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Jan. 11, 1902 — Popular Mechanics Is Born

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the a-star-is-born dept.

Science 77

Today, back in 1902 Henry Haven Windsor published the first issue of Popular Mechanics, helping to empower geeks of future generations with straightforward explanations of scientific and mechanical advances. "The magazine has reported both the brilliant and ridiculous ideas of its times, depending on the writer, scientist or editor. It once published an article about a Philadelphia physician who supposedly used X-rays to turn blacks into whites: probably not a great editorial decision. Betting on blimps over planes for so long might not have been advisable, and hyping excessive consumption during the birth of the environmental movement in the 1960s also rates a demerit. But beyond those probable transgressions, Popular Mechanics paved the way for the people’s incursion into science’s once-exclusive domain. Its longevity argues that science and its sometimes inscrutable possibility have raw mass appeal — even if the subject is cars with steering wheels in the back seat or self-diagnosing appliances."

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Blacks (1)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 4 years ago | (#30730858)

It's Blacks, not blacks you insensitive clod.

In other news... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30731040)

On May 10, 1976, Rob Malda's micropenis was born.

Re:Blacks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30732248)

Only when it's Whites, not whites, you insensitive clod.

Love the old ones! (4, Interesting)

GrahamCox (741991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30730864)

I picked up a bunch of PM's from a second-hand bookstore that run from about 1949 through 1960, about 8 or 10 in all. They have pride of place on the shelf in 'the smallest room' and make great bogtime reading. The optimism of that era! The small ads are my favourite, everyone seemingly on the make with this scheme or that, amazing what seemed a viable business at the time, like chrome-plating baby shoes or plans for converting a push-mower into a ride-on. But even the big articles are mind-boggling, like the bizarre concept, quite seriously researched apparently, of using a separate "pusher" plane to get heavy bombers into the air (instantly made pointless as soon as jets started to improve even slightly, and never mind how many accidents it would have caused in practice).

And the car reviews are great as well - one copy has the release of the Edsel, which is just a straightforward review saying it has this and that, and what should appeal to buyers, A later one has an article explaining why it was such an inevitable disaster! (Which strangely the first article hadn't predicted at all). Tail fins and white picket fences, and not a care in the world - great reading!

Re:Love the old ones! (1)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#30731020)

The small ads are my favourite, everyone seemingly on the make with this scheme or that, amazing what seemed a viable business at the time, like chrome-plating baby shoes or plans for converting a push-mower into a ride-on.

Jeez, man, have a look at the ads in the current ones! Yeah, it's cute and funny when they are old and aren't actually targeted at you, but when you read the current PopMech and realize, THIS is how dumb the advertisers therein think that you are, well, it kind of takes a lot of the enjoyment out of reading them.

Re:Love the old ones! (1)

pommiekiwifruit (570416) | more than 4 years ago | (#30731586)

But surely I would want to buy magic water that has covalent bonds at a different angle from normal water, or a mutated exercise bike that will turn me into a bodybuilder with just 2 minutes exercise a day.

Re:Love the old ones! (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 4 years ago | (#30731026)

But even the big articles are mind-boggling, like the bizarre concept, quite seriously researched apparently, of using a separate "pusher" plane to get heavy bombers into the air (instantly made pointless as soon as jets started to improve even slightly, and never mind how many accidents it would have caused in practice).

And 50 years later, we have Mothership Eve and SpaceShipOne.

Re:Love the old ones! (2, Interesting)

GrahamCox (741991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30731138)

Ah, but a big difference between carrying another plane slung below or on the back (Example from the 30s [wikipedia.org] ), and having a separate aircraft push one into the air using a kind of towbar: Cover image [popularmechanics.com]

Re:Love the old ones! (2, Interesting)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30731098)

The small ads are my favourite, everyone seemingly on the make with this scheme or that, amazing what seemed a viable business at the time, like chrome-plating baby shoes or plans for converting a push-mower into a ride-on.

Today we call them "wacky dot-com's" and "spam".
   

Re:Love the old ones! (1)

plopez (54068) | more than 4 years ago | (#30731268)

But even the big articles are mind-boggling, like the bizarre concept, quite seriously researched apparently, of using a separate "pusher" plane to get heavy bombers into the air (instantly made pointless as soon as jets started to improve even slightly, and never mind how many accidents it would have caused in practice).

Made even more pointless by the fact that the Germans, and possibly others, used RATO packs in WWII.

