Popular Mechanics South Africa

Popular Mechanics South Africa May 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
RamsayMedia (PTY) Ltd
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12 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
celebrate good times, come on!

AM I THE ONLY ONE who understands the concept of celebrating a ‘birthday month’!? Surely there are others like me out there? I really don’t feel like it’s a lot to ask. It entails your loved ones, friends and co-workers making you feel extra special for the entire month in which your birthday falls – or, well, at least up until your actual birthday day. (It’s really not my fault that mine falls on the very last day of the month.) Yep, you guessed it – I’m a May baby. One of my friends last year took it upon himself to text me a unique birthday message every single day of May, and went to great effort, I think, to create a fresh nickname for me in each new note. He’s…

6 min.
what’s on your mind?

WRITE TO US popularmechanics@ramsaymedia.co.za WINNING LETTER ADMIRED MENTOR I recently purchased an old, very neglected drinks cabinet with money I earned working part-time for a craft-beer company while studying medicine full-time. I have never restored furniture, but my dad has been restoring and building everything from floors, cupboards, cars and a beautiful bookshelf for all my medical textbooks. His hands are like sandpaper and his garage his refuge. Unfortunately, he has terminal cancer and has about a year or two left, which breaks my heart, but I’m going to use my run-down cabinet as a way to learn from him and carry his handyman legacy forward. He has already shown me how to heat and strip the varnish off the cabinet and how to use his Bosch sander. I thought they were called power tools…

2 min.
ludicrous mode: the response to our elon musk story

In the essays collected for our December 2018 cover story, ‘In Defence of Elon Musk’, ten writers and entrepreneurs weighed the contributions of this controversial man. Unsurprisingly, the piece itself was also controversial. One publication criticised us for ‘buy[ing] into … the perceived importance of genius, and the moral compromises that society should be willing to endure in the name of progress.’ Another ran a delightful parody of the piece that invoked the plot of the 1973 dystopian movie Soylent Green. People argued in Reddit threads, and tweeted at us in both frustration and agreement. But the responses we most cared about were from you. Because he’s making science fiction a reality THE FIRST TIME I saw the rocket booster come down and land upright on a barge really blew me away;…

2 min.
popular wisdom

THE SITE Way to go, car companies ON JANUARY 23, automotive editor Ezra Dyer posted the story ‘This Kid Asked Each Car Company to Send Him a Decal’ to popularmechanics.com about a six-year-old car-loving boy named Patch Hurty. After finding a Ford badge on the side of the road early last year, Patch started a letter-writing campaign: With the help of his mom, Lindsay Hayes Hurty, he wrote to more than 50 companies, asking for a spare logo or decal for his collection. He included a coin from his piggy bank, and a photo of himself with one of the company’s cars, when he could. Almost every single company wrote back, sending swag and letters – and returning his coin. ‘The near-uniform response is a happy surprise,’ Dyer wrote. ‘After all, nobody has a…

1 min.
time machine

It made per fect sense at the time 1 MAY 1956 The New French Revolution – in the Air The cover of this edition featured the Coleopter, a concept created by French aeronautical engineers, and one of several profiled aircraft manufactured in France in the early ’50s. The Coleopter was designed for vertical take-off and landing, meaning no airport was required as a base. 2 MAY 1947 Report from Antarctica An expedition to Antarctica was one of the main features in this issue. We reported on the extreme climatic conditions, and how what happens at the South Pole affects weather conditions all around the planet. We also discussed the wildlife, and how the different species have adapted to the adverse conditions. 3 MAY 1960 Five-Pin Bowling – The Canadian Version We’ve all heard of tenpin bowling, but five-pin was…

1 min.
large photo of the month

At Conservation Canines (known as CK9), a research programme at the University of Washington founded in 1997, handlers train rescue dogs to locate environmental samples in the wild. Dogs – more specifically, their noses – are more efficient and less invasive than other methods of collecting data on wildlife, such as radio collars or trapping. Jennifer Hartman, one of the programme’s nine handlers, has worked with CK9 for 12 years and was ‘not really a dog person’ until she met Max, an Australian blue heeler mix, who scents for moose scat in upstate New York. They start the day at 3 am, before the dew burns off, when smells are strong. Scientists at Cornell University will analyse diet and toxin information from the samples Max finds, looking for reasons why…