How To…

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1) How to drastically increase the life of your shaving razor

Before or after you shave (I prefer before so that the blades are dry), place your jeans on a hard flat surface; then run the razor up the pant legs about 10-15 times quickly; then repeat running it down the pant legs 10-15 times quickly. No need to press that hard, but a little pressure is necessary. necessary. In both instances, you want to point the top of the razor in the direction you are rubbing the shaver on the pants. In other words, don’t “shave” the pants; point the razor the other way, so that the blades glide over the surface of the jeans and don’t try to cut them.

The threads on the jeans then will very effectively both fix any tiny bends in the blades that inevitably happen and will also sharpen the blades on your shaver cartidge. For an already dull blade, you can sharpen it up pretty effectively by doing 50-100 swipes both ways to get it back up to “like new” condition, but only 10-15 times swiped both ways should be necessary to maintain sharpness.

2) How to make your teeth whiter

Baking soda makes a good teeth whitener. Specifically, it works by breaking down stains in your teeth caused by such things as dark sodas, wine, smoking, coffee, etc. Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, when dissolved in water gives off free radicals which penetrate the surface of your enamel, combining with the stains in your teeth, and breaking carbon double bonds, thus helping to remove the stains. So in effect, it whitens by getting rid of the stains, rather than many commercial whiteners which more or less just try to bleach your teeth white.

In order to brush your teeth with baking soda:
* Just mix some baking soda in with a small amount of
water to create a nice thick paste and brush it on to
your teeth.

* Now let it sit for four or five minutes, then brush
again and rinse.

**Warning: Don’t brush regularly with pure baking soda as eventually it will wear down the enamel of your teeth.**

3) How to Test a Car Alternator

With the engine on:

Step 1: Open your hood and so you have clear access to the car battery. Locate your alternator and check to be sure the alternator belt isn’t loose.

Step 2: Turn your multi-meter to the 20 V setting.

Step 3: Start the engine. At this point, check to make sure the alternator pulley / belt is spinning properly without slipping.

Step 4: There are two ways to test the voltage coming from the alternator. If you have easy access to the alternator without getting your body parts / clothing / etc tangled in the spinning pulleys, then place the positive multi-meter probe (red) and touch it to the red terminal connector coming out of the alternator. Now take the negative (black) multi-meter probe and touch it to some metal part of your car frame (like a bolt head nearby or even the negative terminal on the car battery). Don’t ground to the alternator itself. That would be potentially bad. You should now be getting a reading on your multi-meter display. If you don’t have good access to your alternator, then you can simple test the alternator by touching the positive multi-meter probe to the positive terminal on your battery and likewise the negative probe to the negative terminal on your battery.

If the alternator is working well, your multi-meter should read somewhere in the vicinity of 14 volts (typically 13.8-14.2). If it is reading excessively higher than 14 volts (greater than 15 volts) it is possible that the voltage regulator on your alternator is faulty or going bad.

4) How to Survive Being Trapped in Quick Sand

* If you are wearing something heavy attached to yourself like a backpack, unstrap it immediately if you feel it pushing you down.

* Assuming you can’t reach any part of dry land to help aid you in pulling yourself out, all you need to do to get out then is to slowly lean back putting more of your upper body in the quicksand, which may seem scary, but don’t worry, you’ll float significantly better in quicksand than water, so you won’t sink as long as long as you don’t make sudden movements, which can result in significant suctioning effects, as well as simply seperating some of the water and muck around you. This can potentially create water pockets around you which can decrease your boyancy.

* As you lean back, gently try to bring your legs upwards. Be patient and do everything as if you are doing it in slow motion. You’ve got all the time in the world here unless you act like you don’t and move quickly; then your time on this earth might be ending sooner rather than later.

* Once you are on your back with your legs and mid-section floating, ever so gently use your hands to very slowly paddle your way towards the edge using very short slow strokes. Again, everything should be done as if it is in slow-motion. Don’t submerse your hands all the way here. Also, try to keep part of your arms above the muck so you aren’t paddling with your entire arm. Paddling with your whole arm at too fast a speed will tend to make the sediment and water separate a bit around your body, as described before, which will decrease your buoyancy, which is bad. As long as you work in slow motion with small strokes, you should be fine either way, but good to be extra cautious.

