Popular Mechanics March 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

3 min
what helps you survive

IN 2012, MY WIFE AND I MOVED our young family out of the big city to a small, old farmhouse that had a barn, a stream, and lots of character. Three weeks later, Superstorm Sandy blew down trees, flooded the stream, and knocked out our power for 11 days. Welcome to life in the country. In the city, we had lived in an eighth-floor apartment where uniformed crews fixed, cleaned, and maintained everything for us. Now we had a well for water and an aging boiler in the basement. (“Character.”) In the aftermath of Sandy, we slept on the livingroom floor by the fireplace. We had just moved, knew no one, still got lost on the way to the gas station. We felt alone. And then: Our new neighbors, Susan and Richard, brought over…

1 min
me on instagram

rhdagostino On New Year’s Eve, throwing back to an amazing day with the NYPD Air Sea Rescue team. Thanks to them and the entire force, including the world-class Counterterrorism Bureau, always and especially tonight. @nypd #counterterrorism #nypd #police #newyearseve #helicopter #thanks rhdagostino My dad’s basement workroom, Christmas 2017, same as ever. #diy #workshop #tools #likefatherlikeson #projects rhdagostino Found this after like a year. Thank god. Never will it leave my belt loop again. @leathermantools #diy #tools #leatherman rhdagostino Father-son dinner. #supper #burgers #broccoli #tvdinner #castironskillet…

1 min

WHAT WE’RE UP TO BEYOND THESE PAGES THE MOST USEFUL PODCAST EVER THE PODCAST On the Most Useful Podcast Ever hosts Jacqueline Detwiler and Kevin Dupzyk are getting ready for sugaring season. They’ll learn how to tap trees and turn sap into syrup. Find these and other useful tips, projects, and reviews on the Most Useful Podcast Ever, available on Apple Podcasts. ONLINE On POPULARMECHANICS.COM we’re celebrating Monster Machines Week, where we take a look into how the biggest machines in the world are built, maintained, and operated. Head to popularmechanics.com/monstermachines to find this exclusive content: • How the crawler-transporters, a pair of massive vehicles used to move NASA space shuttles, are being updated to carry NASA’s forthcoming Space Launch System, the world’s most powerful rocket. • Up-close video of the Bagger 288 bucket-wheel excavator, the 27-millionpound…

5 min
what to do in a nuclear attack

WE’VE SEEN WHAT North Korea can do, and even though it hasn’t been in the news lately, the experts we consulted say that terrorists are still trying to get dirty bombs into the country. The threat of a nuclear attack on the United States is higher than it’s been since Berlin had a wall down its center and Weird Al had a movie career. But what would that attack entail? What kind of damage would a nuclear bomb cause, and what, if anything, could we do to get ready for it? 1 Who Would Do It TERROR ISTS According to Jeff Schlegelmilch, deputy director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, the most likely nuclear weapon will be trucked in and exploded on the ground. He estimates its yield at…

1 min

THERMONUCLEAR WEAPON: See “hydrogen bomb.” AIRBURST: A nuclear weapon detonated in the air to maximize destructive capabilities. Since the blast comes from above, it is less contained by buildings around it. FALLOUT: When a nuclear explosion occurs at ground level, the blast blows bits of dirt and debris into the air, where they become radioactive and are carried by the winds before falling back down to earth. YIELD: The destructive power of a nuclear weapon. ATOMIC BOMB: A bomb powered by nuclear fission, the splitting of atoms. Most atomic bombs are rated in kilotons—each of which is the equivalent of 1,000 tons of TNT. GROUND BURST: A nuclear weapon detonated on the ground. It causes less widespread destruction than an airburst, but releases fallout. ICBM: A missile that can travel thousands of miles by exiting Earth’s…

1 min
how radiation causes cancer

Roughly 15 percent of the energy released in the initial blast and fallout of an atomic bomb is high-frequency ionizing radiation. Unlike other forms of radiation, such as visible light and microwaves, ionizing radiation is fast and energetic enough to strip electrons from molecules, including the ones that make up the cells in your body. That radiation randomly damages the DNA in your cells—as if you’ve been shot with millions of tiny pins. (UV rays are borderline ionizing, which is why you can get skin cancer from tanning.) If ionizing radiation strips enough electrons from your DNA, or if you’re unlucky and it hits the wrong places in your genome, the genes that control cell growth can start to function abnormally. Certain cells divide out of control, causing tumors, leukemias,…