July 10, 2022

60 The slow information revolution

60 The slow information revolution

 In today’s episode, we will be talking about how to improve your thinking through handwriting and letter writing.

Postal Bulletin

Buzz Lightyear stamps!!


National Marine Sanctuaries Stamps

Elephants Stamps

Postmark for Hyattville Lions Club

Ten Sleep, WY -Hello to Ten Sleep’s own Jalan Crossland


Handwriting and incubation of ideas.  



Charles Darwin’s notebooks showing his process toward his theories.


QR codes on stamps, Handwritten Letter Appreciation Society is not amused



The ultimate pencil for the person that insists on chewing on their pencil


Khata Khori stationery brand out of Bangladesh



The Sandwich notebook


A few neat new designs.  A rolling stamp pen, a curved nib pen.



60 The slow information revolution

John: [00:00:00] Welcome to episode 16 of Stationery orbit, where we all here to learn more about creative letter writing. I'm your host John Weston. I'm joined by our cohost Evan Harris. In today's episode, we'll be talking about how to improve your thinking through handwriting and letter writing. So Evan, good day. Good morning.

Good evening. Delete us appropriate.

, We've got buzz light year coming into the new postal bullets.

Evan: Absolutely. Of course, we've got to start with the postal bulletin and a bunch of fun stamps. These ones are coming from Los Angeles, California. Where else from the home of Walt 

John: Hollyweird. 

Evan: Hollywood and Walt Disney. 

John: Yep. 

Evan: These are of course forever stamps. Like almost everything we see in four different designs.

John: Yep. And these are there. I'm calling a buzz light years, but the actual name of the series is to go beyond.

Evan: Correct. I really do like the look of the pictorial postmark for the series, which looks like and that swing, to [00:01:00] be honest. 

John: It does.

Evan: I not watched any of , the new Disney Pixar Disney plus shows. Cause I know there's is a show or movie for light year, but I haven't seen that.

So it feels it's a very kind of toy looking Saifai fighter.

John: Yep. Yeah, this is all as I understand it. And I'm with you. I haven't actually seen any of the new buzz light year stuff, but as I understand it, this has all of the lead up to him becoming buzz light year and the toy story movie. So this is all his backseat.

Evan: Yeah, do it to know it is a neat looking stamp, but we have some other stamps right 

John: we do.

Evan: The next series of stamps we have is the national Marine sanctuaries. These are being published from Santa Cruz, California on August 5th of this year. For 50 years of national Marine sanctuary.

John: Yup. And for those that haven't put the two numbers together 50 years is also very close to the founding [00:02:00] of the EPA. So this was at the very beginning of our nations environmental awareness.

Evan: Correct. When governments started being aware and a lot of laws were passed in that timeframe of the early seventies, the EPA itself was founded in 19 70, 51 years ago. But these are some very neat stamps with a lot of both geologic and animal images from the sanctuaries paint of 16 stamps of 16 unique designs.

John: Yep. And yeah, some of the. Some of them are really good ones in there. Of course I have to give out my favorite one to the shark stamp. Thank you to the Marine national sanctuaries for protecting our


Evan: I'm a big fan of the seals and the otters and these which are also wonderful. And the pufferfish.

John: The idea of a national Marine sanctuary. It's something that the various ocean protection groups have started to try to [00:03:00] export to places like Costa Rica and Nicaragua to keep those areas safe. And of course, one of the most successful ones is down to The Bahamas.

Evan: oh, yes, The Bahamas is one is very good about. Waterline protection. And there are for this, both a color and black and whites operatory. Postmarks the color postmark has some jellyfish and the black and white has an 


John: Yup. Yeah, the jellyfish was a nice touch. I 

Evan: I would agree. 

John: yeah, it's not jelly Fisher. Definitely. One of those creatures that. I think it freaks most people out to think about encountering him in the water, but for divers, that's the reason why you wear exposure suits under water, because a jellyfish things can't get through neoprene.

Evan: that is absolutely true. But also speaking of diving, have you ever held a puffer fish? So they are their most popular fish, of course be [00:04:00] aware of it. Talk to a local dive master if you are diving, but the only puffer fish I've encountered their needles are about as a sharp. 

