Editorial: Sci-Hub.
Travel: The Dreamery.
Technology: Whisper Drone.
Stationery: Minbøk Notebook.
Gadgets and Gear: Nymeria Watch.
Books and Writing: Mouse Books' Edgar Allan Poe.
Miscellaneous: Mr Black Cold Brew Coffee Liquor.
PD: Store.

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PD: Cool Things brings you the latest in ideas and innovation. It generally avoids politics and does not condone illegal acts, however at the same time some actions are not taken out of greed but for understandable reasons. MOTS (PD's Man-On-The-Spot in the Asia-Pacific region) interviewed people about their views on piracy of television shows and movies. Being cheap did not seem to be the main motivator. Distributors have carved up the world into regions, and some things are not released in certain regions, while others may take a long time to reach certain shores. People want to watch their favourite shows and this was the only way to see them. In short, it is the distributors that indirectly led to piracy by refusing to allow people in some regions to purchase their products.


On a related matter, scientists and other professionals know about the paywall that limits access to journal papers. Getting access to research papers is very expensive (around US$30 per PDF paper on line, and research may require many papers). With no physical printing the cost of providing papers has markedly dropped yet access has never been so expensive. This restricts access to knowledge, which has a direct bearing on research and medical care.

Alexandra Elbakyan, a software developer and neurotechnology researcher from Kazakhstan, started Sci-Hub in 2011 with the aim of giving everyone access to research papers. The site has tens of millions of papers and the number keeps on expanding. Pirate or modern day Robin Hood fighting for the common good? Will Sci-Hub force the publishing houses to charge reasonable prices? You decide.

Detailed information about Sci-Hub, including its history, can be found in Wikipedia (

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TRAVEL: The Dreamery

This is an idea that should be in every city, not just New York. The Dreamery is for the weary travellor, commuter or worker that allows him or her to have a nap and to freshen up.


Nap sessions are 45 minutes. The people running The Dreamery recommend arriving fifteen minutes prior to your appointment to allow you to wind down and change into pajamas. You will then enjoy a nap in a Casper Nook. You can have sleep audio from Headspace but you will need to bring your own headphones. Towards the end of your nap lights will gradually turn on to gently wake you up.


After your nap you can freshen up with the provided amenities and then enjoy a coffee, ready to resume your trip or work.


PD thinks that the concept should be extended to other cities around the world and particularly to airports.

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TECHNOLOGY: Whisper Drone

Just in case you thought that drone design was now just a matter of size and colour, there is still innovation to be made. If you have a drone or have seen one in flight you will know that they make a high pitched whine or buzz that can be annoying. With the prospect of larger drones used for delivering goods there is a possibility for a huge increase in noise pollution.


Engineer Derek Schwartz has replaced the traditional propeller with a rotor which uses vanes. He claims that this makes the drone quieter, and also has a whooshing sound which is not as harsh on the ear.


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STATIONERY: Minbøk Notebook.

Disc binding for notebooks was featured in Prowling Dog: Cool Things issue 134 (GHOST_URL/prowling-dog-cool-things-issue-134/). The system was invented in 1948. It is more versatile than other systems (apart from the bulkier ring binding). A series of discs and T-shaped paper perforations allow pages to the re-arranged, taken out and inserted as required.


The Minbøk Notebook uses a disc system in its notebooks however, unlike other notebooks that use disc binding, Minbøk’s binding is engineered with a unique "U" shape (instead of the usual "O" shape) so that the notebook can completely cover the binding and keep the sheets straight, giving the Minbøk notebook an elegant aesthetic that is missing from other discbound notebooks.


The notebooks have hard covers that open flat or can be folded back.


There is a choice of two sizes, four colours and various layouts, inlcuding a weekly planner.


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GADGETS AND GEAR: Nymeria watch

Do you own both a digital and a traditional mechanical watch? If you are like PD you want a different watch for different activities. For work you may want a digital watch that is easy to read and it may give you reminders or notify you about an important appointment. Then there are times when all you want is a stylish watch that lets you have time off from the rigours of work. The Nymeria watch is a stylish watch that allows you to swap between digital and mechanical faces.


The mechanical face has a rugged industrial look.


The digital face is clear and stylish.


Unfortunately the watch is a concept only. PD would like to see it in production.

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BOOKS AND WRITING: Mouse Books' Edgar Allan Poe.

Mouse Books, featured in Prowling Dog: Cool Things issue 138 (GHOST_URL/prowling-dog-cool-things-issue-138/), brings you good reading in pocket notebook-sizd editions. Its latest publications celebrate Edgar Allan Poe (1809 – 1849), the master of mystery and the macabre. His gripping style makes you feel that you are there. Born in America, he wrote some of the greatest stories and poems in his short, tragic life.


The first book is "The Raven and Other Works". First published in 1845, the poem is a haunting tale of a raven's visit to a distraught lover.


Mouse Books will also release The Murders in the Rue Morgue, acclaimed as the first modern detective story. It was first printed in 1841.


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MISCELLANEOUS: Mr Black Cold Brew Coffee Liquor

Cold brew coffee was featured in Prowling Dog: Cool Things issue 157 (GHOST_URL/prowling-dog-cool-things-issue-157/). Mr Black, from Sydney, Australia has blended its own cold brew coffee with an Australian wheat vodka to produce this jet black drink that has half the sugar and ten times the coffee content of old-world liqueurs. It is available in Australia, New York, California and London.


By the way, those wanting something a little more bitter, Mr Black also produces a coffee Amaro.

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PD: Store

X90 Planner

The X90 Planner has been thoroughly tested by PD and featured in PD: Cool Things 178: GHOST_URL/prowling-dog-cool-things-issue-178/


The planner is hard back but opens flat. It is clearly laid out and uses quality paper. It is undated, so you can start working on your goals immediately. There are 90 days in the planner, the ideal length of time to achieve goals.


From US $31.95 plus shipping. Local taxes may apply in your country.

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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