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DOWN IN

THE HOLE
Up close and personal with Americas ICBMs

RADICAL POWER
CLEAN ENERGY FROM FLYING WIND TURBINES

DIY
WE BUILD:
Water-cooled

MONSTER PC

LOG CABIN

IF I SHOW YOU MY GENOME, WILL YOU SHOW ME YOURS?

DETROIT VS THE WORLD


US CARS HIT BACK

NAKED GENE
GREAT STUFF
OUR CHOICE OF COOL GADGETS

THE

MONOWHEEL MARVELS
UNICYCLISTS DO IT IN THE DIRT

TIME MACHINES
MEET OUR TOP 10 WRIST ORNAMENTS

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CONTENTS

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44

24

72

68

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POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA OAPRIL 2011

18
APRIL 2011 VOLUME 9, NO. 9

[ SCIENCE ]
12 Tech watch
Stunt

[ WHEELS ]
38 New on the block
Renault

master Secrets of a dry dog Airbus engine explosion


(Cover story)

looks ahead with attitude Lambos F1-inspired suspension


Scooters

72 88

Detroit vs the world


Has Motown got its groove back?

28

Are genomes for sharing?


Going public could backre

Saturday mechanic
Brush-in loadbed liner

[ FEATURES ]
44 54 Blue sky power
Wind turbines take to the air

[ HOME ]
80 82 87 Homeowners clinic
Grout cleanout

Down in the hole


Missile monitors await Armageddon

Cutting class
Building a log cabin

PM Saturday
Instant workbench

[ IN FOCUS ]
24 Must-have watches
Ergonomically

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52 62 64
Cover: Thousands of people have been able to unlock the secrets of their own genetic code, giving rise to fears about the loss of genetic privacy. Are those fears exaggerated? (iStockphoto/Mads Abildgaard). This page: Wind power is already a proven source of renewable energy. Now, a new frontier is opening up: flying, megawatt-producing wind turbines. Illustration by Michael Tschernjajew.

tactile pleasure Classic with a twist Money no object?

[ OUTSIDE ]
68 One-wheeled wonders
Mountain unicyclists do it in the dirt

[ TECH ]
Digital clinic
Make room for Kinect

[ MONTHLY ]
4 6 8 10 18 104 Contact us Editors notes Letters Time machine Great stuff Do it your way

DIY Tech
Start a Web business

Workshop PC
We build a super-cooled monster computer

WIN
4 TW Steel timepieces
worth R30 900 (See page 40)
38

WIN
5 Casio Protrek Triple Sensors worth R32 495 (See page 86)

82

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POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA OAPRIL 2011

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EDITOR & PUBLISHER: Alan Duggan DEPUTY EDITOR: Anthony Doman ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Sean Woods ART DIRECTOR: Thea Woodman DESIGNER: Sharon Gunst EDITORIAL ASSISTANT: Kate Downs NATIONAL SALES MANAGER: Lea van Coller ADVERTISING SALES, Gauteng: Patrick Kennedy, Nicky Lloyd Victoria Sanga (assistant) Tel: (011) 783-7030 Cape Town: Christian von Drckheim Tel: (021) 530-3271 PRODUCTION MANAGER: Judy Romon CIRCULATION MANAGER: Ian Dinan NEWSSTAND MARKETING MANAGER: Hannelie van As NEWSSTAND REPRESENTATIVES: Mariet Kruger (JHB), Agnes Naidoo (DBN) PROMOTIONS MANAGER: Nomfundo Calana SUBSCRIPTIONS MANAGER: Catriona Bennie SUBSCRIPTIONS ADMINISTRATION: Lynn Heiberg SUBSCRIPTIONS MARKETING MANAGER: Sandy Immelman SUBSCRIPTIONS MARKETING CO-ORDINATOR: Pia King CONTACT CENTRE: Sedick Masoet PR/COMMUNICATIONS: Shelly van Zyl CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER: Werner Schmidt HR EXECUTIVE: Amanda Kirk ICT EXECUTIVE: Thomas Turck Web site: www.popularmechanics.co.za Anthony Doman (Editor), Kate Downs (Manager) PUBLISHED BY: RamsayMedia (Pty) Ltd Chairman: Alan T Ramsay Managing Director: Stuart Lowe Directors: Jacqueline Lahoud, Terry Moolman, Gordon Utian, Brian Burnett, James Eedes, Simon Turck, Tim Holden, Peter Venn ADDRESSES: Uitvlugt, 3 Howard Drive, Pinelands, 7405. P O Box 180, Howard Place, Western Cape, 7450. Tel: 021 530-3100. Fax: 021 531-9495. 17th Floor, Ofce Tower, Sandton City, Sandton, 2199. P O Box 78132, Sandton, Gauteng, 2146. Tel: 011 783-7030. Fax: 011 783-0451. e-mail address: popularmechanics@ramsaymedia.co.za HOW TO SUBSCRIBE OR CONTACT US: Call: 0860 100 205, Fax: 0866 704 101 or 021 - 530 3143, E-mail: subs@ramsaymedia.co.za Online: www.magsathome.co.za or www.popularmechanics.co.za FOR OUR CURRENT SUBSCRIPTION RATES, SEE PAGE 86

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Total monthly sales: 41 967 (October to December 2010)

Published and distributed by RamsayMedia (Pty) Ltd by permission of Hearst Communications Inc, New York, New York, United States of America.
We cannot be responsible for loss of unsolicited queries, manuscripts or photos. For return, they must be accompanied by adequate postage. AS A SERVICE TO READERS, POPULAR MECHANICS publishes newsworthy products, techniques and scientic and technological developments. Due to possible variance in the quality and condition of materials and workmanship, POPULAR MECHANICS cannot assume responsibility for proper application of techniques or proper and safe functioning of manufactured products or reader-built projects resulting from information published in this magazine. Company registration number: 1934/005460/07, ISSN number: 1682-5136

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POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA APRIL 2011

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[ EDITORS NOTES ]
Our genes, ourselves: let's get naked.

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his months cover story, The naked gene, recounts the experience of writer Ronald Bailey after he sends off a saliva sample for genetic testing. As he describes it, the process is disarmingly simple: You spit into a test tube, send it off, and a few weeks later you get a readout of up to 1 million single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from your genome. Whereas the terminology may be daunting, the results are readily understood by anyone and they make fascinating reading. For example, Baileys mitochondrial DNA reveals that his maternal line descends from Haplogroup U5, which arose among early Homo sapiens sapiens colonisers of Europe about 40 000 years ago. According to his Y chromosome, his paternal line hails from Ireland. But thats the gee-whiz stuff. The really interesting information lies in the data revealing his predisposition to various medical conditions, and his likely reaction to certain pharmaceuticals. As Bailey says, the tests are not perfect, but they are the beginning of a process through which consumers, doctors and other health purveyors will learn how to better interpret and use genetic information over time. All of which leads to a slightly thorny issue our privacy. Bailey was happy to post the results of his test online for all the world to see, but would we do the same? If your employer knew you carried markers associated with alcoholism or schizophrenia, could it comprise your career? Might such genetic evidence be cited in a divorce hearing? If your insurance company discovered you were predisposed to Alzheimers, could it cancel your policy or load the premiums? Bailey himself appears unfazed, making the point that we live in a society characterised by increasingly radical self-disclosure and transparency. He predicts that genetic information will not be immune to this trend: Some time before the end of this decade, kids are going to be running gene scans and maybe even whole genome sequencing experiments in their ninth-grade biology classes, just

the way some of us did blood typing experiments back in the mid-20th century. Then they are going to share that information with their friends on Facebook and Twitter, and theyll do it without parental consent. We probably wont go that far, but we rather enjoy the idea that spitting into a test tube can teach us so much about our genetic make-up... why we enjoy that extra glass of wine, why we react so badly to rat poison (warfarin) and why we prefer ghting to eeing. As early adopters, its probably our duty. Moving along, we introduce Blue sky power, a thoughtprovoking story about big-bucks investors (including Google) who are gambling many millions of dollars on an energy source thats just this side of science ction airborne wind turbines. The theory seems solid, but they have no illusions about the work that lies ahead. Is all the effort not to mention the massive investment worth it? Experts Ken Caldeira and Cristina Archer think so, having calculated that airborne turbines could potentially produce 18 terawatts of electricity more than enough to power modern civilisation without adverse affects on climate. And now for something completely different our annual feature on the most desirable (and in some cases, downright loony) timepieces from Baselworld, the planets premier watch showcase. Interestingly, some of the most respected (and expensive) brands have yielded to market pressure and are now producing designs that actually border on the sexy. Witness the Millenary from 136year watchmakers Audemars Piguet, which features a striking mechanism and tiny gongs. How cool is that?

Know your DNA, know yourself. Writer Ronald Bailey is happy to share the results of his genetic test with the world, but some people are concerned about privacy issues. Page 24

Send us your DIY hints and win!


Visit www.popularmechanics.co.za/facebook to send us your best home, garage, workshop or general DIY hints (click on the Competition link beneath PMs prole picture on the left of our Fan page). If yours is judged one of the top two tips in the rst month of the competition, youll win a Bosch XEO Lithium Ion Cutter worth R579. Winners of the top two tips in the second month of the competition will each receive a Bosch PSB 500 RE 500W Impact Drill worth R499. The overall winner will receive a combo set of power tools worth R3 499, courtesy of Skil Masters. Plus, the winning DIY tip will be published in POPULAR MECHANICS.

aland@ramsaymedia.co.za

COMPETITION WINNERS...
Details online at www.popularmechanics.co.za
POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA APRIL 2011

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Chepko Danil/iStockphoto

www.vw.co.za

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Get more out of life with the new Volkswagen Kombi and Caravelle.
With class-leading space and safety credentials, the new Kombi & Caravelle open up a world of possibilities. On the outside, bold new Volkswagen design is strongly reected by the front-end integration of grille and headlights. On the inside, new driver assist systems mean the vehicles drive like sedans. A range of new common rail TDI engines mean reduced fuel consumption and emissions, and with the introduction of innovative technology such as ESP, DSG and 4Motion, no other vehicle is better equipped to help you expand your horizons.

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[ LETTERS ]
G NIN R N I W TTE LE

A TRIBUTE TO PIERRE LE ROUX


My brother and I were introduced to POPULAR MECHANICS by my father when we were no more than six or seven years old. It was the American edition, and by then the magazines were at least 20 years old taken from the collection he had built up as a child. I remember plans for building your own go-kart, a pedal-powered boat, a rocket and a helicopter the stuff of boyhood dreams. When the South African edition rst appeared, my father loyally booked it out at the library frugal as ever. Eventually, he started buying it, and soon afterwards took out a subscription. As soon as the latest edition arrived, he would pass on the previous months issue to me. This would be accompanied by long conversations and discussions on the content so much so that when I subscribed myself, I couldnt bring myself to tell him to stop passing on his own copy. Those moments were just too precious. My father passed away on 15 December 2010 at the age of 72. Having been a maths, physics and chemistry teacher and lecturer his entire life, PM made manifest everything he so passionately stood for, bringing science into the realm of everyday life and breaking down the perceived barriers that often make science so inaccessible to the average child. His entire life was devoted to inspiring those around him to obtain knowledge, learn, think, share and seek out the

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facts something that made him appreciate your magazine immensely. He is fondly remembered for this by the hundreds of scholars and students who passed through his classrooms and lecture halls over the years. As well as by his own children. In January this year, my sisters eldest son, William eldest of my fathers seven grandchildren went to boarding school for the rst time at St Andrews School in Bloemfontein. Having to spend his rst week away from home, he was treated to a magazine of his choice by his mother. He chose PM the January 2011 edition. The rst evening spent at boarding school came with the expected awkwardness and strained conversations about how and where you spent your December holidays. Williams was spent saying goodbye to his much-loved Oupa, with whom he shared a very special bond not really the type of story that helps you connect with your new fellow boarders. The next evening, as he went to bed, he opened his PM and on page 8 the Letters page he saw his Oupas name, Pierre le Roux. My father had written to PM before he was admitted to hospital without any of us knowing. Had it not been for William, none of us would have seen it. Showing the letter about the Chrysler Airow/De Soto to his fellow boarders soon broke the ice, and the conversation owed. Amazement was shared and friends were made. And so an Oupa reaches out from the hereafter to help his grandson settle into this new chapter of his life. With a little help from PM. CHRISTIAAN LE ROUX VIA E-MAIL

Write to us, engage us in debate, and you stand to win a distinctly appealing Kodak photo hamper worth R3 326. You get the EasyShare C142 digital camera, with its innovative one-button upload to YouTube, Facebook, FLICKR or Kodak Gallery sites, plus the cool and uncomplicated Pulse digital photo frame (no time-consuming software setups or complicated technology), an 8 GB SD memory card and a Venture bag. For more information, call 011-202 8300 or visit www.kodak.co.za Send your letter to: Popular Mechanics, PO Box 180, Howard Place 7450 or e-mail popularmechanics@ramsaymedia.co.za Please keep it short and to the point. Regrettably, prizes can be awarded only to South African residents.

You win some... and win some


I rst heard about the recent POPULAR MECHANICS Inventors Conference just a few days before the event was to take place. I have been a keen reader of PM for a long time now but have never seen myself as

one of the typical PM crowd. For one thing, I have very little interest in mechanical things and no interest at all in cars or motorbikes other than the minimum I need to know in order to drive one. I also never read the do-it-yourself section of the magazine, as I am hopeless

at do-it-yourself things. I read PM mainly for its scientic section (astrophysics articles in particular) and its gadgets section. So why should I be interested in some geeky conference of people who actually understand and even build geeky things? Well, the reason is that I come from a technical
POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA APRIL 2011

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M O N T H LY P O L L
Tron: Legacy combines and renes almost every cutting-edge technique in cinema today. Are lmmakers wasting their time and money making stereoscopic epics? Yes. Audiences seem increasingly picky about paying extra for 3D movies. 43% No. 3D tech is an evolutionary step in moviemaking. More and more cinema operators are buying into the technology. 57%
Conducted online at www.popular mechanics.co.za visit PMs Web site to vote in our current poll.

Driving on air for airheads?


I could not fathom the article, Driving on air (February issue). Was it all a joke, or are the designers of these cross-pollinated cars and aircraft really serious? The very rst paragraph states that Nasa and the Pentagon are trying to put an aircraft in every garage. If this is true, then theyre completely clueless or been breathing in too much rocket fuel. Globally, the number of vehicles on the roads and private aircraft in the air is out of control and well beyond most countries ability to control. So how do they think aircars can even become a feasible option? Just how do they imagine it working? Get up in the morning, drive your car out of the garage and on to the street, where you cannot take off because youll hit a tree, pole, wires, or other cars. Okay, so you drive to an airstrip most are on the outskirts of cities. This is going to take an hour, at least. Next, log your ight plan, then wait for clearance and all that goes with aviation regulations, all of which will take another hour because dont forget, each garage will have one! Finally, you take off where to? Work? Hey, you probably passed the ofce on the way to the airport. The same applies to the return trip. In the meantime, millions of others are doing the same. If other cities are as bad as South African cities, chaos will reign and cars will be falling out of the sky all day long. Then theres that cockeyed Pufn design where you lie down while ying. The designer has obviously not tried to lie down on his stomach and play with his kid, let alone y a plane. I challenge them to lie on their stomachs with their hands working controls and their heads tilted upwards for more than a couple of minutes; theyll nd themselves on a physiotherapists bench with chronic muscle and/or tendon strains. The body is not designed for that. Talk about ignoring the basic laws of ergonomics! My conclusion is that its all a joke, or failing that, well see them portrayed on your Time Machine page in 40 years time with all the other airhead ideas that have failed. DON BELL PORT ELIZABETH

57 %

43 %

Be cool, man
In addition to revelling in my Popular Mechanics over Christmas, I read CAR magazine (our sister title in the RamsayMedia stable Editor), where I came across an advertisement from Eskom offering tips on saving electricity while youre away on holiday. Aside from some pretty obvious advice such as turn off your oven, it says: Start using up the meat and other perishables in your fridge and freezer, rather than keeping it fully stocked. The bigger the load in your fridge and freezer, the more electricity it consumes Really? I had always thought that when cooled down, the electricity it consumes is proportional to the temperature difference x area of freezer x heat transfer coefcient of the insulation. I dont remember having to multiply this by the number of frozen lamb chops inside or am I missing something? GRAHAM SPRIGGS FLORIDA GLEN

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background (marine biologist in my formal training) and because, among other things, I co-own a company that offers IT and analytical solutions to the marine environment. When I saw the ad in PM for the conference, I thought to myself, interesting but not really for me, and I was ready to move to the next page when I noticed the location only a few minutes drive from my home. My wife thought, as I did, that what I was doing was not really relevant to a conference of people who build funny little machines in their free time. Well, I went anyway and how wrong I was. During the past 10 months I have attended about 12 international conferences, workshops and technical exhibitions. For some, I paid a crazy amount of money

just to attend, not to mention ights and accommodation costs. But the PM conference cost less than a taxi ride from Heathrow to London, and was by far the most inOf death and ethics teresting and relevant event I have attendI was watching a science programme on ed in 2010. What an eye-opener it was. TV last night about the history of guns Next year (I assume and hope there and bullets. will be a similar event next year) I would The US military have realised that lead like to share, if I am allowed to do so, causes deformity in newborn babies, and some of my own experiences with the for this reason, they are planning to use crowd. But until then, many thanks to an alternative probably nylon in the PM and all the speakers. Well done! future manufacture of bullets. This way, By the way, my wife came along to when you kill someone, their children keep me company, and she loved it, too. wont be born deformed. DR AMOS BARKAI Did I wake up on a different planet OLRAC yesterday? Editors note: Our next PM Inventors GIL SULLIVAN Conference is scheduled for August (in VIA E-MAIL PM Gauteng). Well keep you posted.
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[ TIME MACHINE ]

1970 WorldMags

APRIL

1963

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Bored with humdrum tasks such as replacing tap washers and hanging pictures? Flex your DIY muscles with a selection of pre-fab holiday home plans, we proposed. One example could be owner-built in 6 to 8 weekends, we said, depending on your carpentry skills. At a guess, those skills would be considerable.

A tandem on the cheap seemed to be the perfect way to use those childrens bikes gathering dust in the garage. Mom and Dad could go pedalling together at a tenth of the cost of a ready-made machine by joining the front half from a boys bike to the back half of a girls bike, using such advanced techniques as mallet blows.

1938 1955
>>

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Long-time POPULAR MECHANICS fans will fondly remember the likes of our budget SW receiver. Using a single valve and powered by three torch batteries, it could t in a shoebox and required DIY skills that were commonplace back then: handwinding of coils, soldering, woodwork and metalwork. The modern equivalent would probably t in an eggcup and need little more than rudimentary soldering while costing more than an off-theshelf product. And they call it progress.

Some DIY projects have stood the test of time, like the venerable 200-litre drum converted into a braai. However, todays braaimaster probably dresses a little differently, the non-braaing hand is likely to be clutching a frosty beverage, and a team of self-appointed expert assistants will generate more heat than the coals.
PM

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[ TECHWATCH ]
N E W S + T R E N D S + B R E A K T H R O U G H S + S P A C E + E N E R G Y

EXTINCTION ARCHAEOLOGY

New ecosystem? Itll take 10 million years.


An international team of palaeontologists in China uncovered a trove of 20 000 aquatic fossils that detail how life rebounded after a mass extinction, caused in part by climatic changes after multiple volcanoes erupted 250 million years ago. Only one of every 10 species on the planet survived that event, but these were enough to restart fully functional ecosystems that had diverse kinds of large predators.

REACHING ORBIT

EUGNATHID FISH / /

Private space breakthrough


Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) last December became the rst private rm to recover a spacecraft from Earths orbit. The launch is part of a Nasa programme looking at the private sector to resupply the International Space Station once the space shuttle retires this year. SpaceXs capsule, Dragon, circled the Earth and landed in the Pacic Ocean 800 km west of California.

QUICK HITS
twining the medicine inside the bres. These would replace the current system, which uses tiny needles to inject substances into hollow bres. ONE MISSILE, THREE JOBS DARPA has tapped Raytheon and Boeing (for R150 million each) to create the Triple Target Terminator, a missile that can adjust its speed, explosive yield and sensors to attack ground targets, airplanes or cruise missiles. Flight demonstrations are planned for 2014.

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MANUFACTURING MIRACLE FABRIC Researchers see great promise in cloth that releases medicine exactly when needed, used in uniforms imbued with antidotes to chemical weapons or as gauze infused with tissue-regenerating salves to heal burn victims. Manufacturing the hollow, nanoscale forms that contain the medicine, however, is problematic. The US National Institute of Standards and Technology is funding Arsenal Medicals research into a new way to make these fabrics at an industrial scale. The company will use electrical elds to shape polymeric droplets into nanotubes or mesh, inter-

VEHICLE DESIGN

New wheels for off-planet rides


Future robotic missions to the Moon could
require heavy vehicles that can range over thousands of kilometres of extraterrestrial landscapes demands that would overwhelm the wire-mesh wheels used on Apollo-era buggies, none of which travelled more than 35 kilometres. Nasa and Goodyear Tyre recently teamed up to develop a tyre made of 800 independent springs, any of which can fail without compromising the rest of the tyre. Engineers tested the design on Nasas Lunar Electric Rover over rocky terrain at Johnson Space Centre in Houston, Texas. Goodyear hopes the tough, airless tyres generate interest from re departments, mine owners and other operators of indispensable wheeled vehicles.

ALEX HUTCHINSON
ON THE WEB > Visit www.popularmechanics.co.za to read more about Nasa and Goodyear's energy-efcient airless tyre.

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Illustrations by Merc Iglesias

E N T E R TA I N I N G D A N G E R

Stunt master
Decades before directors relied on CGI to create action sequences, exceptionally brave stuntmen and -women performed every extreme act themselves. And none were quite as brave as Hal Needham, who appeared in thousands of TV episodes and lms, doubling for icons including Kirk Douglas and Charles Bronson. Theres no such thing as a great stunt if theres no danger involved, the 80-year-old legend says. In honour of his memoir, Stuntman! My car-crashing, plane-jumping, bonebreaking, death-defying Hollywood life, on shelves in February, Needham walks POPULAR MECHANICS through his favourite stunts. BEN STEWART
HAL NEEDHAM'S MOST EPIC STUNTS
Hal Needham

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YOU ASKED FOR IT


(19501959) This TV stunt called for Needham to jump off a ying plane and tackle a man riding a horse. The pilot ying at 90 km/h, 5 metres above the ground kept the plane from stalling by pointing the nose upward. Needham used hand signals to help the pilot get into position, then let go and sailed 6 metres through the air, safely tackling the rider.

LITTLE BIG MAN


(1970) In this lm sequence, Needham leapt from galloping horses on to a stagecoach, then did a series of 4-metre standing broad jumps from the bare backs of one stagecoach horse to the next. We used the momentum of the horses to propel us, Needham says. As the horse pushed off his back legs, you jumped.

