Editorial: Minimal Geography Maps of the World.
Travel: Grossi Florentino.
Technology: Moon dust is toxic.
Stationery: Full test: 90X Goal Planner.
Gadgets and Gear: FinalStraw.
Books and Writing: The Brain Hacker Book.
Miscellaneous: TPT Slide.

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EDITORIAL: Minimal Geography Maps of the World

We all familiar with the Mercator projection of the map of the world, even if people do not know the name of the projection.

[Image: Daniel R. Strebe 2015]

Gerardus Mercator first presented this projection in 1569.

[Image: Engraving c. 1739, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK]

Projecting a sphere (the earth) onto a flat piece of paper means distorting the image, so that further north and south of the midline (equator), the larger the land masses appear in comparison to those on the equator, as this diagram shows:

[Image: Tissot's indicatrix of deformation, Justin Kunimune, 2018]

For this reason people have come up with other projections that cause less distortion. These images are more accurate but show the view of the world from angles that are unfamiliar to most people.

One such projection is the Dymaxion projection, developed by Buckminster Fuller, first published in 1943.

[Image: Justin Kunimune, 2018]

As can be seen below, by using an unfolded icosahedron there is no distortion:

[Image: Justin Kunimune, 2018]

Alejandro Polanco, science writer, graphic designer and mapmaker from Spain, has used the Dymaxion projection to produce infographic maps, such as this example:


After a successful Kickstarter campaign, his Minimal Geography maps are available from Maptorian Vector Maps.

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TRAVEL: Grossi Florentino

PD asked MOTS (his Man-On-The-Spot in the Asia-Pacific region) where he would fly to in the region for a meal made for royalty. He immediately came up with this restaurant that opened in Melbourne, Australia in 1928 and has been packed out since.


There are three sections, but the upstairs dining room is the pick. This restaurant is a night out in itself. Everything is in old world Italian style. The room has the decor of an exclusive club, from the murals on the walls to the wood panelling, chandeliers and statuettes (MOTS was seated under a statuette of Dante). The lighting is subdued.


Although there is an à la carte menu, MOTS recommends letting the chef delight you with the six-course "Gran Tour" menu. This gives you a broad taste of the superb creations that are produced in this place, All food is top quality and cooked to perfection, whether it be fish, wagyu beef or vegetables. The deserts such as the chocolate soufflé are very light and tasty.


The wine list is extensive and includes rare varieties. MOTS suggests skipping choosing a wine yourself. Like the food, let the sommelier choose wines for each of your courses. This comprises small "tasting" portions that are matched superbly to each dish.

The service of course is superb, with knowledgeable waiters ready to help out. They will not rush you, ensuring a night to remember.

MOTS' rating: 5 paws out of 5.

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TECHNOLOGY: Moon dust is toxic

Travelling into space and colonising other planets has been the dream of humans for centuries. People devised all sorts of schemes to achieve this. The first problem to overcome was how to get there. Early ideas such as those depicted in Georges Méliès' famous film (1902) included firing a capsule from a large cannon.


Then it was realised that there were other problems, such as an oxygen-poor atmosphere and cosmic radiation which were harmful to humans. The idea of living in life domes came to fruition. This could allow people to live in earth-like conditions and grow food. However things are turning out to be more complicated than we thought. It now turns out that (to paraphrase Castrol's famous advertisement catch-cry) "soils ain't soils".


Studies have found that the Moon's dust is toxic to human cells.In simple terms, the dust has electrostatic charge, so it clings to things such as space suits. This means that astronauts bring it onto the space ship and breath it in. The dust is very efficient in killing lung and brain cells (should it get to the brain via the blood). How it does this is uncertain at this stage. So PD's advice for your trip into space is not to leave the ship.

For a deeper look into this follow these links:

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STATIONERY: Full test: 90X Goal Planner

PD featured the 90X Goal Planner in issue 164 (GHOST_URL/prowling-dog-cool-things-issue-164/). As part of long project PD is "road testing" a variety of goal planners by using them for the duration of each planner and reporting back. At the end of the project, which is expected to take about 18 months, PD will do a comparison review of the ones that he has tested.