*Depending on how far in you got yourself into the quicksand, it may take several hours to paddle yourself out to where you can reach solid land.

5) How to Remove Stripped Screws

1. Have a Dremel or equivalent tool? Use the Dremel to cut a notch in the screw head. Now take a flat-head screw driver and try and unscrew it using the notch you created.

2. Got a sufficiently wide rubber-band handy? Place it on top of the screw head then try to unscrew the screw slowly pushing really hard. Sometimes the rubber will give you the extra grip needed to get that screw out.

3. Use JB Weld or equivalently super strong “welding” adhesive to attach a nut to the screw head. Pick a nut that is about the same size as the screw head or at the least such that the diameter of the hole in the middle of the nut is smaller than the diameter of the hole in the screw. Now place the nut centered on top of the screw. Fill the hole with JB weld, being careful to not let it run everywhere. If the nut is flush on the screw, this shouldn’t be a problem. If it can’t be flush, use some sort of quick drying temporary gasket or the like to seal around the edges so that the JB weld doesn’t get everywhere, but rather just stays in the hole. Now let it dry the recommended time. Once it has hardened up, use a socket wrench on the attached nut to remove the screw.

6) How to Tell If You’re a Supertaster

What’s a supertaster you ask? More or less, it’s just someone with a heck of a lot more taste-buds than the average person. All these extra taste-buds tend to make supertasters hyper sensitive to tastes, due to the increased intensity of any given taste they are detecting. Researchers estimate the supertasters experience flavors about three times stronger than the average taster.

Step 1: Poke a hole in the paper approximately the size of a standard paper hole punch hole (should be 7mm or .27 inches in diameter; most hole punches range between 6mm and 8mm).

Step 2: Now rub some of the food coloring onto your tongue with a cotton swab or your finger. You will notice under the magnifying glass that the food coloring will tend to show up on your tongue, but the papillae will stay pink-ish, looking like little pink bumps on your tongue.

Step 3: Place the hole on the paper over the part of your tongue that has the food coloring and press gently, so as not to move the paper while you are counting.

Step 4: Use the magnifying glass and a mirror to count how many papillae you see on your tongue through the hole in the paper. The papillae should appear like tiny pink dots surrounded by blue food coloring.

That’s it. If you counted close to 35-ish or more, you are a supertaster. If you counted between 15 or more up to around 35-ish, you are a medium taster. If you counted less than 15, you are a non-taster. Obviously there are ranges within each group, but that’s generally how the three groups are classified. But beyond labels like “supertaster”, the more papillae you counted, the strong you taste things.

7) How to Easily Sharpen Scissors

The two easiest methods involve using sand paper or aluminum foil:

* With the sandpaper: use a relatively fine 150 or 200 grit sandpaper, cut with the rough side down.

* With the aluminum foil: take a nice sized sheet of aluminum foil and fold it a few times to get it nice and thick. Now cut thin strips of the aluminum foil with the scissors. Easy!

8) How to Survive Being Buried Alive in a Coffin

* First, DON’T PANIC! Panicking will cause you to use up all your oxygen quite quickly and you likely don’t have a lot of time to start with. Typically you could survive for one or two hours before using up your oxygen, as long as you don’t panic. If your relatives were cheap, they buried you in a nice flimsy coffin. This is nearly the best case scenario. If they went high end on you, you’re likely screwed. But hey, you’re likely screwed anyways, but this will at least give you something to do while you slowly asphyxiate that at least has a slim chance at survival, so why not try it? Again, DON’T PANIC!

Given the weight of the 6 feet or so of earth above you, your coffin might have already caved in one place or another. This is a good thing. If this has happened, you are literally almost home free (unless you are really short, then you have a bit more work to do). Odds are, considering you are still alive in your coffin with limited air supply, you weren’t buried that long ago. So the earth should be quite loose.

* Now, take off your shirt most of the way by pulling it up over your head so it comes off inside out, but doesn’t come all the way off (think hockey fight); so that your shirt is basically now just inside out over your head.

* Now tie off the shirt at the top so it is sealed. At this point, you’ve basically made a “bag” out of your shirt that your head is now in. This is to help protect you from breathing in dirt.