GATOR
(1976) Doubling for Burt Reynolds, Needham had to leap from a rolling pickup travelling at 90 km/h. As he sailed through the air, Needham saw the pickup was coming down even with his body. The truck turned over sideways and crashed down next to Needham missing him by half a metre. Had it gone straight, it would have landed on me, he says.

Picture by Everett Collection (Hal Needham); Illustrations by Vic Kulihin

P M U P D AT E

Secret space plane lands


In an early-morning touchdown in December, the US Air Forces X-37B unmanned spacecraft (see Return of the space plane, June 2010) red its manoeuvring engine to put itself into position for an autonomous landing at Californias Vandenberg Air Force Base. The X-37B had just completed its inaugural, 220-plus-day mission in orbit. The Air Force is not saying what experiments the X-37B conducted, but satellite watchers and defense wonks say its shifting orbits indicate the vehicle was being tested as a reconnaissance platform that could launch quickly and move around in space to monitor multiple targets at unpredictable times. A second mission is planned for spring 2011.

VIDEO > Watch the launch of the US Air Force's X-37B space plane back in April 2010 on www.popularmechanics.co.za

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[ TECHWATCH ]

U AV D E V E L O P M E N T

Hitching a ride out West

It doesnt really count as a rst ight, but late last year, Boeings Phantom Ray, an unmanned stealth aircraft, got a lift on the back of a 747 airliner that Nasa had converted to carry the space shuttle. The Phantom Ray travelled from St Louis in Missouri to California, where staff at Dryden Flight Research Centre will conduct test ights. Boeing is developing the Phantom Ray with its own funds to keep pace with Northrop Grummans Navy-funded UAV programme.

A TECH CULTURE

MARINES VS ALIENS

Michelle Rodriguez as Air Force tech sergeant Santos in Battle: Los Angeles.

AIR

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An officer and an alien

W
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hat if all the UFO sightings over the years werent weather balloons or secret military planes, but alien scout craft doing reconnaissance for a future invasion? Thats the premise of Battle: Los Angeles, an onthe-ground view of a worldwide invasion from the perspective of one squad of US Marines. Its like District 9 meets Black Hawk down meets Modern warfare, says star Michelle Rodriguez (Avatar). Thats the best way to explain it. Director Jonathan Liebesman wanted his actors to bring realism to their portrayal of Marines, so his crew contacted Lieutenant-Colonel Jason Johnston, artilleryman turned director of the Marine Corps Entertainment Ofce in Los Angeles. The

ofce handles requests from productions that want the support of the Corps, which includes everything from providing reference recordings for video games to scheduling a productions use of assets such as helicopters. Johnston and his crew looked over the script, advised the prop and costume departments and subjected the actors to a threeweek boot camp: like real Marines, the cast slept outside, participated in physical training, learned tactics and hit the gun range. But whereas the actors Marine guise was nearly perfect, not everything in Battle: Los Angeles hits that same standard of accuracy. Rodriguez, who sat down with Air Force techs in the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Division to research her role, says some of the technical information her character imparts was simplied for the benet of the audience. One character, for example, asks if radiofrequency transmissions could take out electronics. I said yeah, because I was supposed to, but thats not right electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) are what do that! Rodriguez says. Producers think that people dont get it, but kids who play video games know what EMPs are. But Im aware that its a lm, so I have to say, let it go, Michelle.

The aliens rely on large unmanned attack aircraft to soften human resistance; real-life Marine squads launch hand-held UAVs to see surrounding terrain.

SEA

Expeditionary warfare depends on supporting ground troops from areas away from combat. Marines use large surface ships; the alien equivalents emerge from underwater and underground.

LAND

Alien footsoldiers face an experienced foe in the streets of LA; the US Marines rst urban ght occurred in Tripoli in 1805.

ERIN MCCARTHY

POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA APRIL 2011

Illustrations by Merc Iglesias

E V E R Y D AY P H Y S I C S

Secrets of a dry dog


With a few brisk shakes, wet dogs can remove about half the water from their fur. Inspired by this behaviour, a team of engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, led by assistant professor David Hu, is studying the drying behaviour of canines and other mammals in order to mimic their efciency. A washing machines spin cycle takes about 10 minutes of constant spinning to remove approximately the same percentage of moisture. Hu and his team are working with washing-machine manufacturers such as Whirlpool to instill dog-like snapping motions into everyday appliances. KATHRYN KENNEDY

WOOF
Illustrations by Merc Iglesias

IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Woodie Flowers
Professor emeritus, MIT Woodie Flowers thinks the best use of a robot is to get teens excited about engineering. Since its inception in 1992, he has advised inventor Dean Kamens FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition, a league for students who design robots that race through obstacle courses. ERIK SOFGE PM: How do FIRST robots today compare with those in the early competitions? WF: When I started, it was paper clips and rubber bands. Now its super-powerful processors and rapid prototyping. PM: Kamen has always said that FIRST events should be televised. WF: If our goal is to get on television, Im out. If our goal is for more people to know about FIRST and be positive about it, Im in. Right now, television on the whole represents many things that I dont respect. PM: How have robots changed the lives of participants? WF: The really interesting stories have to do with the people: the kids from New York City who built their robot out of plywood and qualied for the nationals; gang members who became students because of FIRST. The robots are a wonderful and demanding project that makes all of that happen.

WorldMags Dogs rotate their spines


about 30 degrees with each twist. Their loose skin continues to move, however, allowing for a total oscillation of about 100 degrees in each direction, providing extra force to eject water droplets from fur.

Labrador retrievers shake at their optimal frequency 4,5 Hz to get dry. Canines instinctively shake at a high enough frequency to enable centripetal force to overcome the surface tension keeping water droplets on their fur.

The average radius of a Labrador retrievers abdomen is about 23 cm. How fast a dog must shake to become dry depends on the radius of its cylindrical abdomen. The larger the radius, the lower the frequency at which the pooch has to shake.

iStockphoto/Louis Hiemstra

VIDEO > Visit www.popularmechanics.co.za to watch an interesting video analysis of a wet


dog shake.

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[ TECHWATCH ]

W H AT W E N T W R O N G

Airbus engine explosion


Last November, an engine on a Qantas A380 taking off from Singapore exploded. Shards of metal burst out of the massive cowling, punching holes in the wing and fuselage, severing wires and shredding fuel and hydraulic lines. By a stroke of luck, two additional A380 pilots happened to be on board, and they helped the captain and his two ofcers struggle for an hour and a half to cope with the aftermath of the uncontained engine failure. The team managed to get the airliner and its 469 passengers and crew safely back on the ground, averting what could have been the third-deadliest aviation accident in history.

bearing and the turbine discs, one of the hottest parts of the engine.

INTERMEDIATEPRESSURE (IP) TURBINE DISC


The power to turn the compressor blades comes from this spinning disc. The IP disc is designed to handle extreme temperatures, but when the leaking oil caught re within the buffer space, its metal heated past the failure point.

STUB PIPE Airliner engines concentrate inrushing air with spinning compressors, dump fuel into the airstream and ignite the mixture to produce thrust. Point of failure: Intermediate-pressure (IP) turbine
A tube that carries oil to lubricate bearings. The pipe in the Airbuss engine was poorly made; one of its walls was too thin. Subjected to engine vibration, it eventually cracked, leaking oil.

TURBINE BLADES
Long, thin edges that rotate in the stream of hot gases exiting the engine. Spinning at several thousand revolutions per minute, the blades tips moved as fast as bullets. When the IP disc failed, the blades ew apart in a spray of shrapnel, nearly destroying the airliner.
Illustrations by David Santana/Picture by ATSB

WorldMags

BEARINGSTRUCTURE BUFFER SPACE


The gap between rotating discs and the assembly supporting them. The ammable oil sprayed between the

HP turbine

LP turbine

Low-pressure compressor (fan)

IP compressor

Conclusion: Modern turbofan engines operate so close to the limits of material science that a single small aw in this case, in an oil pipe can lead to catastrophic failure. European regulators required other airlines to High-pressure check their Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines for the same problem, and (HP) compressor the company says its engineers have devised a x. Most aviation experts expect no similar failures. JEFF WISE

MODERN MEDICINE

Cure for ageing?


Every time an organisms cells divide and replicate, protective caps on the tips of the DNA strands called telomeres get shorter. When they are too short, the cells stop dividing which researchers have found to be a key cause of ageing. An enzyme called telomerase helps elongate the telomeres. The scientists genetically engineered mice to keep the telomerase dormant, essentially causing them to age faster. But when researchers exposed these mice to a drug that activated the telomerase, the symptoms of ageing reversed. Applying results to humans will be a challenge, since too much telomerase may trigger cancer cell growth. The best bet for longevity is exercise: University of Colorado at Boulder researchers reported last year that the telomeres in runners past their 50s were as long as those found in people in their 20s.

RESEARCHERS AT DANA-FARBER CANCER INSTITUTE HAVE REVERSED PHYSICAL AND MENTAL SIGNS OF AGE IN MICE BY SWITCHING ON A GENE. AH

How does it work?

What was the experiment?

Will it work for people?

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POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA APRIL 2011

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WorldMags

[ GREAT STUFF ]
From home improvement to outdoors, wheels to electronics, heres the newest gear youll want to own.

COMPILED BY SEAN WOODS seanw@ramsaymedia.co.za

Get the party started


Your DJ fantasy is about to become reality. Ion Audios Discover DJ system harnesses the power of your Mac or PC, allowing you to DJ parties, events and even clubs using the music thats already stored on your computer. Comprising a DJ control surface with a standard USB connection and powerful MixVibes Cross LE performance software, it allows you to mix and scratch your music. There are two large performance platters and a central mixer section with a crossfader, buttons and knobs including bass and treble controls. With a layout that recreates the twodecks-and-a-mixer setup preferred by

the pros, you can pitch the music up and down to perfectly match the tempo or beats per minute between tracks and create seamless mixes. An automatic beat-matching feature takes the guesswork out of this tricky piece of DJing. Price: about R1 550. Contact The Gadget Shop on 012-346 2726 or visit www.thegadget shop.co.za

WorldMags

PLAY THE GAME, IN 3D


If you enjoy gaming on the go, then Nintendos latest mini marvel, the 3DS, is sure to blow your hair back. The bottom touchscreen allows you to manage your game via the supplied telescopic stylus, while the top screen displays riveting 3D visuals without the need for special glasses. A 3D depth slider allows you to increase or scale back the 3D effect and set it at the level you enjoy the most. In addition to the familiar +Control Pad and button controls, the 3DS includes a Circle Pad to facilitate 360-degree manipulation, giving it the freedom and precision required to play games in 3D virtual worlds. Youll nd three cameras;

DARKNESS BEGONE

one pointing at the user, and the other two pointing outwards, allowing you to take 3D photos or utilise the six augmented reality cards that come with the unit. Other features include built-in motion and gyro sensors, an SD memory card slot (a 2 GB card is supplied) and Wi-Fi connectivity. Price: about R2 800. Visit www.nintendo.co.za

Nocturnal activities can be a lot of fun. However, that doesnt mean stumbling around in pitch darkness for its own sake has any merit. The latest compact-but-blinding solution to this age-old problem is the diminutive, yet powerful LED Lenser P5R. Just 117,5 mm long and weighing a mere 80 g, it can project a beam of 210 lumens as far as 175 metres on its maximum setting. The rechargeable lithium-ion battery has a burn life of about seven hours, and can be recharged up to 1 000 times via its magnetic wallmounted 220V charger. Alternately, you can just charge it by means of your computers USB port. Price: about R830. Contact distributors Awesome Tools on 021-975 2700 or visit www.awesometools.co.za

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POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA APRIL 2011

ELIMINATE CABLE CLUTTER


Unless youre from the clutter is cool school of interior decorating, a spaghetti junction of unsightly wires in your lounge is a no-no. Fortunately, the Messless Gadget Charging Kit, capable of charging up to four devices simultaneously, eliminates just that. Measuring 20 x 20 x 6,5 cm and featuring a glass disc with four connectors and a black circular base, it wont look out of place in even the most stylish of homes. There are six easily swappable adaptors (Nokia, Nokia Mini, iPod, mini USB, Sony Ericsson K750 and PSP; a Blackberry adaptor is sold separately). Price: about R600 (excluding delivery). Contact Mantality on 0861 626 825 or visit www.mantality.co.za

HOME IS WHERE YOUR PCS AT

Packard Bells oneTwo i9350 touchscreen Desktop may be a looker, but it can do the job. For starters, its glossy black curves incorporate stereo speakers, with buttons on the bezel to control volume, brightness and keyboard lighting. Features include a full HD 58 cm touchscreen, a 3,2 GHz i3 processor, 1 TB hard drive, 5.1 channel surround sound, up to six USB ports, a 5-in-1 card reader and an integrated Webcam. Price: about R10 000. Visit www.packardbell.com

WorldMags Airport travellers are

JUST SCOOTING ALONG


familiar with that tense, harried footslog along the interminable corridor between security gate and aircraft, often accompanied by PA system warnings that youre about to be ofoaded. If youve ever thought there has to be a better way, youre not alone: the Micro Luggage is a scootcase that you can ride, rather than having to drag behind you. Sized to comply with cabin baggage regulations, it ts in the overhead locker. The sturdy Samsonite case has a 26-litre capacity and two modular compartments with a separate laptop sleeve. When youre ready for that long haul down long airport corridors, you simply pull out the T-bar handle and, with a click, pop out the third wheel, transforming your case into a functional scooter. It can handle weights

up to 100 kg. Youll cause a sensation, but to avoid causing a scene, the back wheel has a brake to prevent you from crashing into bemused onlookers. Price: about R3 000. Contact Micro on 076 373 4796 or visit www.micro. co.za

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[ GREAT STUFF ]

THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE


Small business owners looking for a good mix of functionality, speed and reliability in their ofce appliances should consider Epsons new Stylus Ofce BX625FWD InkJet all-in-one printer, scanner, copier and fax. You get double-sided printing speeds of 15 ppm in black and 7 ppm for colour, an automatic document feeder (making it easy to copy, fax and scan double-sided documents), and you can fax, print and scan over Wi-Fi or Ethernet basically, all the features youd expect to nd in a more expensive device. Price: about R2 100. Available from Mustek at 011-237 1000; visit www.epson.co.za

Hitting the sweet spot


At one extreme, youve got Smartphones with screens that are too small; at the other, tablets that are just too big. Smack in the middle, the Dell Streak. This Android-based mini-tablet measures a compact 15 cm wide x 7,8 cm high x 1 cm deep. However, its 12,7 cm WVGA touchscreen (using scratchresistant Corning Gorilla Glass) is large enough to present Web pages in their natural form. Intelligent facial proximity and ambient light sensors automatically adjust screen brightness to help optimise battery life. Other features include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 1 GHz processor, 5-megapixel camera, front- and rearfacing camcorder, built-in GPS, expandable storage, and connectivity options that include 3G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth EDR 2.0. Price: about R7 000. Contact Dell on 0860 102 575 or visit www.dell.co.za

WorldMags

RIDE IN STYLE
Taking your car out of the garage to travel just a few clicks down the road makes no nancial or green sense at all. So instead, why not hop on one of Pumas trendy Pico unisex urban bikes (theres a standard and a folding version) and hit the streets in style? Designed in collaboration with Biomega, it boasts smart European design and commuter technology
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combined with urban American style. Other features include a lightweight aluminium frame, Shimano Acera 8-speed gear set, disc brakes and an oversized front carrier. Expect to pay about R9 000 for the standard version and R9 500 for the folding equivalent. Contact Puma SA on 021-551 0832 or visit www.puma.com

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POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA APRIL 2011

X MARKS THE SPOT

WorldMags

Professionals or serious outdoor enthusiasts struggling to collate accurate georeferenced data will appreciate Delormes Earthmate PN-60 handheld GPS-GIS (Geographic Information System) device. Features include a 32-channel GPS chipset, dual-core processor, elevation prole cutaway views, world base map, almanac information, a sensitive barometric altimeter, electronic compass and 3,5 GB of onboard memory expandable up to 32 GB. First, you need to create and upload a base map on to the unit this can include high-resolution aerial photos, cadastral information, conservation data layers or simply a detailed 1:50 000 topographical map. You then create and upload a questionnaire form for data collection in the eld. For example, birders could collect data on birds spotted, including information such as species, description, habitat, gender, lifecycle and more. Engineers could collate information on the status of water pipelines. Rural town planners and estate agents can see when they are crossing property boundaries, even when theres no fence. And, if creating a base map sounds like a pain, the experts at Geostratics will do it for you. Price: about R4 400. Contact Geostratics on 012-851 0078 or visit www.delorme.co.za

FUN BODY TONER

Keeping your body in shape using conventional methods can take more effort and commitment than most mere mortals are prepared to consider. But if you would like to get into shape, are itching to nd out about that endorphin rush thing that fanatical sporting folk rave about, and would still like to have some serious fun while youre at it, you should give the 7Leagueboot running blades a try. In terms of activating muscles, theyre said to be ve times more effective than jogging even your abs get toned automatically. And unlike jogging, they minimise harmful impacts on the knees. With a few minutes worth of acclimatising, youll be ready to leap 3 metres in height and 5 metres in distance. Price: about R2 000 (childrens version) and R3 000 (adult version). Contact 7Leagueboots SA on 082 828 7421 or visit www.7league.co.za
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POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA APRIL 2011

[ GREAT STUFF ]

ROUGH IT IN COMFORT
When youre hitting a remote trail with your backpack crammed full of food, clothing and other necessities, weight becomes an issue, fast. Fortunately, First Ascents 5-in-1 poncho goes a long way to lighten your load. As a poncho, its big enough to keep both you and your backpack dry. It also shazam! transmogries into a hammock, shelter, ground sheet and rain catcher. Although made from a tough, highly durable woven fabric and coated with heavy-duty polyurethane waterproofing, the 5-in-1 poncho weighs just 308 grams, and folds up into a compact package. To make a shelter, you prop up one side with a trekking pole or stick (the poncho comes with two guy ropes). Then, adjust the press stud and Velcro closures to create an effective one-man shelter. For more leisurely times, slip two cords through the ponchos double-stitched ends and youve got a hammock that can handle up to 100 kg. Price: about R600. Contact First Ascent on 021-787 9380 or visit www.rstascent.co.za

SAY WHAT?
Although Bellens A100 cellphone is designed primarily for people with dodgy hearing, it makes clear communication possible for those working in noisy environments. It uses bone conductor technology: when placed on facial bones close to the ear, it passes vibrations to the inner ear. The device integrates with hearing aids that support telecoil functionality, transmitting the sound directly from the phone to the hearing aid. Other features include an SOS emergency button, three quick-dial buttons, FM radio, torch and a large keypad. You get a colour LCD display, desktop charger and a Li-Ion rechargeable battery thats good for 240 hours on standby and ve hours of talk time. Price: about R1 300. Contact Vodacoms Specic Needs contact centre on 082 12580, or visit www. vodacom.co.za

WorldMags

CATCH THE WAVE


Gung-ho surfers looking to showcase their radical waveriding or to analyse their wipeouts should really consider GoPros HD Surf HERO. Its the worlds only 1080p HD onboard video and still photo surng camera. Apart from being incredibly small (it measures 42 mm high x 60 mm wide x 30 mm deep) and lightweight (167 g for the

as single shot, triple shot and self-timer modes. The batteries last for more than 2,5 hours of HD video or automatic stills on a 32 GB SD card (not included), so you can document your entire session with a single push of the button on the paddle out. Price: about R3 300. Contact Action Cameras on 082 559 7786 or visit www.actioncameras.co.za

camera and waterproof housing), it can be mounted on any surfboard in seconds. Capable of recording professional quality 1080p/960p and 720p HD resolutions at 30 and 60 frames per second, it can also shoot 5 MP photos automatically every 2 seconds while you surf. Other photo modes include time lapse of 5, 10, 30 and 60 seconds, as well

PM

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WorldMags

[ IN FOCUS ]

COMPILED BY THE EDITORS, popularmechanics@ramsaymedia.co.za

Make a statement. Tell the time.

Watches

Meet 2011s most stylish and advanced timepieces.

Industrial chic meets subtle sensuality. Steampunk versus classic elegance. If last years watches leaned towards retro extravagance, lightweight materials (titanium and ceramic) and stratospheric price tags, this years offerings are marginally more subdued, yet reassuringly elegant. We share some of the best and most outrageous designs from the annual Baselworld show in Switzerland, and invite you to drool.

WorldMags

MB&F HOROLOGICAL MACHINE NO 4 THUNDERBOLT Yes, but is it art?


A traditional wristwatch has a relatively straightforward role: to tell the time. All you need is a hand for the hours, another for the minutes, and perhaps a power reserve indicator to keep track of running time. Horological Machine No 4 Thunderbolt has a hand for the hours, another for the minutes and a power reserve indicator. In other words, it tells the time. The Thunderbolts engine is the culmination of three years of development, each of its 300-plus components including the regulator and even the screws being designed specically for this watch. Horizontally congured dual mainspring barrels drive two vertical gear trains, transferring 72 hours worth of energy to the twin pods indicating hours/minutes and power reserve. Oil-pressure gauge? Dont be silly. Cool factor: ***

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REBELLION T-1000 Ergonomically tactile pleasure?


With a power reserve of more than 1 000 hours thats more than 40 days the T-1000 is not a demanding timepiece. The concept was born in 2008 after the famous Le Mans 24-hour race, in an atmosphere redolent with the smell of motor oil and hot engines. The Rebellion teams thinking went as follows: If we can transform these ne-tuned racing thoroughbreds into 24-hour long distance endurance racers, why not do the same with a watch? Er yes. At this point we turn to the impassioned prose of the brands marketing team, who reveal the following: There is a sensation of ying as the viewer gazes down through the massive opening to the vertical roller-borne time indications below. Attention then plunges towards 6 oclock, where the inclined double balance releases the immense power at a precisely controlled rate. The oversized winding lever endows the T-1000 with a strong and virile identity as well as an ergonomically tactile pleasure while lling the tank. Cool factor: **
POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA APRIL 2011

BREITLING CHRONOMAT How much? If you have to ask


Breitlings agship Chronomat 01 model is a limited series just 2 000 in steel and 200 in rose gold endowed with a transparent sapphire crystal case back that provides a view of the chronograph movement and here we are talking seriously elegant innards. First introduced in 2009, this iconic model bears an individual number engraved at 9 oclock. Not that anyone would ask. Cool factor: *****

MB&F HOROLOGICAL MACHINE FROG Ribbet. Ribbet

WorldMags

Were told that one of designer Maximilian Bssers main goals in creating MB&F was to bring a childs sense of awe and sense of playfulness into high-end watchmaking. This goes a long way towards explaining the existence of the unusual Frog, with its twin bulbous domes, which enable one to tell the time from many angles without having to turn the wrist a physical challenge beyond most of us. Rotating domes of this size and shape posed a number of technical challenges. For starters, even the slightest imperfection in the sapphire might introduce a disconcerting magnication effect. They are milled from the outside and then the inside to arrive at a paper-thin wall thickness of just 0,28 mm, which reduces their energy requirements to an absolute minimum. The Frog is available in titanium with blue rotor or a limited edition of 12 featuring black-coated titanium and a green rotor. Cool factor: ***

OMEGA SKELETON
Classic with a twist
Its full name is Omega Skeleton Central Tourbillon Co-Axial Platinum Limited Edition, and we rather like it. How can we be sure this watch wont be seen on the wrist of every Tom, Dick and Harry? Because Omega are making only 18 of them. Your money buys a classic Tourbillon movement in which all of the main components responsible for the timepieces precision are assembled in a cage that rotates once every 60 seconds, offsetting the effect of gravity on the watchs performance (hey, they said it). Interestingly, the central Tourbillons hands cannot be mounted on a central shaft in the conventional way. Instead, they are attached to sapphire crystal discs and propelled by gearing at their peripheries of the discs, with the result that they appear to oat freely above the movement. Cool factor: ****
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WorldMags

[ IN FOCUS ]

DANIEL STROM

MEMENTO MORI

Go on, express yourself


Daniel Stroms Agonium collection, including this unusual model targeted at Amazonian headhunters, was apparently created with an idea of life nitude, which would seem to t the skull theme rather well. Theyve named it Memento Mori, Carpe Diem (remember your mortality, seize the day), and its intended to make purchasers appreciate every moment of life. The water-resistant watch case is crafted from silver, gold, palladium or platinum and comes with a double-curved sapphire crystal. The time is displayed in black or bone-white (sic), and the watch comes with an alligator-skin strap. Cool factor: *

WorldMags

ROMAIN JEROME STEAMPUNK Who needs a dial, anyway?


