Time certainly flies when you’re having fun.
So, the 16-plus years that have passed since our cover last featured a high-tech South African eye turned heavenwards seems like just a moment in time. In the grand 13-billion-year scheme of things, of course it has been a blink.
Although the Popular Mechanics heritage stretches back not quite as far as SKA – the subject of our cover story – will be able to see, it goes back a long, long way.
It’s great to be able to draw on more than a century of heritage, as our colleagues i... show Moren the USA have done for this month’s big feature, PM’s Greatest Hits. Thumbing through the archives is like time travel, without the surprised look on people’s faces when you catapult into downtown Thebes wearing Vans, Police shades, a goatee and a backwards-facing baseball cap (it is faintly possible that the momentarily flustered Thebans might just take you for Ramesses the Great in civvies, out filming an early episode of Undercover Boss.)
At any rate, one of the great delights of my time at Popular Mechanics has involved poring over moth-eaten back issues, often at great risk of activating my hay fever. That’s as true whether the object was to source items for Time Machine – consistently one of our more popular features – or simply to marvel at how our grandparents must have lived before phones, never mind smartphones. And they managed, some of them remarkably well, as Time Machine and this month’s Greatest Hits section demonstrate. Still, to be honest, some of their ideas and predictions weren’t that great. Then, again, neither are some of ours: I leave it to my grandchildren to explore those ideas, no doubt with looks of disbelief. If of course they even find something to refer to. Nothing lasts forever, as Mr “Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair” Ramesses would point out.
Speaking of which, on a personal note, this issue marks my final appearance as Editor of Popular Mechanics. It’s time to move on to other challenges and to experience other vistas.
The memories are vast, varied and cherished. What a ride I’ve had, what interesting folk I have met and what friends I have made through a common interest in the innovative, the fascinating and the just plain weird stuff that makes Popular Mechanics tick. I loved every minute, even that time I looked like I’d seen a ghost.
No, I don’t believe in ghosts. This is Popular Mechanics, where we believe in gravity and acute motion sickness. It’s what happens when you hang upside down in a makeshift bucket seat wedged between the pilot’s legs in an aerobatic plane. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. show less