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Most Useful Podcast Ever

A podcast for getting things done. Popular Mechanics Editor Jacqueline Detwiler hosts a rotating cast of characters who answer tough questions and provide tips for being smart about life.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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The best episodes ranked using user listens.

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Beer!

The Most Useful Podcast Ever meets its first beer cicerone, James Watt, who is also the cofounder of Brewdog. He tastes a few random beers we got together and the results are very impressive. On this episode, Popular Mechanics technology editor Alex George and TV fan and executive editor Peter Martin also help host Jacqui Detwiler buy a TV on the air, and senior home editor Roy Berendsohn brews coffee using a machine from a company that usually makes power tools.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

38mins

3 Oct 2016

Rank #1

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Spring Cleaning

It's been a LONG winter, which means your place, car, and stuff could probably use a deep clean and some fresh air. On this episode, we talk to the Good Housekeeping Institute about dry cleaning, and visit the Corona Maintenance Facility in Queens to find out how the NYC Metropolitan Transit Authority cleans subway cars.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

42mins

13 Apr 2018

Rank #2

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All-Testing Tables!

Portable table saws, a wash-free gym shirt, a USB-based coffee cup, we'll test anything! Whether you're buying new stuff for yourself or gifts for your friends, you'll leave this episode with a ton of smart new ideas—and no buyers remorse. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

45mins

18 Jan 2019

Rank #3

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New Year, New You

Are you ready to turn some of our awesome life tips into full-time habits? Then check out this episode, which includes tricks for changing your life from Stanford researcher BJ Fogg, who studies the ways technology influences health habits and started the website tinyhabits.com. After that, we dig in deep with some Shop Notes for the New Year. And beer lover Matt Allyn tests a fitness tracker called THE BEAST.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

28mins

6 Jan 2017

Rank #4

Most Popular Podcasts

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Wanna be a Secret Agent?

Excited to go see Red Sparrow tonight? Find out how Jason Matthews, the movie's author, used his own experience as a CIA agent to make the story realistic. Also on this episode, we visit a brand new Spy museum in midtown Manhattan, and attempt an escape method that appears in former CIA officer Jason Hanson's new book, Survive Like a Spy.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

43mins

1 Mar 2018

Rank #5

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The Spice Man

Burlap & Barrel founder Ethan Frisch is a cool dude. He travels around the world finding smallholder spice farmers and connecting them with customers so that they're not exploited by huge, impersonal supply chains. He's also a former chef who knows a heck of a lot about how to use the incredible products he brings back to the States. Also on this episode, we learn to stir cocktails properly, technology editor Alex George explains how to block annoying exes and shady robo-calls, and Roy talks stubby screwdrivers.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

43mins

27 Apr 2018

Rank #6

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Ticks!

Ok, ok, we scared you guys with the threat of Lyme disease, and while we do have a neurologist on this episode to tell us how to catch the disease early, it's not the only topic we cover this week. Solutions to summer scourges abound on this episode: We tell you how to combat sunburn, mildew, and even international roaming charges.If you want to know even more about Lyme disease, visit Project Lyme or Dr. Elena Frid's website. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

33mins

7 Jul 2017

Rank #7

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The Olympics

Not all summer Olympic sports are as well known as swimming and gymnastics. How much do you know about steeplechase, the triple jump and racewalking? Not much? That's ok. This week's episode delves into the rules and history of unusual Olympic events, as well as who to watch for if they turn up on your TV. We also talk to a leather expert from Wickett & Craig tannery about keeping leather nice in wet weather, and we send our fact checker out on a run in a pair of Cole Haan dress shoes.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

31mins

5 Aug 2016

Rank #8

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Big Ideas

This episode, we decided to delve into some of the more serious, thoughtful, and future-thinking topics Popular Mechanics covers. In keeping with the theme, we interview iceman Wim Hof about how he changes his own autonomic nervous system so he can hang out in freezing temperatures for hours. (If you want to learn even more than what Wim explains in the segment, check out www.wimhofmethod.com.) Not in keeping with the theme, we also test out a soda called kvass, which is sort of like Russian kombucha.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

48mins

17 Aug 2018

Rank #9

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The Booze Library and the Ultimate DIY Mindmeld

With snow and cold descending across the Midwest and Northeast, we talk to the owner of StilL 630 spirits in St. Louis, about an experimental booze library that sounds like an excellent place to while away the winter. We also test winter jackets and bring in two popular mechanics greats—senior home editor Roy Berendsohn and contributing editor Joseph Truini—to explain how the heck popcorn ceilings happened.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

44mins

4 Feb 2019

Rank #10

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Road Trip!

