Hi y'all from Jacqui, Peter, Kevin, Eleanor and Roy! We've had an amazing, enlightening time creating this podcast for you for the last four years, but it's time for something new. Listen for our goodbyes and all the fun stuff we learned putting Most Useful together, and keep your eyes peeled for new episodes from a new cast.
Every year, the week of April Fool's Day, we take a break from providing our listeners with useful information, and instead do stuff like taste the new orange-vanilla Coke and try to explain movies we've never seen. Do you want to know a whole bunch of unproven home medical treatments invented by our gym manager's Italian dad? We sure hope so. They're hilarious.
One day, when they were having lunch at their local bar, Rick Kiley and Jeff Boedges had an interesting idea: What if they came back one day and finished this weird old bottle of booze that had been sitting there for years? Well, they did it, and then turned it into a web series called "Collecting Dust." On this week's episode, they talk about weird liquors, including Galliano, which Jacqui has been wondering about for decades. Also on this episode, cognac facts, lawnmower buying tips, and a second trip to Alex's weird desk.
We'll be the first to admit that the Most Useful Podcast Ever doesn't pursue a lot of hard-hitting journalism, but that's ok, because this week's guest, Elaine Shannon, certainly does. She came upon the story of criminal mastermind Paul Leroux while tracking the drug trade in Afghanistan, and eventually wrote a book—Hunting LeRoux: The Inside Story of the DEA Takedown of a Criminal Genius and His Empire—with the help of the DEA agents who took him down (two of whom also joined us for this week's podcast). Also on this episode: Sinks and toilets, sawdust, and the Houston rodeo.
Deep in the middle of winter, it would be easy to hole up on the couch with a bag of Doritos and watch TV. But wouldn't it be more fun to get outside? On this episode, field editor James Lynch gives us a rundown of all the cool new gear he saw at the Outdoor Retailer show in Denver, Colorado. First-time podcast guest and Popular Mechanics senior articles editor Ross McCammon talks about camping in the winter (yes, outside), and our new intern, who is an Eagle Scout, tells us about some badges you might want to earn.
With snow and cold descending across the Midwest and Northeast, we talk to the owner of StilL 630 spirits in St. Louis, about an experimental booze library that sounds like an excellent place to while away the winter. We also test winter jackets and bring in two popular mechanics greats—senior home editor Roy Berendsohn and contributing editor Joseph Truini—to explain how the heck popcorn ceilings happened.
Portable table saws, a wash-free gym shirt, a USB-based coffee cup, we'll test anything! Whether you're buying new stuff for yourself or gifts for your friends, you'll leave this episode with a ton of smart new ideas—and no buyers remorse.
With the office nearly empty between Christmas and New Year's, Jacqui and Tech Editor Alex George introduce the only other person in the office: PM's new Video Producer/Editor/Videographer, Todd Bogin. Todd shares some tips on what makes compelling video. Then he helps Jacqui plumb the depths of Alex's junk drawer, where Alex keeps all the stuff he's tested... and super spicy ramen. Next, the kids who will be helping Adam Savage bust myths on the new show Mythbusters Jr. stop by to talk about how much cooler their new job is than being in class. Unfortunately, they don't get to stick around for the final segment, which involves a creme brulee torch. Then again, they blow up cars. Everyone wins.
With so many people coming over for the holidays, it's probably wise to make sure your grout is clean and your chimney in working order. You'll also want to stock up on some booze. Perhaps something unexpected, like cachaça? On this episode, we talk to Avuá Cachaça founder, Pete Nevenglosky, about the Brazilian tradition of aging the spirit in all sorts of different woods, giving you tips for what to buy. We also try out beers created by, or for, celebrities, and wax philosophical on both Christmas movies and moustaches.
Do you know what you're getting all your friends and family for the holidays? If so, good for you, overachiever. For the rest of us, the staff of Popular Mechanics gives a rundown on the hottest shopping tickets for this year, including a Lego Bugatti and a screwdriver that only costs $3. Also on this episode, Roy talks bedbug eradication, Google Fi comes to the iPhone, and the testing table tastes Japanese candy.
In an episode chock-full of things we're thankful for, we start out by speaking with Steven Caple, Jr., the director of the new movie Creed II. We highly recommend checking it out this Thanksgiving--preferably early in the day, before you fall into a tryptophan coma. Another guest, funny car champ Ron Capps, shares how grateful he is to the crew that builds, maintains, and starts the cars he drives, which get to 100 mph in 60 feet and are prone to explosions. Peter Martin and Eleanor Hildebrandt make appearances, mainly to discuss the phenomenon of Black Friday. And finally, Roy Berendsohn weights in on dinner table power tool use. Happy Thanksgiving!
The Martian author Andy Weir is really into Mars. So much so that National Geographic tapped him to be an expert on their series Mars, about what human colonization of the red planet might be like. In advance of the season two premiere, Andy stops by the office to talk about the biggest challenges to living on Mars, methods we might use to get there, and whether he'd go himself. (Spoiler alert: Heck no) Also on this episode, technology editor Alex George explains the hierarchy of Apple products, and the Testing Table makes Ramen Krispie Treats in the microwave.