John: Okay. 

Evan: and so I have a video somewhere of my dad grabbing one when we were diving and I may have been 15 at the time and just puffs up and he's just holding, he's holding this puffer fish underwater which looking back may not have been the nicest thing to do to the puffer fish, but it is, it was funny.

John: Yeah it's definitely something that in this day and age, if you're out with any dive master that's up on their Patti training, they're going to greatly discourage you from encountering the wildlife like 

Evan: I would say so just you not do that. But this would have been more than a decade ago. So 

you live and learn 

John: Yeah. It's one of those puffer fish. That's one thing, scorpion fish. That's a good way to get yourself dead.

Evan: Or tiger fish as well. [00:05:00] We'll tell you

John: Yep. And then our last stamp and also in the the realm of things that are Coupa that can kill you elephant


Evan: that's right. Again, another audience release August 12th from Holland walled, Tennessee will be an elephant stamp in one design yet another forever stamp, like the other two priced at the first class rates. And these. I'm sure I see. All right. This is a classic postal style graphic minimalist doesn't quite fit it, but it fits well within the the stylization you frequently see in P in stamps.


John: Yeah. The thing about this stamp, and I tried reading through the article and it's very minimal as to the amount of information they give you. I want to know why that's coming out of Holden wall,


Evan: I was just thinking the same thing and just looking at it, just looking at the same thing which is, it is a place with a population of 3,700 people.

John: [00:06:00] yeah. Maybe that's where the artist is from artist Raphael Lopez. But yeah, though, that the only part of the stamp that struck me as like why out of holding the wall, Tennessee.

Evan: it says the artist Raphael Lopez is from San Diego, California. How Holden wall is famous for being the death and burial place of Lewis and Clark or Meriwether Lewis of Lewis and Clark. And. According to Wikipedia. Wait, ah, aha. Holdenville is also home to the elephant sanctuary, the largest natural habitat sanctuary for elephants in the United States. There we go.

John: so now, you know, now, you know? yeah. So the out of the postmark section here we do have the color postmarks, which we've already touched on for the pictorial postmarks, but the only one out of the main postmark section that caught my eye. And as I was telling Evan, before [00:07:00] we recorded this is for a little town called 10 sleep Wyoming, and most people will never.

I have heard of 10 sleep Wyoming. Most people will never see it on a map. It is in north central Wyoming. And the only reason why I know about 10 sleep Wyoming is there was a banjo picker out of Tensleep Wyoming. His name is Jalan Crossland, and I'm going to include a link in the show notes to a performance that he did in a. Yeah, I've been in Wyoming. This is for a town festival. And this will give you a really good idea as to what kind of a banjo picker Jalan Crosland is. And hopefully this will put 10 sleep Wyoming on your


Evan: I've never heard of it before and I'll have to watch the video.

John: Yeah, he's a gift.

Evan: And if you 


John: And my.

Evan: 10 sleep, Wyoming, let us know.

John: Yeah. Or if you are from 10 sleep, Wyoming, let us 

Evan: That'd be quite impressive. 

John: Yeah. 

Yeah, especially since 10 sleep, [00:08:00] Wyoming tends to also be one of those places where like Lynchburg, Tennessee, when one girl gets pregnant, three guys leave town. So.

Evan: Uh,

But If all that would not be very good for a town with a population currently of 206.

John: That's correct. And that's how I got there. Alrighty. So often to the main thrust of the episode today. So I've been doing a lot of work on my project management recertification, and I've been seeing a lot of stuff. And of course, being that we're into fountain pens and letter writing. . You're not going to get much of an argument out of Evan or I about the value of handwriting, but it's something that's been a reoccurring theme in my project management recertification training of how important it is to not just be typing [00:09:00] on a keyboard, not to just be entering something in on your. Cell phone, but actually sit down and write something out because of the amount of cognitive power that has for your memory.

Evan: Yeah. I know I've definitely been more alert and on top of work, when I've written in one of these, the journal and my grades certainly improved when I started using fountain pens and notebooks.

John: Yep. And so we've got, one of the articles in here is from the Institute for the future of education and the article. And this talks about a study that was from 2014. I think I'm pretty sure this one's made its rounds through the fountain pen world in terms of the advantages of handwriting that are in.