First a quick recap: The 90X Goal Planner allows for the ideal 90 day cycle of goal planning and execution. There is a general goal setting part, followed by monthly, weekly and daily plans. This is the ideal breakdown of goals. Most goal planners follow this but differ in their layouts.


What PD liked about the 90X Goal Planner:

  • There is space for both goals and actions to be rewritten at the beginning of each week. This allows you to re-organise and modify your goals each week, as new ideas come up or if you realise that something needs to be done differently.
  • The clear layout of the daily page, with four sections: On the top left there is space for five actions to move your goals forward. Do not feel obliged to fill in all five. There are only so many hours in a day and feeling tempted to fill in all five may leave you feeling overwhelmed. Just plan for actions that you can realistically do, especially if you have other commitments such as a busy job.
  • The "Plan Your Day" section is freehand, being only split into the morning and afternoon/evening. This allows for variations in your day and for writing your plans in more detail. Use this section for other commitments so that you can see where you can fill in your goal actions.
  • The "Follodo" section for other tasks. There is space for ten things, but again do not feel obliged to fill in all ten. In fact, keep these to a minimum, only including other important and urgent tasks, otherwise they will consume all of your time, leaving you with no time for your main action items.
  • Free notes section, where you can add ideas as they come into your head.
  • The pages are only numbered from 1 to 90, not actual days of the week or dates. This is important as it allows for you to have the occasional day where you will not be following the planner. This takes self discipline, but that is what achieving things is all about. Another advantage is that you can start your goals on any day of the week or month. With planners with dates printed there is a temptation to wait until the actual start date before commencing working on your goals.
  • There are monthly and weekly overview pages to allow you to plan these.
  • The book is sturdy and the paper is pleasant to write on. PD did not test it out using fountain pen ink as PD is of the opinion that diaries and planners should be filled in using a pencil, as this is less messy when changes need to be made.
  • The book easily opens flat.
  • There is a page marking ribbon.


Improvements that could be made:

  • Although re-writing your goals and actions each week, which is a type of review, some people recommend a more detailed reflection section, so adding a part of a page for reflection each week may be helpful.


  • A very well laid out planner that is easy to use.

Would PD recommend this planner? Definitely.


  • PD is "road testing" Michael Hyatt's Full Focus Planner. He will write a brief overview next week and a full report after 90 days of use.

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This great project does two things:
-You will always have a straw on you when you need one.
-It helps to reduce the number of straws that end up in the ocean, presenting a danger to sea life and causing pollution.

So what is FinalStraw? It is the only straw that you will ever need. It is made from medical grade stainless steel and folds into a handy container that can be attached to your car keys. Never take another plastic straw. It even comes with its own cleaning brush.


The case comes in a choice of colours.


The specs are below:


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BOOKS AND WRITING: The Brain Hacker Book

Kar Villard, who is behind Neuroplanner, featured in PD: Cool Things issue 151 (GHOST_URL/prowling-dog-cool-things-issue-151/), has now taken the brain hack parts from the Neuroplanner and put them into this wonderful guide.

Researchers now realise that goal planning is more than the traditional actions of writing it down, breaking it up into manageable pieces and getting on with it. Do not get PD wrong; these are still important to follow if you intend to succeed, however people are now realising that there is more than this to it. Neuroscience research has shown that our mindset, particularly our subconscious mind, can sabotage the best efforts that we have. It is important to understand this.


The Brain Hacking Book will be your reference book to follow and relearn some of the lessons that you may have forgotten from the Neuroplanner. The Neuroplanner is in black and white, whereas this beautifully produced book is in colour.


Learn how to unlock your brain's cognitive function in each of the areas covered to help you get your life on track and keep it there.

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This is another gadget but when PD looked that spot had already been taken, so PD is putting this worthwhile piece of EDC here. The Titanium Pocket Tool is from Big Idea Design, which has run many successful campaigns which made its reputaion on great design and quality in EDC tools.


This little tool packs a lot of features, including a blade, pry bar, fork, wrench, screwdriver, hex bit driver and more.


This project is already a run-away success, so far receiving over ten times its funding goal, with almost a month left. Get it in either stone wash or black.


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Important disclaimer: Remember that crowd funding 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