Galvanised by the Titanic DNA shockwave, Romain Jerome has launched a timekeeping statement expressed through polished steel claws, pistons, Roman numerals and a bezel in oxidised steel. (Damn! And we thought it was rust.) Just so you know, its origins lie in an extraordinary fusion of authentic steel from the wrecked ocean liner and that supplied by the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast, where the Titanic was built almost a century ago. A notarised certicate authenticates the origin of the materials. Please note that the watch doesnt actually produce steam. Cool factor: ****

HAMILTON TIME PLAYER Know your place


Hamilton took inspiration for their Time Player from a design the company originally created for a clock in the Stanley Kubrick movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and brought it back to Earth. Our ancestors believed the planets surface was at, and Hamilton playfully revisits this idea with a design that is resolutely contemporary and inspired by a society constantly on the move. The at titanium case is split into nine squares, eight lled with movable counters and one left empty, much like a sliding puzzle. The counters, separated by lines symbolising latitude and longitude, enable the wearer to set and measure time in the current location, plus three others. Cool factor: ***
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AUDEMARS PIGUET MILLENARY So money is no object, then?

The audible indication of the time, initially created to tell the time in the dark in an age when electricity had not yet been invented, is the oldest of all horological complications. Audemars Piguets new Millenary Minute Repeater model is in line with this tradition, featuring a striking mechanism and mini-gongs. A class act by any measure. Cool factor: *****

JEAN DUNAND PALACE

WorldMags

Look closely, now


Want to know what inspired this watch? It was the cultural and societal transformation of Western civilisation during the 50-year period from 1880 to 1930. (We know this because the people at Jean Dunand told us.) More specically, it was Londons celebrated Crystal Palace, built for the Great Exhibition of 1851, with a little aesthetic input from the architectural pinnacle of the era the Eiffel Tower. At the heart of the manually wound Palace beats a one-minute ying tourbillon. Above it are skeletal hour and minute hands, and a sapphire crystal 60-minute counter for the chronograph. On either side of the ying tourbillon are two vertical tracks, the one in the right-hand corner charting its 72-hour power reserve, the other a linear GMT indicator. Instead of a rotary dial, the Palace shows its second time zone through 12-hour indications on either side of the ovalshaped trace. Get this: so detail-rich is the design that each watch is supplied with a magnifying glass to enable the owner to study it! Cool factor: ****

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[ SCIENCE ]

If I show you

MY GENOME,
will you show me yours?
ichael Cariaso, developer of the human genetics wiki SNPedia and the online gene analysis tool Promethease, has helped thousands of people unlock the secrets of their own genetic code. But when it comes to making his own gene screening tests publicly available for all the world to see, Cariaso prefers to hold the key close to his chest, worrying that such transparency might lead to personal embarrassment or discrimination by insurance companies or future employers. Someone later might discover, he says, that I have genes for a short penis and low intelligence. Cariaso is certainly a smart guy, and he is hardly alone in his general concerns. (With regard to his genitalia, as the philosopher Wittgenstein said, Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.) But hes wrong. Fears about the loss of genetic privacy are greatly exaggerated. We are fast approaching an era in which genetic information is no longer exclusive or medicalised. Instead, as screening costs plummet and our knowledge about genetics expands, virtually everyone will soon be able to have their genotypes at their fingertips. Knowing and sharing that information will enhance, not jeopardise, our sense of ourselves, change the way we consume medicine and plan for the future, and influence how we relate to each other. Thats why Ive decided to post my genotype screening information online. You can read all about me at snpedia. com/index.php/User:Ronald_Bailey. As a service to future consumers and as a guide to the world we will all soon be living in, here are my answers to the most common questions about and objections to genetic testing.

HOW WOULD YOU FEEL ABOUT SHARING THE RESULTS OF YOUR GENE SCREENING WITH THE WORLD? CAN YOU BE SURE IT WONT BACKFIRE ON YOU? RONALD BAILEY WorldMagsSUBMITS HIS SALIVA AND REVEALS ALL...

How does genetic screening work?


Right now, the cheapest, simplest way for a consumer to get some preliminary insight into his or her genetic make-up is to pay a few hundred bucks for the services of a gene screening company such as 23andMe, deCODEme, Navigenics, or Pathway Genomics. Unlike colonoscopies or even ordinary blood tests, a gene screen isnt gross, scary or inconvenient. Simply spit into a test tube, send it off, and a few weeks later you get a readout of up to 1 million single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from your genome. SNPs are variations in an individuals genetic code that are useful in understanding differences among people and for identifying some disease risks. In May last year, one company, Pathway Genomics, even arranged to offer its screening test over the counter at Walgreens stores in the US. Unfortunately, a hyper-cautious Food and Drug

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iStockphoto/Mads Abildgaard

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IF I SHOW YOU MY GENOME , WILL YOU SHOW ME YOURS?

WorldMags

Administration (FDA) sent a letter to Pathway Genomics asserting that the test was a regulated medical device, prompting Walgreens to postpone selling the service for now. In June, the FDA sent a letter to other gene screening companies, to test-chip maker Illumina, and to the whole-genome sequencing company Knome, ordering them all to show why their tests should be exempt from the agencys pre-market clearance regime for regulated medical devices. In his letter, the FDAs Alberto Gutierrez expressed worry that consumers may make medical decisions in reliance on this information. Well, yes; thats the whole point. People are already making those same decisions, but with much less information. Vague stories about Aunt Sallys breast cancer prompt a mammogram; an uncles heart attack leads to some halfhearted jogging. People make health decisions all the time. The FDAs aggressive regulation of direct-to-consumer gene testing does little more than keep information away from decision makers. Despite these regulatory travails, there are at least nine companies in the US that will go beyond checking for gene variants and will soon offer to decode all 3 billion DNA base-pairs in a persons whole genome. This is astonishingly rapid progress from very expensive pure science to relatively cheap commercialisation. The first complete human genome was sequenced back in 2000, a US Government project that cost almost R22 billion. In November 2009, the privately held Complete Genomics sequenced a whole human genome for just R12 000. One company, Pacific Biosciences, claims that by 2013 it will be able to map a consumers genome in 15 minutes for less than R8 000. Many of these companies are competing for the $10 million (about R73 million) Archon Genomics X Prize, funded by the Canadian geologist and diamond mine entrepreneur Stewart Blusson and his wife, Marilyn Blusson, which will be awarded to the first group to build a device that accurately sequences 100 human genomes in 10 days for less than $10 000 (R73 000) per genome. I doubled up on genetic testing, receiving reports from two different companies, 23andMe and Pathway Genomics. I signed up for an early 23andMe test at R7 300 and a later Pathway Genomics test for R2 900. In both cases, about six weeks after I sent off my spit, I received an
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The spit kit from 23andme. All you need do is spit into the tube and send it off to their lab, which analyses your DNA in 6-8 weeks. Sadly, the service is not available to South Africans.

e-mail message telling me my test results were available. I got 23andMes results first, and I logged on to its Web site with the kind of happy anticipation one feels opening birthday presents.

What do results look like?


The good news: I have low odds of suffering from male pattern baldness, and my chance of getting rheumatoid arthritis is less than 1 in 100, compared with the average risk of 2,4 per 100 people. Unfortunately, I carry two gene variants that increase my risk of age-related macular degeneration and one variant that reduces the risk, which means that combined my risk of going blind is 9,5 out 100, compared with the typical risk of 7 out of 100. It is just as well that I have no plans to become a competitive short-distance runner, since I do not have the gene variants for fast-twitch muscles often found in world-class sprinters. I also have gene variants suggesting that being breastfed would probably have raised my IQ by six or seven points. The tests revealed theres no truth to the family legend that were related to a Cherokee princess. 23andMes ancestor screening tests suggest that it would be hard for someone to be more genetically

European than I am. According to my mitochondrial DNA, my maternal line descends from Haplogroup U5, which arose among early Homo sapiens sapiens colonisers of Europe around 40 000 years ago. According to my Y chromosome, my paternal line appears to hail from Ireland. The results from Pathway Genomics later confirmed this genealogy. In the course of making information understandable to users, both 23andMe and Pathway Genomics generally cite research that has been strongly confirmed by the peer-reviewed literature. But if youre hankering for more detailed and speculative insights into your genetic information, you can run the raw data through Promethease, a trait analysis tool that links test results to research reports compiled at the wiki-style SNPedia. As is often the case with crowdsourced information, SNPedia is comprehensive but messy. When I compare the reports from 23andMe and Pathway Genomics with the results I got at Promethease, however, all three pretty much agree. Promethease tells me I have the complement of alleles strongly suggesting that I am male. Very reassuring. It also agrees with 23andMe that I have some alleles indicating a low probability

The good news: I have low odds of suffering from male pattern baldness...
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WorldMags

iStockphoto/Don Bayley

of being bald. Check. An allele for light skin colour. Check. A set of alleles showing I can digest milk as an adult. Check again. I was also happy to learn that my risk of ovarian cancer is probably onethird lower than average. Skimming through Promethease, I also find I have gene variants that raise my IQ by seven points. In this regard I am not particularly special, since 30 per cent of people have the variant that confers four extra IQ points and 47 per cent share the variant that adds three. People who dont have these specific variants may well have versions of genes that boost their IQs in other ways.

There is no single gene for such common ailments as heart disease, diabetes or cancer.
gene for such common ailments as heart disease, diabetes or cancer. Instead, hundreds of genes combine with influences from the environment to either increase or reduce risks. As the saying goes, Genes load the gun; the environment pulls the trigger. The more useful information that gene scanning can provide today is how we are likely to react to various pharmaceuticals. Drug response can be predicted accurately for more than a dozen drugs, noted US National Institute of Health Director Francis Collins in the April 2010 issue of Nature. For example, 23andMe, Pathway Genomics and Promethease all suggest that I would respond strongly to the blood thinner warfarin, which would mean that, should I ever need it, my physician should probably aim to stabilise me at a lower dose than average. By contrast, all three sources report that I should respond typically to the blood-thinning drug Plavix. In March last year, the FDA updated Plavixs label to inform doctors that there is now a genetic test to determine how patients will respond to it. Given my genetic risks for heart disease, Pathway Genomics reports the good news that people with my genetic markers receive significantly greater benefit from intensive statin therapy (such as Lipitor) than people who do not have these markers. But in general, the results of current tests are probabilistic calculations based on a selection of low-risk susceptibility alleles. The right way to think about the current direct-to-consumer genotype screening tests is that they are a preliminary technology. They offer supplementary, not dispositive, information about various health risks. The tests are not perfect, but they are the beginning of the process through which consumers, doctors and purveyors will learn how to better interpret and use genetic information over time. The only real response to many disease risks right now remains that hoary but correct advice to eat your vegetables, lose weight, exercise more, and not smoke.
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Is the information useful?


Most people dont need genetic testing to find out whether they are wellthatched white males who can digest milk. Confirming the obvious is gratifying, but genetic testing is supposed to offer access to the unseen future. Since gene hunters generally try to figure out how heredity correlates with disease, the gene testing companies and Promethease produced a lot of information about how my genes might contribute to illness. In my case, it looks like it was a good idea to quit my three-pack-a-day cigarette habit 23 years ago. According to Promethease, I have several gene variants that significantly boost my chances of lung cancer, accelerated lung decline, and congestive obstructive pulmonary disease. Pathway Genomics confirms this result, noting that your genetic profile suggests that you may be vulnerable to lung cancer. I also have a variant that correlates with staying addicted if one becomes a smoker, which makes me wonder about a possible willpower gene hiding somewhere. Cardiovascular disease risk is particularly interesting to me since my father died of a heart attack at age 70 and my mother, who suffered several heart ailments, died of a stroke at the same age. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States: according to the American Heart Association, 830 000 Americans died of cardiovascular disease in 2006, some 425 000 of them from coronary artery disease. So its not surprising that I, like many people, have genes conferring some risk of heart disease. Promethease finds that I have an SNP that increases my chances of coronary artery disease by 50 per cent above average. Pathway Genomics measures 12 different markers for coronary artery

Be still, my heart. The writers test revealed that he has a higher-thanaverage risk of atrial brillation.

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disease and 11 gene variants associated with the risk of heart attack. The results suggest I am somewhat more susceptible than average to both. 23andMe tests for only one variant, which indicates that my risk of heart attack is slightly below average, at 20,9 out of 100 Caucasian males, whereas the average is 21,2 out 100. All three platforms find that I am at greater risk than average for experiencing atrial fibrillation, a heartbeat characterised by a fast, irregular rhythm. The differences in reported results between the companies arise not from inaccuracies but from their selection of studies to include in their analyses and their interpretation of the research. In any case, a 64-slice CT heart scan a few years ago showed that I had no sign of significant coronary blockages. Also, my total cholesterol level is 167 milligrams per decilitre, well below the 200 milligrams per decilitre threshold that increases heart disease risk. What other genetic flaws did Promethease suggest? I have one copy of a gene variant that increases my relative risk of type 2 diabetes by 10 per cent; I also have two copies of an allele that increases my chances of type 1 diabetes to 20 times the average. That sounds bad, but recent tests show that my blood glucose levels are well within the normal range, indicating that I dont have diabetes. My diabetes results illustrate an important concept: there is no single

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POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA APRIL 2011

IF I SHOW YOU MY GENOME , WILL YOU SHOW ME YOURS?

What about Alzheimers?


Alzheimers disease envelops us in a fog of forgetting, gradually stealing our memories, minds and identities. It robs us of our dignity, leaving us a helpless burden on our families. The prospect of Alzheimers disease is so frightening that two prominent researchers who have had their genomes scanned James Watson, co-discoverer of DNAs structure, and Steven Pinker, a cognitive psychologist at Harvard declined to learn what their gene tests have to say about their risk of it. Specifically, they didnt want to know if they carry copies of the APOE4 allele, which boosts the odds that a person will eventually get Alzheimers to as much as 20 times the average. (More happily, recent research suggests that people carrying APOE4 alleles have better memories in their youth than those who carry the APOE3 variant.) Unlike Watson and Pinker, I do want to know. Not all gene screening companies include APOE4 testing, but Pathway Genomics does. The good news is that my failing memory is not due to APOE4; I have inherited two copies of the more common APOE3 variant, which suggests that my lifetime risk of Alzheimers disease is average. Of course, there are other gene combinations that can increase or decrease my risk. Back in 1999, as APOE testing was becoming more widely available, a panel of bioethicists convened at Stanford University concluded that Alzheimers testing was inappropriate for most individuals. The bioethicists were concerned about the impact of knowing ones own genetic susceptibility to an incurable disease. In particular, they were afraid that consumers would make significant life decisions based on a misunderstanding of risk estimates. They also feared that insurance companies might use such test results to discriminate against people in issuing and setting rates for health and life coverage. Ten years later, researchers led by the Boston University physician Robert Green reported the results of a study designed to find out how people actually would react to test results suggesting their risk of Alzheimers disease was considerably higher than average. The results are reassuring: people can handle the truth. The researchers gave APOE tests to 162 asymptomatic adult volunteers who each had a parent with Alzheimers disease. They randomly
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Above left: Genetic testing will detect the presence of the telltale APOE4 allele, which reveals the subjects risk of developing Alzheimers during his lifetime. It could also show up a gene variant associated with alcohol abuse (right).

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assigned the participants to either a group that was told their results or another that was not. The researchers monitored the participants for symptoms of anxiety and depression over the course of a year. Not surprisingly, people who were told they tested negative for APOE4 felt relief. But those who tested positive experienced only transient distress, undergoing no more anxiety or depression than people in the non-disclosure group. The disclosure of APOE genotyping results to adult children of patients with Alzheimers disease did not result in significant short-term psychological risks, the study concluded. Another study reported that participants who learned that they carried the APOE4 allele were more likely to buy long-term care insurance.

worse, one of the gene variants that increases my risk of lung cancer is also associated with a higher risk of alcoholism. Then again, I dont have a gene variant associated with strong alcohol cravings in some drinkers.

The chief reason that most people worry about genetic privacy is potential discrimination by insurers and employers.
I confess that I enjoy a shot of single malt (okay, usually more than one) from time to time, and that dining out with me usually involves sharing more than one bottle of wine. Well leave my street drug history back in my 20s, when it occurred. Might an employer decide, looking at my profile, that he doesnt want to hire a possible drunk? For now, Americas Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA), passed in 2008, prohibits employers from asking job applicants for genetic information or using it in making employment decisions. The federal governments Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled that
POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA APRIL 2011

What if other people nd out my genetic secrets?


The chief reason that most people worry about genetic privacy is potential discrimination by insurers and employers. So what happens if someone receives my resum and decides to pop over to Promethease to take a look at my gene scan information? Among other things, they would find that I have a gene variant that some studies suggest can increase my risk of substance abuse (of both alcohol and street drugs) fourfold. To make matters

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Left: iStockphoto/Christine Glade. Right: iStockphoto/ Christian Martnez Kempin

Would you have your kids tested for genetic conditions that might manifest themselves only in adulthood? Would such a test violate a childs rights?

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the acquisition (of genetic information) through commercially and publicly available documents such as newspapers is permitted, as long as the employer is not searching those sources with the intent of finding genetic information. So reading this article is okay, but seeking out data on Promethease is evidently prohibited. At any rate, I would have no concerns about disclosing my genetic information even without GINA in the picture. The law is policy overkill, and it will turn out to be largely superfluous once most people realise that genetic information is not somehow special, toxic or occult. The biggest concern may be not the genetic analysis available now, but what we figure out later. What if future research turns up genes associated with criminal behaviour, for instance? I have two copies of the warrior version of the catechol-O-methyltransferase gene, which correlates with higher functioning in a crisis, possibly because it confers some protection against anxiety and pain susceptibility. The alternate worrier version of the same gene is associated with better memory and more focused attention, but individuals carrying it may crack under pressure. In addition, research published in the April 2010 issue of Neurology suggests that the warrior gene helps prevent cognitive decline as people age. Then again, some studies associate it with
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higher levels of aggression and greater risk of schizophrenia. For the record, I havent been in a physical fight since the eighth grade and have not been arrested so far. And lateonset schizophrenia is quite rare. But right now, an employer naively using the results of my, or anyone elses, genetic tests to make hiring and firing decisions is likely to be misled by the very preliminary information that gene screening currently makes available. It would be like deciding to pass over baseball star Albert Pujols if his gene scan indicated that he might have a slightly higher risk of alcoholism, or turning away physicist Richard Feynman because he had an SNP combination suggesting a tendency toward aggression. After all, genes are not destiny, especially genes for relatively common complex traits and diseases. Even while having my share of hangovers, I have managed to support myself and more or less satisfy my employers since the age of 18.

What about kids?


In 2009, I asked Harvey Fineberg, the director of the Institute of Medicine, the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences, if there were any good reasons not to reveal your genetic information to the public. Fineberg replied that doing so might worry your children or embarrass them in front of their peers, if your genes

hint at, say, a heightened risk of substance abuse or some medical debility. In the age of cheap, easy genetic testing, checking your kid for deleterious genetic conditions that might be ameliorated by current treatments is the only responsible thing to do. But what about genetic testing for conditions that manifest only in adulthood, or for which there are no treatments? A 2009 survey in the journal Pediatrics found that one third of parents are interested in predictive genetic testing for their children, even for disorders with no treatment. One third were unsure, and one third said that they had no interest in it. The Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act does not ban parents from having their childrens DNA tested. The National Society of Genetic Counsellors cautiously advises parents to include their children in decisions to test for adult-onset diseases and to think seriously about whether the decision to test should be reserved for the child to make upon reaching adulthood. Pathway Genomics currently will not test people who are under 18. 23andMe leaves the decision to parents, who can submit samples from children younger than 18. But I think theyre all worried about the wrong thing. Some time before the end of this decade, kids are going to be running gene scans and maybe even whole genome sequencing experiments in their ninth-grade biology classes, just the way some of us did blood typing experiments back in the mid-20th century. Then they are going to share that information with their friends on Facebook and Twitter, and theyll do it without parental consent. Nerdy high school sweethearts might swop DNA profiles and run them through computer programs designed to predict what their potential children might look like. In the process, of course, they will also be sharing information about their parents genes. We live in a society of increasingly radical self-disclosure and transparency, and genetic information will not be immune to this trend. Many genetic testing customers are already sharing information among themselves. The 23andMe customer Web site hosts numerous groups of customers organised around shared ancestry or disease concerns. Many people have the impulse to share more, not less, when they get bad news. Today, practically any disease you can imagine has multiple online sites where patients and caregivers can commiserate, exchange
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IF I SHOW YOU MY GENOME , WILL YOU SHOW ME YOURS?

Law enforcement ofcials or others could salt a crime scene with fake DNA...
care, she wrote. Theres no way to tell if that actually affected the outcome, but Id classify my doctors response as very receptive. Another customer said that when she had her annual physical, she gave her doctor her 23andMe results regarding likely response to anti-cholesterol statin drugs. I was on the tipping point for using statins, she wrote. My 23andme results, along with my blood work, helped my doctor and me to decide to start an anti-cholesterol drug.
iStockphoto/Kirby Hamilton

If you thought genetic testing might result in increased insurance premiums, would you go ahead with it? Could insurers demand such tests in the future?

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information and advocate research. Take bipolar disorder, says 23andMe co-founder Linda Avey. Theres been a complete change. People used to hide it away it was a real embarrassment. Now people blog about their bipolar disorder. Its fine to be open about it. Thats the same thing we see with genetic data. People want to share genetic information. I posted a general question at the 23andMe community forum about whether anyone had had any negative or positive experiences as a result of revealing their genetic information to someone. One 23andMe customer said she had offered to pay for tests for her siblings, who declined because of privacy concerns. But several people mentioned what they considered to be positive experiences. One 23andMe customer said she told her knee surgeon she had a fourfold higher risk of blood clotting in her legs. He prescribed an injectable anti-clotting medication instead of the standard post-operative

What if the government uses my genes against me?