* If your coffin hasn’t already been breached by the weight of the earth above, use your legs to kick an opening somewhere in the coffin. Generally, the best place will be around the middle of the coffin which is usually the weakest point in terms of being able to hold the weight of the earth above. If this is a cheap coffin, with the help of the weight of the earth above, breaching the coffin will be easier than you think. If it’s an expensive coffin… well… good luck. In either case, best to keep your head and torso close to the opening to make sure you don’t accidentally get stuck in the coffin where you can’t move around because of all the dirt.

* Once you have successfully breached the coffin, use your legs and hands to push the earth coming in towards the edges of the coffin. Fill the coffin as much as possible with dirt, packing it in, without losing the ability to be able to get your head and torso out of the hole, head first.

* Once you’ve packed in as much dirt as you can, simply get your head near the breach and use all your strength to stand up with your arms straight up; you may need to make the breach bigger as you do so, but this shouldn’t be too hard with a cheap coffin. As you are doing this, try to get one leg up out of the coffin so you can further push yourself up by standing on the outside parameter edge of the coffin lid.

* If you are buried around 6 feet deep and are anywhere from 5 feet tall or above, you should be able to not only have your arms break the surface at this point, but also have your head break the surface due to the fact that you pushed a foot or two of earth into your coffin. Now getting yourself completely out may take a little time without help, but considering the earth should be fairly lose, should be one of the easier things you just had to do.

Once your head has broken the surface and you can freely breathe, feel free to let yourself panic a bit if you need to and scream your head off, perhaps cackling madly; I mean, you are about 95% there at managing to escape being buried alive. I think a good healthy manic mad cackle is in order.

9) How to Make a Ridiculously Cheap Analog Pressure Sensor

Well here is an easy smeasy way to make an incredibly cheap analog pressure sensor. This pressure sensor won’t be terribly accurate in terms of measuring precise weight or things of this nature, though it can be calibrated somewhat.

Step 1: Cut the foam to the size you like. You can cut it quite small and still get a good range of resistance levels, even as small as 1/4 inch thick and half an inch square should give you a range as big as 2.6K Ohms down to 400 Ohms when squished completely.

Step 2: Poke two wires into the foam. Make sure the wires aren’t touching and there is a bit of a gap between the two so that when squished they won’t touch. To make sure the wires don’t come out while in use, poke the wire all the way through and bend them at the ends.

Step 3: (optional):At this point your new analog pressure sensor is all ready to use. However, I like to put a nice covering on it to protect it from wear and tear and a little electrical insulation might be needed depending on what you are going to use this for.

My preferred method of covering the sensor is to use Plasti Dip or equivalent liquid plastic coating. If using Plasti Dip, dip once slowly and hang the sensor to dry. Wait 20 minutes and do this again. That should give a nice thick coat on the sensor. The Plasti Dip will stiffen the sensor quite a bit, so don’t put too much on if you want it to stay extra squishy. In this case, one coat is probably enough. Play with it to get it to your liking for your particular usage.

10) How to Hack an Alarm Clock

Step 1: Locate the screw holes that hold your alarm clock together. On my old alarm clock, which incidentally I’ve now had for around 15 years, the screw holes are on the bottom. Remove the screws holding the case together.

Step 2: Locate the wires from the alarm clock board running to the speaker.
Clip the wires somewhere in the middle, leaving yourself enough room to be able to strip the wires back a bit on each side to eventually connect to.

* Note: I clipped the ground side too, so I could run a wire from that ground onto my circuit so they share a common ground; alternatively you could just solder a wire onto a ground on the alarm clock circuit board itself and leave that wire uncut.

Step 3: Connect wires running from each of the ends of the now clipped speaker wires to the circuit board.

One end of the +V speaker wire (the end coming from the circuit board) should be hooked up one end of the relay and to an ADC pin on the microcontroller. I also used a 1K resistor from here to the ground. Depending on the voltage your alarm clock is sending along the speaker wire, you may need to adjust that to get a good reading on that pin.

The other end of the +V speaker wire (the end going to the speaker) should be hooked up to the other end of the relay so that when the relay is flipped on, the two ends are connected and thus the buzzer will kick on like normal.
The ground wires should be hooked to a common ground on your breadboard.