, The article in terms of tablets for smartphones versus physical notes. And the article says that [00:10:00] all three groups do manage to activate the hippocampus for memory activation, but the. Head writing methods. The memory retention for handwriting was much better on head written notes. So that was the main takeaway for me for that one.

And then the main part that I wanted to get into. And this is a word that I had not heard, really referred to in terms of handwriting or thinking, but I was introduced to the word incubation. , As a mental technique. And it's something that I did a little bit of research and I didn't quite get the articles that I wanted to out of it, but I did find one and it was talking about, it's a writer that's talking about incubator.

In terms of doing a lot of your research before you start writing and getting all the thoughts in your [00:11:00] head, letting them sit there, letting them digest in your head before you start writing. And then I think the most important one, he has a list of five guidelines here, but one of the most important one.

I look at in this one is number four, do I need to remind you again that you should never edit while you write, consider this to be global incubating? And I completely agree with this. If you're editing while you're writing. You are slowing down your writing process.

Also, you are tricking yourself into thinking you're actually editing. You're too close to the work. At that point, you need to stop. You need to let it sit there for a little bit, and then you need to go back to it. If you are going to be the one editing it

Evan: No, these are all wonderful tips. And I also had never used the term incubating for this sort of work. And I probably will now.[00:12:00] 

John: yeah it's something that you don't think about in those kinds of terms. And once you hear it, once you think about it in those kind of terms, it becomes very natural to think of it that way. And it's actually, that's another mental trick called reframing. That's a very important part of problem solving where.

The example of reframing that I heard was where somebody had said here, take this selection of playing cards and make a structure as high as you can out of the playing cards. And of course, everybody makes this typical card house structure out of the playing cards because they didn't want to fold them.

And then the instructor for the class came back. Do you realize you could've made a much taller structure? If you had folded the cards, why didn't you fold the cards? Because they're playing cards. You need to reframe what you're thinking about. They're not playing cards. They're two [00:13:00] dimensional pieces of paper that you could have just as easily folded to make a 3d story.

Evan: Absolutely. And I want to the engineering behind why that's better.

John: Yeah. So the yeah, the idea of reframing the idea of incubating in terms of being able to help you think better in order to help you do more problem solving. Another idea of incubation is the idea of before you go to bed at night putting an idea in your head, a problem in your head, thinking about it, concentrating on it before you go to bed and then letting your subconscious work on it overnight. And I've actually had that work


Evan: had the work

I've also had nights where that just leads to sleepless or to a fitful sleep.

John: yeah. Okay. Maybe not enough information to cause you anxiety.

Evan: not necessarily anxiety.

Reprocessing and reprocessing, but yes.

John: Yep. [00:14:00] So the next article that we have in the show notes, and this is from Cambridge Shire live, and this is out of the UK and they have got a, an exhibit that's going up. And I think they were planning on opening this Darwin exhibit anyway, but. Due to a little bit of drama, which I won't get into the exact details of a set of Darwin's notebooks went missing and then were miraculously returned to the library.

So they will now be part of this exhibit and. These are Charles Darwin's handwritten notebooks in addition to a very large collection of 15, more than 15,000 letters that he wrote during his lifetime and in those notebooks. And in those letters, you can see, and I love being able to use this word, the evolution of his theory of [00:15:00] evolution in.

Practice. He hid his idea of evolution evolved over time and he thought it out. He digested it. He incubated


Evan: absolutely. The concept that theories and ideas, groundbreaking theories, ideas, spring forth, complete from the head is naive. It's not what really happens in science. And and this is just a great example of how and seeing, being able to see in thorough detail, how the theory of evolution evolved.

John: Yeah, I think. Other one that Springs to mind is Albert Einstein actually also said to that effect that I'm not smarter than you are. It's I've stick to the problem longer

or paraphrase to that 

Evan: though, I would argue, he probably was still smarter than most than the vast majority of people. He said that to.

John: Yeah. My, my favorite Albert Einstein. Quota was [00:16:00] I believe it was an elementary school child that wrote to him complaining about their problem with math. And he wrote back, I assure you that my problems with math are much greater than yours. 