Re:Love the old ones! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30731384)

They have pride of place on the shelf in 'the smallest room' and make great bogtime reading.

... everyone seemingly on the make ...

You know, there are other, less lavender, ways of communicating the same ideas...

... favourite ...

Ah, nevermind. I see what the problem is now.

Re:Love the old ones! (1)

dzfoo (772245) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735172)

Wow! A Slashdot pedant criticising proper English for, er, being proper.

        -dZ.

Re:Love the old ones! (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737804)

Tail fins and white picket fences, and not a care in the world - great reading!

And mad as a bag of frogs.

I've generally prefered its cousin (4, Informative)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30730868)

I always preferred Popular Science to Popular Mechanics. While Pop Mech explained new technologies, Pop Sci has a lot more about the really cool stuff about how the world around us works. Both are very good though. Pop Sci was founded well before Popular Mechanics. According to Wikipedia it was founded in 1872 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popular_Science [wikipedia.org] .

Re:I've generally prefered its cousin (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732744)

PopSci and PopMech seem to echo their names, PopSci being a bit more esoteric. In the early years, PS even published articles by a philosopher.

The Gaussian (1, Troll)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 4 years ago | (#30730902)

All Popular Mechanics does is demonstrate that the people populating the middle and left of the IQ Gaussian are active consumers. In this, it stands shoulder to shoulder with the National Enquirer, Fox News, and any number of other amazingly low quality media outlets.

Re:The Gaussian (3, Interesting)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30731698)

All Popular Mechanics does is demonstrate that the people populating the middle and left of the IQ Gaussian are active consumers. In this, it stands shoulder to shoulder with the National Enquirer, Fox News, and other amazingly low quality media outlets.

This is really quire unfair when you look at the magazine historically.

Popular Mechanics published science and craft projects for both kids and adults for the better part of 100 years.

The books, with titles like The Boy Mechanic, have been reprinted often - and the originals are treasured.

Mission Furniture: How to Make It [doverpublications.com]

How To Draw Cartoons the U.S. Army Way! [blogspot.com]

Popular Mechanics Build-It-Yourself Ranch-Type House [digmodern.com]

Re:The Gaussian (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732098)

I don't think it's unfair at all. Drawing cartoons, framing up a basic home, and making simple furniture is hardly the domain of only bright people. Popular mechanics simply doesn't aim very high. In terms of articles, many are purest garbage, printed without significant editorial care for accuracy or fact-checking; many are "bites", that pernicious trend towards being as minimal as possible, while at the same time being over-hyped. Very similar to network television.

If you want thoughtful articles with some actual depth, I suggest Scientific American. With both magazines at hand, I think the difference in the audience they address is patently obvious. If you don't find it so, I'd be surprised.

It may not be politically correct to talk about it, but the fact is, we're only as equal as we are. Magazines like popular mechanics specifically target people who would get glassy-eyed and drool if they tried to read Scientific American. Magazines like Scientific American target people who would use Popular Mechanics as kindling.

Re:The Gaussian (1)

Guppy (12314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732912)

This is really quire unfair when you look at the magazine historically.

Popular Mechanics published science and craft projects for both kids and adults for the better part of 100 years.

It's amazing how better written old Popular Mechanics were, a lot closer to what Make magazine [makezine.com] is now, at least in spirit.

By comparison, modern day issues are mostly consumer-toy magvertisements and fluff pieces.

 

Popular Mechanics on Google Books (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734378)

It's amazing how better written old Popular Mechanics were, a lot closer to what Make magazine is now, at least in spirit.

Popular Mechanics has been scanned for Google Books.

You might begin with September 1930: The cover? Fritz Lang's rocketship from The Woman in the Moon.

Feature articles on Outer Space, The Britannic, lightning hazards in flying, oil tankers, clouds, spies, skiing .... 175 pages in all.

The writing is crisp and clear, art and illustration first rate.

Re:The Gaussian (1)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732304)

All Popular Mechanics does is demonstrate that the people populating the middle and left of the IQ Gaussian are active consumers. In this, it stands shoulder to shoulder with the National Enquirer, Fox News, and any number of other amazingly low quality media outlets.

That's pretty arrogant. What would you consider a better alternative for people interested in practical solutions to mechanical problems, and curiosity about the latest planes, cars, etc? It sounds like you're looking down on people that like to work on their own cars and fix their own sinks.

