Most people probably don’t think of Corning as a crime fighting company, but when it sold its Pyrex brand to World Kitchen in 1998, the company accidentally made the illegal manufacture of crack cocaine more difficult—a fascinating example of unintended consequences.
Ordinary glass shatters if it’s heated too quickly: Pour boiling water into a common flintglass tumbler, and it’s likely to fall apart seconds later. The glass on the inside expands when it gets hot, putting stress on the cold glass on the outside. When the stress gets too great, it cracks.
Chris McIntosh’s first recliner was not your standard La-Z-Boy—it was electric-powered and capable of going 15 mph. After finishing it a year and a half ago, he used it to pull a doughnut on his high school’s front lawn, circle the gym during a pep rally, and rule the street near his home in Orinda, California. Now a freshman at the University of Southern California, McIntosh spent his youth building ad-hoc vehicles (he once made a mini hovercraft out of a leaf blower), so when the chair’s paltry electric motor burned out, he decided it was time for a monster makeover.
Pearl, my beloved labradoodle, dutifully watched me build myself a new house for the past three years. So when I was almost finished, I decided to build her a place of her own. A standard model just wouldn’t do, though, so I went a little overboard. After creating the design with CAD software, I added a solar hot-water radiant-heating system and made a green roof that retains rainwater, creates oxygen, and improves insulation.
I’ve accidentally dropped an engine on my foot, set myself on fire, fallen off all sorts of things—and now I’m here to tell you about safety. Four of the biggest risks to DIYers are ones that often don’t get taken seriously, but they all can be mitigated with some easy-to-find gear.
By Robert Heron
Posted 03.25.2011 at 1:04 pm 9 Comments
Television manufacturers are already starting to produce equipment with an image resolution that far exceeds today’s HDTV standards. In part, that’s because passive 3-D glasses cost you picture resolution, so LG, Vizio and others plan to compensate by doubling the resolution of 1080p screens by next year—and double it again by 2013. Those sets will be able to display an amazing picture.
On July 2, 2007, Scott Showalter climbed into a manure pit on his Virginia farm to clear a blocked pipe. Moments later, he fainted and died. An employee of his went in to save him but was quickly overcome as well. One by one, his two daughters and wife followed, only to die trying to save the people who went before them.
By John Herrman
Posted 03.10.2011 at 12:02 pm 0 Comments
Android phones have surpassed iPhones as the market’s fastest-growing handheld devices. Users have found that phones and tablets with google’s software are powerful, easy to operate and to a far greater degree than other mobile platforms—highly customizable. Here are a few tricks and hacks to make your Android phone or tablet look, act, and perform exactly the way you want it to.
One day late last year, Bill Rulien decided he’d had enough of people boasting about how they had modified their golf carts with hotrod paint jobs or monster-truck tires. “I thought, I’m gonna build something that will say, ‘Well, top this.’ ”
Why would a man construct a dining-room table that can cruise down a racetrack at 130 miles an hour and shoot flames into the air? Sheer competitiveness. A record for the world’s fastest furniture existed—92 mph on a sofa—and Perry Watkins wanted to beat it.
By Andrew Rosenblum
Posted 02.21.2011 at 11:37 am 2 Comments
Gambling just to win silver coins can get boring. Instead, play for a perfectly crafted cocktail. The BarBot was built by a team from the hacker collective NYC Resistor as part of a hacking competition co-sponsored by the videocontent company VIMBY and the carmaker Scion. The group started by buying a decommissioned slot machine from Japan on Craigslist. They added graphics to give it a Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas theme, figuring that would be the perfect way to tie together gambling and booze.
The hosts of Food Jammers show how to make a version of a multimillion-dollar commercial grain puffer for about 50 bucks. See the video inside
By Micah Donovan, Christopher Martin, Nobu Adilman
Posted 02.15.2011 at 11:59 am 2 Comments
The machinery that snack and cereal companies use to transform rice and other foods into puffed snacks is expensive and operates at extreme pressures and temperatures. Since you can buy the resulting cheese puffs, rice cakes and toasty oat cereals anywhere, why try to make them ourselves? Because we were curious whether we could figure out a cheap way to crack the code of puffing technology. Plus, we like to build elaborate machines and to blow things up, even if it’s only spelt grains and millet cakes.
By Rena Marie Pacella
Posted 02.10.2011 at 2:41 pm 0 Comments
According to some estimates, smartphones—packed with personal data, always connected, and largely unsecured—are now being infected with viruses at twice the rate of PCs. Malware disguised as a legitimate app can steal account information and direct your phone to call or text expensive premium-rate numbers or to send spam texts to your contacts. Links, which are often cut off in phone browsers (making suspicious ones hard to spot), can send users to sites embedded with malware.
Laptop stands keep your computer cool, ventilated, and at a comfortable angle for typing, but they often seem expensive for what's essentially a bent piece of metal. Here's how to make your own easy and inexpensive stand from a metallic document holder, requiring only a few steps.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.