Popular Mechanics South Africa

Popular Mechanics South Africa March 2019

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

South Africa
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12 Numeri

in questo numero

2 minuti
hand-made therapy

A FEW MONTHS ago I said we were in the process of buying our house. Well, it’s happened, and I’m pleased to say it went through about as painlessly as we could have hoped. No DNA samples were even required by the bank, which means I’ll no longer be surrendering monthly rental payments to a landlord. Instead, as the months tick over, more and more of the property will actually belong to us and not the bank, which is a rather rewarding thought. More practically, we’ve already put some of our own touches on the place. The living-room/dining-room space is freshly painted, but what I’m most proud of is the corner bookshelf cabinet and the new TV unit I built myself during my end-of-year holiday. The pics here show you the…

6 minuti
winning letter

MISS THE MARK This letter is not about the quality of a restoration, per se. Rather, it deals with the disintegration of a trademark which had been ingrained into the wood of my phonograph during this process. This trademark is a critical must-have for any antique of this nature. One of my most treasured possessions is a Graphophone phonograph with a great big horn. This is the name and trademark of an improved version of the phonograph that was invented all those years ago at the Volta Laboratory established by Alexander Graham Bell in Washington DC. The Editor’s words in the January/February edition of Popular Mechanics said it all: ‘I love things that are made of wood, and are made well, and that serve a function.’ These are my sentiments exactly and…

1 minuti
time machine

1 MARCH 1967 The Fantastic Camera Tricks Behind Grand Prix By the mid ’60s, advances in cinematography techniques were happening, and nowhere was that more evident than in Grand Prix, a film about the top global motor sport championship. Using on-car mounted cameras, a Ford 350 GT shadow car, helicopters and an air ejector cannon nicknamed Big Blue, film makers managed to capture action shots never seen before. 2 MARCH 1944 More Deadly Than War With the Second World War not yet over, this issue featured many war-related articles, including this one on how industrial accidents were a serious threat to the war effort. ‘Accidents, in fact, proved a greater enemy than the guns of the Axis’, it reported. 3 MARCH 1963 How Space Detectives Rate Russia’s Moon Probes At the height of the space race between the…

1 minuti
large photo of the month

InSight, the most recent robotic lander to touch down on the surface of Mars, has been all over the news lately, but its famous six-wheeled predecessor Curiosity shouldn’t be forgotten in the midst of all the hype. Curiosity is a car-sized rover that’s been in action on the red planet since 6 August 2012. This ‘selfie’, captured in May 2016, is made up of multiple images, each taken with the rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI). The small hole visible on the ground in front of Curiosity and surrounded by greyish cuttings was created by the Curiosity ’s drill to collect sample rock powder for analysis. As of 20 January 2019, Curiosity had been on Mars for 2 357 days, and its indefinite mission continues. Its design, which has proven highly successful,…

5 minuti
how to identify chemical weapons

LAST APRIL, after a suspected chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria, killed dozens of people and sickened hundreds more, an international monitoring group called the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons sent a team to investigate. In May the OPCW released its results: suspected chlorine gas. Jerry Smith, who served as senior inspection team leader at OPCW from 2011 to 2012 and the head of contingency operations from 2013 to 2014, explains their process. WHAT THE INSPECTORS WEAR Impermeable rubber suits are more protective than thin, charcoal-lined permeable suits, but the heat burden is enormous. The higher the threat – if it’s unknown or there’s massive liquid and vapour contamination – you go in with fully encapsulated suits and breathing apparatuses. Otherwise, you can use filtering systems, such as gas masks.…

3 minuti
social media’s crime fighters

FACEBOOK, GOOGLE, AND TWITTER are waging an unseen but highly charged war on foreign hackers. Just as the US Defense Department contracts private companies to build nuclear submarines, social media companies hire digital private eyes to find fake posts meant to influence the way Americans think about certain issues or candidates. One firm, FireEye, worked with Facebook to unearth fake pages during last year’s build-up to the United States midterm elections. The company reported a network of more than 650 fake accounts created in what was determined to be an Iranian government effort. Lee Foster, FireEye’s manager of information operations analysis, explains how they track down the offending accounts. POPULAR MECHANICS: When you’re looking for foreign influence campaigns, where do you start? LEE FOSTER: Forensic indicators. There’s the content-related side, where…