Editorial: Drop bears - the truth part 3.
Travel: Pacific Ocean Special part 2.
Technology: REPAIR precise gene fixing.
Stationery: Blacklet notebook.
Gadgets and gear: ScotteVest.
Books and writing: Ragnarok Playing Cards.
Project of the week: Contempus watch.

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EDITORIAL: Drop bears - the truth part 3

The story so far: Two weeks ago MOTS went into the Australian bush to seek the truth about the legendary drop bear. No-one had still heard from him last week. PD can announce that he has been found alive and is being counseled after what we can presume was a traumatic experience. Did he have an encounter with a drop bear? It may take a few days to get anything coherent out of him. PD will keep you posted.

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TRAVEL: Pacific Ocean special part 2

Meanwhile FOTS has landed on The Isle of Pines, in New Caledonia. This is a typical Pacific Ocean Island: beautiful green to blue seas with clear waters, clean beaches with the finest of sand and lots of trees. The waters are warm and ideal for swimming. If you need relaxation and a place to forget the world, this is the place for you. It may look cloudy but it is very warm.

From the Isle of Pines FOTS sailed to Lifu, which was another piece of paradise, with its pristine beaches, white-washed missionary churches and beautiful flowers. The beaches here are are a little stoney but still welcoming.

FOTS' final port of call was in the main city of Noumea, on the island of New Caledonia. Noumea has changed over time due to weather conditions and the people who have come here in recent years. There is a mix of traditional colonial and modern housing, including apartment blocks. The waterfront and water are lovely. There is plenty of good food to choose from at the waterfront restaurants. Noumea is not ashamed of its single biggest earner, nickel mining. Money is put into community projects. The air is clean and the town is also clean and pretty, apart from graffiti. Sadly graffiti knows no bounds, even in paradise.

[NOTE: None of the people in this photograph have anything to do with either PD or FOTS. They just happened to be there.]

FOTS is pleased to say that the dogs on these islands are friendly and there is not a drop bear in sight!

For the curious: PD can neither confirm nor deny that this is his new Asia-Pacific headquarters:

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TECHNOLOGY: REPAIR precise gene fixing tool

Genetic mutations cause many diseases, some of which are passed on in families and until now have been incurable. Unlike similar gene editing tools which work on DNA, this one works on RNA (see explanation below) without altering the person's genetic makeup. The tool can excise specific base pairs and insert new ones, allowing the gene product to be normal. In early trials no side effects were seen.

For the curious: DNA holds your genetic information, which is like an instruction book. Simply put, there are four nucleotides, the order of which carries the instructions. It is like writing a sentence using a four letter alphabet. DNA is in two intertwined strands (the "double helix"). The two strands run in opposite directions and in the two strands each nucleotide is bonded to its opposite one, making a "base pair".

In order to use the instructions to produce the proteins that make the body function, the first step is to use the section of DNA needed as a template to make RNA. RNA is the part of the instructions needed for a specific purpose. The RNA is used by cells to make the required protein.

If the DNA has an error (mutation) then the RNA will also have an error and the protein made using these instructions will be faulty. The result could be devastating for the person. It should be obvious that in theory we can fix the problem either by rewriting the bad part of the DNA or the RNA. Fixing the DNA will permanently alter the gene whereas fixing the RNA will alter the product without altering the DNA. There are of course many technical difficulties to overcome, and fixing the RNA may prove to be the better option for now.

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STATIONERY: Blacklet notebook

If you love premium notebooks but want something really different this all-black notebook is ideal for you.

It is made from 120gsm black paper and has a rear pocket as well as a black ribbon marker. The binding allows the notebook to open flat.

PD's caution: Best not to use black ink with this notebook unless you have an exceptional memory.

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This is a traveling gadget lover's dream.

This stylish travel vest has twenty-six pockets for the male version and eighteen pockets for the female version, including an RFID-blocking one for your passport and cards. This jacket will even fit a small tablet. For traveling, just take it off for security checks. No need to empty pockets and then put everything back after X-ray. The facbric is light weight, breathable and water and stain resistant. With the pockets on the inside, it also reduces the risk of being a victim of pickpockets.

It is available in several colours.

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BOOKS AND WRITING: Ragnarok Playing Cards

This one is for fans of Nordic mythology. You may ask what are cards doing in a section on books and writing? The cards themselves have beautiful Norse artwork, but it is the companion book (aha!) and alphabet card that caught PD's attention.

In the words of the creator, the book, "Ragnarok - Fall of The Gods", "gives background insight on the Norse apocalypse and the 12 legends involved with Ragnarok Playing Cards."

The card is a striking depiction of the runic alphabet, also known as the Futhark alphabet, the name being derived from the first six letters of the alphabet.

The Ragnarök tells of future events in which the end of the worlds occurs, brought on by the by the giant sea serpent Jörmungandr. In this catastrophe some of the gods themselves will die. After the disaster the world will be resurrected. The story is told in the "Poetic Edda".

[Above: Codex regius 43 verso, 13th C., of the Poetic Edda]

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PROJECT OF THE WEEK: Contempus watch

The Contempus watch is a work of art, notable for its clean lines and curved face and hands that swoop up to the edge.

It is available with either one or two hands and in either black or white.

For the curious: The name Contempus is an amalgamation of the words "contemporary" and "tempus" (Latin for time).

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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