Endurance races have gotten substantially more popular over the last several years, which means a lot of people with not a lot of experience are tackling serious miles on foot or by bike. One of those people is your humble host Jacqueline Detwiler, who is running her first marathon in New York City on November 4th. To get ready, she and the rest of the team talked to running experts at New York Road Runners (who also gave some tips on watching a marathon), and went on a trip to Staten Island to check out the New York Sports Science Lab, which has rooms and rooms full of gadgets that can train boxers, runners, football players, even professional bowlers. We also drank some beer specially made for exercise recovery, and learned some pretty wild track facts.
Ryan North's new book, How to Invent Everything, addresses that question that's probably been sitting in the back of your brain since you were a kid: If you got stuck in a previous time period, could you survive on your wits alone? Ryan says yes, so long as you bring a little advice. Also on this episode, field editor James Lynch talks about riding a Boosted Board between New York City and Philadelphia; Roy talks about chopping and seasoning firewood; tech editor Alex George uses a video game to test drive a Maclaren you can't even buy; and the testing table tries out gravity blankets.
The editors of Popular Mechanics have been crazy busy dealing with real life tasks lately, but what they learned doing their weekend work is great fodder for a podcast that's supposed to make your life easier. First, Roy spruces up a rental apartment in-between tenants. Kevin tries (unsuccessfully) to remove a bunch of stuck bolts from his Jeep. And automotive editor Ezra Dyer waits out hurricane Florence down in North Carolina and then takes a Silverado to harder hit areas to try to help out.
Do you know how many eyes Popular Mechanics home editor Roy Berendsohn has? Two. And that's thanks to his diligent wearing of safety goggles. On this episode, we'll learn what items Roy deems essential to wear when doing work, plus how to make sure your house isn't leaking heat or air conditioning. Meanwhile, technology editor Alex George has some ideas about products you can bring back to school, and we test out a recipe from PM's How to Make Anything issue: Shaking butter in a ball jar.
In honor of tonight's premiere of the new action flick Kin, starring Myles Truitt, Jack Reynor, James Franco and Zoë Kravitz, we talk to the directors about crazy stunts and shots, as well as how they came up with their high-tech mystery weapon. Also on this episode, Alex George talks gaming computers, Roy Berendsohn helps Peter find the source of a water stain on his ceiling, and we try out some weird glasses that blink when you move your head.
This episode, we decided to delve into some of the more serious, thoughtful, and future-thinking topics Popular Mechanics covers. In keeping with the theme, we interview iceman Wim Hof about how he changes his own autonomic nervous system so he can hang out in freezing temperatures for hours. (If you want to learn even more than what Wim explains in the segment, check out www.wimhofmethod.com.) Not in keeping with the theme, we also test out a soda called kvass, which is sort of like Russian kombucha.
Sometimes at the Popular Mechanics office, we have a lot of interesting things to talk about, but none of them have anything to do with each other. We figure that's fine—the smartest people always know enough to be conversant about a lot of different topics. For example: By the end of this episode, you'll know how to take care of a brand new baby, exercise in a rubber band suit, keep plants alive, route a cable around a door, and make brown butter bourbon. Just probably not all at the same time.
On today's show, MUPE tackles the most all-American of vacations: The summer road trip. We call up Kevin's mom, who is somewhere in Idaho in the midst of a weeks-long trip around the northern US. We ask Alex George about the best gadgets to take in the car. Sunny Kim tells us about her favorite road trips around the US. And then everyone convenes to eat way... way... way too much junk food in pursuit of an answer to an important question: Best snacks for the road?
On this episode of the Most Useful Podcast Ever, Jacqueline Detwiler tries biohacking to (hopefully!) become smarter, healthier, happier, more creative and more productive. Experimenting with specialized diets, float tanks, and microbiome testing, we try to find out what works and what doesn’t. Dr. Molly Maloof calls in to explain the science behind biohacking as a legitimate way to improve our bodies, and tech editor Alex George explains how to train your mind to go back to school. Lastly, we try CBD oil, a chemical in marijuana, to see if we can actually feel it working.
Summer is heating up and the Most Useful Podcast Ever has advice for you for all of it. First, we talk to the authors of Popular Mechanics' investigation into camping in 2018, with advice on site booking, packing food, truck camping and something called packrafting. We talk to Peter Martin about how they made this summer's blockbusters, including a crazy series of stunts Tom Cruise pulled off, and Roy Berendsohn leads a conversation about what we learned working on our boss's backyard, including how to work a mini-rototiller and the best way to burn brush.
The Most Useful Podcast Ever is tired of being practical. So this week we threw caution to the wind to learn about some bonkers extreme sports. First, Jacqui jumps out of a plane with Red Bull Air Force member Jeff Provenzano. Then, Popular Mechanics tech editor (and former surf instructor) Alex George talks getting started in surfing, Matt Allyn tests gear on a 50k trail race, and Eleanor comes up with some fascinating slack (line) facts.
