Popular Mechanics Jul/Aug 2018

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!

United States
10 Issues

in this issue

2 min
behind the scenes

I MISS the bonus material DVD. I love the behind-the-scenes footage, the bloopers, the interviews about how they filmed the fight scene or the car chase. I love learning about the filmmaking process, the decisions that were made as the movie came to be, the stuff that made it happen. You ever see the footage of Tom Cruise undergoing Navy training to learn to fly F-14s for Top Gun? And then the mother of all bonus DVDs is actually a whole other movie unto itself, Hearts of Darkness, the story behind the making of Apocalypse Now. Some people avoid learning about the making-of because they think it detracts from the magic of the movie. They don’t want to know. I understand this. I couldn’t explain why I disagree, so I asked my…

1 min
popular mechanics everywhere

WHAT WE’RE UP TO BEYOND THESE PAGES UNIVERSAL ORLANDO! Someone’s Gonna Win a Trip WANT TO GO to Universal Orlando Resort in Florida for four days? We’re offering you a chance. Visit orlandosweeps.popularmechanics.com or text TRIP to 246810. See page 28 for more details. Standard message and data rates may apply, if you happen to be among the few people who pay per text. ONLINE Who knew the mail could be interesting? If it weren’t for seven World War I pilots in 1921, Amazon couldn’t overnight you those new Brita filters. Read all about their dangerous trip, and the history of airmail, exclusively at popularmechanics.com/airmail. THE PODCAST THAT TIME JACQUI HACKED HERSELF Articles editor Jacqueline Detwiler spent two months trying every available supplement, sound bath, and diet plan to optimize her body and mind (page 78). You can hear…

1 min
the reader page

VIC’S TIPS! How to Restore a Vintage Bike Courtesy of Vic Miller of Vic’s Classic Bikes in Louisville When cleaning up a new purchase, use Windex to get the dirt off first. Then use mineral spirits and a toothbrush to clean up greasy areas. Finish by washing and waxing the paint with the same stuff you’d use on your car. Check and see if there’s a not-for-profit community bike shop in your area. They’re great places to learn new tips and borrow specialized tools. Otherwise, check out online resources like sheldonbrown.com. Reader Project of the Month MY PARENTS BOUGHT me a 1952 Schwinn Black Phantom in about sixth grade. I thought I’d been given a Cadillac. I rode it constantly, until the magic age of 15, when a ’49 Chevy became my mode of transportation.…

1 min

About that May coverline… Several detail-oriented readers noticed that our May feature “Things to Do Before the World Ends” listed 55 items, while the cover promised 64. A few even counted out each of the tally marks on the opening page, searching for an answer. If you’re looking for the other nine items, flip to the From the Editor page. You’ll find editor in chief Ryan D’Agostino’s contributions in bold. And a few more suggestions from Ted Bernhardi I’ve completed 30 items on your list of “Things to Do Before the World Ends.” I was surprised you didn’t include more affordable options. Here are some additional suggestions: 1. Make two skydives. The first time, you’ll think, Yeah, I did it! The second time, do I have the balls? And, how much do I want to…

1 min
large photo of the month

Justin Spinelli (left) and Courtney Brown, seniors at the New York Harbor School, pull out an oyster file, a monitoring structure designed to mimic a reef, to measure growth and survival. A lone oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water daily; one billion of them could clean the entire harbor every three days. The Billion Oyster Project is trying to make that happen. Between the project’s inception in 2014 and January of this year, more than 6,000 local students and thousands more volunteers have planted more than 25 million new mollusks while collecting data on water quality, oyster longevity, and marine biodiversity.…

8 min
the future of aerodynamics

CAN YOU TELL THESE APART? (ANSWER KEY BELOW) There is a basic tension between aerodynamic engineers and car designers. Each side will say that their missions are in harmony, that good design should not preclude good aerodynamics, and that aerodynamics should not limit design. But that’s not really true. The wind doesn’t care whether your grille is distinctive, or even whether you have one at all. The wind wants your car to look like a raindrop, and anything else is a compromise. Yes, every percentage of miles per gallon or range per charge matters, but visual distinction sells cars. “I always ask, ‘Have we perfected the bottom of the car?’” says Andrew Smith, global head of design for Cadillac. “Let’s work on the part that nobody can see first.” The aerodynamicist, then,…