Editorial: The fight against food additives is not new.
Travel: Citybirds scooters.
Technology: Blood test for early detection of Alzheimer's disease.
Stationery: Michoucas Design cards for St Valentine's Day.
Gadgets and Gear: Laceme.
Books and writing: Bokkel Magazine.
Miscellaneous: Elon Musk's Not A Flamethrower.

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EDITORIAL: The fight against food additives is not new

Those who read history will realise that apart from technology little has changed since history began some 5.000 years ago. Today we worry about food additives and chemicals that may get into the food, as well as scandals of tainted food, creating a large market for organic produce.

Searching the archival vaults of PD House in its secret location PD came across this book:

In 1820 Frederick Accum, a German chemist who had moved to England, began campaigning against harmful food additives used as preservatives or to alter the taste of food. His book became a best seller, selling a thousand copies in its first month.

As companies were named, threats were made against him. He returned to Germany and continued his work.

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TRAVEL: Citybirds scooters

For those in a hurry in the city a scooter (the leg powered one) may be just what they need. No child's toy, this one is beautifully designed, has minimal parts and folds into a flat and light weight package that you can carry over your shoulder. Citybirds had an orange stainless steel version which is sold out however there is a black carbon fibre version which is being crowdfunded. Future models include an electric version and a children's version..

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TECHNOLOGY: Blood test for early detection of Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer's disease is a terrible disease that is increasing due to the aging populations and increased lifespans in Western countries. Most people would rather have other diseases that one that robs them of their brain function, which can be distressing for relatives as well as patients. Scientists and doctors are making great strides in our understanding of this disease. It is now believed that deposits of a chemical known as beta-amyloid is responsible for the disease.

Although treatment is still beyond current medicine, strides are being made and early intervention may help, so the development of a simple blood test that detects the disease years before it manifests itself is an important step. It will help researchers to better understand the disease and hopefully to find early interventions that may help. Researchers from Japan and Australia collaborated to develop the blood test.’s-disease-announced

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STATIONERY: Michoucas Design cards for St Valentine's Day

St Valentine's Day is almost upon us, on February 14th. PD hopes that you have not forgotten. He also hopes that you will not celebrate it with only a text message from your cell phone.

[Above: Saint Valentine baptizing St. Lucilla, 1500s]

How about leaving little love notes for your love to find? Also, a handwritten card to go with whatever grand plan you may have, be it a dinner or a romantic getaway. Michoucas Design is a design studio in Bordeaux that creates delightful cards. Here is a selection from its extensive list:

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Here is a simple and practical tool which is especially useful for the young and the elderly who may be having problems tying their shoelaces.

The two ends of the laces are placed in the notches and the two sides of the Laceme are pulled, automatically tying them together. Simple and effective. This is a great gift that will make life that little bit easier.

The video on the web page shows how it is done:

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BOOKS AND WRITING: Bokkel Magazine

Eiyia is "an artist group formed by two dreamers, toymakers, writers, sculptors, jewelers, book creators, artists and much more to come" (quoted directly from the website). The group is based in Pontefact, United Kingdom.

The group is launching a magazine "brimming with riddles, short stories with a few twists and mental games all fully illustrated".

Head over to the website to discover the delights of of this zany magazine:

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MISCELLANEOUS: Elon Musk's Not A Flamethrower

Most people will know Elon Musk as the man behind the Tesla electric cars and SpaceX. He has branched into other fields such as batteries for houses and the Boring Company (boring as in making tunnels, not the "uninteresting" kind).

If you have done all of that where do you go next? Well, the Boring Company also happens to sell hats. Ordinary caps, to be precise.

Elon Musk said that if he sold 50.000 of the hats he would sell a flame thrower. Perhaps he really did think that that would never happen. After all, unlike the Tesla, a cap is just a cap. Anyway, it happened. Elon Musk is obviously a man of his word, because he did release a flamethrower. It even comes with a fire extinguisher just in case.

Unfortunately all 20.000 were snapped up in no time, so you cannot have one.

Special note: This is not a military grade flamethrower. In fact it is a dressed up propane torch such as those available in hardware shops. It shoots a flame a maximum of ten feet (just over 3m). Compare that to a military flamethrower which uses liquid fuel and propellant to shoot flames a distance of over a hundred feet (roughly over 30m). Propane torches have domestic uses such as burning weeds, bonding bitumen panels on rooves and lighting barbecues. Farmers use them to burn prickly plants such as berry bushes that grow out of control. What about the gun design? It looks remarkably like an Airsoft toy.

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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.

© 2018 Prowling Dog