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Volume 468

It’s the coolsh*t of tomorrow… today. This week we’re bringing you two very different projections for the future of life as we know it. We’ve also got some Rajan remixes, people in pants, and the latest exciting innovation in the pioneering field of… birdwatching. Plus an emergency episode of the coolsh*t podcast.

Brave New World.

Ever since the World Economic Forum released that dystopian manifesto seemingly espousing a benevolent dictatorship (because those always work out) and claiming that by 2030 we will “own nothing and be happy”, I’ve been a little suspicious of any grand plans claiming to shape a better world. This is probably the point where Alex Jones would start screaming something about the globalists wanting to harvest our adrenochrome. But if we’re going to trust anyone to construct a brighter, better tomorrow, then who better than a much-loved purveyor of reasonably-priced flatpack furniture and slightly under-seasoned meatballs?

This week IKEA offered their projections for the future of home life, and unlike the WEF’s vision, this one has no mention of outlawing private property or forcing anyone to eat insects. For now. If you have no idea what I’m talking about then just be grateful that we have very different algorithms. My echo chamber is full of people shouting at each other about freedom.

So, what will your home look like in 2030? Algae, apparently. Shit tons of it. Furniture made of mushrooms, ‘n all. I mean, it’s not bad, but it’s not exactly jet packs and C3PO. Maybe Klaus Schwab is behind this after all. Again, I would say Google it, but I ought to warn you that you would be entering a rabbit hole from which you may never return.

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Saudi Partner.

Perhaps mycelium microwaves aren’t for you. In an era of rampantly ever-evolving innovation, you would be forgiven for expecting more from the future than merely the same stuff we’ve got now just made from different materials. Maybe you don’t even like meatballs. Enter Saudi Arabia and Aquellum, a sub-terranean metaverse community. Now that’s more bloody like it!

We’ve thoroughly enjoyed keeping tabs on the ongoing development of NEOM, the Saudi megacity of the future – largely because it’s still hard to tell if it’s a real thing or an elaborate practical joke.

The latest instalment is described as an ‘ultra-luxury upside-down skyscraper’ nestled within the 450-metre-high mountain range along the Gulf of Aqaba coastline, revealing an experiential, underground, digitalized community subsumed in the metaverse meshing advanced technology and avant-garde architecture. I have no idea what any of that means. Don’t care. I’m in. Where do I sign, Your Excellency?

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Junglist Massive.

The internet attracts its fair share of criticism. And no wonder; it is a Chthonian cesspit rife with misery and despair. A wretched hive of scum and villainy rivalled only by the Mos Eisley Cantina on Tatooine. But while it oft taketh away, the internet occasionally giveth. Such instances are as beautiful as they are rare – like a bus running on time, the mellifluous sonancies of a blackbird sounding and resounding on a crisp spring morning, or a housemate emptying a bin unprompted – so they ought to be cherished when they do come along. This week, the internet gave us one such case.

Viral moments don’t need to come from the bleeding edge of contemporary culture. Sometimes they can come from a 60-year-old BBC quiz show. An answer from the Aberdeen captain on University Challenge led host Amol Rajan to utter the now infamous response: “I can’t accept drum ‘n’ bass, we need jungle, I’m afraid”. That’s a quote ripe for sampling if ever I’ve heard one. And the internet duly obliged.

What followed was a litany of some of the most gloriously absurd remixes you’ve ever heard. Now uni students nationwide can go to disused warehouses and enjoy the dulcet tones of Mr. Rajan whilst biting chunks out of the air like scrapyard dogs. What a time to be alive. And what a terrible time to be a coursework module.

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Much like strobe lighting warnings, this one’s for the twitchers. Swarovski Optik unveiled their new collaboration with Mark Newsom at CES 2024 this week, and here it is in all its glory: AX VISIO, the world’s first AI-supported binoculars.

Using their high-performance analogue long-range optics and digital intelligence, the AX VISIO can detect and identify more than 9,000 birds and other wildlife with the mere touch of a button. No more frantically flicking through bird books, now you can confidently bellow ‘HOTTENTOT BUTTONQUAIL’ at the drop of a tweed hat. And then probably be asked to stop shouting as it’s scaring away the birds. Ignore them. They’re just jealous.

If all that wasn’t enough, the lenses of the binoculars can also capture photos and videos, allowing users to save what they identify. So go get out in nature and do some birdwatching before the entire Green Belt is converted into a series of multi-storey car parks each more breathtakingly glorious than the last.

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Knickers in a Twist.

‘Cool’ is a fluid concept. There is no omniscient arbiter of taste. One person’s cool is not necessarily another’s, and what is considered cool one day might not be the next. But we can declare with a fair degree of certainty that anyone insisting on telling other adult human beings what they can and cannot do, or what they can and cannot say, is probably not cool. That must be why so many libertarian-leaning young edgelords are flocking to Tucker Carlson despite his country club get-up and weird 18th century powdered wig-wearing colonist laugh. Either that or his love of Zyns – which is pretty sick, to be fair.

The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) elected to be the skunk at the proverbial garden party this week, banning FKA Twigs’ Calvin Klein ad for being too raunchy. Strewth! An underwear advert in which someone doesn’t have a lot of clothes on? For the love of God, won’t somebody think of the children!

There was no such backlash to the uber popular CK ad featuring diddy man-of-the-moment Jeremy Allen White in his tighty-whities, yet following a whopping two complaints from people who presumably don’t tip waiters and frequently ask to speak to managers, the ASA concluded that the FKA Twigs ad ought to be banned as it “presented her as a stereotypical sexual object.” FKA Twigs thought she was a model, so it must be so nice to be informed by the Advertising Standards Authority that she is in fact an object. It’s funny how attempting to appear progressive can cause you to wind up as the priggish, pearl-clutching prudes. Laugh at them, Tucker.

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Olive Forever.

The board of directors at Ford clearly took it incredibly seriously and incredibly literally when their PR team suggested it would be wise to extend an olive branch to the UAW strikers a couple months ago, because now they’ve only gone and started making the pissing cars out of olives.

Inspired by a trial conducted as part of the COMPOlive project, Ford is advancing its efforts to produce parts from recycled and discarded olive tree waste by blending them with biocomposites to reduce plastic usage in manufacturing and avoid burning refuse.

At last, a proper use for olive oil, which a crackpot doctor on the internet assures me is disastrously deleterious for one’s health and ought to be replaced entirely by animal fats. He did however also recommend using beef tallow as facial moisturiser. Choose your heroes wisely.

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The Coolsh*t Podcast - Episode 66.

I spy with my little eye something beginning with HYPOCRISY.

Listen to the Podcast