EDITORS NOTE

Small Solutions

We always work several months in advance to get a particular issue of Popular Mechanics to the printers, on to the shop shelves and into your hands. As I write this, I’m well into my stride for the run-up to the end of 2021. The last few weeks before a year wraps up always seem frantic. Everyone suddenly wakes up to the fact that a lot needs to get done before their summer holidays kick in (and, of course, this wake-up call is always perfectly synchronised). Because, let’s be honest, not much productivity happens from around the middle of Decembe...
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Small Solutions

We always work several months in advance to get a particular issue of Popular Mechanics to the printers, on to the shop shelves and into your hands. As I write this, I’m well into my stride for the run-up to the end of 2021. The last few weeks before a year wraps up always seem frantic. Everyone suddenly wakes up to the fact that a lot needs to get done before their summer holidays kick in (and, of course, this wake-up call is always perfectly synchronised). Because, let’s be honest, not much productivity happens from around the middle of December until the second week of January.

So I’ve been attending launches and events (some virtual, others in real life), prepping for 2022’s magazine issues, liaising with clients and ad sales people, and travelling for various work assignments. One such trip had me behind the wheel of a Suzuki Jimny, exploring the sun-baked mountainous region of the Northern Cape, down to the shipwreck-strewn Atlantic coastline around Kleinsee (yep, you’ll probably have to look up that remote location on Google Maps).

That experience, along with a few others, including editing the various articles in this issue on aerial drones, got me thinking about how clever solutions to problems so often come in small packages. The Jimny, for instance, is about 1000 kg lighter than many other off-road vehicles, and its engine is relatively small, and yet it’s still able to overcome almost every terrain obstacle you place in its path. And not only overcome – excel! Meanwhile, drones – many of which are not much bigger than your hand – now perform a function that before was exclusively carried out by hulking helicopters guzzling thousands of litres of fuel. These days movies and ads are shot with drones, wildlife surveillance, mapping and surveys are done with drones, and even the delivery of urgent goods is facilitated by drones. I just hope helicopter pilots can deal with the constant rejection.

By the time you’re reading this, it’ll be a new year. The last two have been uniquely challenging, in countless ways, but over the past few months I’ve sensed a subtle yet positive shift in people’s expectations and perspectives. Whether that’s true or not, let’s try to be optimistic about 2022 and what the months ahead have in store for us, and work together to rebuild sectors in our country that have lost ground. If you have an uplifting story you’d like to share, no matter how small (because, you know, smaller is often better), please write to us (popularmechanics@ramsaymedia.co.za) – we’d love to hear it.show less