June 2014

Date:26 May 2014 Tags:, , , , , , , , ,

It’s our future. Let’s explore it together

At the risk of displaying an unseemly level of excitement, we have to say that we’re thrilled to announce the launch of our “Altered Realities” initiative, an umbrella term for a series of informative, thought-provoking and perhaps even disruptive events that will culminate in our FutureTech conference in Cape Town on 10 October.

As before, we will be introducing a gloriously diverse mix of speakers and experiences, all of them intent on leading us to surprising facts, new ideas and unpredictable destinations. An integral element of the FutureTech build-up, PM’s annual Inventor of the Year competition returns in 2014 with substantial cash prizes in two categories, Cutting Edge (open to all members of the public) and Emerging Genius (for previously disadvantaged and under-resourced inventors).

Our conference, precursor events and Inventor competition form part of the official programme for World Design Capital Cape Town 2014 – hence the emphasis on the Mother City. Further announcements will be made in the magazine and via our digital channels (including Facebook and Twitter) during the coming weeks and months. Look out for the promotional page in this issue.

In the meantime, we are seeking two people to fill slots in our FutureTech programme. If you have something interesting to tell our audience, and it fits the theme of “Altered Realities”, our selection panel would like to see a synopsis of your 25-minute presentation before 31 July. All submissions should be addressed to popularmechanics@ramsaymedia.co.za with ‘FutureTech presenter’ in the subject line. Be aware that you’ll be addressing an audience of clever, well-connected men and women from all over South Africa, some of whom have attended every one of our conferences, and all of whom are curious about how their world works.

Okay, on to our latest issue.

Leading the charge in our June line-up is a thoroughly researched and mildly discomfiting article about the technologies – ranging from horrendously expensive satellites to small and affordable devices such as camp stoves and even apps – that could save us in the event of potentially catastrophic events: think tsunamis, wildfires, earthquakes and other, largely unpredictable natural disasters. Tsunami Survival Capsule, anyone?

With the tragedy of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 still fresh in our minds, we revisit the dramatic events of 19 July 1989, when United Flight 232 experienced a critical control systems failure and crash-landed at the Sioux City airport about 45 minutes later, igniting a giant fireball that engulfed the plane.

Investigators discovered later that an engine had exploded, severing hydraulic lines and effectively crippling the plane. The terror of the passengers can only be imagined, but the heroic efforts of the flight crew are well documented in our account of a routine flight that turned out to be something very different. “The final flight of 232 heavy” begins on page 42.

Are you an inventor?

Popular Mechanics is looking for genuinely fresh ideas in its annual Inventor of the Year competition for 2014 – and there are substantial cash prizes up for grabs. For entry forms and the “rules of engagement”, please visit www.popularmechanics.co.za/futuretech

– Alan Duggan (aland@ramsaymedia.co.za)