PD: Cool Things issue 238


Editorial: Fake news - the facts part 3.
Travel: The mysterious Crooked Forest.
Technology: Unihertz Titan rugged phone.
Stationery: Manuscript Planner 2020
Gadgets & Gear: Fennec C&S Card Pocket.
Books & Writing: Not Buying It.
Misc.: RingRescue.
Next week: What to look forward to.

CONTACT PD: pdcoolthings@gmail.com


EDITORIAL: Fake news - the facts part 3


In this final part PD looks at the solutions to fake news, unfortunately none of which are perfect. The tempting and easy fix is to try to counter every bit of fake news with a correction. This becomes like playing a game of whack-a-mole. You cannot counter every claim. Besides, the fake news has already been read and it is unlikely the reader will come back to see if a counter story appears. It is simply too late.


This mirrors what those who bring fake news do. It means a lot of hard and slow work. The idea is not to convert those who push the fake news because they may have a vested interest in pushing lies. The idea is to convince those who are neutral to side with the facts. Trying to convince politicians to come on board may be difficult, but elected officials are prone pressure. So next time you see fake news, do something about it.

TRAVEL: The mysterious Crooked Forest

The Crooked Forest in Nowe Czarnowo, northern Poland, sparks debate.

It is a grove of some 400 pine trees that are oddly bent. Planted in 1930, each tree bends north near the base and then curves gently to straighten up.


No one is sure how this has happened. Hypotheses include that it was done by man, or that it was the result of a snowstorm. Other suggestions include the effect of changing garvity or that the young trees were flattened by invading tanks.

Perhaps we will never know.

TECHNOLOGY: Unihertz Titan rugged phone

In the old days cell phones came with physical buttons. They were also tougher, or at least PD thinks so. If you need a phone that will stand up to a bit of rough handling, read on.


This is Titan's third project, following on from its previous successes. This phone is drop proof, water proof and dust proof. And it has a keyboard. And a long-lasting 6.000 mAh battery (most smart phones have around half of that).


It has pretty impressive specs, including Android 9.0, wireless charging and a 16MP camera. It has a 4.5" touch screen in addition to the keyboard.

Details here:

Note: PD has not tested this phone.

STATIONERY: Manuscript Planner 2020

Yes, its already time to think ahead and get a planner for next year. If you are like PD, you are already starting to ink in plans for 2020.

If you want a beautiful minimalist planner, give the Manuscript Planner a go. Things don't get much simpler than this.


The planner runs from December this year. It is A5 and is made from recycled paper, with an exposed spine for lay flat binding.

Each spread has a vertical weekly planner in the top half and a grid area in the bottom half for notes or overflow. There are also monthly pages, as well as lined and grid pages.


The bad news? It only ships to the US. Hey what about everyone else? If you won't ship elsewhere, how about a PDF version for the rest of us?

Get yours here (if you live in the US or have friends there who will send it to you):

GADGETS & GEAR: Fennec C&S Card Pocket

Carrying more than one ID card can be a hassle. You can end up with a fan of them dangling from your neck, which may not look very flattering. Korean company Fennec may have the answer for you.


PD has been testing its C&S Card Pocket. The Card Pocket is made from cordura. It feels good and looks good.


On one side there is a window for a card that must be shown at all times. Unlike cheaply made products which have tacky plastic, the window consists of soft mesh. There are 4 pockets inside for more cards that you may use sporadically. The lanyard is also comfortable.



It is available in several colours;


PD rating: 5 paws out of 5.

Check it out here:

BOOKS & WRITING: Not Buying It

If you read PD's 3 part series on fake news with interest, then this book is for you.


The author, Charlotte Henry, is a journalist, broadcaster and communications professional. She takes an in-depth look at the post-truth society and fake news. She gives its history and analyses in depth the major fake news that is currently circulating. She does not shy away from exposing current, as well as past, politicians, media organisations and others. She offers some solutions. This will give you another perspective on the subject, and that can only be good. It is only by evaluating multiple sides of a story that we can make considered decisions.

The book was successfully funded on Unbound. Because the project has been completed it is available as an ebook from Unbound or as a physical book from major book sellers.

PD rating: 5 paws out of 5.

More information here:

MISC.: RingRescue

This device may not save your marriage, but it will help get your ring off a swollen finger without destroying the ring (or your finger).


Swollen fingers can occur for a variety of reasons, such as a bee sting. If the swelling is too great, the ring can cut off the circulation, possibly leading to the loss of the finger. If you go to your hospital's emergency department, odds are that the doctors or nurses will bring out a ring cutter and cut the ring off.


RingRescue is like a mini blood pressure cuff that compresses the finger to reduce the swelling, hopefully enough to remove your ring intact. Of course, it may not work in every situation, depending on the cause and severity of the swelling.


The device is FDA and Health Canada approved.

More details here:

IMPORTANT: This device is for medical use only. Do not attempt to self diagnose and use it at home in lieu of seeking medical advice. Always seek medical care if your finger or fingers swell. The device will NOT treat the cause of the swelling.

NEXT WEEK: What to look forward to.

Next week PD looks at Baltic amber.