developing a theory that posh people speak louder because for generations their ancestors have become accustomed to speaking in very large rooms. But to address the question, the answer may very well be “Sorry Pippa, it’s been turned into a race car”. Either that or Philip Schofield chored it.

This week Formula E team Envision Racing unveiled their full-size, drivable Gen3 ‘Recover-E’ car made entirely out of electronic waste such as vapes, iPhones, and patched-up circuit boards. Created by British artist and designer Liam Hopkins, the car serves as one of the tangible repurposing examples Envision has generated to contribute to the reduction of electronic waste, which is currently likely to reach 75 million tonnes by 2030. And this is why we cannot have nice things.

Although Jordan Peterson says the climate crisis isn’t real, so maybe we should just stick to lobbing Lost Marys at pigeons. Granted, he does also claim that all you need to do to succeed in life is make your bed and eat steak, so who knows what to believe?

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Cha-Cha Charity.

Charity’s main deterrent is that it generally involves actually dipping into your own pocket and parting with your hard-earned cash. I’m sure that orphanage could do with a new library, but how do you expect me to pay for my Himalayan pink salt and ashwagandha tablets if I’m forking out every 10 minutes to help Little Timmy learn to read? But imagine if you could raise money for charity just by dancing. Now you can, thanks to Desperados.

The lager brand has released a dance-powered app in partnership with We Are Pi and Jack Morton which encourages people to dance anywhere at any time to raise funds for charities such as Stonewall and Women in Music.

At the supermarket? Dance. At work? Dance. At a funeral? Start doing the macarena, you tight-fisted swine.

And unlike Lizzo, the Desperados Dance Club won’t ever fat shame you or insist that you go to a strip club with them. Allegedly.

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Artificial Inspiration.

We’ve witnessed some great speeches over the years. From the Gettysburg Address to “I Have a Dream” to Alex Turner doing his best Matt Barry impression while incoherently rambling on about “that rock and roll” and the cyclical nature of the universe.

Typically, it’s the speeches that have been plucked straight from the deepest, darkest depths of the human soul that we tend to find the most moving. But now you can just get ChatGPT to write one for you. At least that’s what Under Armour did.

They consulted sports psychology literature and conducted interviews with athletes such as Trent Alexander-Arnold, Antonio Rüdiger and Laura Freigang to identify some of the key factors which contribute to motivation, inspiration and optimal performance among athletes. They then used these insights to feed prompts to ChatGPT, which spat out the script (complete with delivery instructions for Ashley Walters). Although I’m not sure why it told him to deliver it in an empty room. But the sheer quantity of vaguely life-affirming but also fairly meaningless cliches and platitudes would make even Brendan Rodgers proud.

Personally I still prefer the Sean Dyche approach of just screaming “Take that snood off, you ponce!” until your players start crying and booking flights to Europe.

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Computer Says Laugh.

Maybe you don’t need a Large Language Model to motivate you. Maybe you stopped playing team sports when you discovered booze and cigarettes like a respectable adult. Maybe you don’t want Ashley Walters shouting at you about your team’s “collective sweat”. But if there is such thing as a universal human truth, it’s that everyone could do with a laugh. And AI can help with that. Maybe

The Edinburgh Fringe got underway last week, bringing together people from all over the world for a celebration of arts, culture and comedians exposing themselves to audience members. And this year, there has been an AI invasion.

‘Artificial Intelligence Improvisation’ is a show at the Fringe that sets out to see if algorithms can get audiences laughing. The show’s co-founder, Piotr Mirowski, a research scientist of a leading AI lab, asked the programme they use to “tell Sky News a great joke”. The result: “Why don’t scientists trust atoms?”… “Because they make up everything.”

I mean it’s not quite Bill Hicks. But some people find Michael McIntyre funny, so I’m sure it’ll have an audience.

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Benjamin Mutton.

I recently asked someone if they felt bitter about the prospect that, as the human race rapidly transitions into immortal Promethean meta-humanoid cyborgs, we may be living through one of the last periods of human history in which death is an unavoidable inevitability. They replied: “Sir, this is a Starbucks. Do you want a coffee or not?”. I did not.

But Benjamin Franklin’s pithy apothegm about the only certainties being death and taxes may be becoming somewhat less certain. And not just because we currently have the most right-wing Prime Minister since Thatcher who will jump at the first opportunity to cut his mates’ bills before he gets booted out his house by that milquetoast monarchist lawyer bloke purporting to be the leader of the opposition. And while we may not yet have reached a point of technological advancement that can allow us to live forever, this one reptilian-looking gentleman appeared on Stephen Bartlett’s ‘Diary of a CEO’ podcast this week claiming to now be aging in reverse.

I know what you’re thinking: this is just another deranged crackpot who swears by unscientific, new-age longevity ‘medicine’. And you’d be right. Probably. Bryan Johnson follows a strict regimen which includes taking 111 pills a day – and not a single one more, because anything over 112 would just be crazy – as well as harvesting the blood of his 17-year-old son. Might sound mad, but some professionals who should absolutely lose whatever medical licence they ordered off the Dark Web have projected that Mr. Johnson will live to see the year 2178. Even if he has to see it from inside the cushioned walls of an institution.

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