This is the most worrying aspect of our genomic future, at least in America. Right now, the US National DNA Index System, run by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, contains nearly 8,5 million genetic profiles, some of them of convicted criminals and others of people who have merely been arrested. These profiles are genetic fingerprints consisting of 13 specific segments of DNA that contain no genes. The data can be used only to identify criminal suspects, offering no information about a persons medical conditions. The American Civil Liberties Union opposes collecting genetic information from anyone who has not been convicted, on the grounds that, under the law, people are regarded as innocent until proven guilty. Its a valid objection, but it is hard to see how this view can prevail, since the FBI already maintains a database containing more than 250 million sets of fingerprint records, both criminal and civil. In a March New York Times op-ed piece, Michael Seringhaus, a Yale law student, argued on fairness grounds for establishing a national DNA database containing the genetic profiles of every US resident. Who needs a national ID card if every cop has a fast DNA reader and wireless electronic link to the comprehensive national DNA database? We are likely to hear more such proposals. In another worrying development, Israeli researchers last year reported that they were able to manufacture fake DNA samples using government data. Law enforcement officials or others could salt a crime scene with fake DNA as a way to frame an innocent person. Interestingly, the privacy protections of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability

Act specifically forbid law enforcement agencies from obtaining genetic information from patient records held by hospitals and physicians without a court order. But as predictive genetic information is incorporated into the new US national health care files, government agencies probably will succumb to the temptation to use it when making decisions about how to allocate medical and educational resources. As government DNA databases grow, concerns about state abuse of genetic information deserve serious consideration and debate. But individual discretionary disclosure isnt central to this debate. Either we will pass strong legislation preventing the government from getting access to this information, or more likely, alas the authorities will be able to build their database anyway, regardless of whether or not we choose to disclose any genetic information voluntarily.

Will people with risky genes be able to get insurance?


Recall one of the results from the Alzheimers study: many carriers of the deleterious APOE4 allele decided to buy long-term care insurance. This is an example of what insurers call adverse selection, the tendency for insurance to be purchased chiefly by those who are most likely to need it, thus raising its cost and reducing its benefits. As sicker people pile into an insurance pool, the price goes up and the healthier flee, producing an insurance death spiral of ever-higher premiums and ever-fewer buyers. If everybody knows if they are going to be sick or healthy, only those expecting to be sick will buy insurance, says Thomas Wildsmith, a director at the American Academy of Actuaries. But how are insurers using genetic information so far? Wildsmith notes that even before the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act, insurers were not asking anyone to take genetic tests. He adds: The truth is that most insurers are not that sophisticated about using genetic information. Genetic information is not all that relevant in the current health insurance market. First, most people get their insurance through group plans offered by their employers, so the average risk of the groups is what matters. And what
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iStockphoto/Tyler Stalman

Caffeine addiction is both common and socially acceptable. If your genetic test revealed a predisposition for caffeine and we know that too much of it is bad news would you give it up?

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POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA APRIL 2011

IF I SHOW YOU MY GENOME , WILL YOU SHOW ME YOURS?

A tiny saliva sample can reveal all sorts of interesting information about our genetic make-up and could prompt useful lifestyle changes, such as improved diet and regular exercise. In some cases, it could even save lives.

example, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigated the claims being made by a number of nutrigenetic testing companies that promised to give customers dietary advice tailored to their genetic proclivities and sell them personalised supplements. According to the GAO report, the results from all the tests GAO purchased mislead consumers by making predictions that are medically unproven and so ambiguous that they do not provide meaningful information to consumers.

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about the market for individual health insurance policies? Take the case of a 25-year-old seeking health insurance, suggests Wildsmith. His dad had a coronary at age 50. Who cares? Its not important because hell drop the policy by age 50. Some states have allowed insurers to take a persons body mass index, cholesterol levels, blood pressure and other factors into account when underwriting individual health insurance policies. But all this is now largely moot, since the health care legislation passed last year by the US Congress explicitly forbids insurers from taking into account preexisting conditions including the results of genetic testing when setting rates. Wildsmith suggests that the only sure way to avoid an adverse selection spiral now is to make the healthy people buy insurance, too. Which is exactly what Congress did when it mandated that every American must buy health insurance. But what about the effects of truly predictive genetic testing on markets for long-term care, disability and life insurance? People tend to buy and keep such policies for decades. As would-be policyholders obtain more information about their genetic risks, many will probably seek to purchase such policies. If insurers are kept in the dark about risks that their customers know, they will be at a disadvantage in setting appropriate rates. A 1999 article in the North American Actuarial Journal outlined the three choices facing insurers and customers: buyers could choose not to take genetic tests, and the result would be higher risk premiums for their policies. Buyers could take the tests but refuse to disclose the information to insurers. Again, the

result would be higher risk premiums. Or buyers could disclose their test results to insurers, which would allow them to charge an actuarially fair premium. Of course, if tests suggested that a buyer has relatively high disease or mortality risks, the result would be higher premiums. In 2008, Karen Pollitz, director of Georgetown Universitys Health Policy Institute, wrote in the journal Managed Care: Much of lifes uncertainty about health will become much more known to us, and since insurance is all about protecting people from the unknown, that will be a profound change. So profound that Pollitz thinks it could ultimately make the insurance industry obsolete. By contrast, Fei Yu, an actuarial researcher at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland, argues that advances in health care and the general trend toward mortality improvement will overwhelm genetic risks. In other words, our genes will exercise less and less power over our health destinies as our medical knowledge and technologies are perfected. The scope of genome-informed medicine is vast. Alan Guttmacher, former acting director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, noted at a 2009 Institute of Medicine meeting that all current drugs, including over-thecounter, prescription and street drugs, target only 500 or so of our genes. Thats maybe 2,5 per cent of the entire human genome. It may be that only half of our genes are druggable, but that leaves huge scope for new disease treatments targeted at specific genes.

The eld of genetic testing has already attracted some charlatans.


People and companies peddling fraudulent information of any sort should be prosecuted. But the US Governments criticism extends beyond such chicanery. In July, the GAO reported on another sting of genetic testing companies, including 23andMe and Pathway Genomics. The GAO declared that the results of genetic screening tests were misleading and of little or no practical use. The chief basis for this conclusion was that the GAOs investigators sent the same genetic samples from five people to all four screening companies and were surprised that the results were not identical. The results differed, however, largely because each of the screening companies selects the markers it considers most relevant and the studies it deems most illuminating. Thats why 23andMe and Pathway Genomics disagreed about my risk for heart attack. But is the information offered by the main genotype screening companies accurate and valid? Yes, it is. I ran an analysis on personal genome results obtained from 23andMe and DeCODE for me, says the Princeton biologist Lee Silver. There were about 300 000 data points that overlapped between the two tests. There was not a single data point (among 300 000) that was scored positive in one test and negative in the other. Nevertheless, genetic information is complicated; many customers are likely to misunderstand some of it. For some bioethicists, the solution is to keep consumers ignorant by banning or at least strictly regulating access to genetic tests. Hank Greely, director of Stanfords Centre for Law and the Biosciences, told
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Can people be trusted with their own genetic information?


The field of genetic testing has already attracted some charlatans. In 2006, for

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iStockphoto/Pejo29

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The Washington Post in May that offering Pathway Genomics tests on drugstore shelves is reckless. While information was powerful, he said, misunderstood information can be powerfully bad. But how big is that risk? A 2009 study led by Colleen McBride of the National Human Genome Research Institute evaluated the responses of patients who accepted an offer for genetic susceptibility testing for eight different conditions. The results were reassuring: We found no evidence that those who considered or sought testing were inclined to overestimate the contributions of genetics to common health conditions or to underestimate behavioural risk factors. There was a bonus: many people whose tests suggested they were at higher risk for some diseases were motivated to engage in healthier activities, such as losing weight and exercising more. People can misunderstand new information. But the way that consumers learn how to use any new product is by trying it out. If the first purchasers of the new Pathway Genomics tests find them confusing or not very useful, they will tell their friends and neighbours,

and Walgreens will find some new vitamin mixture or cosmetic to take up that shelf space. Instead of trying to slow down social learning about genomics, we should let companies and consumers interact so they both can learn how better to explain and understand the information such testing provides.

Whats next?
Gene screening may not be for everybody right now, but I am confident most people will find it useful and even entertaining sooner rather than later. Before the end of this decade, if federal regulators stay out of the way, advances in personal genomics will bring enormous health benefits to the public. More medications will be targeted to the specific genetic make-up of individual patients, improving the chances of a cure while minimising debilitating side effects. Cancer treatments are already being honed using genetic tests of individual patients tumours. For example, patients who score low on the Oncotype DX genetic test for breast cancer recurrence can avoid the physically brutal consequences of traditional post-surgical

First published in Reason.

chemotherapy. Researchers are working on wide-spectrum tests that could identify the genetic signatures of diseases in patients before they are manifest. Other tests will warn prospective parents of possible deleterious gene combinations in their future progeny. The ongoing exponential growth in our genetic knowledge may even uncover ways to retard the ageing process. We are in the Apple II era of genetic testing. It would have been silly to ban the Apple II just because it was not as easy to use or immediately comprehensible as the MacBook Air. Standardisation of test results will come as information accumulates about the interaction between genetic variants and environmental influences. The current tests function as practice runs for curious consumers. As one of those early adopters, I dont want or need federal regulators to protect me from my own test results. There are things I want to keep private, but my genes arent one of them, no matter what they may reveal about my intelligence PM and genitals.

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[ NEW
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Headlines from around the automotive world > > >

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COMPILED BY ANTHONY DOMAN anthony@ramsaymedia.co.za

RENAULT CAPTUR
The new Renault identity launched with last years DeZir concept is developed in the Captur. Renault says its muscular-looking sport crossover takes cues from equipment such as helmets, gloves and other protective gear used in radical sport. The interior is designed around a network of stretched elastic ropes that evoke sailing or climbing, and the multipurpose rear deck uses this rope motif to create recongurable storage and hammock-style accommodation. The removable hard top and carbon bre framework allow the Captur to adopt a variety of personas from coup to a convertible, urban to an off-road. However, theres a hightech side to this ight of fantasy. For instance RX2, a new mechanical selflocking differential, improves traction at low speeds by sensing loss of traction at one wheel and transferring torque to the wheel with more grip even off-road. Visio (see below) uses visuals to augment the drivers normal view. And nally, the Energy dCi 160 twin-turbo engine produces 118 kW from a capacity of 1,6 litres and, paired with a dual clutch EDC gearbox, is said to combine sporty performance with CO2 emissions of 99 g/km. How it works: forward vision. The Visio system uses a forward-facing camera mounted at the top of the windscreen to provide driver-assistance functions. This new technology is able to embed synthesised images into real-time images of the road ahead displayed on a central screen; this is the principle of augmented reality, aiming to enhance the drivers perception of the external world by superimposing purpose-designed elements.

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ON THE WEB > Download wallpaper images of selected cars at www.popularmechanics.co.za

[ WHEELS ]

CURVY CANYON-CARVER

VOLVO V60
The swoopy coup-like lines of the new S60 have been translated into the estate-car genre with some success in the latest-generation V60. Want a traditional big-box estate car? Go and look at our XC range of SUVs, says Volvo. Like its S60 sedan sibling, the V60 has a distinctly sportier, harder edge dynamically. For those who want something even more hardcore, the R-design version comes with a sport chassis as standard, using damping and suspension subframes biased towards performance and less towards comfort. All variants except the R-Design can be specied with the optional FOUR-C (Continuously Controlled Chassis Concept) active chassis, and allwheel-drive is also available.Like the S60, the V60 is tted with Advanced Stability Control, which incorporates a roll angle sensor able to identify incipient skids early and precisely, and traction control that uses torque vectoring in corners braking the inner wheel, resulting in more power being channelled to the outer wheel to tighten the cornering line and reduce understeer. It comes with the same imposing suite of safety aids as the S60, including pedestrian detection with full automatic braking. Engines range from a 110 kW four to the turbocharged 224 kW T6 with its 3-litre Six. The new T5 version doesnt, as you might think, run a 5-cylinder: its an uprated version of the four-cylinder 2-litre that produces 177 kW and 320 N.m. Two 5-cylinder turbodiesels are available. The engine options introduced on the V60 have been extended to the S60. Prices range from R317 700 to R474 700 (excluding the R-Design). Volvo stylin on your iPad or iPhone. Apps for Volvos S60 and S80L allow prospective buyers to style their cars on their mobile devices. Among the functions is a search tool that uses the mobile phones built-in GPS function to locate and specify the route to the nearest Volvo dealer. It is also possible to book a test drive, and a congurator allows the user to build his or her own S60. These new functions are linked to the local market site and offer access to the latest news from Volvo Cars. Unique features include using the mobile phones built-in gyro to look around inside the car. If you turn the phone, the image viewed moves too, creating the impression that youre actually sitting inside the car, according to Volvo. In some countries, the company already offers mobile device software that controls the cars heater for customers who subscribe to the Volvo On Call system.

FUOCO 50

BLOW YOUR HAIR BACK

2011 GILERAS
Scooters may be practical, easy to ride and even stylish, but the majority are hardly likely to set the heart racing. That said, the newly introduced Gilera range will wipe the patronising smirk right off the faces of the Supermotard brigade. Gilera, owned since the late 1960s by Vespa producers Piaggio, has a racing pedigree: the company dominated GP racing after World War 2. Look, nobodys promising superbike performance, but you denitely wont be shy of a kilowatt or two with the three-model line-up thats now ofcially available through Vespa. Three models are on offer: GP 800. Gileras most powerful machine ever, the 55 kW GP 800 features a double cradle steel tubular frame. Its 90 839 cm3 V-twin is matched with a CVT and propels the GP 800 to a very unscooterlike top speed of 187 km/h. Price: R129 950. Fuoco 50. A Gilera version of the Piaggio MP3, this three-wheeler (its type approved as a two-wheeler for licensing purposes) combines stability and comfort with nippy handling, courtesy of its radical parallelogram front suspension and three-disc brakes. Engine is a 492 cm3 single, with outputs of 30 kW and 42 N.m. Price: R109 950. Nexus 500. Powered by a 30 kW/43 N.m 460 cm3 single, the Nexus exhibits plenty of midrange punch, but doesnt run out of puff at the top end, either: top speed is 161 km/h. Price: R94 950.

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NEXUS 500

GP 800

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One of four TW Steel watches

Unashamedly big, bold and resolutely high-tech, TW Steel timepieces the name is derived from the watch in steel integrate rugged good looks, superior finish, and advanced chronograph technology. One of six distinctive TW Steel options for the modern man or woman, the four-model CEO Tech collection blends luxury with high-end technology in a striking, almost industrial oversized design. Waterproof to 10 atmospheres, its available in traditional stainless steel at R7 500 or in AA-grade black PVD plating with gold accents at R7 950.

TW683

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SMS: TWS, followed by the answer, your name and e-mail address to 34419 (R2 per SMS) or visit our Web site at www.popular mechanics.co.za. Competition closes 30 April 2011.

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Rules: 1. Entry is open to anyone except employees (and their immediate families) of RamsayMedia, TW Steel and associated agencies. 2. Only one online entry per person. You may enter via SMS as many times as you like (SMS charged at R2). 3. Competition runs until 30 April 2011. 4. We will draw the winner(s) on 09 May 2011. 5. The prize is not redeemable for cash. 6. The judges decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. 7. Regrettably, only South African residents are eligible for prizes. 8. Prizes not claimed within 3 months will be forfeited.

For stockist and other information, contact Luxco Importers on (011) 448 2210 or visit www.twsteel.com

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[ WHEELS ]

FRESH-FACED FAVOURITE

2011 KIA RIO


Ofcial photos of the new Kia Rio ahead of the cars Geneva Show launch suggest that this comprehensive reworking looks likely to continue the Korean compact cars big-volume success. The new car is signicantly bigger than the one it replaces, and a range of new fuelefcient engines improves its competitiveness. The six new power-plants range from a 52 kW 1,1-litre diesel to a 1,6-litre direct injection petrol engine developing 104 kW. In 2012, a high-performance 1,2-litre direct injection petrol turbo will be added to the range.

HI-VOLT SPORTSTER

NISSAN ESFLOW
Using technology pioneered in the award-winning LEAF, Nissans Esow concept applies EV thinking to a sports car. Each of this two-seaters rear wheels has an electric motor, with quoted performance that includes 0 to 100 km/h in under 5 seconds and 240 km on a charge. The Esow is not a retreaded internal combustion car: its been designed from the get-go as an electric car. Its composite body is mounted on an aluminium chassis with integral rollcage. The cars rear bulkhead provides a frame for the sculpted seats, saving weight because no metal internal frame is needed. Although as a result the seats dont move, the yby-wire steering and pedals power into the desired position. Other notable tech includes rear-view cameras instead of mirrors.

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BEST OF BOTH WORLDS

FIAT FREEMONT
The rst Fiat-badged fruits of the collaboration with Chrysler are starting to emerge. Built on the base of the Dodge Journey, the 7-seat Fiat Freemont brings some family-sized US sensibilities to a marque that based much of its success on the small is beautiful philosophy. Initially available only in front-wheel drive with Fiat turbodiesel engines and a manual transmission, the Freemont will acquire in due course an automatic shift, a 4x4 option, a more powerful Multijet Four and a Chryslersourced 3,6-litre V6. Apart from an interior makeover thats said to be more in tune with Euro sensibilities, the Italians say coyly that dynamic performance (has) been improved with the aid of Fiat engineering, which has developed and introduced a special suspension and steering conguration for greater accuracy and directness. Theyve also made improvements to passenger compartment soundproong.

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POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA APRIL 2011

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[ WHEELS ]
HOW LOW CAN THEY GO?

PORSCHE PANAMERA S HYBRID


Slotting the hybrid powertrain from the Cayenne S into the sleeker, lower, lighter Panamera has created what is described as the most economical Porsche of all time. In standard trim, the 279 kW Panamera S Hybrid clocks 7,1 litres/100 km and 167 g/km of CO2. But those gures drop to 6,8 litres/100 km and 159 g/km when the optional Michelin low rolling resistance all-season tyres developed specially for the Panamera. This ultimate eco-limo sprints from a standstill to 100 km/h in 6 seconds and maxes out at 270 km/h. It can travel up to 2 km in full electric mode at a speed of up to 85 km/h. In addition to that, Porsche says its hybrid drive is the only one that boosts economy by implementing sailing up to165 km/h: it switches off the combustion engine when its not needed. The 34 kW electric motor that supplements the 245 kW blown V6 acts as both generator and starter. When the Panamera S Hybrid goes on sale in June 2011 it will cost the equivalent of a little over R1 million on its home market.

TECH INSIDE

LAMBORGHINI PUSHROD SUSPENSION


For its successor to the agship Murcilago, Lamborghini looked to Formula 1 for a tech edge: pushrod suspension. The new 512 kW V12 super sports cars sophisticated spring-and-damper running gear, inspired by F1 and adapted for road use, integrates with aluminium double wishbone suspension and a carbon ceramic brake system. Its said to be the rst time such a layout has been used in series production. Instead of being located on the wheel mounts, the spring and damper elements are connected inboard to the bodyshell, in a transverse position. Wheel forces are transmitted to the spring/damper by pushrods and relay levers and rockers. The expensive-to-implement double

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wishbone set-up provides consistent suspension geometry, and the pushrod method separates wheel control and damping. Result: more precise, responsive handling. Being rigidly connected to the chassis, unlike regular spring/damper set-ups, the pushrod arrangement allows spring stiffness to be reduced, improving comfort without compromising on precision. The ultra-light suspension system, including upper and lower control arms, wheel mounts and relay levers, is made from forged aluminium alloy, with carbon ceramic PM composite brake discs.

PORSCHE PANAMERA S

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At its California headquarters, Joby Energy experiments with radical craft that y like planes, hover like helicopters and swoop like kites to generate electricity cleanly and efciently. Here, engineers Allen Ibara (left) and Alex Wickersham help launch the Nymph prototype for Jobys aviation division.

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POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA APRIL 2011

[ FEATURE ]

> BY JAMES VLAHOS > P I C T U R E S B Y J U S T I N FA N T L

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BLUE SKY POWER

BIG-BUCKS INVESTORS (INCLUDING GOOGLE) ARE GAMBLING TENS OF MILLIONS ON A POTENTIALLY GAMECHANGING NEW ENERGY SOURCE AIRBORNE WIND TURBINES. THE TECHNOLOGY IS REVOLUTIONARY, BUT CAN IT REALLY TURN A STEADY BREEZE INTO A PAYING PROPOSITION?

GUSTS OF 45 KM/H SWEEP ACROSS THE PACIFIC, scooping up kiteboarders and flinging them into the sky. Atop a seaside bluff, the wind races through the grass in long lines, the prairie version of ocean waves, and buffets a panel van parked at the end of a dirt road. The logo in peeling paint on the side reads TOMS QUALITY SNACKS . . . FOR EVERY TASTE. But there are no chips or sweets inside. Instead, four young men sit elbow to elbow, staring at computer screens filled with code. They act like an FBI surveillance team awaiting the big sting, until one of them jumps out the back and grabs what looks like a large model aircraft. He walks downwind, carrying the plane. Its nearly as large as he is. A voice from snack-truck mission control crackles over his radio launch when ready and he heaves the plane into the sky. The propeller hums. A pilot standing nearby manoeuvres the craft with a remote control, but its obvious this is no hobby flight. Rather than cruising aimlessly, the plane carves identical circles. A tether connects it to the ground and after a few minutes, the pilot puts his controller down and software takes over. The plane is flying itself. Of all the things you might guess are taking place, testing a potent new method

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BLUE SKY POWER


for generating clean power would probably rank near the bottom of the list. But here on the coast, just north of Santa Cruz in California, thats exactly what is happening. These engineers from Joby Energy are developing a technology known as airborne wind. Like traditional wind power, it employs spinning rotors to generate electricity. But the similarity ends there. Jobys engineers want to ditch the bulky support towers of wind farms. They want to teach windmills to fly. The plane climbed, driven by its propeller, until its tether was taut. But now, the wind alone, racing over the wings, provides sufficient lift, freeing the propeller to function as the rotor of a wind generator. Joby is building models 10 times the size of this research prototype, some with up to 12 rotors. In a fully deployed system, the electricity generated would be routed down the tether and into the grid. The airborne wind industry is a gnat next to B-52s like hydropower and coal. But the sector is booming, with Joby and its closest rival, Makani Power, leading a race among more than a dozen start-ups. The companies have poured an estimated R400 million into R&D, and they are backed by Silicon Valley venture capitalists in search of the next big thing, as well as by ARPA-E, the USAs Department of Energy agency that funds cutting-edge research. The promise of airborne wind has even wowed Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who plunked R160 million into Makani. Ken Caldeira, a senior climate scientist for the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University, studied airborne wind relative to other energy options and came away impressed. Airborne wind is one of the few potential sources that can supply power on the scale that civilisation needs, he says. Airborne wind farms might have the same number of turbines, the same distance apart, as todays terrestrial ones. But they would fly on tethers 300 metres or higher in the sky. Because the wind is stronger and more consistent there, power generation would no longer be limited to the worlds gustiest places, making the technology widely deployable. Think of an airborne turbine as just a turbine on a really tall tower without needing to pay for the tower, says JoeBen Bevirt, the founder of Joby Energy. High-yield. Low-cost. Clean. It all sounds great, but for these promises to
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pan out, the turbines must ultimately be able to take off safely, fly for hours or days and land without a human pilot critical abilities that are unproven and years away from commercialisation. The people doing airborne wind are visionaries, says Fort Felker, the US National Renewable Energy Laboratorys leading expert on wind power. But none of them has brought a product to market that has the safety and reliability requirements of flight vehicles. Inside the snack truck, engineer Henry Hallam tells me, The plan for the day is to do some endurance testing and autonomous flight. If all goes well, it will be really boring. But the wind is too spirited
POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA APRIL 2011

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From tripods to turbines: company founder JoeBen Bevirt helped seed Joby Energy with prots from his GorillaPod line of camera gear.

for boring. On the fourth test, the plane is rocked by a pop; it belches a ball of fire, zigzags and lands hard. Bevirt vaults from the truck; engineer Greg Horn follows with a fire extinguisher. The plane, fortunately, is fine, and it doesnt take long to figure out what happened. The model is a testbed for studying flight control systems, not energy production, but the wind was so strong that the motor controller couldnt brake the propeller sufficiently. We generated so much power that we melted our wires, Horn says. Bevirt turns to me with a smile. It gives you a sense of how much energy is up there, huh?

