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Volume 454

This week’s coolsh*t brings you Meta, Meta and… did someone say more Meta? Alongside all that we’ve also got swampy settings, muzzles for mansplainers, and some pesky kids raising the steaks (and it’s Kyra filling James’ tiny editor’s seat again, btw…).

The Mentalverse.

Since its inception I’ve found the Metaverse and any ‘revolutionary’ news around it to be extremely underwhelming. I’ve never had faith that it would be anything more than a glorified Sims, but this week’s breakthrough might have just changed my mind.

In his latest podcast episode, Lex Fridman spoke to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a first-of-its-kind virtual interview in the Metaverse. Despite being miles apart physically, the two interacted seamlessly through hyper realistic avatars while wearing Meta Quest Pro headsets. And even a cynic like me is impressed. Imagine being able to watch a podcast and be in the same room as the host and the guest, or being able to speak to family members on the other side of the world as if you’re in the same room.

The interview shows a comparison of the real individuals with headsets, their avatar counterparts, and the final output, highlighting the technology’s ability to capture subtle expressions and details. Granted, this was achieved through extensive facial scanning, but Zuck hinted at a future where users may be able to create similar avatars with just their phones.

Until now, I feel like the metaverse had failed to live up to its initial concept, but this has made be believe in it a tad more. But no amount of epoch-altering technology will make me give a shit about Mark Zuckerberg doing jiu-jitsu.



We all have those colleagues. Those whose natural voice sits around 20 decibels higher than the average human. Those whose speaking voice has a remarkable ability to pierce though an office when you’re trying to have a Zoom call. Yes, this is an indirect.

Well, Christmas is around the corner, and I have the greatest gift for these garrulous, gabby guys (or gals). Introducing: Mutalk. A wearable, soundproof microphone worn over the mouth to muffle the voices of loud talkers.

While the design is sleek, it is what I would describe as ‘muzzle like’ and I can’t help but chuckle at the thought of a certain cacophonous colleague being subjected to wearing this in public.

What an oddly specific yet completely relatable problem to solve. I’m here for it.


Get Out of My Swamp.

Once upon a time, in a land far far away… lived an ogre, a rambunctious donkey and a princess. But what if I told you, it wasn’t so far away…

Situated amongst the hilly Scottish Highlands, Shrek is opening up his swamp exclusively on Airbnb to a handful of his biggest fans. His iconic on-screen home has been recreated IRL and the result is a picture-perfect replica which will be “hosted” by Donkey himself. And yes, there will be waffles.

The lucky guests will have the chance, over Halloween weekend, to live out their own fairy tale for two enchanting nights (minus the torches and pitchforks). And to top it off, this stay is being offered for free to emulate Shrek’s philanthropic nature.

And in honour of this rare opportunity, Airbnb will be making a donation to HopScotch Children’s Charity, which provides some of Scotland’s most vulnerable children with “respite breaks”. Shrek is love, Shrek is life.


Virtual VIPs.

Ever slid into a celebrity’s DMs? It’s okay, we’ve all been there. Well now they might actually reply to you. ‘They’ being used in the loosest sense of the word.

In another move from Meta, we now have 28 AI chatbots, each taking the form of a famous celebrity. From Snoop Dog to Paris Hilton, you can chit chat away via WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram. The virtual chat bots will be the realistic alter ego of said celeb, each with a specific chatbot role, e.g. Kendall Jenner can give you big sister advice, whereas Mr Beast’s character is there for when you want a laugh. Think Jungian archetypes but with more people using the word “slay”.

Aside from the obvious concerns around privacy, authenticity and an overreliance on technology, my major problem with this is that it is just a pretty lame use of tech. If you’re spending time chatting away to a fake celebrity, you may have too much time on your hands and might want to consider going for a brisk walk outside.

I’d also advise perhaps seeking therapy before going to Kendall Jenner with your problems…



The fun thing about language is that it’s constantly evolving. Back in the day one might have said “Oh my, look, there’s a beautiful woman with a positively pulchritudinous posterior”. Today you might hear “Oi pree that pengting she’s got nyash” …and I think that’s beautiful.

You may find it hard to keep up with what the kids are saying nowadays. But fret not, we’re here to help. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, America’s most trusted dictionary (according to itself), has a new set of words which we will now decode together.

First up, we have ‘Rizz’. I’ll give you a moment to guess. Okay let me use it in a sentence: “She fell in love with him, I didn’t know he had rizz like that”. Any takers? For those who didn’t get it, Rizz is defined as ‘romantic charm and appeal’.

Next, we have a personal favourite: ‘Bussin’. Going once, going twice… Bussin’ is an adjective used to describe something that is extremely good or tasty. So next time your Gen Z employee makes you a nice cuppa, you can say “Thanks James, this tea is bussin’”.

As much as I’m sure you’d love to go through all 690 new dictionary additions I’ll leave it with one you should already know: ‘Goated’. In a sentence, you might say “wow, coolsh*t by ZAK is goated”.


NYC Fake-House.

This is the internet joke that left the Upper East Side blindsided. The joke started when Mehran’s housemates decided to commemorate the biweekly steak dinner he makes for them by marking their house on Google Maps as ‘Mehran’s Steakhouse’. After they flooded it with glowing reviews, it quickly became the top-rated steakhouse on the Upper East Side and had been ‘booked out’ for over a year.

Getting wrapped up in the prank, they made a website and decided to make the restaurant real for one night only. Over 3000 New Yorkers put their name on the waitlist and last week 140 of them got the call that the table was available (after a whole year of waiting!)

What they didn’t know is their food was going to be made by a few 20-something year olds with no culinary experience, just ~vibes~.

They rented an event space in the East Village, decorated it and served up a 4-course meal at $144 a person, inspired by the life cycle of a cow. They even had fake Drake fans huddled outside to give the illusion of exclusivity.

You’ve got to give it to them, they really went all in. I’m sure there’s a message in here somewhere about faking it till you make it or doing things with an unquestionable confidence. Or maybe a lesson to not believe everything you read on the internet, kids.