Step 4: Use your multimeter to locate a 5-12 volt supply of power on your alarm clock circuit board that you can tap into to power your circuit.Once you’ve located this power source, solder a wire onto this and connect it to your circuit’s 5 volt regulator.

By reading the voltage on the +V speaker wire, we can now tell whether or not the alarm is going off. We can also choose to have the microcontroller flip on the buzzer or not using the relay, or make it a silent alarm, where only the microcontroller knows it’s going off.

From here, we now have a nice base to work with for any microcontroller project where we’d like to be able to use a full featured alarm clock, which can be handy in a variety of types of projects.

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  • The ending of the getting yourself out of a grave seems to be cut off.

    That said, interesting how you choose to tell us how to get out of a grave and quicksand – I really hope I don’t have to use what I just learned :v

  • Ha! Here’s a site layout I just like looking at regardless of the info!
    The unusual topics are very good icing on the cake!
    And yes….the “Grave” topic is cut off. 🙁

  • Daven Hiskey

    @Mushyrulez: Yep, just noticed that. Will fix it in a bit. 🙂

  • Once upon a time, in an America you folks would never recognize through the smoke-screens of the great American corporate propaganda machine, little ceramic sharpening blocks were sold with thicker, sturdier razor-blades , for sharpening them! Before that, “Safety” Razors and a leather strop were favorites, but could cut deep in an amateur’s hand. Even mugs of solid “Shaving Soap” were sold at rock-bottom prices, with shaving brushes, to first work up, them spread the lather on your stubble. This technology gave very cheap shaves for many years for less than pennies. Then came the barracuda capitalist and his vicious money extracting machinations, and now Americans follow very wasteful, very expensive technologies they can no longer afford, just to shave their faces. Well, I’ll be God damned!

  • A lot of useful information here… However, I don’t think that I’d be able to survive being buried alive even because if I am not mistaken, here in NY coffins are placed in cement vaults… :/

  • Shouldn’t the weight of 6 feet of dirt above the coffin ring some alarm bells?

    • it’s worse than that. One of my first jobs was filling in graves. The rule is that every bit of dirt that comes out has to go back in. Otherwise the top of the grave will sink.

      The way you get all the dirt back in even though it is now loose and there is a casket taking up a lot of space is by shoveling in about two inches, jumping down in with a hand tamper and pounding the dirt down so it’s as dense as can be.

      You do that to the top of the grave and there’s such a dense mass above the casket that there’s no way to dig your way out.

      One thing you could do though is dig sideways through about four inches of packed dirt and hope no one is buried in the plot next to you and dig your way up if you’ve got any air left. Actually forget it. Take the time to practice your harp skills.

  • An already stump razorblad cant be sharpened by just stroking it over a jeans. It can expand the razorblades lifetime, thats true. But not by sharpening it.
    The only reason this works is because you make it dry by stroking it on some kind of cloth. It stops to corrode, hence its lifetime is expanded.

    • Daven Hiskey

      @Philipp: “The only reason this works is because you make it dry”, not quite. This sharpening technique is nothing more than stropping, which does actually sharpen the blade. Now, drying off the blade and keeping moisture away also helps.

  • “In tact” lol

  • The baking soda, alternator, scissors and razor all grabbed my attention. Thank you very much… Hmm buried alive? Well I’m not in Hollywood movies but I still had a read just in case…

  • Buried alive was sure fun to read. Two scenarios that I can think of where I would end up in this situation.
    I move to Mississippi to live with relatives.
    I witness a Mafia murder.

  • Very useful information, I ma sure that knowledge of surviving being buried alive is one of the most helpful, right after quicksands tip, although idea for scissors sharpening is really good

  • The shaving expense is easily remedied….grow a beard. I also have not paid for a haircut in many years.

  • baking soda is not a tooth whitener, it is an abrasive that can scrub off stains…it can also scrub off enamel B.smith RDH

  • Never considered putting baking soda directly on my teeth. Probably works well in cleaning every part of your body. EVERY.

  • Is Noreen Sequeira a Nerdfighter?

  • Forgive me but – isn’t the last one ‘how to make a detonator’??

  • I wonder how the person who has written ‘survive being buried alive in a coffin’ knows this, did he experience it himself? It’s definitely genious, I think.

  • just reading the coffin one made me panic

  • Mythbusters proved #8 wrong.