Evan: That is wonderful. 

John: Yeah. And so yeah it's something that the idea of handwriting and.

Continuing to digest on ideas. And it also brings back another idea that I've heard about, especially, I believe it was Charlie monger the other half of Berkshire Hathaway, and the idea that you should have a lattice work of ideas and that they should be. Ideas that are well understood, but lightly held so that your you can change your mind, but you have to have enough knowledge to be able to work through those problems with a variety of mental models.

Evan: That sounds like very good advice to [00:17:00] me.

John: And it's allowed Charlie Munger to be able to look at problems in the investing world over his lifetime ever since. Berkshire Hathaway was founded and he's probably one of the great problem-solvers or great mental model thinkers of his generation. .

Evan: Absolutely. 

John: Yep. So off into the rest of the letter writing. We have a article in here from the CBC out of Canada. And this one I had to put in just because I love how small things can get and how the, British, the UK world mail. Adding barcodes to stamps are drew the ire of the handwritten letter appreciation society.

[00:18:00] And what the headline of the article is handwritten letter society, laments digital incursion on a pure and simple pastime. And I also love her solution on this, at least for now, at least until. I think that they had the deadline on there of 20, 23, that she actually has a set of small stamps that are the exact size of the barcode that she's been covering the barcode


Evan: That is wonderful. Yeah. The for any UK listeners, the traditional quote, definitive stamps. So these appear to be the regularly issued stamps with the Queen's face on them. And none that's for the new case, postage feel free to correct us. Those will. I have the barcode and anyone's without will remain valid till that till January 31st, 2023, afterwards, you can swap them for new ones. The collector stamps with art and photos will remain the same without a barcode.

John: Yup. But it is something that the idea of. These barcodes, which [00:19:00] from the UK royal mail's perspective, they think that they are adding a feature to this because now these letters will be trackable by the sender. Apparently there, they put something in there about being able to link a video to it in the article.

I'm not sure how that's going to work, but . It definitely drew the attention of the head written letter society, handwritten letter appreciation society. I'll get it right. In that it isn't an incursion into what is typically a very traditional and simple pastime that now we're, now we've got QR codes

on them. 

Evan: Yeah. I'm not seeing anything on the British or on the Royal mails. Website about a video being included or being able to link. But I certainly know, I would love to be able to track letters sometimes. They do have a exclusive set of Shaun the sheep videos though. Oh, no, 

here it is. Ah, I

missed the paragraph. [00:20:00] Our new Bartow stamps will also enable you to watch and share exclusives Shaun, the sheep of videos via the barcode itself using the Royal mail app. So you won't be able to put your own videos to it. You can watch a Claymation

John: Okay through the app. Okay. Very 

Evan: and I will add, 

John: Yeah. That was the part I was missing as 

Evan: and I will add these to the show notes.

John: Okay. Yeah, that'll be fun. So the next item on here, and this is moving over into the Stationery world, and not sure how I feel about this particularly, but a company called bio five and I'll read the headline here. Poly gene, bio master partner, bio five is introducing a new range of anti-microbial writing and paper products made in the UK.

And the current climate awareness of hygiene is paramount where schools and children are one of the focus areas. Bio five has worked with apology and bio [00:21:00] master to create a range of high quality stationery products with the added benefit of anti-microbial technology. The note that I had in the show notes is a gift for the person that you know, who cannot stop chewing on their


Evan: That is definitely true. Or get them a copper one and a that's also antimicrobial as our silver and gold.

John: and yes, and the copper will also help them stop chewing on their Stationery items after they break a couple of teeth.

Evan: And the taste of topper is not known to be pleasant. 

John: This is 

Evan: the, one of the things I do find interesting in this article as an engineer is that they tested, they claim a certain amount of COVID-19 a virus reduction, which we have discovered through the pandemic. That surface infection is very low, but that's not the point of that.

What I'm saying, they tested to an ISO standard, which they. 

John: did they? Okay. I didn't see the cool.

Evan: to ISO [00:22:00] 21 7 0 2 or reduction of SARS cov two of 99.7% was seen after 24 hours when compared to a control. So that's saying they're comparing it to a known patrol. They are not just saying compared to what was on it before.

