Rank #1: 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.
Oct 03 2016
Rank #2: 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.
Apr 13 2018
Rank #3: 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.
Jan 06 2017
Rank #4: 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.
Jan 05 2018
Rank #5: How to Get Rich on Bitcoin (maybe?)
Do you know what the heck people are talking about when they say they got rich on Bitcoin? We didn't either. Thankfully, technology editor Alex George has been doing a deep dive on cryptocurrencies, from Bitcoin to Ethereum. Also on this episode: The dark side of LED lights, and a guide to the new Apple Homepod.
Feb 16 2018
Rank #6: 2018 Tech Preview (Plus the Wood Whisperer!)
Who knew there were so many hinge-impaired people in the Popular Mechanics office? Jacqui and Kevin have both hung cabinet doors poorly over the years, which is why today, Marc Spagnuolo of The WoodWhisperer.com calls in to tell us everything we did wrong, and how to fix it. Also on this episode: Tech editor Alex George tells us all the cool stuff he saw at CES, we test weird new slippers, and Jacqui makes homemade amaro.
Jan 22 2018
Rank #7: 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?
Jul 20 2018
Rank #8: The Least Useful Podcast Ever, part 2
Do you want to be the most informed person on your block? We sure do. That's why we put together today's episode, full of incredibly useful tips for living the smartest life possible.
Apr 02 2018
Rank #9: 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.
Feb 04 2019
Rank #10: 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).
Aug 04 2017
Rank #11: How to Invent Everything
Ryan North's new book, How to Invent Everything, addresses that question that's probably been sitting in the back of your brain since you were a kid: If you got stuck in a previous time period, could you survive on your wits alone? Ryan says yes, so long as you bring a little advice. Also on this episode, field editor James Lynch talks about riding a Boosted Board between New York City and Philadelphia; Roy talks about chopping and seasoning firewood; tech editor Alex George uses a video game to test drive a Maclaren you can't even buy; and the testing table tries out gravity blankets.
Oct 12 2018
Rank #12: 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.
Jul 07 2017
Rank #13: 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.
Sep 29 2017
Rank #14: Homemade Donuts with Wylie Dufresne
Founder of molecular gastronomy Wylie Dufresne is making donuts these days, so we asked him to come by the studio and make us some. They turned out super tasty—topped with crazy flavored sugars combined with chemistry ingredients. Also on this episode, Roy talks road salt, our Vermont correspondent calls in to explain boot care, and we test last minute Superbowl snacks.
Feb 05 2018
Rank #15: Biohacking so you don't have to
On this episode of the Most Useful Podcast Ever, Jacqueline Detwiler tries biohacking to (hopefully!) become smarter, healthier, happier, more creative and more productive. Experimenting with specialized diets, float tanks, and microbiome testing, we try to find out what works and what doesn’t. Dr. Molly Maloof calls in to explain the science behind biohacking as a legitimate way to improve our bodies, and tech editor Alex George explains how to train your mind to go back to school. Lastly, we try CBD oil, a chemical in marijuana, to see if we can actually feel it working.
Jul 11 2018
Rank #16: Make Your Own Luck!
There's a lot of superstition about Friday the 13th, but here at the Most Useful Podcast Ever, we believe that it's preparedness that creates luck. First up, we carve pumpkins with Hugh Mcmahon, who creates faces, animals and even ads in gourds. Mcmahon brings his tools and teaches us the secrets to carving (and preserving) a beautiful pumpkin. Later, Roy Berendsohn tells home renovation ghost stories, we fix back-breaking cracks in the sidewalk, and we try out a super difficult hand-drawn videogame that is taking the country by storm.
Oct 13 2017
Rank #17: Smart Camping and Backyard Renovation
Summer is heating up and the Most Useful Podcast Ever has advice for you for all of it. First, we talk to the authors of Popular Mechanics' investigation into camping in 2018, with advice on site booking, packing food, truck camping and something called packrafting. We talk to Peter Martin about how they made this summer's blockbusters, including a crazy series of stunts Tom Cruise pulled off, and Roy Berendsohn leads a conversation about what we learned working on our boss's backyard, including how to work a mini-rototiller and the best way to burn brush.
Jun 22 2018
Rank #18: Well, that was random
Sometimes at the Popular Mechanics office, we have a lot of interesting things to talk about, but none of them have anything to do with each other. We figure that's fine—the smartest people always know enough to be conversant about a lot of different topics. For example: By the end of this episode, you'll know how to take care of a brand new baby, exercise in a rubber band suit, keep plants alive, route a cable around a door, and make brown butter bourbon. Just probably not all at the same time.
Aug 08 2018
Rank #19: *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.
Aug 18 2017
Rank #20: Snakes, Bears and the Infinite Scroll
Our guest on the podcast this week is a very smart, very adventurous dude named Brendan Leonard, a climber, ultrarunner and general outdoorsman who recently wrote a book called The Great Outdoors: A Users Guide. He gives us tips on how to survive everything that can go wrong while you're out on an adventure, from darkness to cold to rattlesnakes. We also test golf shoelaces, and the Curious Idiot gets into a fight with a scrolling webpage.
May 01 2017