I think lumping PM in with the National Enquirer says more about you than it does about PM.

Re:The Gaussian (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732652)

That's pretty arrogant. What would you consider a better alternative for people interested in practical solutions to mechanical problems, and curiosity about the latest planes, cars, etc?

Doesn't matter one whit if there's a better alternative, or not. The fact is, the quality of the magazine is extremely low, and the responsibility for that lies with the editorial staff, or whoever is controlling the editorial staff. Content is minimally informative, often incorrect, poorly researched, and at times outright nonsensical.

As for what I'd suggest, that's easy: The web. Print is largely dead, and to the extent that it isn't, it probably should be. Google it.

It sounds like you're looking down on people that like to work on their own cars and fix their own sinks.

No. I'm looking down on a magazine that does a crappy job of collecting "news" about what's new and interesting, abstracting said news to the point of fluffy idiocy, and then printing it without checking their facts.

I'm all for home brewing one's home (I built the entire interior of my home into an old church that was no more than a box when we bought it, did all the wiring, and the lady of the house did all the trim work and finish work) and fixing one's own appliances and plumbing and the like (I just fixed my furnace a couple of weeks ago... the sensor for backed up moisture in the condensing collector failed.) I'd rather stab myself with a pencil than call a contractor to do something for me. Fixing stuff and building stuff is fun. Not to mention oodles less expensive.

I am simply of the opinion that Popular Mechanics is a really poorly put together magazine that panders to not so much people who want to fix things, but to not very bright people who want to fix things, and takes advantage of them by mistreating them specifically with crappy information, presented in a crappy manner.

Now, me... I am one of those people who likes to fix things. Reading Popular Mechanics to learn how, though, is kind of like trying to wash my face with a cactus. I'll pick what I want to work on, and then I'll research what I need to do. At no time am I likely to refer to Popular Mechanics for help. Because they suck.

Whites (4, Funny)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 4 years ago | (#30730918)

It once published an article about a Philadelphia physician who supposedly used X-rays to turn blacks into whites...

Actually, he turned white people into charcoal, which is technically black.

Popular Mechanics was not about science at all. It was mainly engineering and technology. Science is something else entirely.

Re:Whites (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30731048)

I think Hitler had prior art on that

A few months back (3, Funny)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 4 years ago | (#30730922)

I picked up a copy of PM, for the train trip home. Over all not bad, but I kept looking forward to the ads in the back. When I finally got the the ads, I was disappointed. No ads for highly improbable devices, no ads for army surplus jeeps at $20. I miss the old days!

Now get off my lawn!

The first issue about transistors. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30730932)

I can still remember reading their first issue about transistors. This would've been in the early 1960s. I mean, it was cutting edge research at the time. Virtually nobody knew what a transistor was, and only slightly more people knew about computers. It's unbelievable how much of an impact they've had since then!

I would've been under 10 years old, but I was damn interested in physics and electronics. I begged my grandfather to pay for a subscription, and eventually he did. I'd read those magazines from cover to cover! And I didn't really understand what a transistor was, but they sounded pretty fucking cool.

It was magazines like Popular Mechanics that helped fuel the engineering, science and technology fire in many youth around the world. It's too bad we don't see it as popular today as it was in the past.

Michael Jackson (0, Flamebait)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30730964)

It once published an article about a Philadelphia physician who supposedly used X-rays to turn blacks into whites: probably not a great editorial decision.

Is Michael Jackson by chance a reader?

Re:Michael Jackson (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 4 years ago | (#30731028)

I hope he was never in Philadelfia...

Re:Michael Jackson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30742668)

apparently mods say it's too soon

comparison (5, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30730990)

... has reported both the brilliant and ridiculous ideas of its times, depending on the writer, scientist or editor.

For a minute, I thought they were talking about slashdot!

You know it (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30731004)

It once published an article about a Philadelphia physician who supposedly used X-rays to turn blacks into whites: probably not a great editorial decision.

Does it have a reverse mode? I wanna bigger you know what.
     

Re:You know it (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732532)

Using X rays on that part of your anatomy might not turn out so well.

Re:You know it (1)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733404)

Using X rays on that part of your anatomy might not turn out so well.

Maybe not so well for him, but for the rest of society... think of the children*!