Joby engineers develop kite-like generators that ascend on powered rotors, then use the rotors as turbines in looping, tethered ight. Each generator could incorporate up to 12 rotors.

Prototypes dangling from the ceiling at Jobys California ofces showcase technological evolution through six iterations. Joby aims to market a 1-megawatt airborne turbine by 2013.

JOBYS HEADQUARTERS ARE TUCKED into the redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains, not far from the test site. The lodge-like main building is encased by tall windows and trussed with dark wooden beams; outside, theres a deck with barbecue areas and umbrella-topped tables, a shady lawn and a large organic garden. The place is patrolled by friendly dogs and catered by gourmet chefs, creating a vibe thats less corporate headquarters and more high-end yoga retreat. Bevirt is pinballing around the grounds when I arrive. He jogs downhill to the
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POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA APRIL 2011

BLUE SKY POWER


warehouse, calling out questions to colleagues and striding between lathes, mills and other shop tools. The 37-year-old has been on the go from an early age: as a high school cycling fanatic, he designed and built several bikes; at university he worked as an engineer and saved the equivalent of R400 000, which he invested in the stock market. By the end of the 1990s, after earning a masters degree in mechanical engineering at Stanford University, he cashed out a R4 million portfolio and seeded his first business, the laboratory-equipment manufacturer Velocity11, and then Joby, Inc, which makes the GorillaPod line of flexible tripods. These successes gave him the capital to launch Joby Energy, as well as an aviation company. Joby Energy is a project of environmental passion, but its also a business. Energy is just a commodity one electron is no better than another, he says. What matters is the cost. Ground-based wind turbines dont spin at full speed every minute of every day. Sometimes the wind blows weakly; sometimes not at all. Thats why conventional windmills generate only up to about onethird of their theoretical full power. But the wind where many airborne companies want to fly, at an altitude of about 400 metres, typically blows more consistently and one and a half to three times faster than at the Earths surface. That means airborne wind could run at a projected capacity factor of 70 per cent, Bevirt says twice the efficiency of terrestrial wind. Many experts, however, are not yet convinced. The National Renewable Energy Laboratorys Felker says the airborne wind industry probably does have an advantage in capacity factor when its machines are in the air. But land-based turbines can operate roughly 98,5 per cent of the time, reliability that flying turbines could not match. Theres no example in the history of the

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universe of a flight vehicle being available 98,5 per cent of the time, Felker says. (Bevirt says that Jobys projections assume airborne turbines will be grounded 5 to 20 per cent of the time.) Everyone agrees that airborne wind needs more R&D. The catch-22: proving new technologies takes money, yet investors are wary of the unproven. Furthermore, the industrys path to regulatory approval might be tortuous. Elizabeth Ray, a spokesman for the US Federal Aviation Administration, told a recent airborne wind energy conference that flying turbines would have to elbow their way into a sky already crowded with cellphone towers, buildings and aircraft. Airborne turbines, in a perfect world, might one day operate at 10 000 metres to tap the powerful jet stream. Flying at those altitudes would make aviation authority approval even tougher. Its all competi-

THINK OF AN AIRBORNE TURBINE AS JUST A REGULAR TURBINE ON A REALLY TALL TOWER, ONE PROPONENT SAYS, WITHOUT NEEDING TO PAY FOR THE TOWER.

tion for the same finite resource, Ray said meaning airspace. Meanwhile, engineers are trying to create flying machines such as the world has never seen part helicopter, kite, plane and robot. They must be autonomous, because labour costs for ground-based pilots would wipe out the technologys economic advantages. They must be reliable, because life-endangering crashes could scuttle the industry. (For this reason, Bevirt recommends that early sites be established in uninhabited areas or offshore.) The public will need to become comfortable with the idea of turbines filling the sky, just as it did a century ago with planes, which are now essentially ignored. Inside Joby headquarters, a dozen flying contraptions dangle from the ceiling, a visual timeline of corporate evolution. There are biplanes, triplanes and what looks like a giant, flying game piece from Trivial Pursuit. Engineer Jeff Gibboney describes a recent Joby design an 11,6metre biplane with no fuselage or tail. Its like the National Air and Space Museum in here, I say, admiring the collection. Yeah, Gibboney replies. Only weirder.

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POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA APRIL 2011

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Small energy companies are designing ying turbines to harness wind power at low altitudes. Here are ve leading start-ups.
1

Magenn
The helium-filled Magenn Air Rotor System rotates around a horizontal axis when buffeted by the wind, like a waterwheel on high. Electricity is sent down its tether to the ground, where it can be used immediately, stored in a battery or sent to the power grid. Magenn demonstrated a 10 kW prototype in 2008; a 100 kW version could be on sale by the end of this year.
Length: 17,4 metres

Joby
The 12 turbines on Jobys airborne system have dual functions: providing power for take-off, then generating it from the wind once aloft. The system flies in large circles perpendicular to the wind direction and covers eight times the swept area of a similarly sized ground turbine. Joby is currently testing 20 kW prototypes and hopes to create a 1-megawatt model by the end of 2013.
Wingspan: 61 metres

Ampyx
Ampyxs PowerPlane is designed to fly figureeight patterns, unreeling a tether at its ground station. The unwinding spins a drum at the station, creating electricity. When the cable is fully extended, the plane dives toward the ground, allowing the cable to be reeled in and the process to be repeated. A 10-kW prototype was flown in 2010; Ampyx hopes a 1 MW model will be airborne by 2013.
Wingspan: 5,5 metres

Sky WindPower
Sky WindPowers flying generator relies on four spinning rotors to produce energy, sending electricity to the grid through its tether. Power drawn from the ground station helps the craft reach its altitude; the blades then provide enough lift to keep the system hovering. The company flew a 6-kW prototype in 2007 and plans a 1 MW version by 2014.

Makani
An onboard computer steers Makanis M1 in large circles that cut across the wind. Six small rotors at the centre of the aircraft generate electricity that is sent through the anchoring tether and into the power grid. Makani has completed a 10 kW prototype; the company plans to develop a 1 MW tester by 2013, which could be taken to market two years later.

Rotors: 10,7 metres

Wingspan: 35 metres

Boeing 737 Wingspan: 34 metres

Illustrations by Datatickler

Scale

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BLUE SKY POWER

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DAWN BREAKS over the San Francisco Bay. As the soaring bridges fill up with cars, Corwin Hardham paddles his surfboard toward golden clouds. Instead of horns, he hears lapping waves; instead of red taillights, he spots a seal poking its head above the swells. Hardham is the co-founder of Makani Power, and this is his Friday-morning commute. I paddle behind him, precariously balanced on a borrowed board. Once a week Hardham spends rush hour this way because its greener than driving. Mainly he just loves being out on the water. In his late teens Hardham considered becoming a professional windsurfer, a pursuit that influenced his career in ways no one could have predicted. As an undergrad at MIT, he befriended another technically minded windsurfer, the now-renowned inventor and PM adviser Saul Griffith. After graduate school, they launched Makani Power with a third friend, Don Montague, a former professional windsurfer and kiteboarder. Wind sports give you a visceral sense of how powerful the wind is, Hardham says. An hour later, we reach the island of Alameda, where Makani minus Griffith, who has moved on to other endeavours has set up shop in the air traffic control building of a decommissioned naval base. We swap wetsuits for work clothes, and Hardham drives us onto the cracked tar of the runway, where preflight tests are underway. Hardham parks by a fire tender that will serve as the anchor for a tether extending 300 metres feet to Makanis prototype. Wing 6 has a 9-metre airfoil and a three-pronged body. The tail stabiliser is aligned vertically for the hovering take-off, but will switch to horizontal for flight. Either mode is relatively straightforward, Hardham says. The challenge is making a wing that does both. Altitude aside, the true magic of airborne turbines is that they move. Like a stunt kite on a beach, they zip around in relation to both the ground and the wind direction. This technique, known as crosswind flight, makes it possible to capitalise on net wind speeds that are much higher than the ambient speed alone. The ramifications for the fight against climate change could be huge.
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A time-lapse capture of Makanis airborne turbine shows the crosswind circles it will y, sending power through a tether to its ground station and then into the grid.

A recent Makani prototype, the 3 m-wide Wing 6, can autonomously hover like a helicopter and y like a plane in a prescribed pattern.

Makani Power co-founder Corwin Hardham cleans a lathe at his test facility.

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POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA APRIL 2011

VIDEO > Visit www.popularmechanics.co.za to see


Makani Powers Wing 6 platform being tested.

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To cap the level of atmospheric CO2 at roughly double what it was before the Industrial Revolution a common target used by climate scientists youd need something like 15 terawatts of primary power from carbon-neutral sources, says the Carnegie Institutions Caldeira. Thats more or less saying we need to build another energy system as big as the entire current one. Generating massive amounts of power from traditional solar and wind would require a massive amount of space. To supply even 20 per cent of the electricity in the US from terrestrial wind, Hardham says, you would have to cover the state of Kansas with 1,5-megawatt turbines spaced as closely as you could. Caldeira and Cristina Archer, an airborne wind expert at California State University, Chico, calculated that airborne wind could be far more efficient. Airborne wind could potentially produce 18 terawatts of electricity, which is more than enough to power modern civilisation without adverse effects on climate, Caldeira says. Supplying 18 terawatts would require millions of airborne turbines, but Caldeira says his point is not that such a goal is realistic; rather, its that large-scale airborne wind production is feasible. He thinks the industry could generate 10 per cent of the planets power, making it a major contributor to the overall energy mix. A wind farm with 800 airborne 1-megawatt turbines, he says, could power 250 000 homes. On the runway in Alameda, Makani is working on the transitions between flight modes. No company has completed a fully autonomous flight yet, though both Joby and Makani have prototypes that need pilots only for take-offs and landings. In the fall of 2010, Wing 6 transitioned from a hovering phase to its flight phase and back to hovering. Thats an important milestone, Hardham says. You can see one craft doing all the necessary flight modes. The controllers work through their checklist. Final wind check, comes a voice over the radio. We have 2,4 metres per second. Direction good. With a whine like angry mosquitoes, and the city of San Francisco twinkling in the background, Wing 6 takes to PM the sky.

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[ DIY TECH ]
DIGITAL CLINIC
> BY SETH PORGES

Q+A
FOR BEST RESULTS IN SMALL ROOMS, PLACE KINECT SENSOR ABOVE THE TV

STANDING SWEET SPOT: BETWEEN 2 AND 2,5 METRES FROM THE TV

KINECT MAY NOT WORK WELL FOR KIDS UNDER A METRE TALL

MOVE FURNITURE OUT OF THE WAY

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A RUG CAN HELP WITH SLIPPERY FLOORS

Making room for Kinect


Q
A
I heard the new Microsoft Kinect may require users to rearrange their living rooms. If I buy one, what exactly will I need to do to make sure it works well in my space?
sweat. (Seriously, try playing Dance Central for more than a few minutes.) But while button-mashing games can be played in pretty much any room, without much regard for anything else, making the most of your Kinect can take some prep. First rule: the smaller the room, the higher youll need to place the sensor bar. If youre blessed with a large, open playing space, you can probably get away with placing the sensor on your TV stand below the set, but if youre playing in For all the hubbub about Nintendos motion-sensing Wii (remember the Wii?) getting gamers off their couches, the vast majority of the systems games dont require much physical exertion beyond a few well-timed icks of the wrist. So perhaps the greatest innovation of the Microsoft Kinect the new Xbox 360 peripheral that uses depth-perceiving cameras to scan your entire body for controllerfree, arm-ailing gaming is that, at least with certain games, you really can break a
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cramped connes, try to position the bar somewhere between eye level and 2 metres in the air. Height gives the camera a better view of your body when youre standing closer to the camera, says Josh Hutto, Microsofts director of marketing for Xbox 360. Several thirdparty accessory-makers now make wall mounts, TV clamps and freestanding oor stands to help keep the sensor aoat. Next, youll want to clear out as much furniture as you can. Couches, coffee tables, ottomans, Greco-Roman sculptures they can all block the Kinects view of your room and might even cause injury if you happen to bump into them while in the throes of a Kinect Adventures tournament (YouTube is full of hilarious examples of such mishaps). For most people, this game of musical chairs (or, rather, musical furniture) should be no problem. For others, it could be a potential deal breaker. So before you invest in a Kinect and a bunch of games, make sure you are willing and able to make space for it
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Illustration by dogo

every time you want to play. When youre actually using the Kinect, youll want to stand at least 2 metres from the TV. According to Microsoft, the sweet spot lies in the 2- to 2,5- metre range. If two people are playing at once, make sure theres enough room for both players to ail their limbs without slapping or kicking each other. And although some players Ive spoken to assume they need to shufe any non-playing spectators out of the cameras eld of vision, as long as your friends are standing a couple of metres behind you, the Kinect does a fairly good job of guring out whom it should focus on. And watch out for slippery oors playing on a rug or yoga mat can keep you from face-planting. One last bit of advice: If youve got kids under a metre tall, the Kinect may have issues mapping their body movements. That doesnt mean they cant play the sensor just may not work as well as youd want it to.

tech tip

Accidentally deleted a Gmail contact? The Web-based e-mail service now lets you restore your address book. Go to Gmails Contacts tab; click More Actions and then Restore Contacts. From there, you can restore your contacts to what they were anytime in the previous 30 days.

TABLET SCREEN ORIENTATION

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Ever since I updated my iPad to the new iOS 4.2 rmware, the orientation-lock switch on the side of the tablet hasnt worked. What gives? The iPads new 4.2 rmware update is a big one. But along with all the major upgrades (nally, the tablet has some semblance of multitasking), there are a few lesser-known tweaks. One, in particular, seems to have caught many users off-guard. The gist of it: the switch on the side of the iPad that used to lock the tablets orientation in place (preventing its accelerometer from ipping

Q A

between portrait and landscape modes when youre, for example, reading in bed) now mutes the devices audio. You can still lock an iPads orientation the method has just changed a bit, and, unfortunately, it now takes a few more steps. First, double-tap the Home button on the bottom of the iPad. This will bring up the Multitasking Bar, where users can access and close any programs that may be running in the background. Now, give that bar a good swipe to the right. This will bring up a bar loaded with commonly used system controls, such as screen brightness, volume and music-playing dials. On the left side of this bar is your new orientation-lock button. Tap it to switch screen ips on and off. If this seems too complicated, theres one more option: owners of jailbroken iPads can download an app called NoMute, which reclaims the physical switch for its original purpose.

Enter button. This has caused me to accidentally send several incomplete (and sometimes embarrassing) messages. Can I turn this off? Yep. If youve got the new Messages feature which Facebook has slowly been rolling out to users over the past few months the box where you type your messages will have a tiny check box below it, next to a little bent-arrow icon (which you may recognise from the Enter key on some keyboards). This box activates Quick Reply Mode, which causes the Enter button to double as a send shortcut. By default, it is checked. Uncheck it and the Enter button will go back to its old habit of merely adding a line break in your messages and not get you into trouble.

BE LIKE MIC
I read that my new Kindle has a microphone built into it. What is it used for? When the new, third-generation Kindle rst shipped in late 2010, the tech community was taken aback by Amazons decision to include a microphone and immediately began speculating as to its function. Would the travel-friendly Kindle be able to make Skype calls? Feature voice-controlled page turns? Allow users to make audio notes on books as they read them? As of press time, it does exactly none of these things. And although a quick call to Amazon conrmed that, in the future, the company wants to enable third-party developers to tap into the mic, as of now, were still waiting and speculating. (Come on, built-in Auto-Tune!)

Q A

SEND TOO SOON


Ever since I upgraded to the new Facebook Messages service, my messages are sent just by clicking the

PM

O

R E A D E R C O M P E T I T I O N O R E A D E R C O M P E T I T I O N O   R E A D E R C O M P E T I T I O N O   R E A D E R C O M P E T I T I O N O 

WIN

one of 5 Skil combo sets valued at R3 499 each


To enter, answer the following question: How many of Skils 18V Li-ion cordless power tools are included in the combo set? SMS: Skil, followed by the answer, your name and e-mail address to 34419 (R2 per SMS) or visit our Web site at www.popularmechanics.co.za; competition closes 30 April 2011.
For more information contact: (011) 651 9858 or visit www.skil.co.za.

New from Skil Masters a combo set of power tools thats ideal for thecontractor. Featuring four of Skils best 18V Li-ionpowered cordless power tools, the combo set 0030MA includes aversatile two-gear drill driver, a handy ashlight, a powerful circular saw with a cutting depth of 41 mm at 90andareciprocating saw with quick blade change andpendulum hub settings. All of this is packaged in a sturdy carry bag, along with two 18V Li-ion batteries and aone-hour charger, as well as valueadded accessories. With the Skil combo pack, practically every application and material is covered professionally.

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Rules: 1. Entry is open to anyone except employees (and their immediate families) of RamsayMedia, Skil and associated agencies. 2. Only one online entry per person. You may enter via SMS as many times as you like (SMS charged at R2). 3. Competition runs until 30 April 2011. 4. We will draw the winner(s) on 09 May 2011. 5. The prize is not redeemable for cash. 6. The judges decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. 7. Regrettably, only South African residents are eligible for prizes. 8. Prizes not claimed within 3 months will be forfeited.

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[ FEATURE ]

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DOWN IN THE HOLE

THEIR LAUNCH INFRASTRUCTURE IS AGEING, AND THE NEW START TREATY CUTS THEIR NUMBERS, BUT AMERICAS INTERCONTINENTAL BALLISTIC MISSILES (ICBMs) REMAIN THE CORNERSTONE OF WESTERN NUCLEAR DETERRENCE. AND EVERY DAY, AIRMEN DESCEND INTO HARDENED BUNKERS TO AWAIT THE UNTHINKABLE.

BY JOE PAPPALARDO

THE RANCH HOUSE sitting 30 metres off a two-lane, pothole-riddled road southeast of Great Falls, Montana, is not much to look at. Its a simple onestorey structure, surrounded by a chain-link fence, with a detached garage and a basketball hoop in the driveway. But a closer examination reveals curious details: a red-and-white microwave tower looming over the buildings, a helicopter landing pad in the front yard and a conical ultrahigh-frequency antenna growing from the lawn like a white mushroom. This place could be a university agricultural research outpost or a state weather station except for the red sign on the

PICTURES BY JONATHAN TORGOVNIK


Just another workday: Nuclear missile launch teams tether cases containing classied documents to their bodies before heading off to their 24-hour-alert shift in a Montana missile eld. If called on, these 20-something Air Force ofcers will re their doomsday weapons.
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[ FEATURE ]

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fence warning that anyone trying to sneak on to the property could be met with lethal force. A security officer inside the house vets everyone who enters. Any deviation from what is expected even a misspelled name or a missing middle initial can bring guards with M4 rifles and handcuffs. The thick front gate opens vertically to avoid being blocked by snow in winter. Inside, the house becomes a military barracks. A central room is shared living space television, sofas, love seat and a handful of long tables for group meals. A hallway branches into rooms with bunk beds. Government posters on the walls warn of loose lips and lurking spies. A bulletproof door in the living area leads to a small side room. There, the flight security controller (FSC), a non-commissioned officer responsible for safeguarding this facility, sits next to a 3 metre-tall locker housing the M4s and M9 handguns. Theres yet another door in this security room, one that the FSC and guards never enter except in the case of an extreme emergency. It leads to an elevator that has one stop, six storeys below ground. The FSC speaks softly on the phone, exchanging codes required to make the elevator appear. It wont come up until riders clear and close the security-room door. The elevators steel door is hand-operated, unrolling like a storefront security shutter to reveal a small box with metal walls. It takes less than a minute to make the 20-metre descent, but its a different world down in the hole. The elevator opens to the smooth curve of a black, pillshaped capsule, interrupted by the thick stubs of pneumatic shock absorbers that can protect occupants from shock waves caused by the nearby blast of a nuclear warhead. A series of clangs, reminiscent of the sound of a castles portcullis rising, echo outside the capsule, and moments later a massive hatch slowly swings open, 26-year-old Air Force Captain Chad Dieterle clinging to its metal handle. The word INDIA is stencilled on the blast doors 1,4 metre-thick inner edge. Dieterle is halfway through his 24-hour shift as commander of Launch Control Centre India, built here at Malmstrom Air Force Base when the airmans parents were Decommissioned teens. in 2008 LCC India is hard-wired to 50 surrounding silos, each about 11 kilometres away. Each silo houses an 18-metre Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). The US Air Force wont confirm the number of warheads in the missiles, but each can hold a maximum of three; every warhead can immolate 170 square kilometres within minutes of detonation. Half an hour after receiving the order, Dieterle and his deputy can deliver these weapons anywhere on the globe. Their quiet, subterranean presence makes this banal Montana ranch house one of the most strategically important locations Montana on the planet.

mericas nuclear arsenal about 2 200 strategic warheads carried by 94 bombers, 14 submarines and 450 ICBMs remains a cornerstone of the countrys national security. Despite President Barack Obamas oft-repeated desire to work toward a world without nuclear weapons, his administrations Nuclear Posture Review states that as long as nuclear weapons exist, the US will maintain safe, secure and effective nuclear forces. Since the end of the Cold War, the number of nukes worldwide has plummeted, but more nations, including potential foes such as China, Iran and North Korea, have nuclear weapons programmes and field long-distance missiles. So Americas nuclear stockpile and the aircraft, submarines and missiles that deliver them will remain on alert despite any good intentions or lofty rhetoric. Although the ICBM leg of the US nuclear triad is 50 years old, it remains the focus of intense debate in Washington, DC, and Moscow. Last year the Obama administration signed the New START treaty with Russia, which would reduce the two countries nuclear arsenals to fewer than 1 550 strategic warheads within seven years. Americas 450 deployed ICBMs would shrink by 30. To win support from hawkish, sceptical senators, the White House proposed to increase nuclear weapon modernisation spending by R600 billion over the next 10 years. (Future US governments will have to sign off on those funds.)