John: nice. Yeah. I definitely know that copper is a preferred method of having a writing instrument that. It's anti-microbial because copper on its own is anti-microbial just from a chemical perspective, but definitely loved the idea of the ISO standard because as per Adam Savage, the difference between science and screwing around is writing it down. 

Evan: Uh, And you could use these to write down your science.

John: Absolutely. Yeah. And I'm sure. I'm sure. Adam appreciates pencils probably more than he appreciates copper 

Evan: I would imagine. So, Yeah,

John: Yep. So talking about a guy who has a tattoo of a ruler tattooed on his [00:23:00] forearm. So yeah, very practical 

Evan: it two scale one as well. 

John: It is too. Yeah. It's roughly to scale. And he says actually the most important part of that tattoo for him, isn't in measuring, but it's in.

Own idea of an honestly, I'm going to reuse the word incubation of when he's trying to ideate. And he's trying to think about what is a rough scale for this. He ends up sitting there, staring at his forearm. He was like, oh yeah, that's about this big. And that's, it's helped him out of a lot of problems.

Evan: Sounds like it has been useful for him.

John: Very, so the next item here, and these are probably the more or less useful items, but there's one item in here that I absolutely adore. So I'm going to, I've got a few links in here for this, but this is a Stationery company out of Bangladesh called kata Cory, and [00:24:00] they're a. Store, like I said, out of Bangladesh and they've got some very whimsical kind of Stationery items, but the one item in here that I just can't get over.

I don't know how much I would use it, but I love the way it looks is their sandwich notebook. And it is, it looks like a notebook that. Sandwich style where it's diagonally cut across. And that's where the hinge of the notebook is that, and I absolutely love that design.

Evan: Sorry, I'm looking for that on an, on their Instagram posts. There's a lot of cool 

John: I don't think, I don't think it's in their Instagram readily, but it's in the it's in the daily star article about halfway down and then it's in the Doris link that I put in.

Evan: So sorry. I miss, I had the links in the order they were in. That's why? 

John: yeah. Sorry about


Evan: Oh, that is neat. 

John: Yeah. It's a unique design, isn't it?[00:25:00] 

Evan: I liked, I liked the idea of

having elevated, having that more than using it.

John: I agreed. Yeah. I don't know how useful that would be, but it's definitely a conversation


Evan: If it's a full flat, that would be really interesting. So fold it completely flat, rotate it, use it like a normal notebook and then fold it back up 

into into the triangle. I want that.

John: wow. Yeah. That good. Solid. It gets up. I like that a lot. And let's see, what else did we have in here? Okay. So the next item on here that we have, and it's funny that this next article actually does have a copper pen in it, but it's not the reason why I put the article in here. And this is from Yanko design and we've linked to them before.

Interesting idea that. The Stationery design gets into this design website quite a bit, but this is a modern Stationery designs for modern [00:26:00] Stationery lovers. And they start out with a pen called the Curva pen, and the pen has a curved nib on it.

It looks like a Micron Pigma type of pen, but instead of having a plastic nib on it, they've got a, I think it's a ballpoint, but it's on a curved


Evan: it's still a marker tip to me, but it is on this curved arm. To pull your hand further away and I guess get you to see it more. It's hooked.

John: Yeah. And they did. They did call out that the one of the benefits to this is for lefties, it actually keeps your writing surface visible better than a traditional pen would

Evan: yeah, th that is very true. Or right-hand to people writing in other languages, such as Hebrew and Arabic.

John: correct. Yeah, this is true. But. That's one of those things. Also the other thing that [00:27:00] they didn't call out on here, and I think would be a benefit to this particular design is trying to correct somebody who has too heavy of a riding hand that leads to writing cramp issues. I've seen a lot of students in college with writer's cramp because they bear down on their pens or pencils so hard that it gives them writer's cramp.

This would be a good way of preventing.

Evan: that is very true. They say they have no dislikes about that specific pen. However, I think that pen could easily be damaged.

John: very much. Yep. And like I said, the, before they have a, another pen in here and it's called the inner pen and it's a pure copper pen. They. Make it out as if it's the only time anyone's ever made a copper pen before, which is incorrect. But to me it looks like a copper version of the coal Waco supra.

