PD: Cool Things Issue 227



Editorial: A bio lab at home
Travel: Travel apps or not
Technology: WhatsApp hacked - what you can do to secure yourself
Stationery: Library card memo pad
Gadgets & Gear: Cudeman survival whetstone
Books & Writing: "A Game of Thrones" fit for a king
Misc.: Is the Bentley Bentayga not rugged enough for you? Then get this one instead...
Next issue: What to look forward to.
PD: Store is under renovation and is currently unavailable

CONTACT PD: pdcoolthings@gmail.com


EDITORIAL: A bio lab at home

Not so long ago doing science experiments meant growing an onion over a jar of water or watching wheat seeds germinate on a plate of wet cotton wool on the window sill. Those who could afford it got a chemistry set and watched chemicals change colour or explode. Perhaps you had a toy microscope. If you were really lucky and rich you may have enjoyed an atomic energy set, complete with radioactive substances.


Its now 2020 and kids and technology have moved on. Now there is bio engineering. Yes, you read that right. You can now have a bio lab in your lounge room or den.


Feles has produced the Feles One for your biological experiments. Plop in the reagents and follow the on screen instructions. What can you do with it? Try things like...

Test of your vegetable is GMO
Check if your taste buds detect bitter flavors
Check if you are built for endurance
Test if you are likely to be lactose intolerant
Explore how blood type genotyping works
Test a hamburger to see if it contains horse meat
Investigate your beer for bacteria
Extract ancient DNA from fossils
Test the gender of birds from a feather or a spot of blood
Identify species with DNA bar-coding

Perhaps you will create the first ever real live triffid.


Get your lab here (sorry, black limo and secret agents not included):

TRAVEL: Travel apps or not

There are thousands of apps out there. Travellers are not forgotten, but should you use them or not? They can make life easier, as long as they are up to date, but PD suggests that you just relax and use a guidebook and compass. Do you really need a list of 500 restaurants to choose from during your 3 days in Paris? Public transport maps abound. And as a last resort you could try interacting with a local and perhaps make a new friend. One other thing to think about - can that app track you?


TECHNOLOGY: WhatsApp hacked - what you can do to secure yourself

This week WhatsApp was hacked, allowing spyware to be installed on your phone. This will allow hackers to take control of your phone. Unfortunately this is the reality of today's connected world. This is why PD limits what he uses for communication and storage; after all, he does not want to traced when he goes on the prowl.


Although quite secretive about it, the company, which is owned by Facebook, is doing upgrades to counter this threat. One thing that it has done is create a patch. If you use WhatsApp, update your app from Google Store if you are using an Android device, or from App Store if you have an iOS device.

STATIONERY: Library card memo pad

Remember the old library cards? Before electronics took over the world when you borrowed a book (does anyone still do that?) the librarian would stamp the due by date on it.


You can get that feeling back with this notebook from Fly Paper Products.



GADGETS & GEAR: Cudeman survival whetstone

Cudeman has been making knives and accessories in Spain since 1988. This accessory has an unusual combinations of tools that PD has not seen before in a single unit.


This is primarily a whetstone for sharpening your knives, however the maker has utilised the reverse side to include some smart tools, including a signalling mirror, sundial, drawn compass (no needle) and a ruler. PD is not sure why you would need a ruler in a survival situation, but he guesses it may come in handy to make sure that you use the right length knife or to measure the length of that leach that has hitched a ride on you so that you can boast that you scored the biggest one.


BOOKS & WRITING: "A Game of Thrones" fit for a king

When you play the game of thrones, you win or you dieā€¦

For those who have been following the "Game of Thrones" will be interested in this special Folio Society edition of the first book of "A Song of Ice and Fire" saga by George R. R. Martin.


Beautifully presented and illustrated, this two volume set comes in a slipcase with a companion cloth bound fold out map.


This is a fantasy novel that was inspired by the War of the Roses. It is all there - landscapes, magic, heroes and foes.


Everything is here at the Folio Society:

MISC.: Is the Bentley Bentayga not rugged enough for you? Then get this one instead...

Bentley's 4WD bush basher, the Bentayga, is an impressive bit of kit. And should you fall down a crevice while traversing the Andes, you can break open a bottle of champagne while you wait for your helicopter ride out.


However, perhaps you require something a little more rugged without losing your luxury. Perhaps you need one of these:


Admittedly, it is only a Bentley Continental GT, not the Bentagya, but then you can't have everything. By the way, don't rush to your local Bentley store for this one. This is a special one-off creation by AcademeG.


NEXT ISSUE: What to look forward to.

Next week PD takes a look at personal safety. Watch out for PD: Cool Things Issue 228.