Launch facilities Silos

Malmstrom missile eld

Malmstrom AFB

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Picture by Getty Images (satellite map); Diagrams by DOGO

Self-described missile monkeys WorldMags train in a mocked-up Minuteman III silo, rewiring the missiles rounded gyroscope and boxy radiation-shielded computers. The equipment steers the upper stage before it releases the warheads.

I will vote to ratify New START . . . because the president has committed (to) a plan to make sure that those weapons work, Republican Senator Lamar Alexander said.

Malmstrom Air Force Base is responsible for 15 nuclear launch facilities and 150 silos spread over 37 000 square kilometres. The US Air Force buried the launch control rooms to thwart a Soviet nuclear onslaught and distributed underground silos so inbound warheads would have to hit each site directly, at ground level, to prevent US retaliation.

hy are ICBMs, icons of the Cold War, still a centrepiece of 21st-century defence, politics and diplomacy? Of the three kinds of delivery systems (aircraft, submarines and missiles), ICBMs promise the fastest response to nuclear attack or can launch quickly enough to prevent one. Submarines are virtually undetectable and nuclear bombers can strike with precision, but only intercontinental missiles are always ready to deliver a nuke, undeterred, anywhere in the world within minutes. (Submarines have long-range ballistic missiles, but land-based communication is more reliable.) The American ICBM umbrella spans the globe, lowering the number of nukes worldwide by taking the burden of deterrence from allied governments. As airmen, we strongly believe that it is important for the United States to be able to hold at risk any adversarys target, regardless of where it is, regardless of how heavily defended it is, regardless of how deeply buried it may be, regardless of how widely dispersed it may be, says Lieutenant- General Frank Klotz, who stepped down in January as the head of Global Strike Command, which has stewardship over the USAs nuclear bombers and missiles. ICBM fields, unnerving though their purpose may be, are engineering triumphs. The proof is their age the Air Force installed these launch systems in the early 1960s, and they have stayed at readiness levels exceeding 99 per cent ever since. Even more astounding, the Pentagon built the ICBM fields to last only a few decades. When the Minuteman III retires, the silos and launch facilities at Malmstrom will have been buried for 70 years. The Air Force monitors the worlds most powerful weapons with equipment made during the Space Age, not the Information Age. But these old launch systems are holding up better than most people think. To build something that has

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[ FEATURE ]

Missile alert facility

A missile alert facility houses the guards who protect the nearby silos and the Launch Control Centre 20 metres below ground. The MAF is staffed 24 hours, every day.

1. Elevator shaft: Only missileers and their meals, prepared above take the trip down. 2. Blast door: This 1,4-metre-thick door can withstand a nearby nuclear blast. Its hand-operated. 3. Launch control centre:
Two airmen pull 24-hour shifts here, waiting for the Emergency Action Message that would start an ICBM launch.

4. Escape tunnel: If the


elevator is destroyed in a nuclear exchange, the missileers can dig out via this sand-filled tube.

2 3 4

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withstood the test of time and continues to be a marvellous engineering system is just nothing short of genius, Klotz says. The 1960s designers really did think this through very carefully and designed in a lot of redundancy. It takes thousands of dedicated airmen at three Air Force bases Malmstrom, FE Warren in Wyoming and Minot in North Dakota to keep the ICBM silos operational. Since 2000, the Pentagon has spent more than R50 billion on ICBM renovations. None of the money went to launch facilities; the Air Force instead amped up base security, improved command and control cryptography, updated missile guidance systems and replaced rocket fuel. (The same warheads, deployed in 1979, sit in the ICBMs noses, but this February the National Nuclear Security Administration began studying a replacement, to be produced in 2021.) Klotz says the Air Force has upgraded every inch of the Minuteman III missile since replacing its predecessors in the 1970s. This work was intended to keep the Minuteman IIIs functional until a scheduled retirement in 2020, but last year the Obama administration extended their service lives by another decade. In response, the Air Force is crafting a schedule for improving the missile fields, using some of the billions recently promised by the White House. As expensive as this sounds, you are building an insurance policy for something where failure is unimaginable, says Anthony Cordesman, an analyst with the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington, DC, think tank. The cost of upgrading a distributed ICBM field is fairly minor. He compares the cost of the Minuteman IIIs with the price of building and maintaining new Ohio-class submarines. The US Navy intends to buy 12 new nuclear-armed submarines in 2019. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the sub replacement programme alone will run to R700 billion, with another R100 billion in research and development. Compared with subs, ICBMs promise Armageddon on a budget. Within LCC India, beneath the ranch house, Dieterle is working a hand pump that seals the capsule. Its hard to put aside the feeling of being entombed when the reedy sound of air seeping from the edge of the blast door stops. Very little has changed inside the LCC since the Kennedy administration: digital

screens have replaced paper teletype machines, and servers in the ranch house above provide the capsule crews Internet access as well as Direct TV for slow shifts. But the LCCs oversized electronics, mounted on wide metal racks and studded with raised lights and illuminated buttons, look like something from the set of the original Star Trek TV show. Some equipment is painfully old: Dieterle grins sheepishly as he pulls a 23-cm floppy disc from a console, part of the antiquated but functional Strategic Automated Command and Control System. Unlike missiles and surface-level facilities, the underground silos and LCCs are hard to upgrade and impossible to replace. And they take a beating. Corrosion and rust are insidious foes, and soil shifts can break subterranean communication lines. Launch Control Centre India is one of 15 LCCs controlled by the missileers of Malmstrom Air Force Base. Take a 40-year-old home, says Colonel Jeff Frankhouser, Malmstroms maintenance group commander. Now bury it in the ground. Then figure out what your challenges are. Well have those. The base is responsible for 150 nuclear ICBMs scattered across a staggering 37 000 square kilometres of Montana plains, hills
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Senior airman Cory Carlson, a missile maintenance technician, sits beside the forward shroud of a Minuteman III. Once in space, a rocket in the cone jettisons the shroud away from the emerging nuclear warhead.

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and mountains. The wide distribution made it impossible for the Soviet Union to knock out every silo and LCC with a massive nuclear barrage, which guaranteed that the US could retaliate. The elegant doctrine of deterrence bred some necessarily unwieldy infrastructure. For example, hundreds of thousands of kilometres of subterranean communication lines connect LCCs and silos. Each fist-thick cable contains hundreds of insulated copper lines surrounded by a pressurised sheath; the launch and base crews can detect any break or tampering by a drop in pressure. Personnel at Malmstrom struggle constantly against this dispersed layout. Every day, hundreds of people 30 launch control teams, 135 maintenance workers and 206 security team members deploy to tend the missile field. Some LCCs, staffed by a proudly suffering squadron called the Farsiders, are a 3-hour drive from the base. SUVs, big rigs and massive missile erectors daily travel more than 40 000 kilometres of roads, more than 6 000 kilometres of which are gravel. The motto here is perfection is the standard, and an army of evaluators hold personnel to this inflexible creed. Any mistakes can lead to an immediate removal from duty until the training staff retests the violator. This level of scrutiny extends to the entire base officers reprimand cooks for keeping salad dressing beyond its expiry date or failing to clean the hoods over the stoves. Food poisoning can shut down a missile alert facility as neatly as a Russian Spetsnaz special ops team. Being careful to the point of paranoia is a baseline philosophy at Malmstrom. It might seem like overkill, says Colonel Mohammed Khan, who served as the 341st Missile Wings operations commander at Malmstrom until late 2010. But hey, these are nukes. Any problem at the silos is a national security event. At 1:40 am on 23 October 2010, the two-man crew of an LCC at FE Warren Air Force Base was shocked to see the abbreviation LFDN, or Launch Facility Down, appearing on the screens

Being careful to the point of paranoia is a baseline philosophy at Malmstrom.

It might seem like overkill,


says Colonel Mohammed Khan, the 341st Missile Wings former operations commander.

But hey, these are nukes.

ICBM missile silos hide their lethality in plain sight a truck driver could pass one just off the interstate highway and not look twice. But the 27metre-deep silos house nuclear weapons that must be kept at a constant state of readiness.

2 3

1. UHF radio receiver: This blast-hardened, ultrahigh-frequency antenna can receive a launch order from an aircraft in case the LCC is destroyed or otherwise unable to communicate via landline.

ICBM silo

2. Silo cap: A massive piston can fling the


4
110-ton lid across metal tracks and through the fence. The extra force ensures wreckage cannot stop the silo from opening.

3. Intrusion detection pole: Doppler radar


at the tip bathes the area; intruders captured in the return signal bring armed guards.

4. Hatch and ladder: Air Force personnel access the silo through this highly secured door and a telescoping ladder. 5. Missile suspension: The ICBM is held
aloft to protect it from the shock waves of enemy nukes and the exhaust of its four rocket engines.

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The Air Force built silos (above) on small plots purchased from landowners a visitor can linger outside the fence and be guilty only of trespassing on private property. But cross the fence and security teams can shoot to kill. Right: A missileer activates a launch at a high-delity training simulator.

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that show each silos status they had lost contact with the 10 ICBMs under their direct control. Sporadic communication problems also spread to the squadrons four other LCCs. Warrens airmen and technicians took the afflicted LCC offline, clearing up the communications interference and enabling the rest of the squadron to stay operational. It took days to find the cause: a loose computer data card in the LCCs weapons system processor. The launch centre was calling the silos, but it couldnt hear the replies. The incident never hampered the countrys overall readiness, since the work of one LCC is easily taken up by others at the base. When a communications problem at an ICBM base is serious, an E-6B aircraft takes off from Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, Nebraska, to serve as an airborne launch control center. That didnt happen on 23 October, according to Air Force officials. Nevertheless, the outage became a rallying cry in the US Congress to revitalise Minuteman III facilities. Modernisation of our nuclear force is a necessity. The incident at Warren proves this beyond a doubt, Senator John Barrasso wrote in an op-ed piece. That conclusion ignores the fact that the loss of communications was caused by an upgrade base maintainers had replaced the data card the day before, but they did not properly seat it, and equipment vibrations shook the card loose.

Modernisation has downsides. Upgrades require invasive procedures at the carefully kept facilities; mixing new and old technology can lead to unforeseen problems; and Global Strike Command is struggling with a personnel shortage. I think we absolutely have to do modernisation, says Klotz, who is retiring in March. But maintaining an ageing system, coupled with the efforts to modernise it, places a pretty high workload on all of our bases. Besides, sometimes the old systems are just built tougher. Systems that are older tend to be more robust and less vulnerable, Klotz says. There is a certain ruggedness in the design that we might not have if it were relying upon the most up-to-date technology.

uclear missile launches are not activated by the turn of a key. If the call comes to Indias LCC, Dieterle and his deputy commander, Captain Ted Givler, will match the codes from the White House that enable the silos to fire with ones kept in the LCCs metal safes. The pair of missileers would each grip two triangular switches, eyes fixed to a red digital clock ticking away between the consoles. At the predetermined time, theyd turn the triangle from SET to LAUNCH. A second pair of airmen in another LCC would simultaneously turn their switches, and the ICBMs would be free. Each ICBM tube is good for only one shot the electronics, ladders, communications wiring, security sensors and sump pump would burn or melt. The Minuteman III would push an obscenely perfect smoke ring shaped like the silos entrance over the Montana landscape. Billowing exhaust, the missile would reach space in minutes; in a half an hour the warheads would be falling on their targets. The power of the weapons under the missileers command and the pressure to be perfect are magnified by the LCCs intense, isolated surroundings. A simple mattress ringed by a blackout curtain is mounted at the far end of the capsule. This is never a good place to wake up, Dieterle says. Its time to go up the elevator, back to what the missileers call the real world. With a slow pull, Dieterle tugs the handle of the black blast door until the thick slab starts to turn. He offers one last, slight smile and the door shuts with a PM thud. Dieterle, or someone like him, is down there now, waiting.

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[ DIY TECH ]

Start a Web business


The job market is tougher than ever, but starting your own business online has never been easier. Heres how to get a good idea off the ground
> BY JOHN HERRMAN

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Illustration by Headcase Design

Alex Andon wasnt thrilled to lose his biotech job in May 2008. But unlike most of the millions of others laid off that year, he knew exactly what to do next. I was a marine biology major in university, and I had some pretty cool sh tanks. I had noticed that jellysh exhibits had become popular at aquariums, he recalls. People were mesmerised, but there was no way for someone to keep their own jellysh, because they need special tanks and special food. If I could build one and supply the food, I knew there was a market there. Nearly two years later, selling jellysh tanks through JellyshArt.com is Andons full-time job. In years past, starting a business was a complex, expensive and risky affair, but online tools have smoothed out many of the logistical bumps in the process. Weve gathered wisdom from ordinary joes who made good by using the Internet to sell their wares. Heres how to get started.

Testing the waters


Start small. Signing up for a personal-blog website on WordPress or Blogger is a simple rst step: just pick a site name, a password and some personal info, and youve got an easily updatable presence on the Internet. Since these blogs arent designed for sales, theyre best viewed as a way to share your work with the world and, more specically, to gauge interest. Find relevant communities and message boards online. See if anyone else is selling similar products, and to whom. Whether you craft wood or machine metal or knit kitten scarves, youre guaranteed to nd like-minded people online. With your new site, youll have something to show them. The best way to get started is to put up a simple Web site and see how it goes, says Limor Fried, who founded Adafruit Industries, which specialises in do-it-yourself electronics building kits. Personal blogs require no nancial outlay, are easy to update with photos and descriptions of your work and can even net a few informal sales through PayPal. Adding PayPal buttons for payment is very easy, Fried says. Thats how I started out. Zach Smiths MakerBot Industries, a New York City company that sells kits to build low-cost rapid-prototyping machines also known as 3D printers got his start the same way. At the beginning, it was very much a Send me 10 bucks over PayPal, and Ill mail you this thing type of arrangement, he says. This was ne, up to a point. Beyond 30 or so orders, it gets unwieldy. But at the beginning its great, because it requires almost zero effort to nd out if anybody is interested.

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Setting up shop
If you sense demand, there are two options for turning a marketable hobby into a real online business: shacking up with an established site, or striking out on your own. Which strategy you pick

depends on how easy you want the process to be versus how much independence youre looking for. The buyer-and-seller culture on sites such as eBay is old and established, but can be intimidating; a new seller can easily get lost in the overwhelming noise of an auction site. Amazon will let you sell under its banner, providing a free online storefront and order processing. (For the privilege, Amazons commission can run as high as 15 per cent.) In recent years, a new breed of Web sites for selling homebuilt products has stormed the scene. Among the most popular is Etsy, which caters to the DIY set, with a special focus on crafts and art. Setting up an Etsy.com storefront is free and takes just minutes. Like Amazon, Etsy handles the entire transaction process, from credit-card processing to shipping calculations, though its fees are lower (listings cost 20 cents (US) per item, plus a 3,5 per cent transaction fee on anything sold). A site called Big Cartel does Etsy one better with a service called Pulley, for selling downloadable goods such music, photography, videos or software. Pulleys at monthly fees start at R50, which gets you 25 product listings. Stores such as this are easy to set up and pretty much take care of themselves, but they arent for everyone. Commissions and fees can choke prots, and being part of a larger site hinders growth as an independent brand. Selling through Amazon or Etsy can feel more like renting a table at a ea market than running your own business. The alternative? Running a Web site of your own. The raw materials that go into a Web site are cheap to acquire. First, youll need to nd a host for your site. With reputable companies such as Internet Solutions, a couple of hundred rand a month will get you enough space and bandwidth to get started. These sites will also sell you a domain name a dot-com address of your very own. Unless a domain is already taken, it shouldnt cost more than R150 a year. Now comes the hard part: building a site. Major Web hosts sell cheap packages designed specically for small-business owners, which include pre-designed site templates, shopping-cart software and options for customising layouts without the need for HTML expertise. Some companies specialise in prefab hosting and Web site packages for small businesses. Andon sells his jellysh tanks using one such company, Volusion. I have no knowledge of programming or coding,

he says, yet I was able to build my site on my own. For a truly custom Web site design, expert help is a must. Freelancer.com, a bidding market for freelance development work, is a good place to start. Freelancer. coms thousands of listed projects are also an invaluable resource for understanding how much Web design actually costs. (Fair warning: It can cost upwards of R10 000.) Of course, all of your work will be for naught if you cant get paid for it. And the Internet has taken the pain out of accepting credit-card payments, even for brand-new businesses. PayPal offers a free basic merchant account, with no minimum revenue requirements and no need for a credit check, plus simple tools for linking it to common e-commerce platforms. PayPals commission is reasonable, too, at 2,9 per cent of each sale plus the equivalent of about R2 per transaction.

Adjusting to growth
Every small-business owner plans to grow, or at least hopes to. Few know what to do when it actually happens. As far as the biggest shock in running Adafruit goes, it was demand, Fried recalls. Zach Smith came to a similar realisation in MakerBots early days: One of the pitfalls is that you start doing something, then you get successful, then you have to start building infrastructure and logistics. If you dont have help, the rest of the business suffers. The pressures of properly incorporating a business, guring out taxes and dealing with customers can eclipse your core duties. If it comes time to hire temporary help for shipping or menial tasks, Smith recommends Intuits online payroll service, which keeps track of payments and automates the complicated paperwork generated by the freelance hiring process for around R300 a month. When the logistical demands start to become overwhelming or inventory begins to take up too much physical space, its time to outsource. Amazon rents space in its massive shipping centre and will handle small businesses packaging and shipping duties as well. The more you ship, the less you pay. And once youre shopping for warehouse space, maybe its also time to move out of the garage. PM
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POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA APRIL 2011

[ TECH ]

MIKE ALLENS WORKSHOP is an orderly,

WE BUILD A WORKSHOP

PC
We turned a Craftsman tool chest into a super-cooled computer.

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well-maintained place. Located a few kilometres from the New Jersey shoreline, the compact garage of PMs senior automotive editor (US edition) has high shelves stacked with meticulously organised, plainly labelled plastic bins of tools and welding equipment. Occasionally, however, the air in the shop is toxic. Mike is a mechanic and metalworker, and his grinding, routing and drilling sends plumes of metal particulate into the air. This is not so great for the lungs, but positively deadly for electronic equipment. Thats a problem, because a workshop these days needs to be computerised. Mike routinely uses a laptop to run OBD-II diagnostics, search online repair manuals or just blast MP3s of George Thorogood while, say, rebuilding the dry clutch from a Ducati Monster. But Mike was tired of his laptops burning out every few months. He was looking for a solution that would bring serious computing

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Palmer Performance Engineering ScanXL USB OBD-II scan tool

Wacom Bamboo pen and touchpad

Keyboard and mouse drawer Borescope Peripherals drawer

Scan tool Printer drawer

THREE PM EDITORS BUILT A GARAGEFRIENDLY COMPUTER IN THE BOTTOM DRAWER OF A ROLLING TOOL CART
BY GLENN DERENE
PICTURES BY NATHAN PERKEL

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Canon Pixma iP100 printer

Computer drawer

3 x 2 GB of Kingston watercooled RAM

Samsung 470 Series 256 GB solid-state drive

USB borescope

ATI Radeon HD 5870 graphics card with Koolance water block

Asus Crosshair IV Formula motherboard ($210) and AMD Phenom II X6 1100T processor

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[ TECH ]

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SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED


Step 1: Cut to t
We took the bottom drawer of a Craftsman tool cart and modied it for PC duty. We needed a few holes for our radiator to make our unique liquid-cooling system work, so we broke out a hole saw.

Step 2: Bend some metal


Our segmented design called for a sealed compartment to protect electronic components from metal dust, and a ventilated compartment for airow to the radiator and fans. This required a steel bulkhead. Mike and his sheet-metal brake obliged.

Step 3: Arrange, then rearrange


Unlike a normal PC case, our drawer had no set way to arrange and mount components. We testtted our pump, power supply and motherboard to nd the most efcient ow for coolant, then used Rivnuts to create mounting points.

Step 4: When you hit a wall, build up


Normally, graphics cards get mounted directly to a PC motherboard, but our drawer was too shallow. So we mounted our GPU to a customfabricated platform, then hooked the card to the mobo using a exible PCI-E cable. Finally, we rigged up our cooling system (see Keeping It Cool, opposite).

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Diagrams by DOGO

KEEPING IT COOL
We designed a liquid-cooling system to prevent components (central processor, memory, graphics card and power supply) from overheating inside an airtight case. In our set-up, the glycol coolant transfers the heat from the components in the sealed section of the case to a radiator and fans in the open section, which dissipate the heat. All parts and ttings were sourced from Koolance.

Liquid-cooled power supply: The only one of its kind, this pricey part (R3 500 in the US) has two sealed reservoirs.

TNK-400 This reservoir and pump combo saves serious space.

Two-fan radiator: The radiator and fans actively cool the liquid glycol.

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Bulkhead

Radiator

Top view: liquid cooling Graphics card

Power supply Glycol liquid coolant transfers heat from components in the sealed section of the case to the open section.

Reservoir/pump CPU

Memory Sealed Side view: airflow Open

In the open compartment, cool air is drawn through vents, and exhaust through the radiator.

power into his workshop full-time without exposing delicate PC innards to harsh substances. At PM, we love a challenge. Mike and I sat down with PMs master computer builder, Anthony Verducci, to design and construct a machine that could stand up to this unforgiving environment. It turned out to be an interesting exercise in thermal management. We knew that a standard, air-cooled rig with lters on its fans could block some of the particulate, but the only way to truly protect the computers interior bits would be to seal it off completely from the outside world. Its one challenge to keep the computer cool its quite another to make it look cool, so I proposed that we build the machine into a Craftsman rolling tool cart. Mike shaped up a sheet-steel bulkhead that partitioned two-thirds of the bottom drawer into a sealed compartment, then drilled 10 holes in the bottom of the other third to allow for airow. Then we plumbed up a liquid-cooling system for all of our critical components: a crushingly powerful six-core, 3,3-GHz AMD Phenom II X6 1100T processor; an ATI Radeon HD 5870 graphics card; 6 GB of high-speed Kingston RAM; and a dualreservoir Koolance 1 000-watt power supply the only one of its kind. In the open airow compartment, we mounted the radiator and fans to blow the PCs heat to the outside world. Mike is fastidious about wiring, so he spent a couple of late nights at the garage harnessing and gasketising all of the USB, SATA, HDMI and power cables exiting our drawer, then routing them through the case. After three days of building, Anthony ipped the switch and our rig booted up, signalling that our work was done. The workshop PC was a difcult beast to build, but we think the concept has legs. After all, the PC is now a universal tool, and Mikes shop isnt the only place where the air gets unfriendly. PM

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[ OUTSIDE ]

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Main image: Moments before ploughing face-rst into the ground, 14-year-old Jonathan Benjamin demonstrates the importance of wearing wrist guards. Although he hit the dirt hard after coming off on a steep incline, his only injury was a badly grazed elbow.

