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Popular Mechanics magazine predicted the future, and they were so much better than right. A 20-wheeler tank with a DIY swimming pool is better than everything. Their "popular mechanics" were readership metrics and meant that they invented the Internet a century early. They chased views with ridiculous gadgets, news-rack-bait headlines, and big pictures with small captions. So for all the Luddites whining about the Internet ruining humanity: We were always like this. We were just slower before.

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They were the popular mechanics because they invented Michael Bay a century early.

They were printing the Web one page at a time, had a whole month to come up with their next awesome cover, and did everything it was possible to do with engines first.

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The Simpsons did it second.

The only reason their covers didn't involve cats as well was because you can't attach kittens to V-12 engines for long enough to photograph them. I've seen homemade motorbike rocket launchers, and they had nothing on this.

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The Dark Knight Rises to Copy Our Stuff

The covers were portals into the minds of the mechanics of popularity, and what they reveal was awesome and terrifying.

Ramp It

At the start of the century, massive machines were hurling humanity forward, and screw anything that thought that wasn't literal. Especially gravity.

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Electric guitar solos had just been invented, but everyone thought that was the noise tank engines made
when they weren't being slowed down by the planet.

Popular Mechanics covers were an '80s cartoon that couldn't wait until then.

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"That's a roger: Project Ultimate Sweetness has succeeded. All enemy troops have defected
just to be on the side with something this cool."

ROMANCE OF THE WONDER METAL: Someone invented sexbots decades ago and then, predictably, didn't get around to selling them to anyone else. And the sexbot is that tank. That tank would make a giant robot duck, kneel, and propose marriage. Deep in their souls, the popular mechanics knew that anything with an engine was meant to fly, whether it was meant to fly or not. Whether it was meant to exist or not.

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Finally a form of showjumping we'd watch.

"Listen, this car is 12 horsepower, and I ran over at least that many getting TurboDobbin here through the stables, so just charge them to my account and I'll keep going, OK?"

Will there ever be a more awesome conveyance?

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Civilian vehicles are rated in horsepower. Popular Mechanics motors are rated in polar bears.

YES. For Popular Mechanics, the answer is always yes, no matter what the laws of God, man, or physics have to say about it.

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"We're not going anywhere, Marty, this is just awesome as hell."

Look at those engineers. They're not screaming in panic or leaping to safety; they're winning the world's most awesome bet. The back one is ghost riding the whip so hard that Indiana Jones spent his entire career wondering why it smelled of another man's gigantic balls. That train isn't going to explode, it's going to punch through the entire planet, burst out of the Pacific, and get the moon pregnant.


Popular Mechanics combined forward thinking with backward body issues. They apparently predicted global warming and sea level changes, because whenever a woman appeared on the cover, it was in a swimsuit. Men did everything else, but if someone was going to get wet, then it was going to be a woman. Which was unfortunately the closest the popular mechanics could come to feminism.

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"All aboard the Saucy Sue!"

Women wore swimsuits and disported for the viewing pleasure of others. That wasn't just the logic of the cover, that was the logic of some of the inventions on the cover.

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Proving that no location on Earth is safe from goddamn clowns.

If a woman did anything else, it was only to show how easy it was while the boy-children were busy building indoor shooting ranges. "These new cars feature a 'key' to start the engine, instead of the usual impact-triggered penis socket, so now you can drive to the shops to fetch beer during the game, ladies!"

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Phallic Mechanics

Popular Mechanics was how Rosie the Riveter sought to get around the pornography ban on printing erect penises. And what she used to build up that bicep.

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So in your face that newsagents ducked.

That's what an illustrator draws after the sex worker says he might as well put that in for free as an apology for laughing so much. That's a cowboy who doesn't need a gun because he has more range with dick-slapping. The only other ways to enhance your manhood were petrol-powered. They thought Viagra was an import car.

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"The sea is a harsh mistress, which is why she likes me to use devices on her."

That's not a sub. That's what happens when Captain Ahab realizes that hate and love are two sides of the same coin but he still wants to harpoon the white whale. Either that or the disembodied head is test-driving Krang's sexy nightwear.

