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11 Brilliant Lifehacks

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A lifehack is a secret way to make your life easier, or better, without great expense. Most of the following ideas and photos were gathered by Ian over at

Here are 11 rather effortless lifehacks that will improve your life without cutting holes in your pockets, though I'm sure that, in itself, is some kind of lifehack we just haven't figured out yet.

1. Take scratches out of your CDs and DVDs using a banana

1. Peel the banana
2. Rub the banana on the CD in a circular motion
3. Use the underside of the peel and rub the banana in deeper
4. Wipe away the residue with a lint-free cloth, like you’d use to clean your car windows
5. Using another cloth, remove smudges with a spritz of Windex
6. Voila, she is like new!

2. Store bedding inside pillowcase

3. Take scratches out of furniture with a walnut

4. Magnetic strips as storage behind vanity door

5. Upside down muffin pan for cookie bowls

6. Bread tags as cable and cord labels

7. Hull strawberries using straw

8. Use bowl to pump up the volume

9. Bake cupcakes into ice cream cones

10. Tension rod spray-bottle hanger

11. Stocking vacuum hack for small objects

[via WildAmmo]

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Watch How to Make a Compass
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Let's say the mega-earthquake comes and you're stranded with just some MacGyver-style bits and bobs. If you've got a magnet and a little knowledge, you can make a compass that reliably points north. Below, check out a vintage segment from Curiosity Show explaining how to do it—and a bit on the science of why compasses work.

In the clip below, presenter Deane Hutton shows three methods involving a mirror, cork, a pin, a drinking straw, and a circular magnet (in different combinations). There's something for everyone!

Incidentally, one of the key issues in making a compass is knowing which end of a magnet points north and which points south. One YouTuber asked how to determine this, if it's not already marked—as might be the case in a survival situation. Decades after the clip aired, Hutton chimed in via YouTube comments to answer:

Wait till the Sun is about to set. Stand with your right shoulder toward the setting Sun. You are now facing South. Suspend the magnet and let it swing freely. When the magnet stops swinging, the end pointing South is the South Pole of the magnet. Deane.

Science is cool. Anyway, enjoy:

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Watch How To Make a Self-Starting Siphon Using Bendy Straws
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In this vintage video segment from Curiosity Show, we learn about self-starting siphons. These things start a flow of water without the user having to squeeze a pump or suck on a tube, which is a distinct benefit.

In the segment, we also observe the limitations of self-starting siphons. Because the act of submersion starts the flow, we're limited to siphoning water out of very full vessels. But still, this could be useful for a home aquarium, which is one of a thousand scenarios in which you don't want to use a mouth-primed siphon.

The best part of the segment is when presenter Rob Morrison shows how to make your own self-starting siphon. File this under "Handy stuff you can do with bendy straws." Tune in and enjoy this simple physics demo:


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