Roshan Combrinck balances on the edge of a large boulder.

-inc 20-inch, 26

h and 24-inc

h wheels.

shows oswell Brent B one. d how its

the you

ngsters

OddWheel Unicycles Alan Read.

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wonders

> STORY AND PICTURES BY SEAN WOODS

I N T R E P I D M O U N TA I N U N I C Y C L I S T S D O I T I N T H E D I RT
You can fall hard, but you seldom really hurt yourself, he insists. For one thing, speeds are lower. Unlike a regular bike, theres no freewheel; with a unicycles xed drivetrain, you travel only as fast as you can pedal. Were talking 10 to 12 km/h. Theres also no cumbersome bike frame and, as youre not clipped into the pedals, nothing to tangle you up when hitting the dirt. You rarely actually fall, but

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In the world of extreme sport, you dont get much more out there than taking to the hills on one wheel.
Mountain unicycling mUni to its small but fanatical band of followers is as far beyond the cycling mainstream as it gets. Its wild, its tough, and its decidedly dangerous. But, mUni followers say, its a legitimate sport with many positive attributes. And its fast gaining ground worldwide. Mention the word unicycle, and the rst image that pops into most peoples minds is a gaudily dressed circus clown juggling brightly coloured objects while pedalling around like mad on one wheel, to the delight of a predominantly underage crowd. Frankly, thats nothing compared with the heart-stopping sight of a MUni rider hitting the trail at speed. Fearlessly traversing narrow mountain footpaths at full tilt, sans brakes or gears, somehow managing to negotiate large boulders, exposed roots and fallen tree trunks... its almost as big a thrill watching as it is actually riding. OddWheel Unicycles Alan Read has dedicated himself to establishing off-road unicycling in South Africa. This sport turns heads all the time. We cant ride anywhere unnoticed, says Read. Curious onlookers stop us wanting to give it a try. Until they realise that its not as easy as we make it seem. But, as insanely dangerous as it appears to be, Read is adamant that off-road unicycling is a lot safer than riding a mountain bike.

almost end up stepping off and landing on your feet as the wheel slips from underneath you, explains Read. Plus, you know exactly when youre about to lose your balance and the time to step off has arrived. But accidents do happen. So, to play it safe, experienced riders wear plenty of protective gear: helmets and wrist and shin guards represent the bare minimum. Elbow and knee pads come highly recommended. Wrist guards are the most important safety item, says Read. If you get tossed forward, your instinctive response is to throw your hands up to cushion your fall. The wrist guards have splints inside to prevent your wrists from snapping on impact. Ranked a close second in desirability are shin guards. Youll realise why after just one vicious whack from the metal pedals sharp, shoe-gripping serrated edges during an unplanned dismount.

Getting up to speed
Two things determine a unicycles speed: wheel diameter and crank length. The larger the wheel, the bigger the distance
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Dio5050/iStockphoto

ONE-wheeled

[ OUTSIDE ]
per pedal stroke and the higher the potential top speed. Happily, the bigger wheel also allows you to roll over obstacles more easily. Short cranks let you pedal faster and thus pick up more speed, making them an ideal choice for road races or freestyle tricks. For that, though, riders sacrice control and torque. Longer cranks deliver less speed, but provide much more control and torque. Riders are able to power up really steep inclines as well as to control a descent when negotiating scary downhills. Generally, we change the crank length to suit the terrain were riding in, says Read. We also use dual cranks with two sets of holes for the pedals which shift the pedal position to create a longer or shorter crank on the y. When riding cross-country we would opt for the shorter option, but on encountering obstacles wed change to the longer crank position. Choosing the right wheel size is a highly individualistic affair. As a rule, beginners should pick wheel size according to their height. An average-sized adult would nd a 26-inch diameter wheel suitable; a teenager would use a 24-inch wheel and a 10-yearold would be most comfortable on a 20-inch. However, once youve picked up some experience, there is a range of different wheel sizes available to suit specic applications. The smaller ones allow better control, making them particularly suited to mountain unicycling. Medium-sized wheels allow good speed on dirt tracks, and a large wheel is what youd need for long, fast rides on tar or dirt roads. A 29-inch enables you to ride pretty fast and still have a reasonable amount of technical control, allowing you to negotiate thin, rocky single tracks and steep downhills, explains Read. When riding long road races such as the Argus Cycle Tour, we use 36-inch wheels exclusively. Geared hubs, although a rarity, are also available for more experienced riders. Handmade in Switzerland, they provide two ratios: low (1:1) and high (1:1,5). The rider changes between the two on the y by pressing a protruding button with his heel. When Johnny Cronje and I rode from Durban to Cape Town late last year in support of the Bobs for Good Foundation, we both used geared hubs on our 29-inch wheels effectively turning them into 44-inch, Read says.

Curious onlookers stop us wanting to give it a try. Until they realise that its not as easy as we make it seem.

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Hitting the trail


On off-road trails, wide high-volume knobbly tyres with rigid side walls are used. Their width provides stability when riding over loose rocks, and their high volume helps smooth out bumps along the way. When negotiating obstacles you never sit in the seat, Read elaborates. Instead, you almost stand to put all your weight on your legs so they can act as shock absorbers. Although this means you have much less control, it does have one major benet it makes you develop incredible core body strength! As far as Read is concerned, technical downhill single-track riding is the most fun and satisfying

Main image: Donna Kisogloo, wearing an action cam strapped to her helmet, records her ride as she pedals at full tilt along a narrow trail in Tokai forest, Cape Peninsula.

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form of unicycling. It forces you to keep focused on one track. Theres no autopilot, no freewheeling your concentration has to be there all the time. And, as obstacles come up you constantly have to prepare yourself mentally for getting over them. The mental aspect of mountain unicycling cannot be understated. Riding an off-road unicycle is all about knowing something is possible, and then being persistent enough to try again and again until you get it right, Read says. Its fantastic at helping to develop your focus and concentration skills. Thats great for cross-training. In fact, he maintains, its ideal for any sport requiring bucketloads of co-ordination, core body strength, concentration and ne muscle control.

Tokai forest on the Cape Peninsulas mountain chain is Reads favourite riding location, but that doesnt mean he shuns urban environments. We organise gatherings all over the Cape Town metropole, and whatever your skill level youre welcome to join in. Our focus is to have fun and encourage each other to push the limits, so when we go on social rides we always set the pace by the least experienced rider. For more information, contact Alan Read at OddWheel Unicycles on 082 341 2639, or visit www.unicycle.co.za

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Herding shee

p in the Karo

o.

Crossing a river in Baviaanskloof.

Crossing a stream Natal.

in rural KwaZulu-

Alan Read with

his Shunicycl e.

Taking the road less travelled


Mountain unicycling, being the radical head-turner that it is, is particularly suited to promoting good causes. When Alan Read and his unicycling buddy Johnny Cronje heard about the Bobs for Good Foundation a non-prot organisation started by ex-rugby Springbok captain Bob Skinstad to put shoes on underprivileged kids feet they knew theyd found the perfect excuse to undertake an epic 2 470 km one-wheeled ride from Durban to Cape Town. Before heading off late last year, Read asked his Johannesburg-based engineering buddy (and keen unicyclist) Julian Wills if he could make a unicycle out of shoes to promote their cause. It was a no-brainer, and just two weeks later the shunicycle was ready to hit the road. It was a bit bumpy to ride, but completely functional, recalls Read. We kept it in the support vehicle and pulled it out whenever we came across a village or group of people after our days ride it was a huge hit. Following the same route as the Freedom Challenge (an annual, extremely hardcore mountain bike race), they crossed vast tracts of rural land, using mainly dirt roads and narrow footpaths, completing their eventful journey in an impressive 44 days. PM

e So day in th A soggy berg. Drakens

uthern

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[ WHEELS ]

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2011 BMW M3

2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392

ON THE WEB > Visit www.popularmechanics.co.za to see PM's picks for the top 10 cars at the Detroit Auto Show 2011.

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Detroit vs the world


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MOTOWN IS GETTING ITS GROOVE BACK, BUT IS THAT ENOUGH TO TAKE ON THE WORLDS BEST CARS? PM INVESTIGATES.

P M T E S T- D R I V E N

Just two short years ago, Chrysler and GM once stalwart engines of American manufacturing
were sputtering. Even after the controversial mega-billion-rand bailout and massive restructuring, there was no guarantee buyers would choose their cars again. Since then, a signicant and perhaps nostalgic truth has emerged: Americans still want to own American products. Lo and behold, GM, Ford and Chrysler have enjoyed double-digit-percentage sales growth over the past year. It seems that a concerted productimprovement effort by Detroits Big Three has nally borne fruit, as higher J D Power quality rankings show. Still, we wanted to know: Could US cars conquer their foreign rivals in real-world performance tests? To nd out, we pitted the feisty new Ford Fiesta against our favourite compact, the Honda Jazz; Buicks spirited Regal CXL Turbo against the Inniti G25, a benchmark sedan; and the 351-kW Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 against the powerful but lithe BMW M3. Full-throttle dragstrip runs, brake testing and lane-change manoeuvring composed the baseline test. But each pair of cars also ran routes designed to reveal strengths and weaknesses particular to the class of vehicle. The M3 and 392 underwent arduous lap sessions at Buttonwillow Raceway Park, the 5-kilometre road course near Bakerseld, California. For the Jazz and Fiesta, we mapped out an exhaustive 500-kilometre trek through urban trafc snarls and along demanding highways to measure the compacts fuel economy and pep. We hammered the sport sedans on the scenic (and sometimes dangerously curvy) canyon roads, high above the surf. Heres how this global showdown shook out.
B Y B E N S T E W A R T + P I C T U R E S B Y C H R I S T O P H E R W R A Y- M C C A N N

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MIGHTY MITES
The Honda Jazz proved that practical, pocket-sized cars neednt be dull. How does the Ford Fiesta measure up?
C O M PA C T

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lick either one of these spunky hatchbacks into a series of hard corners and they both channel the fun-loving spirit of an early-80s VW GTI, the original hot hatchback. Though the Jazz nosed ahead of the Fiesta in our handling tests, on back roads the Ford actually feels more nimble and better suited to hard driving. Its 90 kW fourcylinder engine seems comfortable near the redline, singing a pretty tune when running wide open. The Fords road feel is direct, neither too hard nor too soft, and the steering wheel itself is fat and purposeful like one youd nd in a sporty (and much more expensive) coup. When zipping through a turn, the Fiestas chassis feels buttoned-down and offers less body roll than the Honda. The Fiesta invites you to drive aggressively, which you do, well, just because its fun. The Jazz is more workmanlike and aloof, with less uid feedback from the tar. Given the test location, both cars were specied with US-friendly automated gearboxes. For the record, the Fords electronically controlled, dual-clutch PowerShift transmission chooses just the right gear for each corner, whereas the Jazzs traditional ve-speed automatic is less active and less nely attuned to the task. The Honda fares better in trafc, where its automatic transmission is so docile and obedient, you barely notice the shifting. In similar conditions, the Fords gearbox proves slightly sluggish, pausing a beat or two between shifts. Another advantage on the commute for Honda: the Jazzs tall roof and giant windscreen create a vast, uninterrupted view. The as-tested Jazz includes a navigation system that operates so intuitively your dear Aunt Edna would be an expert in seconds, while the similarly priced Fiesta seems almost designed to confuse, with a Learjets worth of buttons crammed into the tiny dash space. Only Fords techno trump card, the voice-activated Sync system, saves the driver from irritation. Both of the hatchbacks can handle more stuff than their silhouettes suggest, although the Jazz, with its high roof and at-folding seats, ts more gear, more elegantly. Its clearly the workhorse of this duo. In fact, its boxy design may be one reason it lagged behind the Ford in our fuel-economy test; the sleeker Fiesta looks like it would slice through the air with less effort, using less fuel. The Jazz returned 6,5 litres/100 km overall, compared with the Fiestas 6,1. Considered together, the Fiestas hybrid-like efciency, hip styling and fun-loving personality give it a clear advantage over the Jazz.

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SPORT SEDAN PERFORMANCE


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TALE OF THE TAPE

2011 HONDA Jazz


Powertrain 87 kW/144 N.m 1,5-litre inline 4, 5A Wheelbase (mm) Length (mm) Kerb weight (kg) Acceleration (096* km/h) Acceleration ( mile) Braking (960 km/h) Slalom (km/h) Lane change (km/h) Skidpad (gs) Fuel economy (/100 km) PM fuel economy (/100 km)
*60 miles per hour.

2011 FORD Fiesta


90 kW/152 N.m 1,6-litre inline 4, 6M/A 2 490 4 066 1 189 10,86 sec 17,97 sec at 126,9 km/h 36,5 m 63,3 86,2 0,81 8,4 city/38 hwy 6,1

SCORECARD HONDA FORD


Powertrain Handling Practicality Kerb appeal Fuel economy Final tally 1 W W W 4 W W

2 499 4 105 1 189 11,11 sec 18,01 sec at 122,6 km/h 37,11 m 65,7 87,3 0,83 8,8 city/7,14 hwy 6,5

POPULARMECHANICS.CO.ZA APRIL 2011

Fords Fiesta has a computercontrolled dualclutch gearbox, just like the exotic Bugatti Veyron.

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a rd F ie s t 2011 Fo

vs

z nda Jaz 2011 Ho

The Jazz carves out a surprisingly roomy interior from its small exterior.

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The new Regal CXL Turbo brings back entertainment to the marque

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No straights no problem! The Inniti G25 lacks torque, loves curves.

2 0 1 1 In f in it i G 2 5

vs

2011 Bu ic k R e g al CXL T urbo

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DETROIT vs THE WORLD

CANYON CARVERS
More sports car than cruise ship, can the Regal take on one of Japans nest?
C O M PA C T

S
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ince the 1960s, sporty Buicks have been rare. On paper, the American stallion should have the edge from stoplight to stoplight. But even though the Regal packs 350 N.m of torque 97 N.m more than the G25 it beats the Inniti by a mere 0,21 seconds from 0 to 96 km/h. Still, the 164-kW Buick feels quicker, and we dig listening to the snorty turbo as it whistles and pops. The Buicks engine is the rebellious punk of this pair, a radical that also returns an excellent 8,7 litres/100 km. Meanwhile, the Innitis 162-kW 2,5-litre V6 is as exciting as a university professors cardigan. Sure, its velvety smooth and quiet (study hall, anyone?), but it left us wanting for torque and good, old-fashioned fun when we tried to wind it up. Out in the canyons, the G25 shines. The chassis is uid and balanced. It feels solid, like it could take the corner-carving punishment all day. The G25 uses the same basic chassis as the Nissan 370Z sports car no wonder it moves so well. But youve got to keep that little V6 above 4 500 r/min and make sure the transmission is in the manual mode or else the whole powertrain feels lethargic, as if every gear, rod and piston is coated not with some magical lubricant but with wood glue. The Buick requires more work to drive fast, but, man, does it hustle. Theres a lot of grip and razor-sharp turn-in from the 19-inch tyres, and the torque reserve allows you to merely toe the throttle to set up for the next turn. Its a thrilling ride, but ultimately less substantial-feeling than the Inniti. The Buick creaks and groans over rough pavement; its as if the manufacturer had used a thinner grade of steel in its chassis. The Regals steering and braking require little effort and are thus difcult to operate precisely. The Buick also seems to work hard to maintain its running speed, which the Inniti does effortlessly. Ultimately, the Regal has a higher fun factor, but the Inniti, which has more signicant bearing and pays better attention to detail, is more rewarding. Inside, for instance, the Inniti is sharp and well-crafted. The Buick wears an attractive gauge cluster and splashes of tasteful chrome, but some of the trim feels less securely afxed than in the Inniti; its as if the Buicks fasteners could have used an extra quarter turn of the spanner on the assembly line. On a more important note, the Regals infotainment system is so incredibly frustrating to use that we defaulted to iPhone navigation to get home one night. In this battle the Buick fought gamely. The drivetrain was frisky and entertaining, the chassis athletic. Also, the Regals crisply tailored design makes it the best-looking domestic sedan on the market. But the Inniti simply handles better, is more polished and feels more expensive despite costing slightly less as tested. This was a heated contest, but in the sport-sedan world the G25 refuses to surrender to the Regal.

SPORT SEDAN PERFORMANCE

2011 INFINITI G25


Powertrain Wheelbase (mm) Length (mm) Kerb weight (kg) Acceleration (096* km/h) Acceleration ( mile) Braking (960 km/h) Slalom (km/h) Lane change (km/h) Skidpad (gs) Fuel economy (/100 km) PM fuel economy (/100 km)
*60 miles per hour.

2011 BUICK Regal CXL Turbo


164 kW/350 N.m 2,0-litre turbo inline 4, 6A 2 738 4 831 1 716 8,23 sec 15,84 sec at 146,6 km/h 35,5 m 64,94 90,22 0,82 13,1 city/8,1 hwy 8,7

TALE OF THE TAPE

162 kW/253 N.m 2,5-litre V6, 7A 2 850 4 750 1 653 8,44 sec 16,14 sec at 140,1 km/h 35,3 m 64,28 90,22 0,84 11,9 city/8,1 hwy 9,2

SCORECARD INFINITI BUICK


Powertrain Handling Interior Kerb appeal Value Final tally W 3 2 W W W W

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DETROIT vs THE WORLD

HORSEPOWER heavyweights
C O M PA C T

Dodges reincarnated and reinvigorated Challenger SRT8 392 faces off against a muscle car from a very different milieu, the BMW M3.
t rst blush, comparing the BMW M3 with the Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 seems a bit like debating whos the better rugby player, Victor Mateld or Dan Carter a lively pub discussion but ultimately pointless. But, on closer inspection, the two have more in common than simply playing on the same eld. Like the Challenger, which predates the BMW by 16 years, the M3 is basically a muscle car, although one reective of its Teutonic heritage. On the M3s German home market, many drivers remove the badges from their cars to avoid being perceived as bragging about, say, the V12 under the Mercedes S600 bonnet. And so the M3s body differs minimally from its 3 Series brethren: the fenders are just enough to accommodate the larger wheels and sport suspension, and the one high-tech exterior detail a carbonbre roof is noticeable only upon close inspection. In the engine room, yes, theres a V8, but its a peashooter by US standards, displacing just 4,0 litres. It still delivers 309 kW, however, thanks to its high revs. At 6 000 r/min, where the typical V8 starts pufng, the M3s mill hums, building to a glorious 8 300-r/min climax. Meanwhile, the battleship Challenger (its 40 centimetres and clearly wider than the M3) aunts its repower. The recessed grille, bulging anks and bold stripes herald what lies beneath: a 6,4-litre Hemi V8 that bangs out 351 kW. Surprise, surprise the Challengers a pro at the stoplight drag dance. The clutch engages gradually, so the hulk launches from a standstill without roasting the Goodyears. The pistol-grip shifter, a vintage touch, is a tting detail for this fourwheel magnum. The big V8s responsiveness and chest-thumping roar never fail to elevate the heart rate, and in every acceleration contest, the Dodge edged out the BMW: 0 to 96 km/h in 4,74 seconds versus 4,87, and a quarter-mile in 12,98 seconds versus 13,03. This might have been 1970 all over again, if not for the 392s commanding suspension and massive disc brakes, which make it more than a straight-line special. The question is, how much more? The Challengers hefty 1 952 kilograms 336 more than the BMW hamper its overall achievement. So, in the curves the M3 took charge, outshining the 392 in every handling test. More tellingly, the BMW sizzled the 5-kilometre Buttonwillow road course in 2:13,1, two seconds quicker than the Dodge, which overworked the tyres as it bounded around the track. The Challenger is improved for sure and still fun, but the M3 is like a freshly sharpened Wsthof carving knife to the Dodges dull meat cleaver. All told, the margin is slight between the multi-talented but discreet M3 and the charismatic, booming 392. But Dodges engineers didnt simply reissue a classic. They polished the brawn just enough for a substantial price saving over the M3. In this match-up, its Detroit by a nose. PM

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SPORT SEDAN PERFORMANCE

TALE OF THE TAPE


Powertrain

2011 BMW M3
309 kW/400 N.m 4,0-litre V8, 6M 2 761 4 618 1 616 4,87 sec 34,1 m 68,9 98,6 0,93 17,8 city/11,8 hwy 11,36

2011 DODGE Challenger SRT8 392


351 kW/637 N.m 6,4-litre V8, 6M 2 946 5 022 1 952 4,74 sec 34,6 m 66,8 93,6 0,86 16,9 city/10,3 hwy 11,23

SCORECARD BMW DODGE


Powertrain Handling Interior Kerb appeal Value Final tally 1 tie W tie tie W W 2 tie

Wheelbase (mm) Length (mm) Kerb weight (kg) Acceleration (096* km/h) Acceleration ( mile) Braking (960 km/h) Slalom (km/h) Lane change (km/h) Skidpad (gs) Fuel economy (/100 km) PM fuel economy (/100 km)
*60 miles per hour.

13,03 sec at 176,9 km/h 12,98 sec at 177,68 km/h

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Before battling the Challenger, youve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky?

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dge C 2011 Do

392 r S RT 8 h a ll e n g e

vs

W M3 2011 BM

Cleverly disguised as a street coup, the M3 packs a killer 309-kW, 8 300-r/min V8

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XX 79

[ HOME ]
DIY HOME
> BY ROY BERENDSOHN

Q+A

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Pictures by Philip Friedman/STUDIO D

Replacement grout should be creamy thick enough to stick to the wall, yet thin enough to spread easily and ow between tiles.

Finally, thoroughness counts. The more careful you are with each step in the replacement process, Allen says, the longer the grout will last and the less maintenance it will require during its lifetime. Follow these steps to ensure a longlasting and good-looking grout job. 1. Buy enough. Dont get caught short. Use any one of the several grout calculators or charts online to estimate how much grout you need. Better to have a little too much than not enough. 2. Clean. Thoroughly remove any mildew and soap scum before cutting grout out of the joints. 3. Remove. Cut out grout to at least half the depth of the tile. 4. Angle. Apply the replacement grout at a 45-degree angle to the tile. Work it thoroughly into the spaces between tiles so there are no air bubbles or gaps. 5. Wipe. Remove as much excess grout as possible while its wet. 6. Caulk. Apply a high-quality bathroom sealant where the wall meets the bathtub and in vertical corners where one wall meets another. O See opposite page.

STEEL DOOR REPAIR


The outer glass pane on my steel entry door is broken. Even if I could gure out how to get the glass out of the door, I havent had any luck nding replacement glass for it. Please help. If you havent already, Id visit or call old-fashioned full-service timberyards, or window and door dealers. Once you have the glass, though, installing it is usually a 15-minute job. The most important thing is to properly measure for the replacement, according to Lisa Devin, a sales representative for a glass retailer. In most cases, you measure the rim that holds the glass, since the rim and the glass are sold as one assembly. There are rims on both sides of the door, and both should have the same dimensions. Measure their length and width from the outside corners (not the inside). This is different from the procedure that you use for measuring the glass for some windows and wood doors. In those cases, the measurement is made of the glass itself. Always double-check with the glass supplier, though. Next, remove the caps over the rim screws on the inside of the door and unscrew them. Remove the outside rim and the glass, which are usually held together with sealant. Now have someone hold the new glass and rim from the outside while you fasten the new inner rim by driving the screws that came with it.

