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Volume 451

Old MacDonald had a record deal, AI-AI…oh. This week’s coolsh*t is bringing you virtual virtuosity, eye-rolling innovation, and a load of bollocks. Plus a scandalous Scandinavian gastronomic experience you probably wouldn't understand or appreciate. No offence...


Rumour has it that Yezgeny Prigozhin’s final words as he plummeted to his death in a blazing inferno were, “Pay the writers, this strike must end”. I know, strange. Almost as strange as how many of Vladmir Putin’s erstwhile associates happen to die in plane crashes. Bet the pilot’s heart sank when he saw who he was flying. In the taxonomy of dangerous jobs, that’s right up there with being a chef for the Obama family.

But say what you will about the warlord (Prigozhin, not Obama), he was a man of principle. And one of those principles, apparently, was that writers, actors, and anyone involved in the creative arts should be properly compensated and protected from the existential threat of AI. Yet despite his wishes, it was announced this week that Warner Music would be making history by signing a record deal with Noonoouri, the first AI virtual singer and Instagram influencer.

Lil Yezzy would be rolling in his grave if his body hadn’t exploded upon impact. This best not get in the way of Taylor Swift making her next billion.

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Los Bollocks.

This campaign is the bollocks. Literally. Some Eagle-eyed Argies may have spotted something awry about Racing Club’s badge over the last few weeks. And just to be clear, Racing Club are in fact a football club and have absolutely nothing to do with racing. I don’t get it either. Maybe they were named by some of the Swabian ‘Argentines’ who were trying to learn Spanish as quickly as possible in the mid 20th Century and got mixed up.

Confusing names aside, the club attracted attention this week for a clever cancer awareness campaign. Over the course of four weeks, they subtly doctored their badge to mirror the growth rate of testicular tumours. Supporters only twigged when one of the pillars on the shield was eventually removed entirely, demonstrating that if an issue isn’t detected early it may have drastic implications. And now the club have spilled the beans and revealed the true message behind the campaign. Might be a poor choice of words when talking about bollocks. Somebody should probably clean that up.

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We’re simple creatures. If you put “3D-printed” and “mind-controlled” in the title of an article, there’s a fairly high chance we’re going to click on it.

Dutch designer Anouk Wipprecht explores the intersection of fashion and technology. Her latest piece: a 3D-printed dress with wearable eyeballs that move according to the brain activity of the wearer. Lady Gaga’s meat dress suddenly look rather pedestrian.

The mind-controlled digital eyes measure the cognitive load and activity of the wearer in real-time to show direct correlations between the wearer’s actions and how their brain reacts to the series of movements they make. As the wearer’s mental workload increases, each eye’s iris and pupil dilate wider and wider until eventually they resemble those of a sweaty finance bro emerging from a pub toilet with a miraculously renewed sense of vim.

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There’s nothing like haute gastronomy to make you feel like this whole human civilisation business might have gone a bit far. Why does there need to be so much foam? It is decadence manifest. And now a new restaurant has just opened which makes Heston Blumenthal look like little more than a greasy fry-cook with a club foot and a club sandwich.

The ‘Salmon Eye’ sits atop a Nordic fjord and is home to Restaurant Iris, where you can experience something called ‘expedition dining’ – which we’re reliably informed has nothing to do with Bear Grylls drinking his own piss. Don’t judge Bear. Drinking piss is a delicacy in his culture (privately-educated rugby lads).

The experience takes diners through a tasting menu of no less than 18 courses, seeking to showcase innovative, newly-discovered ingredients from the ocean while highlighting the importance of sustainability – the meal apparently begins with a short film about the issue of food waste, which is guaranteed to get the tummy rumbling.

Keen? Great. But a seat at a table will set you back £246. They could have at least rounded it up to an even 250. Either way, there is Norway I can affjord that. Sorry.

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Sign of the Times.

Amidst all these virtual pop stars and mind-controlled dresses, we thought we should have at least one story that celebrates uniquely human capabilities – like the true Luddites we are. Although it turns out the story about the Luddites isn’t even true. They actually smashed textile machinery after a protest against the Napoleonic war was broken up. And apparently Napoleon wasn’t even particularly short. History is fraught with deception.

The translation platform Translated released their ‘Human Touch’ campaign this week to highlight the necessary role humans still have to play (alongside AI) in the advancement of its consumer offering.

The campaign is based on the platform’s brand insights which revealed that humans engage in translation every day, often without even realizing it – such as decoding messages through unspoken glances and gestures (or kinesics, if you want to impress people you hate at a dinner party you don’t want to be at) enabled by our cultures, experiences and beliefs. Like that awkward nod you feel compelled to give fellow ramblers. First rule of the countryside, that is. Second is always close a gate behind you. Third is you mind your own damn business if you see someone fly-tipping or digging up copper wiring. They might set their ferrets on you.

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Chilli Conspiracy.

We’re honestly not trying to turn coolsh*t into Info Wars. Promise. But each week there seems to be a new crop of crackpots with a fresh round of ‘incontrovertible evidence’ that can confirm the existence of extra-terrestrial lifeforms. And this time, they even brought props.

Following the historic UFO (or UAP, if you don’t wish to deadname) hearing at the US congress last month, Mexico have decided to one-up their neighbours to the north by unveiling alleged “alien corpses” in their own legislative branch of government.

Jaime Maussan, a self-described ‘ufologist’, claimed under oath that the mummified specimens are not part of “our terrestrial evolution”, with almost a third of their DNA remaining “unknown”. And just as an aside, if we’re allowed to pick our own job titles then I henceforth want to be referred to as a Warrior Poet.

But aren’t they adorable? Like Dobby with a swollen cranium. Bet they’d be a lovely cuddle if they weren’t made out of papier-mâché.

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