They're telling readers how to build Poseidon's dildo in the same issue they tell them how to use nails. That's one mechanic trying to become the last Mechalpha, tricking every other power tool aficionado into a watery grave. Even if the readers get it working, they won't be able to resist adding a foot or two to the Ocean Prong. By the time they're finished, you won't need to drive the sub anywhere. The water dick will be a footbridge to the other side.

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"HOW FAST IS TOO FAST?" The only answers were "LET'S FIND OUT!" or being kicked out of the popular mechanics.

That man can't even feel his old dick anymore. He is past weakness of the flesh. The anti-ergonomic red toolbox is cutting through his femoral arteries that he might bleed into his new manhood. That's what a Bond villain henchman drives when he'll be damned if he'll let someone else kill him first.

Insane Sports

Sports are wars you're still allowed to have as private citizens, but the popular mechanics didn't think they used enough engines. As far as they were concerned, the last good sport was jousting, because that was as close as you could come to metal on horsepower.

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Velocijousting: A sport so tough, it automatically mounts any loser's head on a stick.

There was no sport the popular mechanics couldn't turn lethal.

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After decades of mockery, the luge was ready for payback.

It's about here that you realize the popular mechanics were insane. Most of their sports ideas came from a world where death by combat wasn't just legal, but in a hurry.

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"Triathlete sashimi coming up!"

Look at those eyes. That's the dead-eyed stare that gets you thrown out by the other themed Batman villains for creeping them out.

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They thought they were escaping. Bolted into their metal shells, they could only see the light at the end of the golden dungeon. They did not know that the vast painchinko machine awaited them. Still, it was better than any other kind of pod racing.

Sometimes they just randomly murdered things on the cover.

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When the first thing you show people is "Elephant Execution," you're either sending the mafia a message or utterly insane.

Other times the real sport was guessing how this month's victim was going to die.

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Sucked under the outboard blades? Impaled on the cleats when her skis hit the clear foot of solid panel at the top of the "ramp"? Or will she defy physics and conservation of energy to actually make the jump and be run over by a speedboat? You can see the pilot taking bets with the other murderous millionaires club members.

"Oh, hi, Bill, going for the ballistic trimurder? Yeah, we're just disposing of the last body now. He pulled 1080 double eye socket skipuncture!"

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Shark-jousting! The only thing with any protection is the video camera. The mechanics don't care if they die -- all they know is that something will be murdered and the world will be forced to watch their passion. They even brought a wet lady to film them in a perfect trifecta of the Popular Mechanics principles.

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That's the work of billionaire villains in a world without Superman. That's how you attract children as legally disclaimable targets.

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Guns Can Do Anything

If something couldn't be solved with guns, the popular mechanics thought it was the wrong kind of problem.

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This was designed as a firework that would simultaneously cause a new victory over a foreign nation for them to be celebrating.

This is where it became clear that the popular mechanics were a cabal of millionaire industrialists so jaded that they could only feel by inventing new crimes to commit and advertising them to the world.

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Bored with merely holding people captive and forcing them to perform until they did something worth shooting, this mechanic didn't just display his murders on the cover of a national magazine; he showed that he was recording photographic evidence of murders on the cover of a national magazine. He's taunting the world's police. He's taunting the entire unshot population. But a popular mechanic rival won the bet, and several smaller countries, by creating an even less sporting activity.

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So unsporting that every shot deflates a thousand footballs.

But they all lost to the world's greatest angler.

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He's not trying to save them; that's how the popular mechanics fish. And he brought the captain's family down to watch. Now, by the law of the sea, they are his. She will don the mourning swimsuit, get wet, and then they will join the pool party.

Luke has a website, tumbles, and responds to every single tweet.

Learn how Space Marines Do It Better, find out why Everyone on Pandora Is Dead, or embrace the true spirit of the popular mechanics with The Manliest Names in the World.

Embrace more madness with Brockway's Manly Magazines and the incomparable might of Seanbaby's Man Comics.

Check out how crazy our descendants will think we are in 25 Common Items that Will Baffle Future Archeologists and 13 Misconceptions About Today from Future History Classes.

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