Q A

Grout cleanout

Q
A

Our bathroom is in pretty good shape because we re-did it several years ago, but Im not happy with the way the grout on the bathtub walls is holding up. Ive already had to touch it up in several places. I want to regrout because the bathroom sees a lot of use and I dont want tiles falling down. Whats the best grout to use, and what can I do to ensure the new grout lasts as long as possible? of plastic taped in place and draped over the wall holds in the moisture during the curing process. Other grouts need to be coated with a sealer recommended by the grout manufacturer. And although its tempting to use an inexpensive, commodity grout when a heavy-duty version is called for, its false economy. A 10 kg bag of cement-based grout might cost only half the price of a polymer-modied version of the same product, complete with antifungus additive. The grout will look better and last longer. The polymer improves the grouts water resistance and makes it more exible so the grout can withstand temperature uctuations and wall movement.

Smart move to regrout before larger damage is done. Grout thats crumbling and mildew-stained is more than unattractive, its mechanically unsound and will only continue to crumble unless its removed and replaced. A common cause of grout failure is that the installer used too much water in mixing a cement-based material. That will create a weak and powdery grout joint, according to Patrick Allen, senior technical representative at Laticrete International, which makes grouts, mortars and related materials. Also keep in mind that some grouts need to be moist-cured. Its not difcult all you have to do is mist the tile and grout with water from a spray bottle. A sheet

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The job is slightly more complicated for readers who want to replace broken or warped rims over decorative glass. In that case, you remove the inner rim and squeeze a tape measure between the door and the glass. Order the replacement based on the rim size and the thickness of the glass, which will be 12, 20 or 25 mm thick. Cutting away the sealant so that you can remove the outside rim from the decorative light can be tough. It requires some patient scraping and prying to free the rim from the glass. If you want to replace warped or cracked rims on clear glass, its easier to just replace the glass and rim at the same time.

WEB MASTER
We have a cathedral ceiling in our living room, and theres a corner of the ceiling where mildew forms and cobwebs gather. The rest of the ceiling is ne, but not this one corner. What causes this, and what can we do to prevent it? Assuming that there isnt discoloration in the corner that indicates a roof or wall leak, then my hunch is that its just dead airspace. Air currents move over the ceiling and then curve down along the wall, bypassing the corner. That dead airspace is why you should never locate a smoke detector near the corner of a wall or ceiling. Theres no smoke there during a re. Dust and webs form rather than being ushed off the surface, and this creates a growing medium for mould. The effect is more pronounced when a textured ceiling traps dust. A corner formed by exterior walls can be particularly vulnerable to condensation and dust collection because its a cool spot. The wall framing at the corner is nearly solid timber; it has virtually no insulation. It gets worse if an air-conditioning vent shoots cold air into the space, making condensation on the opposite wall more likely. There isnt much you can do about this phenomenon. Operating ceiling fans might help to break up pockets of stale air, but your best bet is probably to keep an eye on the area and clean it regularly with a dust mop on the end of an extension pole. Get up on a ladder every so often and wipe the wall and ceiling surfaces with a cleaner rated as a fungicide/mildewcide.

Q A

and seal a damaged vent and support some pipes. I own a house with a creepy crawlspace as well, so I know what you mean. Grumbling doesnt help matters. There are several things I do to make working down there a little easier. First, I carefully inventory all the tools Ill need and stage the tools at the entrance. When I crawl through the entrance, I turn right around and drag in the tools behind me. That way I dont start work and nd Im missing an important tool. Among the stuff that I bring in with me is a wide plank to lie on while Im working and a rolled-up towel on which to rest my head. Next, I dress appropriately for the environment. I wear coveralls, kneepads and safety glasses. If Im doing something dusty, I wear a dust mask. If the crawlspace is really disgusting,

with lots of dangling spider webs, I even put on a spray sock, a disposable onepiece hood that you can wear when youre spraying paint or insulation. Crawlspaces are obviously dark places. I dont skimp on bringing worklights and torches down with me. Youll nd that youre more productive working in a welllit area, and it just makes the space feel less creepy. Finally, if you havent already covered the crawlspace oor and part or all of the foundation walls with a vapour barrier, then you need to do so. The standard for vapour barriers in the past was a sheet of 6-mil plastic with its seams overlapped and taped. Today, thicker and less permeable sheets are used; its not unusual to see 12- and 20-mil vapour barrier coverings. These are sold at builders supply houses PM and some timberyards.

SHOPPING LIST

DONT FORGET THE OTHER STUFF


You need lots of tools and materials to produce a strong and long-lasting grout joint. Heres a sampling.
A Silicone tub-and-tile sealant: Apply at wall corners or where the wall meets the bathtub. B Grout enhancer: Instead of water, mix this with grout to improve its durability and stain resistance. C Grout: Use sanded for wide joints (2 mm to 4 mm), unsanded for narrower joints. D Cleaning supplies: Cleaner and sponge for removing soap scum, hard-water deposits and mildew. E, F Floats: Use hard rubber (E) for applying epoxy grouts; use soft sponge rubber (F) for standard grout. G Rubber gloves: Spend a little more for heavyduty tile work gloves, not the dishwashing variety. H Scrub brush: Removes grout dust after joints have been cut out. I Grout saw: Cuts failed grout out of joints. J Tile sponge: Wipes off excess grout. Not shown: Buckets, soft cotton rags, kneepads for regrouting floors.

WorldMags

ITS CREEPY AND ITS SPOOKY


What do you do to work in a crawlspace? I hate working down there and want some tips to make it easier. My house is built above an earth-oor crawlspace, and Im planning to get in there

J E I H G F

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[ HOME ]

CUTTING CLASS
A UNIVERSITY CANOE CLUBS CABIN BURNED TO THE GROUND, BUT STUDENTS RESURRECTED THE LOG CLASSIC USING TRADITIONAL METHODS WITH A FEW MODERN TWISTS

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n a foggy spring morning in 2009, Dartmouth College junior Greg Sokol and a few friends got up before classes and paddled canoes down the Connecticut River in New Hampshire to check on a log cabin not far from campus. It was owned by the schools Ledyard Canoe Club, of which Sokol was a member. Recent rain had swollen the river, and the current was running fast. Sokol led, angling his canoe away from the mouth of Mink Brook and into a tiny cove along Gilman Islands steep northeast shore. He picked his way up the bank and glimpsed the cabins chimney too much chimney, actually. Sokol scrambled to the top. In front of him lay the charred remains of Titcomb Cabin. Police would later determine that a re the night before had probably been set by high school partyers, then blazed out of control. Like nearly 60 years worth of students before him, Sokol knew Titcomb well. At Dartmouth, an outdoor spirit is practically

BY JIM COLLINS
PICTURES BY BOBBY FISHER

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Engineering student Greg Sokol spent his summer building a cabin. Lesson No 1: Become an artist with a chainsaw.

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grafted on to students DNA. They maintain cabins and trails throughout the southern White Mountains. This cabin, named for Jack Titcomb, a Dartmouth alumnus who had died ghting in World War II, was Sokols outdoor base camp. He had forged friendships around its replace, slept on its porch and swum in its shadow beneath the Moon. Now it was gone. Oh, well. Sokol was an engineering student. Hed never really constructed anything, but he knew his way around a CAD program. And he had a bunch of smart friends. By the time Sokol had paddled back to campus, hed made up his mind: the cabin would be rebuilt, and he would spearhead the effort. Just over a year later, Sokol and a small team of fellow students assembled in a eld 5 kilometres upriver from the building site. Some 97 redpine and spruce logs (which had been selected and felled at a Dartmouth plantation) had already been delivered and lay baking under the midsummer sun. The crew planned to spend several days practising the ancient art of scribing, notching and tting logs. But rst they needed to brush up their skills in using a crucial tool: one by one, they red up their chainsaws. It hadnt been difcult to gather volunteers. A few months earlier, a campus-wide e-mail titled Build a cabin this summer had pulled in more than 100 responses, and Sokol had chosen ve canoe-club diehards for the privilege of doing hard labour. We were all going to be learning how to build a cabin as we went along, he says. What I wanted were people who were invested in the idea of building something beautiful and long-lasting. Four of the students were engineering majors and one was doublemajoring in physics and Asian and Middle Eastern studies. They ran snowload and stress-load calculations, projected linear board dimensions of timber and cubic metres of concrete and pored over a dog-eared copy of the Log Construction Manual by Robert Wood Chambers. Once the crew peeled the bark off the logs, it was time to move them downstream somehow. Among the students was Kate Bowman, a paddling, climbing and backcountry ski guide for Dartmouths Outing Club. When we couldnt gure out the

CHIMNEY SWEEP

After re destroyed the 57-year-old Titcomb Cabin, Kate Bowman pried away its chimney, preparing to rebuild.

DELIVERED BY RIVER
Dartmouth students studied archival photos of New England log drives to learn how to transport spruce and pine trunks to the site of burned-down Titcomb Cabin on an island in the Connecticut River. The crew peeled the bark from 97 trees, grouped the logs by size, rolled them to the river, and then used eyebolts and carabiners to clip them to a frame made of 50 x 100 mm beams. The debut eight-log run broke apart, but later drives hauled 12 and 16 logs per trip.

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LOG FUME
Greg Sokol guides a log up a 12-metre trough at the islands bank. The rig was dubbed the Death Slide after one log snapped the axle of a hand-cranked winch. The solution: a chainsaw-powered Lewis Winch that zipped logs up the slide in seconds. The crew also brought in a mixer and a generator by canoe and carried 52 32-kg bags of concrete from the shore.
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Lucas Schulz

Max Friedman

Lucas Schulz

VIDEO > Visit www.popularmechanics.co.za to watch a time-lapse video of the crew rebuilding the log cabin.

CHAINSAW SUMMER
Lucas Schulz lops off a log butt with a Husqvarna 359 chainsaw. All workers took chainsaw certication classes. It was a decibellious day, Jordan Nesmith blogged.

CABIN CRAFT
From left, Parker Reed, Kodiak Burke, Greg Sokol and Kate Bowman. The crew practiced joinery on a 2,4 x 3 metre test structure before moving on to the main 4,3 x 7 metre Titcomb Cabin. The nal product ended up measuring perfectly level at every corner.

answer to a problem, Bowman says, our instinct was to go to the Internet. But so much of what we needed wasnt there. The crew studied old photographs to resurrect the classic New England river drive, which had gone out of style with the advent of the car. On the rst attempt, two logs oated free of their bonds. But a quick repair held, and the logs glided down the river toward Gilman Island. On the island, the students used a borrowed mechanical-advantage Grip-hoist to haul the logs up the steep bank to the site, in a 12-metrelong wooden trough they called the Death Slide. It took 20 laborious minutes per log. Next, they tried a long-handled come-along and snapped an axle. Finally, they settled on a chainsaw-powered winch theyd seen in the forestry-supply catalogue that served as reading material in the privy. Anchored to a tree, powered by a Husqvarna chainsaw, the winch could zip a log up the slide in 30 seconds. Over the steamy New Hampshire summer, revived by daily swims in the river and immersed in the tangy scent of pine and the whine of two-stroke chainsaw engines, the students attacked the project with a mix of old and new technology. They used chisels and drawknives hand-forged by a blacksmith in Idaho and sharpened their tools with a barbers honing stone found on eBay. They fashioned hardwood handles and 30-kilogram log butts into mallets that could nudge the heavy logs the nal couple of centimetres into position. They ran foam strips between each course of logs to keep out draughts. They red up a generator and used halogen lights to work after dark as they raced to get the metal roof in place. Then, as the foliage peaked, classes resumed and the river turned cold, construction slowed. The crew would leave some work for 2011 installing the door, the windows and a wood stove but Titcomb 2.0 already looked like a cabin. One day, Sokol took a break from trimming the roof to reect. We surprised ourselves, he said. The reason for the surprise: they were just 3 mm out on the diagonal. It was within reason. He had already begun planning a spring dedication event. He hoped Jack Titcombs son, Peter, would be present. There would not, Sokol emphasised, be a bonre. PM
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[ HOME ]
Instant workbench
PM
Saturday
1 GATHER PARTS I designed a mobile bench because the projects I build on my webcast, The Ben Heck Show, typically happen in locations without a workshop. To build it, rst use a table saw to cut a sheet of 12 mm plywood into panels at the dimensions shown. Obtain two cabinetmakers cup hinges, four 25 x 25 mm leaf hinges, a box of 25 mm No 6 wood screws, a 3 mm combination drill bit and countersink, a 150 mm metal handle, wood glue, eight rubber feet and magnetic cabinet latches. 2 BUILD THE BOX Drill mortises and mount the cup-hinge hardware to attach the main work surface (C) to the base of the unit (E). Rout a recessed grip into the outer face of C. Mount the left and right aps (A and B, respectively) to both sides of C using screws and 25 mm hinges. Plan the larger ap (B) to open on the side of your dominant hand. Make sure A and B fold at atop C. Next, drive 25 mm wood screws through the sides (D)

 ONE-DAY PROJECT

This suitcase-sized box unfolds into a work surface and about 100 cm2 of hardware storage. Build it and take your tools on tour. BY BEN HECK
into the base and top (F). Drive 25 mm screws through the back (G) to secure the sides. Mount magnetic latches under the top. Check to make sure the hinge knuckles at each edge of C clear the sides and that the latch acts as a stop for A, B and C when the box is closed. Mount the handle. Fasten the magnet latches mates to the faces of A and B. Add feet to the outer faces of E and C.

3 STOW TOOLS Add Velcro strips to store tools along the back panel. I often do electronics work, so I carry a small multimeter, a soldering iron, wire strippers, pliers and tweezers. Any kit should have a hobbyists vice, which I use to grip small parts. When working on a tabletop, the vices attachment clamp can stabilise the bench itself. Other good all-purpose items include screwdrivers, a ashlight, callipers and scissors. My hot-glue gun sees a lot of action bring an extension cord and a power strip if youll need electricity on the go. PM

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G F

Key A B C D E F G

Size (inches) 178 x 394 280 x 394 483 x 419 432 x 178 483 x 165 483 x 178 508 x 432

Illustration by Vic Kulihin

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[ WHEELS ]
DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY /// EASY

BRUSH-IN LOADBED LINER


Freshen up the inside of your pickup and preserve the metal by rolling on a rubberised liner
> BY MIKE ALLEN
Ive always wondered why pickups have painted loadbeds. Hauling anything immediately scratches a brand-new pickup bed. Its slippery as heck when wet. Of course, there are

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Vintage engines and vehicles courtesy of Blue Sky Auto, Budd Lake, N.J.

Start at the front of the bed and work to the back to keep clear of the wet area.

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M E C H A N I C

alternatives: old pickups used to use wood, which rotted in a few years. You can buy a drop-in plastic liner that covers the entire loadbox, but it might rub off paint and trap moisture underneath, which leads to rust. Im starting to think the best solution is an applied surface thats tougher than paint, like an epoxy concrete-oor coating. In the industry, these coatings are called spray-in liners, and several companies will do the job for you. Using catalysedurethane-based polymers at 50 to 150 bar, these liners are thicker and tougher than the driveway-applied roll-in liners theyre also considerably more expensive. This is a perfect DIY project: in only 4 hours, we did the job ourselves for a few hundred rand. Heres how.

ITS ALL IN THE PREP


Start by washing the vehicle, paying special attention to getting the bed squeaky clean. Skip the wax setting at the car

wash, because the bed-liner material needs bare, clean paint to stick. Give the box a full day to dry completely. Find a shady, outdoor place. Trust me, you wont want to work indoors this stuff stinks like dead dinosaurs when its drying. Wear old clothes. And old shoes. Rubber gloves are a very good idea because it takes days to come out of your ngerprints. (Dont ask.) Use a leaf blower or a workshop vacuum cleaner to clean the inside of the bed of any dust, leaves or water. If youve spilled any oil, ever, itll need to be cleaned with mineral spirits. If theres any loose, peeling paint or rust on the sheet metal, youll need to wire-brush, sandpaper or sandblast down to clean metal. Dont leave any loose rust around. Then blow out or vacuum the debris again. Prime the bare spots with a zinc-based primer, which you can spray from an aerosol can or even brush on.

MORE HELPFUL HINTS


Youll need to apply two coats. Do both on the same day, but wait long enough an hour or two to allow the rst coat to set up. Wait too long and the second coat may not bond properly. Achieving a consistent texture isnt trivial. Its a constant juggling act between having enough and too much material on the roller, rolling out whats there and backtracking to catch drips. Watch any inner corners, seams or ttings, as the liner material can sag several minutes later. No problem just roller over it and catch the drips. Again, patience is the watchword. Use mineral spirits or lacquer thinner to clean up any spills. Remove the masking tape within 4 hours or so. Let the bed dry for about 24 hours; longer if the weather is cool. Be aware that the intense at-black colour of your liner will fade within a few months to charcoal gray. But then, so will the expensive spray-in liner.
1 Once the bed is clean and dry and any bare steel is primered, mask off the bed tops, the tailgate, the hinges and the latch pins. Careful masking will considerably improve the aesthetics of the job. 2 Scuff the entire interior of the bed with either ScotchBrite pad or some 150-grit sandpaper. Be thorough or the new liner will peel off in sheets later. 3 Heres an example of paint thats been scuffed properly. There will still be some shine, but you denitely need to leave a patina of scratches behind. I recommend a dualaction or orbital sander for most of the job and saving the Scotch-Brite for the inside corners. 4 Use solvent and fresh paper towels to degrease the bed. Its vitally important to get every centimetre. Change the towelling when it looks dirty. Wipe in only one direction, from the front of the bed to the back, to keep any greasy spots from migrating to the back. Needless to say, work out of doors for this step. 5 Using a disposable brush, touchpaint any inside corners where the roller wont t. Starting at the front of the bed, roller on the liner material. For the rst coat, you wont see the nal texture, so simply concentrate on getting an even coat without any missed spots, drips or sags. 6 The second coat will show a uniformly rough hightraction surface left behind by the roller. Texture areas you cant roller by dabbing with the end of the slightly wetted brush. PM

THE NITTY-GRITTY

BRUSH ON, ROLLER ON


The real secret to doing a proper bed-lining job is patience. Dont rush initial clean-up WorldMags or proper scuff-sanding. Bonus: you can use leftover coating to touch up scratches periodically. If so, dont forget to degrease the surface before recoating.

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CFP TECHNOLOGIES
Electric motors & Drives
Variable Speed Drives .75 Kw R1393.00 1.5 Kw R2154.00 2.2 Kw R2565.00 VSD Remote Control Box

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Accident cameras

Speed Control for your Machinery Run your three phase equipment from single phase with speed control by using a Variable Speed Drive (VSD) with a three phase motor. (Single phase 220V input, 3 phase output)

Website: www.cfptech.co.za Email: cjvdb@mweb.co.za Tel: 082 8570324

AGENTS REQUIRED COUNTRYWIDE

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Vehicle monitoring systems

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For Buyers Guide advertising rates call Patrick Kennedy at (011) 301-4465. Fax: (011) 783-0451.

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expose
Your products to a selected audience
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[ DO IT YOUR WAY ]
WINNING TIP

Useful, clever and downright diabolical tips for your home, workshop and garden that will save you time and money, and generally make life a little easier

SEND US YOUR HINT AND WIN


Send us your best home, garage, workshop and general DIY hints and win! This months prize is a professional-quality Skil Masters belt sander valued at R1 849. Powered by a robust 1 200 watt motor, this sander comes with an adjustable speed wheel, dust suctionadapterand dustbag, and is designed for easy handling. For more information on Skil products, contact Juergen Lauer on 011-651 9858. Send your tips to: PM Do It Your Way, Box 180, Howard Place 7450, or e-mail popularmechanics@ramsaymedia.co.za Please include your name, address and contact number. Regrettably, only South African residents are eligible for the prize. Prizes not claimed within 60 days will be forfeited.

A stretch of imagination
Are your new shoes too small? Dont panic my two tips will stretch them enough to make them wearable. First up is the freezer method: you pour water into large plastic food bags until they ll the entire shoe cavity, then place the shoes in the freezer. As the water freezes, it expands and stretches the shoes. Alternatively, wet the shoes with ordinary rubbing alcohol (not water, which will damage the leather) and put them on immediately. The alcohol dries quickly and the shoes stretch to t your foot.
DANIE TALJAARD DURBANVILLE

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Well, blow me down
If you havent used your caravan or trailer for a long time in my case, it was two years you may nd that the plug has corroded to the point where it no longer works. To x it, soak the plug in malt vinegar (I used a small plastic bag) for a few minutes, then blow-dry with a hairdryer. TOBIE ZIETSMAN BLOEMFONTEIN to tighten a joint or make adjustments. The solution is simple: once youve assembled the item, attach the Allen key to the back or underside, using duct tape. That way, youll always know where it is, and the air wont turn blue! DAVID COOPER KIMBERLEY

Lars Christensen/iStockphoto

Defying little ngers


I recently needed to child-proof our home in the expectation of our grandchildrens visit. Rather than t ugly rubber loops to door handles or damage our cupboards with ugly latches, I opted for industrialstrength Velcro pads available from

If the key ts
If you are anything like me, you will have assembled many items of at-pack furniture over the years and cant nd the accompanying Allen key when you need

good hardware stores. Our cupboards now defy little ngers but can be opened by an adults rm pull. TONY KINNEAR ILLOVO

No creative mayhem
My wife, who is way more artistic than I am, decided one day to stencil the bathroom and kitchen walls in a variety of colours and patterns, which would have necessitated covering the oor with a whole bunch of small paint pots. My solution was to t an 8-division mufn tin with paper liners and pour a small quantity of paint into each cavity and voila! TA ONEIL PINETOWN PM

Self-contained
When you plant seedlings in small containers and dont have any small stones handy to put in the bottom for drainage, try used teabags. They act as a lter and help keep the soil in the container. MATTHYS DU TOIT SIR LOWRYS PASS

RESERVATION OF COPYRIGHT The publishers of POPULAR MECHANICS reserve all rights of reproduction or broadcasting of feature articles and factual data appearing in this journal under Section 12 (7) of the Copyright Act, 1978. Such reproduction or broadcasting may be authorised only by the publishers of POPULAR MECHANICS. Published by RamsayMedia Pty Ltd for the Proprietors, POPULAR MECHANICS (SA) Pty Ltd, Uitvlugt, Howard Drive, Pinelands, Western Cape. Distributed by RNA, 12 Nobel St, Industria West, Johannesburg, and printed Web offset litho by CTP Printers, Parow, Western Cape. Apple Mac support: Project 3 tel 021 674-5000.

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A rich mixture
Of insight and innovation. At Investec we combine fresh thinking and an entrepreneurial approach. Bringing you a distinctive range of specialist banking and investment products and services.

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