PD: Cool Things Issue 229


Editorial: How much electrosmog are you exposed to? Sniffer tells you.
Travel: TSA locks.
Technology: Not so medical MRIs.
Stationery: Greeting Card Note from Kartotek.
Gadgets & Gear: Some unusual solutions to EDC problems.
Books & Writing: Reading your books in a different language.
Misc.: Still not happy with the 4WDs PD has presented? This is the ultimate one.
Next issue: What to look forward to.
PD: Store is under renovation and is currently unavailable

CONTACT PD: pdcoolthings@gmail.com


EDITORIAL: How much electrosmog are you exposed to? Sniffer tells you.

Electrosmog is the electromagnetic radiation around us. It comes from cell phones and the towers that support the service, tablets, TVs, microwave ovens, GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth.... It is all around us (and yes, we all contribute to it by using those devices). There has been much debate about its effects and some people are worried about its implications.


You can't see it, feel it or smell it, so how do you know how much there is in your home, office or school? Sniffer will tell you and will allow you to re-arrange things if you are worried. It will also do more - it will tell you if your microwave oven is leaking because of a faulty door seal, or if there are hidden cameras or bugs.


This ingenious little device will fit into your pocket or bag so that you can use it anywhere.


For more serious work, including science labs, there is a larger hand held version which has sensitivity adjustment and an external antenna. It will pick up the weakest signals, and has a detection range of over 10 metres. When it detects a signal, depending on the intensity, an LED bar lights up and when the detected signal reaches its maximum amplitude an intermittent acoustic signal is activated.


The Sniffers are made from areospace aluminium and brass.

They will be released soon on Kickstarter.

TRAVEL: TSA locks.

Once upon a time, not that long ago, when flying you would simple go to the airport, show your passport and ticket, walk onto the tarmac and climb a mobile staircase to your plane. Then came political hijackings of passenger airlines, the first in 1968 (stories of hijackings of other plane types start in 1929). This was the start of what has become a tiresome routine at airports: interrogations of all passengers, getting partly undressed, being X-rayed every time you want to get onto a plane...not to mention restrictions on what you can take with you and checks of all luggage, treating you like a criminal.


As part of the ever onerous measures, the United Sates' Transport Security Administration mandated that it must have easy access to all luggage, leading to the production of TSA locks. In addition to the usual lock, usually a combination lock, it has an additional slot for a master key that security officers have. A non-TSA lock on luggage will be forcibly destroyed by a TSA agent. The locks have the Travel Sentry logo on them, however there are several manufacturers and models available.


These locks are readily available and PD recommends using them if you want to avoid suspicion by having a non-compliant lock. Are they secure? No less than any other travel lock. Just remember that if someone wants to get into your luggage, they will. At least in most cases you will know if your bag has been tampered with (there are techniques in which a thief will break into your bag without leaving any sign that he did so; for obvious reasons PD will not elaborate on this). Some locks even have an indicator when a TSA agent has opened it using a master key.


PD particularly likes a cable style lock, such as the Master Lock Model No. 4688D (above). This is versatile, the cable accommodating awkward zip puller positions, however you may prefer other types. Just make sure it is a TSA lock.

TECH: Not so medical MRIs

If you thought that MRIs are for very ill hospital patients only, think again.


The MRI has enabled doctors to get incredibly accurate images of what is going on in the body, without the need for surgery to get a direct look, and it is an essential part of modern hospitals. However, there is a fun side to it as well. Professor Denis Ducreux at the University of Paris-Sud has created artworks from MRI images of the brain. He has also produced a video.

[Image from GE Healthcare]


STATIONERY: Greeting Card Note from Kartotek.

Buying a greeting card and simply writing "To X" at the top and "From Y" at the bottom is the lazy way out. How about writing something truly from your heart? Danish stationery house Kartotek's Message Note is just the thing you need.


There is plenty of room for you to write things down and perhaps do a drawing.

Get it here:

GADGETS & GEAR: Some unusual solutions to EDC problems

By definition EDC is about convenience in carrying the stuff, which usually means making things small. This in itself compromises use. Most people accept these limitations: the tool may be fiddly to use, not strong enough for the job, not being able to get adequate leverage. Others however look for ingenious solutions to these problems.

One example is the Spinner, featured in PD: Cool Things issue 225 (GHOST_URL/pd-cool-things-issue-225/), which added a wheel to a small screwdriver so that you could apply more torque.


Lyra solves another problem. Small pocket knives may be too small for some people to hold comfortably and get a good grip because the handle is too short. The people behind the Lyra have given a small knife a full size handle by employing a folding mechanism. When folded it is wider than other knives this size, but the length is still short.


The Gear Spool is just that, an aluminium spool that allows you to keep cord and tape in a neat package instead of as a mess in your bag. The only downside is the high shipping cost if you only want one. Perhaps get a few friends together and order a larger number to spread the shipping cost.




BOOKS & WRITING: Reading your books in a different language

We take it for granted that what we see on a page is the way that the author meant it to be, however when books are translated into another language subtle meanings of words and phrases may change. Translation is not only about transliteration. Because not every word or phrase has a direct equivalent in another language, the reader may be left with a slightly or not-so-slightly different impression. That is why a good interpretor re-phrases things to try and convey what the author meant. It is much harder to do than people think.


It is an interesting excercise to read a book in your own language and then read it in another language, even if you only have a basic understanding of that language.

To that end PD is embarking on reading Rambler Press' fine edition of Lord Byron's "The Giaour".

[Above: Thomas Phillips, Lord Byron, c. 1813]

This edition uses the translation by renowned author Adam Mickiewicz (1798-1855), whose remains are interned in the historic Wawel Cathedral.

[Above, Unknown, Adam Micliewicz, c. 1842]


"The Giaour, a Fragment of a Turkish Tale" tells the story of a harem girl who falls in love with a giaour, for which she is killed. In revenge her lover kills her master and enters a monastery in remorse. The poem became hugely popular, and Lord Byron made several revisions to it, accounting for various editions.


This Rambler Press' version is based on the first Polish translation, available in Paris in 1835. It has a limitation of 30 copies.


Reserve your copy here:

MISC.: Still not happy with the 4WDs PD has presented? This is the ultimate one.

In the past two issues of PD: Cool Things, PD has tried to satisfy everyone with a 4WD for their needs. It looks like some people are hard to please, so PD is presenting this (last) alternative, and he promises to move onto a new topic next week.


The Sherp is truly the all-round ATV. It must be the most unstoppable vehicle around and would be a treat in the supermarket car park derby. No more arguing over that last spot. The downside? It has a top speed of around 40 kmh, so forget about using it as a getaway car.


More information here:

NEXT ISSUE: What to look forward to.

Next week PD looks after the coffee lovers of the world with some great gear (sorry tea lovers; your turn will come).