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Popular Mechanics South Africa

Popular Mechanics South Africa June 2019

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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
R 210
12 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
no more sad desk lunches

MOST DAYS AT my desk, come about 12:07 pm, I feel the disappointment rising in me. That’s because I know what’s waiting for me in my lunch bag. Seven times out of ten, the contents aren’t going to satisfy my hunger, and it’s really all my own doing. Every week I have bold hopes, dreams and aspirations of preparing tasty, nutritious and filling lunches for the week ahead on a Sunday afternoon, but by the time Sunday rolls around, I’m way too lazy to get stuck in in the kitchen. Actually, it’s usually around 10:30 am each weekday when I start to hear my stomach complaining. Yeah, yeah, the question has been asked and answered: I do eat a proper breakfast, usually including eggs, toast, fruit and coffee. This issue is…

5 min.

WINNING LETTER DRAIN SURGERY I had some major drain gully surgery done, which involved replacing a kitchen area gully that had five pipes draining into it. The gully had been broken down on one side at some stage, to accept additional pipes from a second bathroom. A second gully was installed to accommodate the pipes from the second bathroom, and reduce congestion in the aforementioned gully. To complete the job, I then adapted some standard drain covers to cover all my drains. The kitchen drain cover, which has a garden tap above it, now has a plastic funnel recessed into the cover to allow the tap to drain into it without splashing. The other drains have custom-shaped covers cut to accept the various pipes. I also installed new plastic filter grids with two grids cable-tied…

2 min.
popular wisdom

THE EVERYWHERE CHAIR In 1998, Tim and Donna Swenson’s son Jeff was paralysed in a car accident. Soon after, Tim decided to design an outdoor wheelchair for him. In 2009, that hobby turned into a fully fledged manufacturing operation in Marshall, Minnesota that has since expanded to a 25-employee operation that’s built more than 3 000 all-terrain chairs. Action Trackchairs are electric, with a 16 km range – or more, if you hook up an optional 1 000-watt generator – and some models have a power-tilting seat to compensate for steep slopes. The chairs can tow up to 70 kg, meaning that hunters can get their game back to camp. A Trackchair can handle many water crossings. There are even two types of tracks: one that gives a smoother ride, and one…

1 min.
time machine

1 JUNE 1965 Build a Modern Tree House 54 years ago this month, we showed you how to make the perfect tree house (even if you didn’t have a tree!) Intricate diagrams and photographed case studies showed how kids could enjoy a well-built treetop hideaway, thanks to step-by-step instructions and designs that could be suited to the most stubborn and twisted of trees. 2 JUNE 1947 Report from Antarctica A special report from the USS Mount Olympus detailed the Navy’s attempts to improve navigation through the icy Antarctic waters. Included were research findings on the Bay of Whales, an area close to the Antarctic Circle, and how engineers could improve landing conditions for both planes and vehicles. 3 JUNE 1964 What’s So Tough About Mower Repair? Lawn mowers can be fickle things. To help you look after and…

1 min.
large photo of the month

That’s a horse’s mouth there, on the left. And on the right, that’s Lauren McPherson, one of just 4 125 practising equine veterinarians in the United States, ‘floating’ – filing down – the horse’s teeth with a battery-powered dental speculum. Most horses need the preventative procedure every 12 to 18 months to keep their sharp dental points from interfering with feeding. The northern hemisphere summer is the Pickerington, Ohiobased vet’s busiest season, as people are ‘remembering they have horses’ after the winter; she’ll make up to 40 visits a week. Her patient here is a recent addition to the herd at Bella Run Equine in Athens, Ohio, a non-profit that rehabilitates old and unwanted horses before putting them up for adoption. After the last three US equine slaughter facilities closed…

6 min.
can big data train america’s elite forces?

THE FUTURE of US Air Force Special Warfare stomps into the room on the double – a half-dozen men and women, fresh out of basic training, clad in identical off-white T-shirts and blue shorts. At Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, no trainee walks. Ever. This facility is about sustained maximum effort. The trainees want to be among the Air Force’s elite Special Warfare troops, those who leap from planes on rescue missions or embed with front-line troops to direct air strikes. But before they can do that, they face a gauntlet of unforgiving qualification courses with infamously high wash-out rates. A Rand report from May 2018 found that the attrition rate during the initial Special Warfare assessment and selection course hovers at roughly 75 per cent. The Air Force’s solution…