Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - Thins My Father Taught me -

The In­ter­net has killed a lot of things. Road at­lases. The yel­low pages. Blind dates. But maybe the most lam­en­ta­ble ca­su­alty is the tell-off. These days, if you want to give some­one a piece of your mind, you text it or tweet it or Yelp it or post some pas­sive-ag­gres­sive com­ment. It is face­less, anony­mous… and to­tally un­ful­fill­ing. The whole point of the tell-off is see­ing the stunned, speech­less re­ac­tion it pro­vokes. You are a rea­son­able per­son, sure, but you have your lim­its, and you are un­will­ing to ac­cept it when those lim­its have been crossed.

It’s all in the de­liv­ery. You needn’t raise your voice or change your tone. The more mea­sured and di­rect, the more pow­er­ful. In per­son, as in writ­ing, a pe­riod is far more men­ac­ing than an ex­cla­ma­tion point. “Get out of my face.” Not “Get out of my face!” In fact, there are times when you don’t need to say any­thing at all. Just a cold, hard glare that lingers for sev­eral ex­cru­ci­at­ing sec­onds will do.

BOB LUTZ “Avoid debt. The only thing you should buy with the help of debt is a house, and you should never ex­ceed three times your in­come to buy it.”

Lug nuts on the right side of the car Typ­i­cal on older cars, the re­verse thread­ing is in­tended to coun­ter­act the ini­tial in­er­tia of the lug nut against the ro­ta­tion of the wheels. (The wheel moves and, for a split sec­ond, the lug nut re­mains static, loos­en­ing by an im­per­cep­ti­ble frac­tion of a turn.) It’s since been proven com­pletely un­nec­es­sary.

Lawn mower blade If the blade spins to the right, it can slowly un­wind it­self each time the blade jerks to a start.

Toi­let han­dle Ev­ery time you flush, the han­dle ro­tates against the threads to tighten in­stead of loosen the assem­bly.

Left bike ped­als Us­ing the pedal tight­ens in­stead of loos­en­ing it.

Propane tank This is more of a safety fea­ture, so that flammable gases can be used only with the ap­pro­pri­ate reg­u­la­tors.

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