The latest Blumhouse action movie, Upgrade, is a trip—creepy, adrenaline-pumping, and scarily prescient. On this week's episode, writer and director Leigh Whannell stops by our studio with the film's star Logan Michael Green to tell us how they pulled it all together. After that, we figured y'all might have some trouble getting to sleep, so we talked to a sleep geneticist, a physical therapist, and Peter Martin's dad to help you out. Stay tuned at the end for extra sleep assistance.
Did you know that Popular Mechanics editor Matt Allyn is a certified beer judge? Well, he is, and lately, he's been trying truckloads of beer for an article he's working on called 500 Beers of Summer. If he told us about all of them, it would take the next four episodes, so we kept him to five, all of which are exceptionally tasty. Also on this episode, Roy Berendsohn works too much and throws out his lower back, we learn 26 things you can do with a heat gun, and Kevin Dupzyk gets started in sailing.
Burlap & Barrel founder Ethan Frisch is a cool dude. He travels around the world finding smallholder spice farmers and connecting them with customers so that they're not exploited by huge, impersonal supply chains. He's also a former chef who knows a heck of a lot about how to use the incredible products he brings back to the States. Also on this episode, we learn to stir cocktails properly, technology editor Alex George explains how to block annoying exes and shady robo-calls, and Roy talks stubby screwdrivers.
It's been a LONG winter, which means your place, car, and stuff could probably use a deep clean and some fresh air. On this episode, we talk to the Good Housekeeping Institute about dry cleaning, and visit the Corona Maintenance Facility in Queens to find out how the NYC Metropolitan Transit Authority cleans subway cars.
Did you know that frequent Most Useful Podcast Ever guest Eric Gunnar Rochow of Gardenfork.tv makes amazing maple syrup? Well, he does. We tasted it last fall, when he came by the office to teach us how to tap a maple tree. Now that its spring, it's perfect time to follow his instructions and try it yourself (although, unfortunately, you won't be able to taste his maple syrup through your headphones). As for what you should you eat with your syrup—how about some cheese? Also on this episode, Kevin visits the headquarters of Murray's cheese and to figure out every fromage fact you could possibly need.
Excited to go see Red Sparrow tonight? Find out how Jason Matthews, the movie's author, used his own experience as a CIA agent to make the story realistic. Also on this episode, we visit a brand new Spy museum in midtown Manhattan, and attempt an escape method that appears in former CIA officer Jason Hanson's new book, Survive Like a Spy.
Do you know what the heck people are talking about when they say they got rich on Bitcoin? We didn't either. Thankfully, technology editor Alex George has been doing a deep dive on cryptocurrencies, from Bitcoin to Ethereum. Also on this episode: The dark side of LED lights, and a guide to the new Apple Homepod.
Founder of molecular gastronomy Wylie Dufresne is making donuts these days, so we asked him to come by the studio and make us some. They turned out super tasty—topped with crazy flavored sugars combined with chemistry ingredients. Also on this episode, Roy talks road salt, our Vermont correspondent calls in to explain boot care, and we test last minute Superbowl snacks.
Who knew there were so many hinge-impaired people in the Popular Mechanics office? Jacqui and Kevin have both hung cabinet doors poorly over the years, which is why today, Marc Spagnuolo of The WoodWhisperer.com calls in to tell us everything we did wrong, and how to fix it. Also on this episode: Tech editor Alex George tells us all the cool stuff he saw at CES, we test weird new slippers, and Jacqui makes homemade amaro.
Ever wondered about the scientific reasons behind drafty rooms and overactive boilers? Wonder no more! On this episode, Henry Gifford, author of Buildings Don't Lie, explains how humidity affects a cold room, why your thermostat has a tough time accounting for wind, and how restaurant cooling systems account for hot bowls of soup. Also on this episode: Cleaning up the holiday decorations, anti-virus software for phones, and smart tips for surviving a nuclear apocalypse.
On today's episode, we spend a lot of time on gifts. In the latest iteration of our annual tradition, Matt, Peter, Jacqui, and Kevin share their holiday wish lists. Plus Jacqui tests a new pair of headphones that she gifted herself, and Peter Martin explains how to fake elation when you get a bad gift. (And how to spot people who are faking love for what they got from you.) But before we get to that, Carolyn Forte from the Good Housekeeping Institute talks us through caring for cast iron cookware, and Matt Allyn explains cross country skiing. Happy holidays, ya'll!
We've said it before and we'll say it again: There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. In that spirit, we called two experts to help you pick out the perfect winter coat, Nick Meyers, director of the Mt. Shasta Avalanche Center, and Gary Smith, the CEO of Polartec. On this episode, Kevin also calls the real Orkin man to try to catch a "super mouse," and we test a fitness device we nicknamed "The Muscle Puncher."