    • Daven Hiskey

      @Annie: I’ve seen that episode and, rest assured, MythBusters proved nothing on that one. While I find their show very entertaining, their complete lack of scientific method calls into question many of their results. Quite often their faulty method even assures an incorrect result. But, of course, they have to keep things entertaining, within a budget, and time slot. So they can be forgiven for their lack of thoroughness and, in this instance, they were worried about safety, so didn’t do the experiment correctly. They are fantastic at building cool things and make an entertaining show, but they could use some help in the “scientific method” department.

  • Good to know although I hope I’m never buried alive… yikes!

  • To test a cars alternator you take the battery out while its running.
    If the alternator is working properly the car will keep running.

    • I have been told if battery is disconnected while the car is running, it would short out the computer or something electronic. Know we used to do that on older cars that you can stick a pen in the butterfly to keep your car from stalling, with a carb, not fuel injection.

  • @tony
    Personally I like to have under my arms shaved.
    I’d rather not have a bear under my arms! It makes you smellier and doesn’t look very nice with a dress 😛

  • Rawr rawr rawr bear! >:D

  • manolis aggelopoulos

    duudeee DUUUUDE thank you!!!!!i am a geology postgrad student and i was trapped in quicksand in Tabauakee Kenya and for a few seconds i went batshit till i was midwaist in.then i remembered what i read here and i gave it a try.i actually put my life on something random i read on the internet and it fucking worked!i owe you my life man!thank u!THANK YOU!!!God bless u!

  • For number 8 I would think the best way is to not get in a coffin.



  • just tried the sharpening the razor one and it didn’t do a damn thing for me…might have even made the razor worse

  • Cool stuff, man. I’m just wondering if I should follow the advice of a guy found on the Internet using StumbleUpon. Though, my common sense tells me that the quicksand thing may work. I really got impressed with the coffin!

  • @ Daven I am very curious how one would make proper use of the scientific method to see if you can escape being buried alive or not. And since when experimenting is not scientific?

  • I really do like the razor-sharpening tip. That’s great and thanks for sharing! The great coffin escape I will have to remember, just in case I happen to get myself mixed up with some evil gang of undertakers.

  • Most cemeteries require a vault… that’s a huge cement or metal container outside of the casket that is locked with an auto-locking lip or super glued together to keep out moisture. There’s no getting out of a vault. Also, cheap caskets are metal and would therefore be impossible to “break in the middle” so you would hope your relatives buried you in an expensive wooden casket or made one themselves. As a mortician, I can say with certainty that beyond the impossibility of escaping being buried alive- it is equally impossible to be buried alive. The embalming process would kill you if you were by some anomaly still living.

  • The razor “sharpening” is exactly the same as honing a knife. It’s very common knowledge if you’re a cook or chef. As you use a blade of any kind, the edges of the blade, which are naturally the thinnest parts of it, get bent and chipped. This rubbing on the jeans slowly helps bend the spots back into place, dramatically increasing the lifespan of the blade. It doesn’t sharpen it, because that requires making the edge of the blade thinner than it already is, but it will definitely work to make it function better and for much longer.

  • Wow. I almost want to be buried alive just so I can try this escape method. Almost. Not actually. What a hilariously awesome addition to my day.

  • I Denmark you can buy a sharpener for the gillette fussion extra super, or whater there called. Anyway, with this i only change blades every 3 months or so.
    I think it’s called razorpit, and only cost about 15-20 $.

  • great info graphic. Will remember if I am ever buried alive.

  • Mythbusters tested the buried alive in a coffin, and the quicksand ones >.> Quicksand, they couldn’t sink in, no matter how much they tried. The buried alive, they busted that experiment each time.

    • Daven Hiskey

      @Kai: As I’ve said before, I watched that episode of Mythbusters, and as happens in many of their shows, their methodology negated their ability to come up with a definitive conclusion, yet they stated one anyways. I find that show very entertaining, but with many of their experiments, you can’t take their conclusions that seriously. Basically, they are constrained by the fact that they’re trying to make an entertaining show, so they can’t properly run their scenarios in a scientific manner, testing every possibility. Thus, their conclusions are, frankly, often inconclusive. In this particular episode, being necessarily concerned with the safety of one of their crew members stopped them from being able to really test this out. Despite this fact, they still stated they’d “busted” the “myth”.

