Editorial: CrossFloss.
Travel: ALMS NYC 12L Motorcycle Cargo Tail Bag.
Technology: Apollo Program Photo Book.
Stationery: Approach Notebook System.
Gadgets and gear: Qbit.
Books and writing: The Book part 4.
Project of the week: Alice looking through the glass.

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Even dogs know the importance of good oral hygiene, as problems here may affect your overall health. We all know what we need to do but some people get a little lazy. Flossing is one of the essential things that tends to get neglected. What if there was an alternative to the yards of string in a container?

CrossFloss from Norway is a small device with pre-wound dental floss that easily fits in a pocket or purse. You simply put it in your mouth and chew on it. The floss makes its way between your teeth and does the job. Simple.

This entrepreneurial project is in its early days.

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TRAVEL: ALMS NYC Motorcycle 12L Cargo Tail Bag

Those who love the feeling of traveling by motorcycle know the problem of carrying things. While a few touring motorcycles have factory designed panniers available, most motorcycles do not. Options include bags that fit onto frames above the rear of the seat or backpacks, which can affect stability and fun. The ALMS NYC Motorcycle 12L Cargo Tail Bag is the neatest after market solution that PD has seen.

The bag is made from waterproof waxed canvass with reinforcing. It is a great design and has a carry handle.

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TECHNOLOGY: Apollo Program Photo Book

NASA's Apollo Program was a great leap in man's exploration of space. The program ran from 1961 to 1972.

In a speech to Congress in 1961, President John F. Kennedy dedicated the program to landing a man on the Moon by the end of the decade (photograph below).

[Source: NASA]

This was accomplished in 1969, when Apollo 11 landed on the moon and safely returned astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin (the two that set foot on the Moon) and Michael Collins (who remained manning the Command Module in orbit) safely back to Earth. It was a great technological feat of its time.

[Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin. Source: NASA]

Much footage was shot, giving many of us our first view of the Earth as seen from Space. The Apollo Photo Book contains 225 restored photographs.

You can also buy a range of prints from the book.

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STATIONERY: Approach Notebook System

When it comes to top quality stationery, a few countries stand out (in no particular order): France, Italy, Japan and South Korea. The Approach Notebook System from South Korea adds innovation to quality.

The system is truly for thinkers. There is a soft covered notebook which has a flexible binding that allows the book to lay flat and the binding makes removing pages easy. The cloth bound notebooks have a back pocket where you can store your add-ons (see below). The pages come in a variety of styles, including blank, ruled, grid and planner. The paper is fountain pen friendly.

However, it is the four add-ons that make these notebooks stand out:

  1. Sticky notes made from the same paper, allowing you to neatly modify your notes. They are available in a variety of styles.
  2. Highlight stickers are transparent coloured stickers to be used in place of highlighter pens.
  3. Index stickers (tabs) to mark sections.
  4. Bookmarks to allow you to easily find a page.

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This handy little tool is named after the ancient Egyptian cubit ruler {below).

[Liverpool Museum.]

Unlike its ancient namesake, the Qbit will fit in your pocket, so you will always have it on you when the need for a ruler arises, such as for getting the correct diameter pipe at the hardware store.

The Qbit is available in several versions. Choose between brass and steel, metric and imperial, and choose between two lengths (75mm/3" and 150mm/6"), which will make both sides of the Atlantic happy.

There is also a handy adjustable marker.

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BOOKS AND WRITING: The Book part 4

PD hopes that you enjoyed last week's horror break. This week he continues going through "The Book", in the hope that you will be inspired to read it.

The next section of The Book deals with illustrations in books.

We all appreciate the beautiful illustrations in old books, especially those from the period which in PD's view is the pinnacle of illustrated books, the illuminations from the Medieval period. Keith Houston does a wonderful job of tracing the origins and labour that went into these. We learn the difference between illustrations and illuminations. We know about the many illustrated papyrus documents made in ancient Egypt, which survived because of the dry climate. This art form made its way to Europe, however few documents survived the wetter climate there.

The great monastic books were first created in Ireland and spread to Britain. The Viking raids on the Irish coast sent refugees from the monasteries to the Continent, and with them the art of illustration and illumination. We admire the beauty of these books, but the scribes toiled in poor, factory-like conditions. Keith Houston describes the inks and their compositions - many ingredients were brought to Europe from afar. He discusses the working conditions, which were hard and cold.

Charlemagne's rulings ensured that a lot of books were produced, but they were very expensive to buy, and few people could read, hence illustrations were important.

While all of this hard work was going on in Europe, the Chinese were printing illustrated books using wood blocks. And, you guessed it, there was politics behind it. Producing wood blocks is an art in itself, starting with the process of selecting and treating the wood so that it is suitable for carving without chipping; the technique is clearly explained by Keith Houston.

To be continued.

For the curious: PD has heard you and will not leave you in deep frustration. The difference between an illustration and an illumination is that the latter has gold or, far less commonly, silver leaf in it. Today, many people use the term illumination for any highly decorative art work in a book, but purists will cringe at this sloppy use of language.

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PROJECT OF THE WEEK: Alice looking through the glass

Today's project is different because it is not on any crowdfunding site. You cannot buy it, unless you persuade the creators, Clare Hampson and Mattie Walsh from Melbourne in far-flung Australia, to record it and create a Kickstarter project.

The five minute show is conducted using glass slides while the four people in the audience look down a microscope. Audience members wear a headset for the music and narrative while a moving colour show is skillfully played by Clare. The title page and credits are done with microscopic writing (how on earth did they do it?). There are images of a forest, Alice and the Cheshire cat, together with real histological sections for others such as the Queen of Hearts. Very well done and a lot of fun. Those living in Melbourne can view it until the end of September.

PD rating: 5 paws (out of 5).

Contact Prowling Dog at

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