* that this guy might have otherwise

Abused for straw man attacks (0, Offtopic)

Eukariote (881204) | more than 4 years ago | (#30731018)

Sad, though, that the magazine has been abused for political gain by engaging in a straw man attack [wtc7.net] , instead of addressing the science [bentham-open.org] properly.

Re:Abused for straw man attacks (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30731240)

gb2 prison planet please, fuckhead.

Re:Abused for straw man attacks (0, Troll)

absurdist (758409) | more than 4 years ago | (#30731284)

Very nice. Have an intelligent rebuttal, or do you simply choose to accept mindlessly whatever you're told?

Re:Abused for straw man attacks (2, Informative)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30731310)

If you ask me, attacking the "9-11 truth" (and there's an oxymoron if ever there was one) movement only adds to Popular Mechanics' credibility. I've spent a lot of time at the various WTC conspiracy Web site and if there's any real science (or credible evidence) presented on any of them, it's damned well hidden.

FYI, don't bother to try and argue your case with me--I won't read it or reply. It's a waste of time arguing with conspiracy theorists.

Re:Abused for straw man attacks (1)

Eukariote (881204) | more than 4 years ago | (#30731784)

I've spent a lot of time at the various WTC conspiracy Web site and if there's any real science...

There is. Plenty of it. For example linked in the very post you were responding to. Here is that link again http://www.bentham-open.org/pages/content.php?TOCPJ/2009/00000002/00000001/7TOCPJ.SGM [bentham-open.org] .

Just to save people time... (2, Informative)

PylonHead (61401) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732076)

http://journalology.blogspot.com/2008/08/short-post-about-bentham-open.html [blogspot.com]

Bentham Open is mostly known for spamming researchers, so far as I can tell. I've received one or two spam solicitations from them myself. As for the 9/11 conspiracy paper, the editor-in-chief of that journal resigned because it was published without her knowledge or approval:

http://screwloosechange.blogspot.com/2009/04/bentham-editor-resigns-over-steven.html [blogspot.com]

They've also accepted nonsense articles:

http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2009/06/10/nonsense-for-dollars/ [sspnet.org]

Doesn't seem to be a very professional organization ...

Of course.. this just shows you how deep the conspiracy goes... ;)

Re:Abused for straw man attacks (1)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733462)

Okay, I'm breaking my own rules. I guess I should have said "if there's any good science. There certainly wasn't any at the site you aimed me to. It was so bad that the editor resigned, in fact. Here's a short quote from a very interesting article [blogspot.com] :

“I was in fact in doubt about [the Open Chemical Physics Journal] before, because I had on several occasions asked about information about the journal without having heard from them. It does not appear on the list of international journals, and that is a bad sign. Now I can see that it is because it is a bad journal”, says [former editor-in-chief] Marie-Paule Pileni and continues:

“There are no references to the Open Chemical Physics Journal in other articles. I have two colleagues who contributed to publishing an article which was not cited anyplace either. If no one reads it, it is a bad journal, and there is not use for it”

Since their theories have no basis in fact, this is the sort of thing that the so-called "truthers" are forced to hang their hats on. No wonder no one takes them seriously

Re:Abused for straw man attacks (1)

Eukariote (881204) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735702)

I guess I should have said "if there's any good science".

That the article has caused controversy, made an editor resign, and had to be published in a non-mainstream journal in order not to be censored is predictable given its politically contentious implications. But that does not make it bad science.

Why do you not address its contents? What specifically about the experiments or methods is bad science? Oh, that's right, nothing: it presents clear-cut evidence of the presence of thermitic material in the WTC dust. The implications are obvious.

Dec. 23, 2012 - (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30731054)

Popular Mechanics is wiped out in a cosmic blaze.

our modern times (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#30731070)

Funny how the most egregious crimes of the topic are listed right in the summary, before we even get to any relevant information. It's as if it's an attempt to inoculate the topic against an expected "topic is racist and discredited; pay no attention to it further; here are a list of the high crimes and misdemeanors committed by topic" attack in the comments. It's a sign of our modern times. What would archaeologists from the future say about a culture that put such priority on this information, putting it up front in inscriptions?

Re:our modern times (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30731164)

Funny how the most egregious crimes of the topic are listed right in the summary, before we even get to any relevant information. It's as if it's an attempt to inoculate the topic against an expected "topic is racist and discredited; pay no attention to it further; here are a list of the high crimes and misdemeanors committed by topic" attack in the comments. It's a sign of our modern times. What would archaeologists from the future say about a culture that put such priority on this information, putting it up front in inscriptions?

