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Popular Mechanics


The 2019 Popular Mechanics Automotive Excellence Awards

There are a lot of cool machines hitting the road this year. We’ve got a Shelby GT500 that promises to give the Ford GT a case of engine envy. There’s a new Toyota Supra. Cadillac’s building a twin-turbo V-8. Ram’s got 1,000 lb-ft of torque. Awesome, all of it. But when we look a little further ahead, the potential for wildly different forms of transportation feels like it’s tantalizingly close. Yeah, we know—you might have believed that in 1998, too, and been totally wrong. But this time, we think we’re right. And not about autonomous blob pods puttering apathetic ride-sharers...

New Belgium Builds a Brewery in a Denver Hotel

Checking into the hotel is a restful end to a stressful travel experience—or, at least, it should be. But rarely is it the highlight of the trip. That could change with a new project by New Belgium brewery, makers of the beloved Fat Tire and other delectable brews. New Belgium just opened up the Pilot Brewery at the Source Hotel in Denver. When guests check in, they’ll get tasters of experimental New Belgium beer brewed at Pilot, which just so happens to be located on the other side of the hotel lobby’s glass wall. But building a brewery in a...

The 2020 Aston Martin Rapide E Is Aston's First Electric Production Car

The Rapide E is Aston Martin's first electric car and is based on the standard Rapide sedan.It has a 65.0-kWh battery pack and two rear-mounted electric motors than make 602 horsepower and 701 lb-ft of torque.The Rapide E was co-developed with the Williams engineering firm, and just 155 will be produced.Aston Martin's first electric car has been a long time coming. We initially learned about the Rapide E—then called the RapidE—in 2015 with the reveal of a concept co-developed with Williams. The announcement of a production run came in 2017, when we also got to drive it, and more details...

Why a Sequential Transmission Is So Much Faster Than a Dual-Clutch

In the past decade, dual-clutch transmissions have come to dominate the performance car market. They're used in everything from hot hatches to the latest, greatest hypercars. They provide the best of both worlds, providing smooth automatic operation in normal driving, and lightning-fast gear changes while going flat-out. But when it comes to actual racing, they're still not the gearbox of choice. Nate Vincent of FCP Euro put together a great video comparing his GTI TCR race car's old DSG dual-clutch transmission to a new sequential transmission that his team will use for the 2019 season. The biggest difference is weight....

Tool Sudoku Puzzle Answer

Related question: Is sudoku easier or harder with tools instead of numbers? Click the image to enlarge. Popular Mechanics

SpaceIL Will Try Again After Last Week's Failed Moon Landing

On Thursday, Israeli company SpaceIL attempted to become the first private company to land a spacecraft on the moon. Their lander, named Beresheet, came extremely close before a software glitch caused the main engine to shut off at the last minute. The spacecraft crashed into the moon’s surface—an unfortunate end to an ambitious mission.Now, SpaceIL says they’re ready to try again. In an announcement on Twitter, SpaceIL board member Morris Kahn confirmed that the company was ready to try again with a new lander, named Beresheet Shtayim (which means 'two' in Hebrew). The dream goes on! Morris Kahn just announced...

Self-Driving Light Trucks Will Be Allowed on California Roads

In a victory for several of the state's biggest tech companies, the California Department of Motor Vehicles announced "a path for companies to test or deploy light-duty autonomous motor trucks (delivery vehicles) on the state’s public roads." California is home to some of the biggest players in autonomous driving, including Tesla and Waymo For years, these companies have tested self-driving vehicles in states like Arizona and Pennsylvania. In 2018, the California DMV issued its first permit for testing self-driving cars on public roads to Waymo. Now, it appears to be opening up the process to certain classes of vehicle.According to...

As Notre Dame Smolders, France Promises to Rebuild

Notre Dame, the famous Catholic Cathedral that's stood in Paris for more than 800 years, caught fire around 1:50pm ET, resulting in the collapse of its 300-foot spire and extensive damage to its medieval wooden frame. No deaths or injuries have been reported though one firefighter was injured battling the blaze. Many priceless works of art were saved as crews had time before the fire reached ground level, but some works, like many stain-glass windows were not so lucky. While the source of the fire is still unknown, early reports speculate that it might be related to ongoing renovation work...

An AI Beat the Top Humans at a Modern Video Game Thanks to the Power of Teamwork

In a remarkable breakthrough for artificial intelligence, a team of AI has defeated the world champions of the competitive video game Dota 2. While this victory over humans isn't the first for a game-playing AI, given the success of software in playing Go and poker, the Dota-playing AI had to master the art of teamwork to work alongside both other AI and human players.Collaborative IntelligenceWhen Deepmind’s Go-playing AI, AlphaGo, recently defeat the world Go champion, that victory was remarkable because of the sheer number of possible moves and combinations in the game. Go is so complex even a supercomputer can’t...

To Install a Pull-Up Bar, We Built a Surfboard

Somewhere there is a world where homes are well-made, predictable, and built to code. You can imagine such a place. Framing lumber is 16 on center. Kitchen cabinets don’t open and interfere with adjacent kitchen cabinets. Back doors don’t stick. Showers don’t leak. We don’t live in this world. For two of my sons, Mick and Willie, discovering this took nothing more than trying to install a pull-up bar. Like many stories of minor disasters, this one begins with Christmas shopping. Late one fall, when Mick was 15 and Willie was 11, I was wondering what I might give them...

Behind the Scenes of the First Black Hole Photo

On Wednesday, scientists from the Event Horizon Telescope project unveiled the first ever photo of a black hole. While the photo itself is incredible, the feats of human ingenuity the project’s scientists used to capture it are just as impressive if not moreso.The EHT project was a collaboration between eight different telescope observatories on four different continents, whose data was collected by a state-of-the-art combination of sensors and atomic clocks, stored on thousands of hard drives, and shipped to supercomputer clusters at MIT and Bonn, Germany. There, the data was analyzed by a complex algorithm and meshed together to produce...

Thermal Battery Holds 1.2 Megawatt-Hours of Energy in a 20-Foot Box

A company called CCT Energy Storage just put Lonsdale, South Australia firmly on the map. In late March, the start-up unveiled the very first high-density thermal battery, which out-performs its lithium-ion and lead-acid counterparts many times over. Called a Thermal Energy Device (TED), the modular unit stores electricity as latent heat, which can be converted back into energy on demand. A standard TED unit can store 1.2 megawatt-hours of power and has a life expectancy of at least 20 years. “After 3,000 cycles of service on the test bench,” CCT’s CEO Serge Bondarenko says it shows no signs of degradation...