Popular Mechanics

Popular Mechanics December 2019

Discover the latest in technology, engineering, and tools with Popular Mechanics. Plus, get essential advice on your home and car, useful DIY ideas, in-depth explanations on how things work, and more!

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10 Edições

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4 minutos
trust us, infusing whiskey is delicious

THERE’S A PHASE COLlege students go through where they decide cheap, clear liquor needs an upgrade. But what, really, can an aspiring dormroom mixologist do with a non-discerning palate, limited funds, and not enough time? Ah yes. Infuse. Just throw Skittles or frozen blueberries or any other easily accessible sweet accoutrement into the plastic handle and wait. The resulting concoction is probably awful. It will be consumed anyway. Don’t be ashamed if you went through that phase. You may now have disposable income to buy fancier bottles, but that does not mean you should quash that adventurous spirit—you know, the same one that drove you to throw Pop Rocks into Smirnoff. Harness that desire to meddle with your liquor cabinet and you can create some truly wild and delicious drinks. With…

3 minutos
after 65 years, supercomputers finally solve this unsolvable math problem

MATHEMATICIAN ANDREW BOOKER was searching for topics to present at his children’s math club when he stumbled across a YouTube video about the sum-of-three-cubes puzzle. “It was a case of serendipity,” the University of Bristol mathematics professor says. The video—produced by the popular YouTube channel Numberphile—led him to solve a curious equation that has stumped mathematicians for decades. In 1825, mathematician S. Ryley proved in the magazine Ladies’ Diary that any fraction can be represented as the sum of three cubes of fractions. Mathematician Louis Mordell took the puzzle a step further in 1953, when he questioned whether the same type of solution could be found for x3+y3+z3 = k, a diophantine equation, which involves only positive and negative integers. He started with the number 3, and the hunt was on…

1 minutos
the ultimate campfire just needs one piece of wood

A NO-BRAINER BUILD Find a log at least 8 inches in diameter and 16 inches long (make sure both ends are flat) and stand it upright. Using an axe or chainsaw, make 2 or 3 cuts down the length of the log as if you were slicing a pie, stopping 5 inches above the base (some wire will hold the log together if it starts to fall apart). Stack kindling atop the log at the intersection of the cuts and light. It will fall through the cracks as it burns, lighting the log from the inside. AN ULTRA-FOCUSED FLAME Traditional fires can take hours to produce embers suitable for cooking or warming your camp. But a Swedish fire log’s contained heat makes it hot enough for cooking in as little as…

4 minutos
the tiny action cam that made us all diyers

BEFORE YOUTUBE, IF YOU wanted to replace a balky starter motor in your Hyundai Elantra, you had to find a copy of a Haynes manual and puzzle out the repair yourself from instructions and exploded diagrams. If you needed to run an electrical circuit in your home, you turned to Renovation. Now we consult the omnipresent video sharing platform, where homemade bits of footage show us how to tackle almost any project. Those videos were shot with or made possible by a little camera called the GoPro. Before its creation, there was no easy way to shoot, edit, and share videos. To do that, you’d need a major production studio. YouTuber Scotty Kilmer remembers the change clearly. The celebrity mechanic went from hosting the Crank It Up car repair show on CBS,…

5 minutos
the wild idea that the titanic never really sank

IS IT ACTUALLY the Titanic at the bottom of the ocean? No one is denying that a ship really sank in the icy waters of the North Atlantic on April 15, 1912. Or that approximately 1,500 passengers aboard perished. However, there are some who suggest that the White Star Line, the ship’s parent company, pulled a fast one on the public in an insurance scam that ended up going horribly wrong. These theorists claim that instead of the Titanic, a sister ship in White Star’s fleet was the one that now sits at the bottom of the ocean. The strangest part: The idea isn’t as far-fetched as you might think. THE HEYDAY OF BIG SHIPS The British White Star Line had stiff competition in England and across the globe. Locally, it had a fierce…

2 minutos
stop buying your tech new

WHAT EVER YEAR you’re reading this, the new iPhone is awesome. It always is. Same with the new Samsung Galaxy, and Bose’s new noise-canceling headphones. But right now, just before 2020, the improvements between versions are becoming less obvious. In the case of the iPhone 11, the cameras are a big advance. But for the majority of us customers, last year’s model will serve us just as well as the new one. That’s why, when I need something like a phone or laptop, I almost never buy it new. You should do the same. I’m not talking about going on eBay or Craigslist or letgo for used tech. Even if you know what to look for and what prices are fair, the time cost of doing all the quality control yourself is…