Hopefully, they'll say that we were an honest society willing to discuss our flaws and not pretend they didn't exist.

Re:our modern times (1)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 4 years ago | (#30731220)

I liked it. They aired the flamebait material and suggested everyone stfu about it. They might say this was useful in the early days of the Internet, when people found the Internet allows them to complain about stuff a lot longer than they should.

Popular Mechanics' predictions inaccurate (2, Funny)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30731228)

If they weren't, we'd all be flying autogiros and speaking Esperanto by now.

Re:Popular Mechanics' predictions inaccurate (1)

fred fleenblat (463628) | more than 4 years ago | (#30731592)

mi ne povas aud vi, la rotoroj estas tro lauta!

Re:Popular Mechanics' predictions inaccurate (1)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30731700)

mi ne povas aud vi, la rotoroj estas tro lauta!

"I do not can aud you, the rotoroj is too much lauta"? Please to explain...

Never mind (1)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30731888)

I just figured it out:

"I can not hear you, the rotorcraft is too loud."

Re:Popular Mechanics' predictions inaccurate (1)

Curmudgeonlyoldbloke (850482) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732280)

Mia kusenveturilo estas plena je angiloj?

Re:Popular Mechanics' predictions inaccurate (1)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733060)

Tio ne estas akir multe spamo en i.

Re:Popular Mechanics' predictions inaccurate (1)

teko_teko (653164) | more than 4 years ago | (#30731662)

Here are some of the funny ones: http://www.woot.com/Blog/ViewEntry.aspx?Id=10506 [woot.com]

How come we never see these awesome vehicles?

Re:Popular Mechanics' predictions inaccurate (1)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30731870)

Great stuff, thanks for the URL. I especially liked the one cover with the propellor-driven ice racers that said "Written so you can understand it" right under the magazine's title. That says a whole lot about PM's target audience.

Re:Popular Mechanics' predictions inaccurate (1)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732376)

If they weren't, we'd all be flying autogiros and speaking Esperanto by now.

You can't really lay that at the feet of PM. Everyone thought we'd all be in flying cars and rocket packs and colonies on Mars by now. From the 30's to the 60's, we were incredibly optimistic about what the future would bring. And then we got there. We made it to the moon. Everyone had a car. Everyone had a TV. And we found out that life was as hard and boring as ever. Worse, we found out that there were limits to our wonder machines. Rockets make little difference in getting to Mars if you can't get there fast enough. You could make a flying car, but it would be an expensive disaster waiting to happen.

Our imaginations took us to Flash Gordon-like futures, and when we got there, it looked nothing like Flash's world. PM was no different from anyone else in missing this. We dreamed Art Deco/Streamline Moderne cities of the future. We got ugly, glass and concrete boxes in New York. What happened to us was the reality that the future, as we dreamed it, was never going to come.

Re:Popular Mechanics' predictions inaccurate (1)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735628)

In the end, besides the fuel consumption and noise problems, it was essentially FAA flight restrictions that pretty much ended the idea of large-scale use of really personal flying machines besides an airplane.

Interestingly, NASA's Highway in the Sky research project could finally make it possible for everyone to have their own personal flying machines, since we finally will have a system in place to control potentially tens of millions of personal flying machines that could fly as high as 250 meters off the ground.

Re:Popular Mechanics' predictions inaccurate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30734930)

I speak Ido, you insensitive... ugh... too tired.

108 years old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30731302)

Or in other words, (2^2)*(3^3) years ago.

Re:108 years old (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#30731640)

You know, I've always thought it would be easier to do math if we had a number system based on primes. Like, the first digit is ones, then twos, then threes, then fives, then sevens, then elevens and so on. Thus, as you point out, 108 would be 320.

The problem with this idea is that 109 would be 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. It makes addition suck.

But multiplication is easy. 109x108 would just be 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,320. It's like multiplication and addition swap places if you do math this way. Neat, huh?

Re:108 years old (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30731936)

This is actually connected in a surprising way to Godel's theorems. One of the key issues in Godel's theorems is the ability to encode symbols as numbers so that mathematical statements can be encoded themselves as numeric relations. IIRC, in Godel's original numbering, he used unique prime factorization sort of like what you have done here. Statements had a finite list of possible symbols which were each assigned a specific numeric value. Then corresponding to a statement was the number which consisted of the product of prime powers with the nth symbol in the statement giving the nth prime number raised to the k where k was the number corresponding to that symbol. Unique prime factorization then gives you that you don't have to worry about two statements having the same number.

