Editorial: Drop bears - the truth.
Travel: Adventure Tape.
Technology: Magic mushrooms for depression.
Stationery: Area Ware Glass Ruler.
Gadgets and gear: QM-Weather.
Books and writing: The Book Part 6 and Conclusion.
Project of the week: Prowling Dog regrets that this week a Project of the Week has not been awarded.

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EDITORIAL: Drop bears - the truth

Australia is renowned for its unusual animals such as the kangaroo. It is also renowned for its deadly wildlife - snakes, poisonous spiders, scorpions, crocodiles, and of course the legendary drop bear. Looking like its cousin the cuddly koala, the drop bear is said to be a vicious carnivore that mercilessly kills its prey, including humans. What is the truth behind the drop bear? Is it legend or real? PD is sending his man-on-the-spot into the Australian bush to find out. You can read his report here next week - if he comes back alive.

Above: could this be a vicious killer?

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TRAVEL: Adventure Tape

Mishaps while traveling may and do happen, so it is best to be prepared. Duck tape has been standard kit for doing running repairs, however sometimes you want something that will not stick like glue to everything. This is where Adventure Tape comes in.

Made from polyurethane, it is strong, waterproof, it stretches, it is abrasion-resistant, and can be re-used. It also grips onto itself, so that you can wrap it tightly around an object.

It is available in three widths, 9, 18 and 43mm. All sizes come in 3.6m lengths.

Like a first aid kit, this is one of those things that you may never use but when the need arises you will be glad that you have it in your kit. Speaking of first aid, you can use it to help immobilise a broken limb or make a temporary sling.

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TECHNOLOGY: Magic mushrooms for depression

[Photograph: Arp - Image Number 6514 at Mushroom Observer]

It appears that magic mushrooms may have a use other than entertainment at parties. A preliminary study (not a control-based study) shows that psilocybin, the serotonin-like active ingredient in magic mushrooms, may help people with depression when other modes of treatment have failed. The drug reduced blood flow to the amygdala, the part of the brain that is responsible for emotions. In the pre-trial people reported that their brains felt as if they had been re-set, to use computer parlance. Maybe we will now have medical magic mushrooms to go with medical marijuana.

For the curious: Serotonin is a neurotransmitter (a chemical that nerves use to communicate with each other) that causes a feeling of happiness.

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STATIONERY: Area Ware Glass Ruler

This is another great modification of a simple every day tool.

The ruler is a block of transparent crystal glass with a grid pattern, for accurate measurement.

The ruler comes in either centimetres or inches, so both sides of the Atlantic and Pacific should be happy.

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QM Weather is a stylish weather station from Japan. It will tell you at a glance what the weather is doing without having to go outside.

The device is a transparent screen sitting in a wooden block. There are four styles of icon to choose from.

QM-Weather is still in the concept stage but is slated for production.

This site is in Japanese:

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BOOKS AND WRITING: The Book Part 6 and Conclusion
This is the final installment in the review of "The Book" by Keith Houston. In the fourth and final part of his book Keith Houston takes us through the evolution of the book from papyrus scrolls to the book as we know it, as always with wonderful anecdotes.

We learn why and how the Prisse Papyrus was spirited out of Egypt, by the man whose name it bears and who had set up home in the temple of Karnak. We learn the history of the great library in Alexandria and how it stored scrolls - on shelves with tags known as sittybos or sillybus in Latin, and in wooden jars called bibliotheke (do these words seem familiar?).

The first bound "books" were the diptych, made from two wooden boards hinged together. The boards were hollowed out on one side and filled with wax to write on. The wax could be smoothed over and used again, giving rise to a type of notebook.

Once paper scrolls were cut up and parchment was used for writing, binding began. It became more complicated in attempts to make the binding more durable. Keith Houston takes the reader through its development in great detail.

We also learn about the ornate covers of old books and how they were produced. In those days the covers were on display as books were laid flat on shelves. Our habit of storing books vertically started in the nineteenth century.

If you are wondering why books are rectangular, it is because animals have more or less rectangular sides - hence the shape of parchment and thus the page.

By the way deckle edges are a sign of fashion. Before modern machines paper was made in molds with removable rims or deckles. An ill-fitting deckle allowed the pulp to seep underneath so the paper came out with ragged fringes. These were trimmed off, but later became a sign that a book had been professionally bound and not re-bound. With modern techniques paper is made with straight edges, and deckle edges are added later by sandblasting, sawing or tearing!

Conclusion: PD rating: 5 paws out of 5. This is an easy to read book with a lot of history and anecdotes. A great way to learn a lot about an item that today is taken for granted.

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Prowling Dog regrets that this week a Project of the Week has not been awarded.

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