This week's episode features three special guests to kick off the beginning of the holiday season: Frankie Celenza of Tastemade.com stops by to use his Struggle Thanksgiving techniques to help us make holiday dinner on the cheap; We talk to The Points Guy Brian Kelly about maximizing credit card points on travel and gift purchases; and we actually call the TSA to ask which Thanksgiving leftovers you're allowed to bring on a plane (Hint: not cranberry sauce, even if it's still in that cool can shape.) Also featuring the craziest Testing Table ever: A beer pong game between a Roomba and "The Pongbot."
We puzzled over what to call this week's guest segment—the Dork Debate seemed too mean, so we went with Future of Technology Free-for-all. In fairness though, Popular Mechanics technology editor Alex George and CNET senior editor Dan Ackerman are neither dorks nor particularly pugnacious. They got along surprisingly well, often agreeing on the best ways to buy laptops, select phone plans, and play in virtual reality. Also on this episode, Peter Martin gets a too-late lesson from Roy in applying mortar to his bluestone patio (whoops), automotive editor Ezra Dyer tries out a jet ski that can go 70 mph, and we unearth a RIDICULOUSLY cool fact about parrotfish poop.
No costume? Have no fear! Eric Gunnar Rochow of GardenFork.TV has some great ideas based on stuff you probably have in your garage. We also check back in on the jack o lanterns we carved and preserved last week, and *spoiler alert* some of them did not fare well at all. Later on the episode, Matt Allen gives tips for running fall marathons, Roy Berendsohn explains how to get egg off your house, and we test (ew) the new flavors of Soylent. After listening to the episode, make sure to fill out our host Panoply's survey about your podcast preferences, which you can find here: survey.panoply.fm
There's a lot of superstition about Friday the 13th, but here at the Most Useful Podcast Ever, we believe that it's preparedness that creates luck. First up, we carve pumpkins with Hugh Mcmahon, who creates faces, animals and even ads in gourds. Mcmahon brings his tools and teaches us the secrets to carving (and preserving) a beautiful pumpkin. Later, Roy Berendsohn tells home renovation ghost stories, we fix back-breaking cracks in the sidewalk, and we try out a super difficult hand-drawn videogame that is taking the country by storm.
The managing culinary director of Serious Eats, J. Kenji López-Alt, has some crazy ideas about tools you can use for cooking. Like, he uses actual tools that you might find in the garage. Also on this episode, tech editor Alex George does not get eaten by a shark, Peter Martin learns to sew on a button, and Roy Berendsohn rates instruction manuals.
What do you do when a fan sends a huge jar of honey to the office? You invite him on the podcast, of course! This week we interview our fan, Eric Rochow of Gardenfork.tv, about all his DIY hobbies, including beekeeping and making a pot of beans in the dirt. Later on, Kevin tries to find a stud in a plaster wall, and the staff tries out the first videogame that's supposed to give you a sixpack, instead of the other way around.
It's that time of year again--football is coming back. Kevin tries to fix up a TV he found on the side of the road, and calls up technician from ShopJimmy.com for help. Meanwhile Peter Martin explains all the non-traditional ways to watch football this season, like with PlayStation, which doesn't require a PlayStation. Plus: Roy teaches us to clean our gutters, and Eleanor teaches us how to win at bocce (and other outdoor games).
Mosquitos suck, particularly in August, when people are still eating outside and the camping is just starting to get good. On this episode, we talk to Joe Conlon, technical advisor to the American Mosquito Control Association, about DEET, citronella, and how to avoid getting bit. Thus provisioned, we spend most of the episode out in Central Park, testing pedal-assist E-bikes on a huge hill, and getting Frisbee lessons from an editor who went to college in Vermont.
Chris of Chrisfix.com and Popular Mechanics car editor Ezra Dyer join the cast of the Most Useful Podcast Ever to diagnose car sounds we found on the internet. We also talk about what to do if you find a lost baby bird, how to protect your home from falling trees, and the best way to move (Hint: Not on September first).
Handy guy Steve Ramsey has almost 800,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel Woodworking for Mere Mortals, and yet he still found time to talk to the Most Useful Podcast Ever about the most necessary tools for a beginner's workshop. He even gives listeners a sneak peak at what's coming up next for his channel. Also on this episode, tech editor Alex George tells us the sneaky apps that are stealing your data when you're not looking; we test a crime-finding app called Citizen; and the hosts have a filter-off, to find out whose air conditioning system is the most disgusting.
Ok, ok, we scared you guys with the threat of Lyme disease, and while we do have a neurologist on this episode to tell us how to catch the disease early, it's not the only topic we cover this week. Solutions to summer scourges abound on this episode: We tell you how to combat sunburn, mildew, and even international roaming charges.
If you want to know even more about Lyme disease, visit Project Lyme or Dr. Elena Frid's website.
The summer has a habit of sneaking up on you. One day there are buds on trees, and the next, it's 95 degrees and almost July. This week, we've compiled a fantastic set of tips to smooth the transition: Wash your tent for the upcoming camping season, cool your beer in a hurry, give your lawn a summer touch-up, and invest in a pair of shoes designed to keep your feet cool and dry.
