Editorial: Jaguar I-PACE.
Travel: Ice hotels.
Technology: Samsung Galaxy X phone.
Stationery: Expedition notebook.
Gadgets and Gear: Signal Flashlight.
Books and Writing: The Door in the Wall and Other Stories Part 4.
Project of the week: Bellingcat.


Following on from a great concept car two week's ago, PD turns to a gorgeous new car from Jaguar, the small I-PACE, to be released later this year. Jaguar has always made stylish cars. Its E-type is still considered by many to the greatest design ever (notwithstanding PD's love for the Bugatti Atlantic).

(Above: Jaguar E-type)

With the I-PACE the company is expanding its portfolio. This is Jaguar's first family hatchback car and also its first electric car.

Jaguar promises that this will be a fast car. It will recharge to 80% capacity in 90 minutes, which is still slower than filling up with diesel, however its claimed 500km range should help.

TRAVEL: Ice hotels

Coming into summer, it may seem like a crazy time to write about ice hotels but PD likes to plan ahead, and besides, Icehotel is now open year round. The Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden was the first one to be made, in 1989. Since then several others have opened up. Everything is made from ice, including the beds, however you get to stay warm as you sleep on deer skins.

In case you do get cold, there is a 24 hour warm room at the hotel. The hotel offers outdoor activites

For the curious: If you need to use the bathroom, you have to go to the heated service building. Likewise there are no electric plugs (thankfully), so forget about spending the night catching up with your one thousand friends on Facebook.

The Snow Castle in Kemi, Finland is also interesting. It is rebuilt in a different style each winter, and also has a hotel.

TECHNOLOGY: Samsung Galaxy X phone

Remember the early cell phones? First they were bricks, then they shrank into folding pocket-sized phones. The arrival of the must-have Motorola StarTAC made people think that the future world of Star Trek had arrived.

Now the cell phone is a rectangular block, some models too large for even a generous pocket. However the past is about to come back, with folding phones on the horizon. No, we are not returning to the past entirely; these retain all the features of current phones. What has made this possible is the development of flexible screens.

(Above: Diagram from a patent application by Samsung)

Word in the alleyways is that this phone will be released later this year.

STATIONERY: Expedition notebooks
Field Notes Brand pocket-sized notebooks are amongst PD's favourite everyday notebooks (he carries one in his EDC kit), the Expedition Notebooks are bullet-proof.

These notebooks debuted as one of the quarterly limited edition designs but remain on sale due to their popularity. They are made from synthetic paper, using polypropylene. They have passed these tests:

Test 1: waterproof
Test 2: visibility
Test 3: wind resistance
Test 4: ballistics
Test 5: vacuum
Test 6: tensile strength
Test 7: compression
Test 8: acid resistance
Test 9: flame resistance
Test 10: extreme temperature
Test 11: electromagnetic waves
Test 12: electrical resistance

To watch each of these tests being performed use the link below.

So if you are going to a wild and dangerous place, these are ideal. Do not forget to take a pencil!

A note from Field Notes Brand: "Synthetic paper is nonporous and doesn’t absorb ink like our conventional papers. Ballpoint pens, pencils, or fine tip Sharpies work best."

In other words, these notebooks are not suitable for fountain pens.

For the curious: In the top line PD used the word amongst. The word "among" is more common, yet ironically this is the older version of the word. It came into use over a thousand years ago whereas "amongst" appeared the sixteenth century. Although amongst is more common in British English than in American English, it is still less common than the older version of the word. Both have identical meanings.

GADGETS AND GEAR: Signal Flashlight

Flashlights are essential gear in the home, in the car and in your EDC kit. This one is a very stylish LED light made from aluminium. It has a USB rechargeable battery.

PD generally prefers flashlights with easy to replace batteries, especially if traveling in places where recharging is not possible, however this one would be great for the home or car. Unfortunately the maker, Good Thing, does not provide a numerical output value in lumens.

BOOKS AND WRITING: The Door in the Wall and Other Stories Part 4

NB: The illustrations in this segment are NOT from the Folio facsimile edition that was featured in parts 1 and 2. PD thought that he would add some illustrations of other editions of the stories for this part.

"The Cone", the next story has an innocuous sounding name but is as graphic a horror story as is possible. The story comes in on an affair between an artist and the wife of the manager in an ironworks. Right from the beginning there is a sense of foreboding that builds up over the pages to its horrifying climax. Definitely not for the squeamish.

"A Moonlight Fable" has a definite moral. It is about a mother that gives a little man a beautiful suit then forbids him to wear it except on the rare special occasion. He becomes so obsessed with the suit he cannot wear as he wishes to, leading to tragedy. This story was later renamed, "The Beautiful Suit".

"The Diamond Maker" is a strange tale that although sad in its own right certainly does not have the tragic drama of the first five stories. The narrator is approached by a man who has the appearance of a tramp but is obviously educated. The man offers him a large diamond for little money. The narrator, wondering whether this is a con, gives him the benefit of the doubt.

"The Lord of the Dynamos" is next. This is another story with a moral. It is the tale of a South-East Asian worker in an electricity generating plant. He endures maltreatment by his boss and finds deliverance in an unusual and dark way.

Next week in part 5: PD wraps up this series with the final and longest story.


PD has picked this project because it fits in nicely with his previous commentary post, "A post-truth world" in PD issue 122. PD believes that our discourse in the world should return to truth and a consideration of facts and reason. Bellingcat is a news site that attempts to "fight for truth in a world of 'alternative facts' and fake news". Eliot Higgins, the founder of Bellingcat, had a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2014 to launch it and is once again looking for funds to be able to keep going and to expand its programs.

(Above: Eliot Higgins)

A worthwhile cause.

Important disclaimer: Remember that crowdfunding sites are not stores. You may decide to back this project and provide funds, however there is no guarantee that any project will be delivered - the rate of failure is about 10%. PD is in no way accountable for the success or otherwise of any project and writes in this column purely for entertainment purposes, and will in no way be held liable for any failure or money lost by anyone. It is a case of "buyer beware". It is a sad reflection on the era we live in that PD must resort to this type of disclaimer.

Note: Photographs and illustrations are from the relevant websites and are the copyright of the respective owners.

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