Learn How to Pick Locks With This Transparent Tutorial

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In the movies, picking a lock looks like a matter of sticking a bobby pin through a keyhole and twisting it around a little. In reality, it’s a complicated process that involves assessing the interior structure of the lock and trying out various different tactics until you get it right.

In the video below, YouTuber the HelpfulLockPicker uses a clear acrylic lock to demonstrate basic lock structure and how to manipulate the interior of a lock until it springs open. (Please note that Mental Floss does not endorse breaking into property that doesn’t belong to you.)

Within the clear lock, you can see six metal driver pins, each held down by a coiled spring. The springs push the pins down into the metal tube, physically obstructing the lock from turning. Below those pins are key pins, which are different lengths. When you stick your key into the lock, the combination of the teeth of the key and those key pins push up on the driver pins, pushing them out of the metal plug and allowing you to turn the key and open the lock.

The video then shows how you can rotate that metal tube surrounding the keyhole using a tension wrench, making it easier to open the lock using just a hook. He tests out how springy each driver pin is, clicking open the one with the most tension and springing the lock open.

HelpfulLockPicker also shows a few techniques that seem a little less intensive. He demonstrates “zipping,” a maneuver that works kind of like ripping off a Band-Aid. You turn the lock with the tension wrench, stick the hook all the way in, and pull it out quickly while pushing up, knocking out all the driver pins in the process. Then there’s “rocking,” which involves an “L Rake” pick that kind of looks like a key in itself. If you rock the pick back and forth while the wrench keeps the lock turned, eventually it should pop open. Or you could use a Bogota rake, another tool, and just pull it back and forth through the plug until it releases.

Lockpicking may not be quite as easy as he makes it look, especially on locks more complicated than this, but the video definitely makes it seem like an accessible skill to acquire in an afternoon, as long as you can get your hands on some tools.

Watch the full video for more lockpicking tips.

Online Daters Tend to Be Interested in Partners 25 Percent More Desirable Than They Are

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Online dating may not bring out the best in people (as anyone who’s been ghosted can attest) but it does bring out our optimistic side. A new study suggests that people tend to reach out to fellow online daters who are approximately 25 percent more attractive than they are, according to The Washington Post.

The study, published in the journal Science Advances, looked at online dating messaging behavior from heterosexual men and women in four different U.S. cities. Researchers analyzed how many messages people sent and received in January 2014, how long those messages were, and how many messages went unanswered.

They examined daters in New York City, Chicago, Seattle, and Boston, including age, ethnicity, and education of the users in their analysis, but kept the profiles anonymous and did not read the messages themselves. (The researchers don’t name the particular site they got their data from, merely describing it as a “popular, free online dating service.” From the details, it sounds a lot like OkCupid or a very similar site: one that allows users to answer open-ended essay questions and list attributes like their religion and body type on their profiles.)

To quantify how desirable a person was, the researchers looked at the hard numbers—how many messages someone received, and how the senders themselves ranked on the desirability scale.

Both men and women tend to aim high, messaging someone more desirable than themselves by about 25 percent, on average. For the most part, users didn’t contact people who ranked lower than themselves on the desirability scale. When they did contact people who were hotter, daters tended to write much longer messages than they did when they contacted someone on their own level, so to speak—sometimes up to twice as long. Women tended to use more "positive" words (like "good" and "happy") when they were writing to hotter dudes, while men actually used fewer positive words when talking to hotter ladies. Men in Seattle sent the longest messages, perhaps because of the city’s makeup—in some populations, there are twice as many men there as women, so heterosexual men face a lot of competition. Although wordy messages in Seattle did have a slightly higher response rate, in other cities, the extra time spent typing out missives didn’t pay off. Given that those messages weren’t any likelier to get a response than a short note, the researchers write that the “effort put into writing longer or more positive messages may be wasted.”

The data also showed how desirability in online dating can be influenced by attributes like age, education level, and ethnicity. For instance, at least as far as averages go, older men tended to be viewed as more desirable than younger men until they hit 50. Women’s scores peaked when they were 18 years old (the youngest age when you can join the site) and decreased until age 60.

Even if you aren’t in the pool of the most attractive users, sometimes, aiming high can pay off. “Even though the response rate is low, our analysis shows that 21 percent of people who engage in this aspirational behavior do get replies from a mate who is out of their league, so perseverance pays off,” co-author Elizabeth Bruch explained in a press release.

[h/t The Washington Post]

How to Rig Your Android Phone to Play Old Floppy Disk Games

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Owning a smartphone means you have thousands of games at your fingertips, but capturing the nostalgia of playing a game saved on a floppy disk isn't as simple as downloading an app. Reviving floppy disk games for the smartphone era is a bit more complicated, and YouTube vintage video game reviewer LGR shows you just how to do it step by step.

In this video, spotted by Kotaku, LGR takes an old floppy disk, the same kind you used in your computer class at school, and uses it to play a classic video game on a smartphone. This is made possible with an Android phone, a USB connector, an Android USB adaptor, and a portable floppy disk drive that's about as big as the phone itself. (The hardware doesn't work for iPhones, but if you're an Apple user there are plenty of ways to play old PC games online).

Just inserting the disk into the drive when it's connected to your phone isn't enough to start playing: You need to download a special app that mimics Microsoft's old disk operating system, like Magic Dosbox, for example. Once you have that on your phone, you can use it to open whatever game is saved to your floppy disk.

Because old PC games weren't made for touchscreens, the smartphone gameplay can be a little be a little awkward—but if you're willing to hook a floppy disk drive up to your phone, convenience likely isn't your goal. You can watch LGR's full instructions in the video below.

[h/t Kotaku]

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