Popular Mechanics South Africa March 2020

The South African edition of Popular Mechanics was launched in 2002 and has fast become the acknowledged voice of science and technology in South Africa. Underpinning its rich sci-tech content is an ever-changing mix of articles covering everything from automotive news and outdoor adventures to DIY projects. In essence, it explains how our world works

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12 Numéros

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2 min
the pursuit of knowledge

WHEN I’M asked to summarise the types of articles we run in Popular Mechanics, my face usually assumes a bit of a glazed stare, my mouth hangs slightly open, and I doubt I appear too intelligent to the question asker or any bystanders. It’s not because I’m an idiot, I don’t think. (Although, maybe I should gather up a few third-party opinions.) Rather, it’s because the content we publish is so unbelievably diverse that it’s difficult to encapsulate it succinctly. Also, every month, the limits of what we cover seem to become broader, as interesting ideas come across our desks, ground is broken with modern innovations, or fascinating things happen in the world. The human race is always evolving, after all, and with it the subject matter of the magazine you’re…

5 min
like mother, like daughter

WRITE TO US popularmechanics@ramsaymedia.co.za My mother is the daughter of an engineer – a handy, practical, do-it-yourself man. My grandfather built the house my mother grew up in, almost all of the furniture they owned, and much more besides. If my grandmother ever wanted something – be it a cot for a baby, a new kitchen, an outhouse, you name it, my grandfather built it. And if it was broken – he fixed it. My mother, being the eldest child, was soon joining in on the projects. I am the daughter of a vet. A compassionate and competent man. Yet, my father did not build our house, or anything in it, and rarely fixed anything. The role of helping us with primary school technology projects, science expos and building activities simply fell…

1 min
time machine

MARCH 1968 The Concorde: First of the SSTs Completion of the Concorde aircraft was expected to happen in 1968. It was due to take its maiden flight, so there was much excitement in the aviation world, as well as questions circulating about this powerful machine. We shared the full story using detailed illustrations and a comprehensive feature on the plane capable of airspeeds of up to 2 179 km/h. 2 MARCH 1938 Building Ships for Showcases Despite being many miles from the ocean, Frederic Craven was a master ship builder – model ships, that is. We relayed his story of constructing various models for the US Navy, including everything from light cruisers and destroyers to submarines. Each ship sported exquisite details and was occasionally up to five metres in length. 3 MARCH 1952 Build a Desk for…

1 min
the bigger picture

HAVE YOU EVER wondered how NASA gets its rocket-ship parts transported? In a really big aeroplane built especially for the task. When a component in a rocket or part of the International Space Station takes flight, it’s not for the first time… The first would have been when it was transported by the Super Guppy. Super Guppy is a large, wide-bodied cargo aircraft built by Aero Spacelines and operated by NASA. Its maiden voyage was in 1965, and it’s still used today. Loading the plane is made easy because of its unique design and fold-away nose. The latter opens 110° for cargo loading, creating unobstructed access to the stowage area. A control lock and disconnect system at the fuselage break means that the nose can be opened and closed without disrupting…

4 min
how a soviet social experiment became a game for liars

IT’S 1987 in Soviet Moscow. On this snowy November evening, Dimitry Davidoff, a psychology student at Moscow State University, exits his train off of Red Square. He cuts behind the looming Intourist Hotel, climbs to the third floor of his university’s psychology department, and meets the club of high-school students he’s tutoring. Tonight, he’s brought something unusual for his pupils. To get the club members talking and thinking, Davidoff is going to make them play a game – one where two students are set apart and given secret information. ‘Back then, I wasn’t trying to create a game per se,’ says Davidoff. Instead, he was just running a fun experiment to test and explore the psychology of his pupils’ minds. But as the game threw the club into riotous conversation, and –…

1 min
other board games worth lying for…

COUP In a cyberpunk dystopia, only the most cut-throat survive as players lie their way to victory. If the lie isn’t convincing enough, another player can catch you in the act. SECRET HITLER This game plays like Avalon, but with a lot more fascists to go around. Your gang of liberals team up to squash the Third Reich in its infancy. AVALON Join Merlin and a group of knights to complete epic quests in medieval Europe. But be wary, minions of Mordred are lurking in the shadows to thwart your victory. SHERIFF OF NOTTINGHAM Become the sheriff as players try to sneak in contraband. Call out suspected criminals, without accusing the innocent. DECEPTION: MURDER IN HONG KONG Someone is a murderer. Work with the forensic scientist and a few other investigators to discover the weapon and key evidence to the…