  • Very interesting stuff! I was actually feeling a little claustrophobic reading the buried alive one.

  • Ooh, like the idea of the bicarb of soda trick. I had my teeth stained by medicines when I was a kid and I’ve always wanted to do something about it without resorting to bleaching. Thanks for the info 🙂

  • to remove a stripped screw, a square drive drill bit usually does the trick. ive worked construction for 3 years and have used this technique many times, just find a bit that fits properly in the stripped out screw, and use a drill as usual

  • I filled in many a grave in the summer before college and have to say that you may as well spend the time praying.

    The dirt is not loosely tossed into the hole but pounded solid because every bit that came out has to go back in, even though there is a casket in the way, in order to not have the top of the grave sink over time.

  • Dyhydrogen monoxcide balloon

    @karl. “To test a cars alternator you take the battery out while its running.
    If the alternator is working properly the car will keep running.”

    Why dont you give your theory a try. I bet every car you try this on with your theory, i bet you will come to believe that all cars have bad alternators.

    The problem with your theory is that once you disconect the battery you break the electrical circuit and your car will die.

  • Mostly terrible, if not dangerous, “information”. Where are you guys buying razors that corrode? They last many months in the shower with no extra help needed. Good marketing makes you think you need them more often. #7 if you have scissors worth more than $10 you will ruin them. Less than $10 go buy another pair. Stupid advice. also, LOL at “genious” buy a dictionary

  • I like the plan to get out of being buried alive. Wouldn’t of thought it was even slightly possible.

  • The one that teaches how to escape a coffin was pretty cool. I’ll make sure to use that information in the future.

  • The coffin one seems less than realistic. You’re lying down, on your back, with only a few inches from your face to the lid of the coffin and you’re expected to kick a hole in the middle of the coffin without enough room ot even bend your knees while keeping your head near the opening you’re kicking? Good luck. Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t try it though.

    The razor blade thing may work, but not because it’s honing the blade. When you hone a blade on a strop you need to do BOTH sides of the blade. if you don’t all you wind up doing is pushing the burr over to one side, rather than straightening it. I think the fellow who said it was drying the blade and slowing corrosion has it right. it’s also cleaning the blade and the gunk from between the blades.

    • Daven Hiskey

      @7LeagueBoots: As mentioned, it’s not you kicking the hole, it’s leveraging the weight of the dirt on top, which often will make a hole without your help anyways, unless of course you’re in an expensive coffin, then there’s no chance either way. But yes, nobody’s saying you’ve got a good chance here. But if you’re in that position, you’ve got nothing better to do anyways, so might as well take the 100 to 1 shot, as just lay there. 🙂 If you can make an opening without getting crushed by the weight of the dirt, you’ve just drastically upped your odds of living. Although, in some states now, like Idaho, they require stone slabs to be put around and on top of coffins, so you’re out of luck there, even if they just throw your body in the hole. 😉

  • I like your attitude, Daven. You are smart, funny, and information. I especially like your rebuttals to the comments about Mythbusters. Since when did Mythbusters become textbook science? Referencing a television show to support a statement is something a five year old does.

  • Information = informative. Auto-correct will be the death of me.

  • Escaping from being buried alive:

    Too bad most cemeteries require a vault, made of solid concrete, and many of which seal. An expensive casket may be the least of your worries. Hope you were buried like they were way back when, with a vial of poison in your jacket pocket. Happy digging.

  • Thank you Daven for the time you put into research, really like your articles.

  • don’t you dare do that to my expensive scissors. I’ll make you run with them if you ruin them by slicing sandpaper. Really stupid ‘hint’.

  • Anyone else have a panic attack while reading about being buried alive?

  • Seriously, only one person noticed that the last one is a timer for a bomb? And it is published on a heretofore respectable website? More like

    • Daven Hiskey

      @Dave: As an avid DIY’er and electronic hobbyist, there are a ridiculous number of practical uses for hacking an alarm clock like this that have nothing to do with blowing stuff up. A steak knife can be used to kill someone, but that doesn’t mean a knife-making site showing how to make awesome kitchen knives should be said to be just showing how to make murder weapons.