Have you decided what to get your dad for Father's Day yet? Fear not: The Most Useful Podcast Ever has your back. Newly golf-obsessed executive editor Peter Martin and goods editor Matt Allyn both stop by the recording studio to tell us the coolest stuff they've found recently. We also talk to a log rolling expert and a New York City bartender, and we play an admittedly dark game called "Will It Kill You?"
Professional drone pilot Edward Kostakis stops by the studio to teach the staff of Popular Mechanics how to fly drones without crashing all the time. We also talk to Alex George about protecting your smart home via your router, and test out the brand new DJI Spark.
Roy, Peter, Jacqui and Kevin tell Steve Casner, NASA research psychologist and author of Careful: A Users Guide to Our Injury Prone Minds, stories of times we've made big mistakes to find out why humans do dumb stuff. We also try to make a phone call using an Amazon Echo, and test a commuter bike with a crazy gear shifter.
Our guest on the podcast this week is a very smart, very adventurous dude named Brendan Leonard, a climber, ultrarunner and general outdoorsman who recently wrote a book called The Great Outdoors: A Users Guide. He gives us tips on how to survive everything that can go wrong while you're out on an adventure, from darkness to cold to rattlesnakes. We also test golf shoelaces, and the Curious Idiot gets into a fight with a scrolling webpage.
With the latest installment of The Fast and The Furious out this weekend, Scott Eastwood, who plays a character named Little Nobody in the film, stopped in to the Popular Mechanics office to race the staff with remote control cars. But it turns out Eastwood has actual race experience, and he tells us all about it in this week's episode. Also this week: Roy Berendsohn talks saws, and we challenge editorial assistant James Lynch to a handyman's obstacle course.
Peter and Kevin watched the show "Jungletown" on Viceland this week and wondered how the show's volunteers were doing such a poor job of running a PVC water system to their home site. So they asked Roy, who didn't pull any punches. Meanwhile, Kevin spent some time out in the woods testing weird new camp stoves, and Daniel Espinoza, the director of the new sci-fi horror flick Life, calls in to explain how horror movies scare you. Prepare to be shocked! Prepare to be entertained! Prepare to learn cool stuff from movies and TV shows!
To kick off today's show, we talk to PM Autos Editor, Ezra Dyer, who recently visited the NYPD Fleet Services Division—the guys responsible for keeping the department's 6,000 cop cars in good, running condition. Ezra explains what the average car owner could learn from watching how New York's Finest take care of their cars. Then, James Lynch and Matt Allyn stop by the studio to answer some of my questions about St. Patrick's Day. After that, we talk to Dr. Marvin Pritts, a plant expert from Cornell University, about what we can do to salvage our gardens after a winter of unpredictable weather. Finally, on today's testing table, Peter Martin shares a life lesson.
On today's show, we offer up helpful tips for three things that will likely be driving you mad this March. First up, we talk to Tim Chartier, professor of mathematics and computer science Davidson College, about "March Mathness," his statistically driven approach to mastering bracketology for this year's NCAA Basketball Championship. Then Alex George talks us through the latest home security devices, so you won't have to lose your mind worrying about your empty house on ski weekends (especially once you've stashed your tournament winnings). Finally, Peter Martin comes to the testing table with a new body fat testing device that not only tells you how out of shape you are, but also gives you a workout plan to get ready for warmer weather.
On today's show, in light of the emergency at the Oroville Dam in California, we talk to Rachel Sears, the director of FEMA’s Floodplain Management Division, to find out what to do if there's a flood risk near you. Then Katie Macdonald tries to get resident curmudgeon Peter Martin excited for Mardi Gras. Finally, Jacqui and Matt Allyn run wantonly around the office, but make sure to signal their turns.
On today's show we ask: Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya? First, we get the lowdown on all the prop bets for this year's Superbowl. Not who wins, or the number of points scored by the Falcons or the Pats, but the good stuff—how often will we see Beyonce? How long will the national anthem last? Then we talk Superbowl snacks with our friends at Delish. Finally, Jacqui, Kevin, and Peter try out a bag of Tostitos chips that can save you from driving drunk.
Popular Mechanics Senior Home Editor Roy Berendsohn is a font of mechanical knowledge. In this episode, we asked him to give us his top tips for winter, and ended up learning about physics, fans and tumblesnow. On the testing table, we try out an $8,000 camera.
Are you ready to turn some of our awesome life tips into full-time habits? Then check out this episode, which includes tricks for changing your life from Stanford researcher BJ Fogg, who studies the ways technology influences health habits and started the website tinyhabits.com. After that, we dig in deep with some Shop Notes for the New Year. And beer lover Matt Allyn tests a fitness tracker called THE BEAST.
Popular Mechanics editors spend all day researching cool tech, tools, and toys. We asked a few to stop by the recording studio and tell us what they want for the holidays. The suggestions might just inspire you to spend your gift cards. And if you're home for the holidays and struggling with your parents' 50-character WiFi password, tech editor Alex George is here to help you out. Finally, on the testing table, we ask all our talking tech whether Santa is real.
