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Popular Mechanics South Africa

Popular Mechanics South Africa September 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

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South Africa
RamsayMedia (PTY) Ltd
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11,54 €(VAT inclusa)
12 Numeri

in questo numero

2 minuti
cut to the chase

ONE OF MY EARLIEST memories of misbehaving (and being caught out by my parents) is when I got my hands on my Dad’s Swiss Army knife without his permission, or supervision, and then proceeded to close the longer blade on my fingers. It was difficult to disguise the blood, tears and crying, so the error of my ways was quickly discovered. I think my parents administered a well-considered blend of medical treatment, comfort, told-you-so advice, and discipline. It was a tough and painful lesson to learn, but I came away better off for it, and with a healthy respect for pocketknives, and blades in general. Still, the shiny appeal of knives never waned. I think that’s the case for many little boys – girls too, I’m sure. Knives carry this unique appeal,…

6 minuti

WRITE TO US popularmechanics@ramsaymedia.co.za WINNING LETTER DIY bunk bed Every king has his castle, and so should every child. Not a real castle, obviously, but a space where they are the boss (I was reminded of this quite often during the construction process), a space where they feel cosy and safe, and where they can delve into whatever their imagination feels like that day. And there’s no better way to achieve this than by building your kids their own bunk bed. I opted for a simplistic design, in the form of a parallel stacked A-frame. This also made the construction quite easy, as I would end up with two ‘faces’ of the house bed, which were joined with the rails in-between. The roof, or trusses of the house, could be assembled separately, and simply…

1 minuti
time machine

1 SEPTEMBER 1966 Just point ’er in and push the button In 1966, we introduced a new invention called the ‘Sidler’. Built by Archie Butterworth, this device attached to the back wheels of a car, enabling it to move sideways into a parking space using hydraulic rams. It could be fitted to any kind of car, whether front-wheel- or rear-wheel drive. 2 SEPTEMBER 1939 Driving a Bullet on Wheels Captain George ET Eyston lived for speed, having broken the land-speed record three times in his streamlined automobile, aptly named Thunderbolt. Using photographs and cockpit diagrams, this article showed what it’s like being one of the fastest men on the planet, travelling at speeds above and beyond 500 km/h. 3 SEPTEMBER 1954 What’s All This Talk About Hi-Fi? No one likes listening to music when it…

1 minuti
the bigger picture

This is a relatively calm scene for Katlyn Lewis (left) and Anna Cressler, members of the Wyoming interagency hotshot crew (IHC) that battled the Rankin Fire in South Dakota. Using handheld ‘drip-torches,’ the hotshots light the grass in order to keep the larger, uncontrolled fire from spreading, ‘We are putting in a black line to stop the wildfire. When it gets there, it won’t have anything to burn,’ says Cressler. Wearing leather boots and flame-resistant Nomex shirts and pants, hotshots use the terrain to move their controlled fire towards the wild fire in order to starve it. They’re careful to get every bit of grass: ‘We’re doing cleanup,’ Cressler says. ‘That’s why it doesn’t look like we’re in a very concrete line-up. Usually, it’s very structured, but here, we’re getting…

3 minuti
how they pulled off the forklift scene in child’s play

Sure, it’s scary to watch the end of the 2019 reboot of Child’s Play. Actress Aubrey Plaza is slowly lifted by the neck via forklift, her young son rushing to rescue her before she’s murdered by a doll that is part toy, part serial killer, and part … that dancing cheetah robot that American engineering and robotics design company Boston Dynamics would like us to believe is harmless. magine having to film it, though. In a horror movie, a stunt like this is not just a complement to the story, but the climax, affecting star ratings, scare factor, and canon-worthiness. ‘It’s not only technically difficult, but also really important for the movie you’re making,’ says director Lars Klevberg. You also have to make sure your leads don’t, you know, actually die.…

3 minuti
should humans still spacewalk?

IT’S 3 JUNE, 1965, and astronaut Ed White, in orbit over Hawaii, emerges from a space capsule, becoming the first American to conduct an extravehicular activity, or EVA. Connected with a single tether, he manoeuvres using an oxygen gun for propulsion, and poses for pictures. ‘I feel like a million dollars,’ White says. These days, EVAs are not done for the photos. They’re required for maintenance and operation of the International Space Station and are planned to the minute. Astronauts seldom have time for a selfie or joyriding with jet guns. Statistically, doing an EVA is just as dangerous as launching and re-entry,’ says Garrett Reisman, professor and former NASA astronaut with a seven-plus-hour spacewalk on his résumé. EVAs are difficult, dangerous, and time-consuming, so it makes sense that engineers want alternatives…