Editorial: Meditation has physical benefits.
Travel: Top travel tip #8.
Technology: Meditation reverses harmful genetic processes.
Stationery: Høvel.
Gadgets and Gear: Seaforged Second Wind Hoapili.
Books and Writing: Mouse Books.
Project of the week: Natural Beauty of West Virginia.

Contact Prowling Dog at

EDITORIAL: Meditation has physical benefits

Those that have been following PD from the beginning will be aware of the blog's roots in social commentary. One of the themes was that of mental well being, even though PD wrote from the point of view of the lay dog, having no expertise or qualification in psychology or similar discipline. Amongst his posts he has included therapeutic journal writing and the best self-help book he has seen (see GHOST_URL/therapeutic-journal-writing/ and GHOST_URL/f-ck-feelings-self-help-for-real-people/).

Recommendations for mental well being include meditation (or "mindfullness" as it is commonly referred to these days). Research in this field is ongoing and in Technology PD features a study that shows that this may have benefits on physical as well as mental well-being.

TRAVEL: Top travel tip #8

For visitors from outside the European Union who intend to drive make sure that you understand the licence requirements for visitors from your country before you leave. Any special permits or other requirements are easier to organise in your own country before you depart than after you land in Europe.

Also, make sure that you are familiar with the road rules of the countries you intend to visit, including any quirks such as Austria's vignette system of tolls for motorists. This will save you heavy fines and embarrassment that may ruin your holiday.

PD wants you to go home with happy memories of your stay in Europe.

[Photo: Benreis at wikivoyage shared, CC BY-SA 3.0,]

Special note: If you see PD in your travels make sure you give him a big wave!

Safe driving!

TECHNOLOGY: Meditation reverses harmful genetic processes

More good news for people who practise meditation and similar exercises. The benefits of meditation, such a greater feelings of calm and reduced feelings of stress are well known.

Now evidence suggests that there is an actual physical change in gene expression of harmful chemicals. There is down-regulation of the gene for a chemical called nuclear factor kappa B, a molecule that is released in response to stress. This leads to increased production of cytokines, which cause inflammation. If there is chronic increase in this chemical, there is increased aging, depression and risk of cancer. This study suggests that meditation practices may lead to a reduced risk of inflammation-related diseases. Another good reason to meditate.

For those technically minded, the research paper can be found here:

For those who would like to try meditation but do not know where to start, why not try Headspace? This is a site run by a Bhuddist monk. The site has modules of simple meditation exercises that take you step by step through the process. Exercises can be set to take as little as ten minutes. There is a blog with useful information. A free 10 unit trial module is available. For more advanced modules and special themed modules, monthly, annual and lifetime subscriptions are available.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: This article is for general information only. PD does NOT claim any expertise in psychology or psychiatry (he is only a prowling dog, after all) and as such this article should NOT be taken as advice as to treatment or efficacy. It should NOT be used as a basis to initiate therapy. If you feel that you may have an emotional or psychological issue see your medical specialist.


Before the advent of the pencil sharpener as we know it people sharpened their pencils with a pen knife. The modern pencil sharpener is okay, but how many times have your efforts been rewarded with broken leads?

[Photograph: Alexander Klink - Own work, CC BY 3.0,]

Høvel is a truly innovative sharpener. It takes its inspiration from top quality wood planes (you know, those old fashioned tools for getting smooth edges on wood).

The Høvel is beautifully created from either aluminium or brass.

There is also an optional wooden base.

The blades are replaceable.

PD's CAUTION: This product is NOT suitable for sharpening mechanical pencils.

GADGETS AND GEAR: Seaforged Second Wind Hoapili

PD has featured survival kits (see GHOST_URL/prowling-dog-issue-112/ and GHOST_URL/prowling-dog-cool-things-issue-136/) however the backbone of any survival kit is a good knife that is sharp and strong. For true "survivalists" a knife is all that is needed. It should be the right size, not too small. This is where the Seaforged Second Wind Hoapili comes in.

The aptly named Hoapili is a minimalist titanium neck knife that is bigger than traditional neck knives, making it ideal for this purpose.

For the curious: "Hoapili" is the Hawaiian word for "the closest of friends".


Mouse Books is a new venture, inspired by the pocket notebook, such Field Notes Brand books that have previously been featured by PD (see GHOST_URL/review-field-notes-brand-notebooks/ and GHOST_URL/benefits-of-a-journal/).

There will be selections of literature, short stories, speeches, poetry, and more, all structured around themes that are topical, challenging, and varied.

The books are easy to carry, and do not require batteries, making them ideal for travel, when waiting for the train, sitting on a bench or enjoying a coffee by yourself. So have one in a pocket for that quiet moment of reading for pleasure.

So much better and more inspiring than pulling out your cell phone to check your Facebook for the twentieth time that morning. The benefits are listed in the picture below.

The books will be available in sets of three or by subscription. In the creators' words, "Mobilise literature".

PROJECT OF THE WEEK: Natural Beauty of West Virginia

Walk into any bookstore and there is no shortage of photographic books about various places. Even PD has featured one on the remarkable Quinta da Regaleira (see GHOST_URL/quinta-da-regaleira/), however there is always room for one more.

PD has never been to West Virginia in the United States, so this book by Scott Huffman caught his attention.

Contact Prowling Dog at

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.

© 2017 Prowling Dog