After helping the staff of Popular Mechanics learn how to build a backyard weather station for the print magazine, ABC News Chief Meteorologist Ginger Zee calls in to explain how snow works and what you can do about it. Roy Berendsohn helps Kevin Dupzyk get his Christmas tree straight, and we ill-advisedly speed-taste a beer advent calendar. Beer-vent calendar? We're calling it a beer-vent calendar.
What the heck are you gonna do with all that leftover turkey? The Most Useful Podcast Ever calls the Butterball Turkey Talk-line to get some ideas (as well as some amazing stories of Thanksgiving dinners gone wrong). We also get some tips on finding Cyber Monday deals, and finally finish our Amazon Alexa scotch tasting... which continues to not go well.
A couple of weeks ago, your intrepid hosts tackled a 10-mile mud race in the middle of New Jersey to tell our listeners the best way to attempt obstacles like monkey bars, barbed wire crawls, and the dreaded Atlas carry. We even invited ASOne Fitness trainer and Death Race finisher Mark Merchant on the show to whip our butts into shape. After that, Kevin and Jacqui debate the merits of a Gore-tex running shoe, and pretty much the whole staff gets in on a whiskey tasting with Amazon Echo's Alexa, which goes.... not so well.
Are you ready for the most useful Halloween weekend yet? This week, the staff of Popular Mechanics goes on a field trip to Stumpy's Hatchet House in Eatontown, New Jersey to learn how to throw hatchets (at targets, not monsters, but still.) After that, we talk about our brand new microphone and scare the crap out of each other with a new, creepy game that will take over your smartphone.
The Most Useful Podcast Ever's TV buying saga continues this week with Roy Berendsohn's advice on mounting a TV on the wall. We talk to NC State University food safety professor Ben Chapman about Botox, lemon jelly and judging the canning competition at the North Carolina State Fair. And Matt Goulet watches a creepy movie on a short-throw projector while camping in the woods.
The Most Useful Podcast Ever meets its first beer cicerone, James Watt, who is also the cofounder of Brewdog. He tastes a few random beers we got together and the results are very impressive. On this episode, Popular Mechanics technology editor Alex George and TV fan and executive editor Peter Martin also help host Jacqui Detwiler buy a TV on the air, and senior home editor Roy Berendsohn brews coffee using a machine from a company that usually makes power tools.
Hurricanes take a huge toll on buildings and cities, but have you ever wondered if they do anything useful? According to Frank Marks, director of NOAA's hurricane research division, they do. This week is a special two-expert episode, as Ash Fulk, returning guest and pitmaster at Hill Country Barbecue, returns to help us test the new Crafthouse by Fortessa smoking box. Finally, we talk to senior home editor Roy Berendsohn about a home renovation problem, and he gives us advice on generators for tailgating.
On today's show, we give advice on tipping, so you'll finally know for certain how stingy your friends really are. Then Roy drops by to answer a few questions about cabinetry, courtesy of our producer. And Peter Martin destroys a computer before finding out if he can destroy the Popular Mechanics podcast hosts in a push up contest (after drinking HFactor hydrogen rich water).
With the temperature in New York city in the 90s, the Most Useful Podcast Ever asks Luke Belvel, an expert on heat exhaustion from the University of Connecticut’s Korey Stringer Institute, for some essential cooling tips, including whether panting like a dog works for humans. We also learn what to look for in a kayak from the owner of Manhattan Kayak Club, and the staff plays football indoors. Plus, tech editor Alex George has a secret to tell you about iOS 10.
Not all summer Olympic sports are as well known as swimming and gymnastics. How much do you know about steeplechase, the triple jump and racewalking? Not much? That's ok. This week's episode delves into the rules and history of unusual Olympic events, as well as who to watch for if they turn up on your TV. We also talk to a leather expert from Wickett & Craig tannery about keeping leather nice in wet weather, and we send our fact checker out on a run in a pair of Cole Haan dress shoes.
It's cool that Pokemon Go is getting teenagers (and... um... adults) excited about spending time in outside, but there are lots of ways to have fun in public parks and gardens. On today's episode, we play true or false with Gerard Lordahl, director of GrowNYC's Open Space Greening Program, about crazy gardening hacks, like painting strawberries to fool birds. We go on location in Central Park to test out a spotting scope, and, yes, we have a millennial teach us how to play Pokemon Go.
Guest hosts Cameron Johnson and Kevin Dupzyk talk to Elias Cairo of Olympia Provisions about curing meat for summer picnics. Regular guest Matt Goulet tries to make executive editor Peter Martin care about birds. Roy stops by to learn about ratcheting socket wrenches (and learns about the rap term "ratchet"), and we test a sous vide machine.
We made our intern sit on the phone with customer service for his whole first week. Now he gives us the best strategies for minimizing your wait time and frustration. Then, the Curious Idiot learns what Snapchat is, and two editors test some new-fangled shaving tools. Plus Roy Berendsohn teaches us how to strip — but not in the way you’re thinking.