On today's show, MUPE tackles the most all-American of vacations: The summer road trip. We call up Kevin's mom, who is somewhere in Idaho in the midst of a weeks-long trip around the northern US. We ask Alex George about the best gadgets to take in the car. Sunny Kim tells us about her favorite road trips around the US. And then everyone convenes to eat way... way... way too much junk food in pursuit of an answer to an important question: Best snacks for the road? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

50mins

20 Jul 2018

Rank #11

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The Great Car Noise Challenge

Chris of Chrisfix.com and Popular Mechanics car editor Ezra Dyer join the cast of the Most Useful Podcast Ever to diagnose car sounds we found on the internet. We also talk about what to do if you find a lost baby bird, how to protect your home from falling trees, and the best way to move (Hint: Not on September first).  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

39mins

4 Aug 2017

Rank #12

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Eggs, 3D printing and keyboard hacks

On this episode of the Most Useful Podcast Ever,  Austin Robey, founder of Brooklyn 3D-printing studio MakeMode, stops by to tell us who stands to benefit most from the 3D printing revolution. Then, associate editor Matt Goulet tries out four methods of peeling hardboiled eggs, senior home editor Roy Berendsohn tells us about the old song that made everyone confuse concrete and cement, and some of the staff members break their keyboards and try to find a better way to wake up.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

24mins

21 Mar 2016

Rank #13

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Office Survivor

With Apple’s battle over phone security in the news, the Most Useful Podcast Ever finds out how to keep your iPhone safe from criminals. Then, in honor of Popular Mechanics’ annual Survival issue, Shane Hobel of Mountain Scout Survival School stops by to teach us that there’s more than one way to start a fire, and we play a game of intra-office Survivor, in which executive editor Sean Manning does not fare well.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

24mins

19 Feb 2016

Rank #14

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Ask Roy!

Popular Mechanics Senior Home Editor Roy Berendsohn is a font of mechanical knowledge. In this episode, we asked him to give us his top tips for winter, and ended up learning about physics, fans and tumblesnow. On the testing table, we try out an $8,000 camera. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

31mins

23 Jan 2017

Rank #15

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Coffee and Taxes

Taxes are boring, but comedian and certified public accountant Greg Kyteisn’t. On today’s Most Useful Podcast Ever, he gives us tax tips thatwon’t make you fall asleep on your desk. After that, Alex George tells ushow to pimp your WiFi, Roy Berendsohn explains the particleboard family, and the Testing Table goes camping. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

32mins

15 Apr 2016

Rank #16

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A Technology Showdown!

We puzzled over what to call this week's guest segment—the Dork Debate seemed too mean, so we went with Future of Technology Free-for-all. In fairness though, Popular Mechanics technology editor Alex George and CNET senior editor Dan Ackerman are neither dorks nor particularly pugnacious. They got along surprisingly well, often agreeing on the best ways to buy laptops, select phone plans, and play in virtual reality. Also on this episode, Peter Martin gets a too-late lesson from Roy in applying mortar to his bluestone patio (whoops), automotive editor Ezra Dyer tries out a jet ski that can go 70 mph, and we unearth a RIDICULOUSLY cool fact about parrotfish poop.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

41mins

10 Nov 2017

Rank #17

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Cooking with your Shop Vac

The managing culinary director of Serious Eats, J. Kenji  López-Alt, has some crazy ideas about tools you can use for cooking. Like, he uses actual tools that you might find in the garage. Also on this episode, tech editor Alex George does not get eaten by a shark, Peter Martin learns to sew on a button, and Roy Berendsohn rates instruction manuals. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

38mins

29 Sep 2017

Rank #18

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*Bzzz* *SLAP!*

Mosquitos suck, particularly in August, when people are still eating outside and the camping is just starting to get good. On this episode, we talk to Joe Conlon, technical advisor to the American Mosquito Control Association, about DEET, citronella, and how to avoid getting bit. Thus provisioned, we spend most of the episode out in Central Park, testing pedal-assist E-bikes on a huge hill, and getting Frisbee lessons from an editor who went to college in Vermont.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

37mins

18 Aug 2017

Rank #19

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Fighting the Freeze

Ever wondered about the scientific reasons behind drafty rooms and overactive boilers? Wonder no more! On this episode, Henry Gifford, author of Buildings Don't Lie, explains how humidity affects a cold room, why your thermostat has a tough time accounting for wind, and how restaurant cooling systems account for hot bowls of soup. Also on this episode: Cleaning up the holiday decorations, anti-virus software for phones, and smart tips for surviving a nuclear apocalypse.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

37mins

5 Jan 2018

Rank #20