Re:108 years old (1)

panaceaa (205396) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732642)

So if I were to write 2048d in your system, which I'll call "j", would it be 110j? How do you differentiate that from 6d?

The reason why decimal works pretty well is there's a clear differentiation between each digit's meaning.

Re:108 years old (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733062)

You could use commas, like 11,0j, and that would make the first number 3,2,0j. Or you could just have more than ten numerals, like b0j.

Re:108 years old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30734524)

You are wrong! For consistency, the number 2048d should read 100000,0j since 2d = 1,0j, and 11d = 100000j.

Re:108 years old (1)

GrahamCox (741991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733474)

Like, the first digit is ones, then twos, then threes, then fives, then sevens, then elevens and so on

Trouble is there are lots of redundant numbers. The decimal value '3' is 3, 11 and 100. This problem rapidly gets worse as you have larger values. Decimal 5 is 110, 1000, 21, 102 and 13. Also, how many symbols are you allowing? Without a constant radix who knows when to carry? It's crazy. You didn't really think it through, did you?

Re:108 years old (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735808)

Dude, prime factors. There's only one prime factorization for any number. Decimal 3 is always 100, or 101. Decimal 5 is always 1000, or 1001. 11 is 2, 110 is 6, 21 is 4, 102 is 3, 13 is 2. As for the radix, You don't add the same way. Adding might be extremely difficult, or maybe rules emerge like for multiplying in decimal. This system was designed for multiplying, though.

Re:108 years old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30734550)

How about good old logarithms? log(ab)=log(a)+log(b) And a second thought: factoring becomes easy. This makes cracking RSA very simple. The difficulty is hidden in converting large numbers from the decimal to your proposed system.

Strong Bad says... (3, Funny)

TrippTDF (513419) | more than 4 years ago | (#30731726)

"Popular Science? More like Nerdular Nerdence."

A little late? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30732538)

Jan. 11, 1902 — Popular Mechanics Is Born

I mean, I know this is new aggregation, so it's not all cutting edge news, but something that happened in 1902? You're covering it a little late, don't you think?

Love the rag but... (1)

gearloos (816828) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732572)

Love the rag but isn't this just a shameful plug?

Publications used to be much better! (1)

avatar139 (918375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733286)

I used to collect Popular Mechanics and Popular Science in the days of my misspent youth, but after a few years I noticed that the technologies and products that they covered had a habit of never actually being implemented/practical in real life (kinda reminds me of Wired and Omni in that fashion as well)... The anti-gravity technology article [http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/research/1281736.html] was the last straw and after that I gave up reading PM and PS altogether.... After canceling I began to favor magazines of a much more technical and sophisticated field and by that I mean video gaming...Although, come to think of it, after Duke Nukem Forever's cancellation was announced I've been thinking about canceling my PC Gamer too...

Hyperblurt (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733350)

Windsor didn't take long before showing off the big guns, including freelancers as different as Thomas Edison and Babe Ruth, Edward Teller and Ted Williams.

Sigh. When Windsor died in 1922, Teller was a teenage kid living in Hungary. He didn't become a well-known public figure until after WW 2.

This is why I rarely read Wired. Their writing is always breathlessly hyperbolic, confusing, and misleading. Too bad, because they do cover a lot of stuff I care about.

1910 issues online (4, Informative)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733436)

One of the books in Google Books is this collection of all the articles from the first issues of 1910.

http://bit.ly/7Xwqj5 [bit.ly]

And now you can read it on Google (1)

colin_n (50370) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733464)

They go back as far as 1915 - but not to the first issue :(

Read Popular Mechanics on Google [google.com]

107 years of fine prognostication (1)

putaro (235078) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733724)

Seriously - if it's been on the cover of a Popular Mechanics as an "Artist's Rendition" it never gets built.

2002 called... (1)

bmecoli (963615) | more than 4 years ago | (#30734992)

They want their newsworthy story back.

To create the perfect image, shape fashion. (1)

COBB1986 (1719232) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735806)

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I Doubt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30737578)

it was born.

Every issue is available in Google Books (1)

zeet (70981) | more than 4 years ago | (#30738698)

Some of the old ones make particularly great reading. The optimism is palpable. Here's June 1956 as a starting point. [google.com]

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