To get the smartest hi-tech tips for traveling well, we talk to Robert Birge and Krista Pappas of Lola, an app that brings travel agents into the 21st century. We also have travel blogger Johnny Jet tell us where to find a bathroom in an unfamiliar city, and get the lowdown on the dirty tricks airlines use to prevent you from getting compensation for missed flights from AirHelp cofounder Nicolas Michaelsen Finally, the Testing Table gets heated when Matt Goulet professes his love for Spirit Airlines.
Now that it’s summer, the Most Useful Podcast Ever is excited to get outside. On this episode we learn about preventing allergies, selecting mushrooms, shucking oysters and preventing pit stains. To the backyard!
This might be the best episode we’ve done where we talk the least. First we play a game with Popular Mechanics auto editor Ezra Dyer called 30 Second Car Salesman, then Momentum Drums, a musical group that builds their own rigs and light up drums, stops by the office to make music out of tools. Finally, we test the first prototypes of fully wireless earbuds, which, unlike Bluetooth headsets, actually seem kinda cool.
Taxes are boring, but comedian and certified public accountant Greg Kyteisn’t. On today’s Most Useful Podcast Ever, he gives us tax tips thatwon’t make you fall asleep on your desk. After that, Alex George tells ushow to pimp your WiFi, Roy Berendsohn explains the particleboard family, and the Testing Table goes camping.
On this episode of the Most Useful Podcast Ever, Austin Robey, founder of Brooklyn 3D-printing studio MakeMode, stops by to tell us who stands to benefit most from the 3D printing revolution. Then, associate editor Matt Goulet tries out four methods of peeling hardboiled eggs, senior home editor Roy Berendsohn tells us about the old song that made everyone confuse concrete and cement, and some of the staff members break their keyboards and try to find a better way to wake up.
Most people breathe into their shoulders instead of into their chests, causing a host of physical problems and increasing stress. Clinical psychologist and breathing expert to law enforcement Belisa Vranich stops by the Most Useful Podcast Ever to give us a simple equation that makes it easier to breathe correctly. Then, on our testing table, Prohibition Distillery whiskeymaker Brian Facquet explains how (and whether) to age whiskey at home. And Senior Editor Roy Berendsohn stops by with a powertool that looks like a Greek monster.
With Apple’s battle over phone security in the news, the Most Useful Podcast Ever finds out how to keep your iPhone safe from criminals. Then, in honor of Popular Mechanics’ annual Survival issue, Shane Hobel of Mountain Scout Survival School stops by to teach us that there’s more than one way to start a fire, and we play a game of intra-office Survivor, in which executive editor Sean Manning does not fare well.
Just in time for the big game, we invite Hill Country Market Barbecue pitmaster Ash Fulk into the Popular Mechanics workshop to teach us all about nachos. Then we test new Sam Adams nitro beers you can serve with those nachos, and learn the trick to optimizing your television for sports.
We talk to Bridgestone Winter Driving instructor Mark Cox, about Anti lock brakes, what to do if you're in a skid, and the difference between all those tires you see at the tire store. The we take a look at the best in from this years Outdoor Retailer Show.
Now that there’s finally enough ice to go ice fishing, we asked Minnesota fishing guide Scott Merwin for tips on doing it right. We figure he’ll know: He managed to catch six fish while being interviewed. After that, Curious Idiot Kevin Dupzyk finds out the best way to share photos from his vacation to Cuba, and the Testing Table tries out easy ways to to hard things.
On today's episode, in advance of your New Year’s Eve party, we take science into our own hands and test a variety of hangover prevention products—on ourselves. Our post-office party Testing Table is a little bit groggy but hopefully still informative. Just in case it’s not, we also talk to Dr. Jason Burke, the founder of Hangover Heaven in Las Vegas, a clinic that treats hangovers. He tells us why they are so debilitating, and which hangover remedies we should take next time.
Our editors suggest gifts for all those you may have in your life, from that teenager you don't know so well, to your girlfriend's Dad. Plus, we'll explain how to talk about technology to the older generation, and we test out which vacuum flask will keep your coco the warmest.
In this episode, chef Wylie Dufresne demonstrates the best way to carve whatever fowl you might be having this Thanksgiving, whether it’s a traditional turkey, or, as it was in our podcast studio, an overcooked rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods supermarket. Then, at the testing roundtable, we crash test Motorola’s new shatterproof phone, the Droid Turbo 2, and see if a copper-infused t-shirt can help us jump father, stretch better, or even look good.
Amateur astronomer Ed Ting explains why the contributions of hobbyists like himself are still vital in the field of astronomy and helps others launch their own star obsessions with tips about telescopes, telescope targets, and light pollution. On Testing Table, we review Apple's new extra large iPad Pro, a vibrating physiotherapy ball that could shake your house down, and technology that threatens to disrupt your package. (Hint: It’s men’s underwear).
We talk to a professional haunted house designer Larry Kirschner about how you can creep out your crib for the holiday with items you have around the house. Then, in this week's Testing Table, we have the Great Pumpkin Carve Off—we test out three pumpkin carving tools and then taste test some candy.
We chat with Todd Strauss-Schulson, director of the new movie The Final Girls, about how he created the unique and creative shots in his film, and how we can make our own movies more interesting.