Evan: Very much. So [00:28:00] it's a ballpoint, which I don't know if they do a super in ballpoint, but it is,

John: They 


Evan: it is very similar to the supra, which is a very simple design classic though.

John: Yep. The next item in here is a wooden panel holder, which I've seen plenty of over the years in the pen world. This one doesn't this one doesn't really strike my fancy though.

Evan: If I would agree with you, I feel like it would not work well with a fountain pen.

John: yep. The next item though is called the fruition. And this is just a absolutely whimsical take on a, just something to put on your desk as a conversation starter

Evan: yeah, it is a pity bank that 

John: of sorts. Yup.

Evan: that. 

It seems to fall when it's full from like it's held like a basket or a nest and seems to fall from the branch [00:29:00] when it's full

John: Yep. , I thought that was a definitely fun way of doing that. Definitely a good conversation starter there, but the next item on the article is actually almost entirely the reason why I put this here, just because this is honestly something that. You didn't know you needed something in your life until you see something like this.

I needed these in my life. They're called the colored curve pens, and they are a rolling stamp design. That's self inking. These are brilliant. I love them

Evan: Yeah, these are great. C w how do you buy these? It's just links to themselves, but they have them in a variety of colors and selections and patterns. I will take the yellow and a blue please, which are basically just two of the dash ones, but they're really cool. They have one that they have two, they have flowers, they've got hearts, wavy lines, different dash patterns. Great for underlining in your notes or a book.

John: Yeah, [00:30:00] and they actually have a, an example in here where they are marking up a textbook. And I love the idea of having. 'cause I've actually heard of this kind of style of note-taking before from the Tim Ferriss podcast. And they actually talk about color coding using a multi pen with different colored inks and color coding.

How you take notes in terms of, this is an idea I want to save for later. This is a quote that I want to save for later. This is just general information. And color-coding how they, they do their note taking in books. And I know that there's definitely, there are definitely two different varieties of people in the world.

There are people that cannot dream of marking up a textbook or a book in general because that's how they were raised. And then there's the other camp that cannot imagine reading a book without a pen in their hand and making [00:31:00] notes on the book.

Evan: Yeah, I've been trying after doing more reading on digital platforms, I've been getting more and more into marketing my actual books.

John: marking the digital books or marking

Evan: had marked the digital books on my

Kindle, mostly, 

John: Oh, 

Evan: I w I then started reading. 

John: Yeah. Yeah. I have still not quite gotten myself broken of my old mental. Model of not ever writing in a book because the, unfortunately that was the way I was raised. But after listening to people talk about how they take notes in books the there's part of me that wants to try it. I just, I have to get by that mental block. 

Evan: a reason. I use a pencil.

John: Yeah, I could see that. So that was definitely the. Item in this article that I really wanted to call out because I thought that was really cool. The rest of them in here, the levitating pen, I [00:32:00] think I've actually heard about that one on the Pen Addict podcast, not a fan and the rest of them that are in here.

They have an paperweight. That's also a pen holder. That's moderately attractive, but I'll pass on


Evan: Yeah, I think I remember seeing the levitating pen when it first hit Kickstarter. A lot of these are Kickstarter products, but that was years ago. And at the end it sort of manages to make a levitating pen like that. That is a fountain pen. I'll take it.

John: Yeah. Even that would be a questionable one for me. The other, the last one on here that I did is I like the holder desk. Because it gives you a place to put your sticky notes other than on your monitor, which is a bad habit of mine.

Evan: Yeah, I've been at No, I've done that. Yeah. And that was the same as before that I've managed to not have any on this monitor here.

John: Yeah. Yeah. I have a bad habit of, I absolutely love sticky notes. I live by [00:33:00] them, but yeah, they ended up getting stuck on monitors and that's a bad habit that I should be.

Evan: Yeah, but that is a well-designed to desk lamp.

John: Yep. So that was the last of the designs. And that was the last of the show notes. So that's going to take care of it for this show. Hopefully this will give you some ideas to incubate for later, and hopefully you'll have an improved appreciation for handwriting. Hope to be in your ears in two weeks again, and be proud of your snail mail.