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Upgrade your life. Contrary to widespread belief, South Africa does not lurk at the bottom end of the techno- logical food chain. In fact, when it comes to connecting with the future through new technologies and exploiting every avenue of communication, our hunger knows no bounds - as does our pride in home-grown innovation. Now say hello to FutureTech , a unique Popular Mechanics initiative that will bring together tech-savvy people from all over South Africa for an exciting and inspiring conference.
It happens in Johannesburg on 25 October, and it's destined to be a "must" on the calendar of anyone who wants to get up to speed in a world ruled by technology. The theme of our inaugural confer- ence is "connect", a word that will resonate with anyone who understands the mechanics of the 21 st century.
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Representing the top echelon of science and technology, our presenters will unpack techno- logies that are already changing our lives for the better, enabling us to share world-changing ideas and solve challenges together.
Programme details and booking information will be available soon; please watch for announce- ments via our Web site, our weekly e-mail newsletters "The Cutting Edge" our TV commer- cials and other channels.
There's also some good news for South Africa's vibrant invent- ing community: our Inventor of the Year Competition remains as an integral part of the FutureTech initiative. Details of the annual challenge, which offers even big- ger cash prizes for , will be released within the next few weeks see elsewhere in this issue. Now to this month's magazine.
Our cover story, "Re-engineer- ing the human", explores some remarkable breakthroughs in the design of prosthetic limbs, artificial organs, bones and even blood cells.
Bionic limbs with machine intelligence can now sense their environment and predict a user's intentions. Wonderful stuff, and it's bring- ing new hope to many people. We hope you enjoy our bumper page Tech Focus supplement, which comes free with this month's issue. It introduces fas- cinating and increasingly relevant technologies in the fields of home entertainment, automotive safety, leisure pursuits, communications, and much more.
We provide ad- vice on buying a new TV, intro- duce a couple of outrageous bicycles, unpack appliances with brains, and ask what it will take for tablets to replace PCs.
As always, we showcase a heady assortment of new gadgets throughout the magazine - which brings me to an opportunity for full disclosure. Having been con- sumed with guilt for the past few weeks, I should now confess to my wife who is morally obliged to read PM every month that the mW laser pointer. Music Angel docking station, multi-bladed camping knife and Samurai steel LED watch were not, in fact, "for the office". Finally, regular PM readers who may have been alarmed by our "haunted house" headline need not be concerned: it's not about exorcism or exploring beyond the veil.
Instead, we explain what makes doors bang and floors creak in your ageing house, then tell how you to fix them. It's what we do. Prizes worth R are up for grabs. Details online at www. First, get your head around "smart" sand Flickering lights?
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Strange smells? Here's what to do about it Fancy a R1,25 million bottle of whisky? A brain- controlled model is in clinical trials now. Photograph by Eric Ogden. This page: Designed and built by Ekso Bionics, this exoskeleton was the first to step out of the lab and into the real world. This month's bumper issue of PM incorporates the inaugural page Tech Focus supplement, your guide to the most exciting products and developments in the fields of home entertainment, automotive tech, communica- tions, leisure activities, and more.
It starts on page Designed for consistent, virtually drip-free painting of large smooth and rough surfaces such as walls and ceilings. The "Paint Control" Technology and remote control ensures the tool only feeds the required amount of paint, as the paint is fed directly from the bucket. Complete with 40cm long hand piece, 80cm extension arm and 5m long hose, making painting easy for any do-it-yourselfer.
You'll be amazed. 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 scientific and technological developments.
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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. Not manufactured, but created. Powerful, agile and instinctive in everything it does. It'll make you feel different; it will make you feel alive.
Feel it. Be moved. And ask yourself: "How alive are you?
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What these readers have not taken into account is research, published in the same month, indicating that woolly mammoths would probably not have been extinct in the first place were it not for people. Our forebears played as much a role in the end of that species as Nature.
Graham Prescott and David Williams, zoologists from the University of Cambridge, developed a model to calculate how climate change and the arrival of humans respectively correlated to the disappearance of species of megafauna. They found it very likely that Stone Age hunters had a hand in at least some of these extinctions.
Not only the woolly mammoth seems to have been our victim, but possibly also giant kangaroos and some big flightless birds. The findings, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, are a poignant reminder of how destructive our species has been since its early days.
If we can undo some of that harm, why not? CAT Timekeeping Equipment reinvents and contextualises the heritage and authenticity of the brand's core know-how - clean and urban, encased in finely engineered stainless steel, and equipped with a technically advanced movement.
Popular Mechanics has laid some wonderful groundwork with its Inventors Conferences and competitions, but now it's the turn of the Big Players. My advice: take your cue from the X Prize Foundation www. These guys have big ideas, and set serious challenges - and it works. A few months ago, they launched the Tricorder X Prize, sponsored by Qualcomm - an R80 million bonanza to be awarded for creating a mobile device that can "diagnose patients better than or equal to a panel of board certified physicians".
Getting the idea? We need a R10 million prize for someone who develops a basic but durable house costing no more than R1 , or a device that halves infant mor- tality in impoverished areas, or a foolproof detector of political venality.
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Who's doing the brainstorming? In the mean- time, we're about to release details of our second annual Inventors Competition, which carries even bigger cash prizes this year, and we're working on an exciting conference that promises to light a fire among "connected" South Africans.
Timeless hints dept As you point out in "Editor's notes", it's amazing how many of the tips from old issues of PM still hold good today " years of top tips", April issue. For example, my wife still uses half a potato to moisten the adhesive on envelopes that we mail to our clients if you haven't licked an envelope for a while, believe me when I say the taste is awful.
Another hint that sounded familiar was the one about adding sand to floor paint to create a non-slip sur- face. Since an elderly relative slipped and fell on our wet front porch last winter, we've coated all potentially hazardous floors with non-slip paint. It works beautifully. Waldo "moonlights as a rocket scientist" but he has no qualifications.
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Who employs him? Bloodhound will come to Hakskeen Pan in the Northern Cape. Maybe not, but, in this case, it may prove to be fatally foolish. Are there no restraints in the US regarding people wanting to exit this world in a spectacular fashion?
But I marvel at all this. As a young lad, back in the Fifties, I was fascinated by speed and the sound barrier. I sketched my hero. Sir Malcolm Campbell, and imagined him breaking the sound barrier in Bluebird. I have also lived to see some of the science fiction of Dan Dare Eagle comics become reality.
Good luck, Waldo! A Tech Watch article in your March issue "Mars, here we come - again" refers. You discuss "a parachute metres in diameter".
This makes no sense; a m -diameter parachute would almost cover Loftus stadium! Anyway, the parachute's real diameter is feet, or about 50 metres. Thanks for taking the trouble to write.
Solar heating: back to basics South Africa tends to go for big techno- logy, but there are other countries, such as Kenya, that have to settle for different options. At Tiwi, the solar heating strate- gy was to pass the water though matt black-painted galvanised pipes inside a box, the surface of which was a large pane of window glass.
The box was placed where it wouldn't be smashed by falling mangoes or coconuts. Of course, the pipes don't last as long as copper, but at least they are cheap to replace. I'm sure this approach is not exclusive to Kenya, but I am unable to find anyone over here who has even thought of it. Keep it coming, PM I have been a proud and avid reader for the past 10 years.