Plus we'll go for a ride on a carbon fiber skate board, blow bubbles in our bourbon, and sniff out trouble.
We talk to Sam Polcer, director of comunications for Bike New York, about the best way to move in the city and how cars and bikes can all just get along. Then Senior Home Editor Roy Berendsohn gives us the dirt on how to put your lawn to bed for the winter. And our Testing Table takes a field trip to Central Park, to shoot some hoops with a new app that tracks your shots, and to test glide the new Monorover.
In our last episode, “Sleep,” senior editor Andrew Del Colle reviewed an Audi diesel car. Shortly after posting that episode, news broke of Volkswagen’s cheating during diesel fuel emissions tests. In this special episode Andrew returns to discuss the VW scandal and its implications.
If you have trouble sleeping, cross “astronaut” off your list of future careers. Residents of the International Space Station watch the sun set and then rise again every 90 minutes, meaning in one 24-hour period they experience about 16 cycles of the sun. Talk about confusing your circadian rhythm.
But even earth-dwellers experience their fair share of problems with sleep—about 1 in 5 Americans struggle with getting to bed at night or staying alert during the day. To get some insight on how you can get some shut eye, we spoke to Dr. Charles Czeisler, the chief of the division of sleep and circadian disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, as well as our insomniac editorial assistant Cameron Johnson to get some tips.
You know how, when you show up to a barbecue, the first thing everyone looks at is what’s in your hand? It’s usually a sixer of some summer-friendly brew—Bell’s Oberon or Abita Strawberry—a package of brats, a bag of kettle-cooked potato chips. If you’re really creative, maybe a tray of handmade burgers with a dash of Worcestershire and chopped onions mixed in.But let’s say you want to impress your fellow Labor Day barbecue guests, and you didn’t have time to you suck at doing the cannonball, and you’re not the guy in charge of the play list. There is still hope: Show up with a bag of crabs.
In this episode we talk to Spike Gjerde, a Baltimore based James Beard award winning Chef, to get the hard sell, on soft-shell crabs. He'll explain how to choose, clean and cook your crabs, and how to eat them.
Plus we introduce a new segment we're calling, The Curious Idiot. Wherein editor Kevin Dupzyk finally learns how to Bluetooth his phone with Tech editor Alex George.
And final, we'll head to the testing round table and suit up for a talk about cameras, breathing, and the golden age of overalls.
“Sitting is the new smoking” might be the most tired health cliché of the decade. Yeah, we get it. Spending the whole day in a chair isn’t healthy. Thing is: it’s not wrong. Sitting at work contributes to such diseases as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, even cancer. And even after-work exercise might not be able to compensate for the ill effects.
Back pain we get, but how does just sitting cause cancer? For one thing, when you spend a lot of time seated, cells in your muscles can become resistant to insulin, the agent that drives sugar from your bloodstream into your cells to be used, says James Levine, a doctor of endocrinology and a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic. That causes a huge spike in blood sugar and triglycerides, the fat cells in your blood, right after you eat. If you continue sitting after eating, your blood sugar levels can remain high for two or three hours. Meanwhile, your body will continue producing extra insulin to try to push the sugar levels down.
Diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer are all associated with high blood sugar and high insulin. But if you take a walk after you eat, even for just 15 minutes, your triglycerides, cholesterol and blood sugar will be halved. Here’s where the standing desk comes in: Even without thinking about it, on average, people with standing desks end up walking an extra 1 to 2 hours per day, making them more physically active and reducing insulin resistance, which can improve health in innumerable ways.
In short, standing itself isn’t going to solve your health problems, but it will position you, literally, to do more walking, which could prolong your life.
One of the scariest things about living in New York city in the summer is that you're constantly being dripped on. You can never be sure if it's rain, or somebody else's sweat, or air conditioner condensation, or worse, humidity that collects on the ceiling of the subway station and then drips on your face.
Basically the only way to get away from that is to stay inside, or join the mass exodus from the city to get to real water at the beach. So on today's episode we looked into tips that could improve either situation. We asked a sculptor in north Florida how to make a stand-up paddle board you can ride on waves or flat water.
Then we learned about hacking an air conditioning window unit to fit an outdated electrical system.And last, because we're going a little stir crazy, we made up a game show slash drinking game, and used it to test a new iPhone mounted breathalyzer.
When buying a freezer, most of us consider the size and energy usage of a new model, but not other factors that can influence freezer burn and flavor. In this edition of PM’s Most Useful Podcast Ever, we play with a flash-freezing machine made by a scientific supply company and talk to Penn State University food scientist Luke LaBorde to find out how frozen food works and what you can do to keep stored meats and vegetables tasty.
We also talk to Popular Mechanics’ Senior Home Editor Roy Berendsohn about hard and soft water, and consider whether we’d use Phiaton’s BT 220NC headphones, Flugz Hearing Protection Earplugs, and a very strange food substitute called Soylent.
This episode is sponsored by Braintree. To learn more, and for your first $50,000 in transactions fee-free, go to braintreepayments.com/USEFUL