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The Most Useful Podcast Ever


A podcast for getting things done. Popular Mechanics Editors Roy Berendsohn and Jacqueline Detwiler answer listener questions and track down answers.

A podcast for getting things done. Popular Mechanics Editors Roy Berendsohn and Jacqueline Detwiler answer listener questions and track down answers.
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A podcast for getting things done. Popular Mechanics Editors Roy Berendsohn and Jacqueline Detwiler answer listener questions and track down answers.




Would You Go to Mars?

The Martian author Andy Weir is really into Mars. So much so that National Geographic tapped him to be an expert on their series Mars, about what human colonization of the red planet might be like. In advance of the season two premiere, Andy stops by the office to talk about the biggest challenges to living on Mars, methods we might use to get there, and whether he'd go himself. (Spoiler alert: Heck no) Also on this episode, technology editor Alex George explains the hierarchy of Apple...



Endurance races have gotten substantially more popular over the last several years, which means a lot of people with not a lot of experience are tackling serious miles on foot or by bike. One of those people is your humble host Jacqueline Detwiler, who is running her first marathon in New York City on November 4th. To get ready, she and the rest of the team talked to running experts at New York Road Runners (who also gave some tips on watching a marathon), and went on a trip to Staten Island...


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...


This is Real Life

The editors of Popular Mechanics have been crazy busy dealing with real life tasks lately, but what they learned doing their weekend work is great fodder for a podcast that's supposed to make your life easier. First, Roy spruces up a rental apartment in-between tenants. Kevin tries (unsuccessfully) to remove a bunch of stuck bolts from his Jeep. And automotive editor Ezra Dyer waits out hurricane Florence down in North Carolina and then takes a Silverado to harder hit areas to try to help...


The Roy and Alex Spectacular!

Do you know how many eyes Popular Mechanics home editor Roy Berendsohn has? Two. And that's thanks to his diligent wearing of safety goggles. On this episode, we'll learn what items Roy deems essential to wear when doing work, plus how to make sure your house isn't leaking heat or air conditioning. Meanwhile, technology editor Alex George has some ideas about products you can bring back to school, and we test out a recipe from PM's How to Make Anything issue: Shaking butter in a ball jar.


Friday Movie Night

In honor of tonight's premiere of the new action flick Kin, starring Myles Truitt, Jack Reynor, James Franco and Zoë Kravitz, we talk to the directors about crazy stunts and shots, as well as how they came up with their high-tech mystery weapon. Also on this episode, Alex George talks gaming computers, Roy Berendsohn helps Peter find the source of a water stain on his ceiling, and we try out some weird glasses that blink when you move your head.


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 Not in keeping with the theme, we also test out a soda called kvass, which is sort of like Russian...


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...


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?


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,...


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,...



The Most Useful Podcast Ever is tired of being practical. So this week we threw caution to the wind to learn about some bonkers extreme sports. First, Jacqui jumps out of a plane with Red Bull Air Force member Jeff Provenzano. Then, Popular Mechanics tech editor (and former surf instructor) Alex George talks getting started in surfing, Matt Allyn tests gear on a 50k trail race, and Eleanor comes up with some fascinating slack (line) facts.


Upgrade Your Sleep

The latest Blumhouse action movie, Upgrade, is a trip—creepy, adrenaline-pumping, and scarily prescient. On this week's episode, writer and director Leigh Whannell stops by our studio with the film's star Logan Michael Green to tell us how they pulled it all together. After that, we figured y'all might have some trouble getting to sleep, so we talked to a sleep geneticist, a physical therapist, and Peter Martin's dad to help you out. Stay tuned at the end for extra sleep assistance.


Summer Beers and Back Pain

Did you know that Popular Mechanics editor Matt Allyn is a certified beer judge? Well, he is, and lately, he's been trying truckloads of beer for an article he's working on called 500 Beers of Summer. If he told us about all of them, it would take the next four episodes, so we kept him to five, all of which are exceptionally tasty. Also on this episode, Roy Berendsohn works too much and throws out his lower back, we learn 26 things you can do with a heat gun, and Kevin Dupzyk gets started in...


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...


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.


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. April Fools!


Choosing Cheese and Making Maple Syrup

Did you know that frequent Most Useful Podcast Ever guest Eric Gunnar Rochow of makes amazing maple syrup? Well, he does. We tasted it last fall, when he came by the office to teach us how to tap a maple tree. Now that its spring, it's perfect time to follow his instructions and try it yourself (although, unfortunately, you won't be able to taste his maple syrup through your headphones). As for what you should you eat with your syrup—how about some cheese? Also on this episode,...


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.


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.