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How to Pick a Lock

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Whether you’re a suave spy or simply a guy who keeps forgetting his keys, lock picking is a handy skill to have. With some practice, you can become proficient enough to never have to make another sheepish call to a locksmith.

1) Move at a Fast Clip

Professional locksmiths have an array of specialized tools for cracking locks. These tools are exceedingly helpful, but only if you had the foresight to order and carry them before you locked yourself out of your apartment. If you’re forced to improvise, round up a few sturdy paper clips and straighten them out.

2) Know Your Enemy

Before you can defeat a lock, you need to know how it works. When you slip a key into a lock, its ridges push up on a series of small pins running into a cylinder. With the right key, all of the pins are pushed free of the cylinder, allowing it to turn and open the lock. Your job is getting these pins to do your bidding.

3) Get the Bends

Locksmiths spend years honing the soft touch it takes to crack a lock. Chances are, you don’t have that kind of time, so it’s best to take a cruder approach called “raking.” Instead of meticulously caressing each of the lock’s internal pins into place, raking uses speed, force, and a little luck to drive them home. To achieve this goal, you’re going to need to bend one end of one of your straightened paperclips into a squiggle. This will be your “rake.” The other, straightened clip will be your “tension wrench.”

4) Aim for the Pins

First, slip your tension wrench into the bottom of the keyhole and use gentle pressure in the direction you want to turn the lock. Then, take your rake and quickly slide it back and forth to jostle the pins into place.

5) Apply a Little Tension

After raking back and forth through the lock, quickly jerk the rake out of the keyhole while attempting to turn the tension wrench. If everything has gone just right, the lock should click open.

6) Keep Trying

Raking is an imprecise art, so your lock probably won’t open on your first try. Be patient and keep at it, and eventually you’ll get back into your house. At which point, you’ll probably discover that your keys were in your pocket all along.
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There’s definitely an art to it. But if unlatching doors and picking open treasure chests isn’t your style, why not put that knowledge to more interesting use and crack open a Dos Equis?

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How to Shave With a Straight Razor
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Our Be More Interesting series will teach you new skills to wow your friends. Today, Max Silvestri learns to shave with a straight razor. 

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How to Cross a River Without a Bridge
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Need to cross a roaring river? It’s always best to find a bridge, but if you absolutely must make it to the other side on your own, a few easy steps can keep you high and relatively dry.

1. Scout Around

Invest a little time in finding the best place to make your crossing. Avoid bends in the river, where water whips around the fastest. Once you find a suitable spot, walk downstream a few hundred feet to make sure there aren’t any hazards. It’s always good to know about the pesky 30-foot waterfall around the bend.

2. Don’t Be Narrow-Minded

They look tempting, but narrow crossings can be the most dangerous—they’re often the deepest part of the river. Look for the widest section instead. Keep an eye out for mild ripples—which are safe to cross—and avoid whitecaps, which can be treacherously slippery.

3. Ditch Your Duds

If the water will reach your knees, strip down to your skivvies - your pride isn’t worth getting hypothermia from wet clothes. Even if the river is shallow, remove your socks and put on a second pair of shoes if you have them. If you’re backpacking, unbuckle your front straps so you can quickly slip out of your pack if you fall.

4. Shuffle Up

Face upstream, lean into the current, and move across the river with shuffling sidesteps. You’re less likely to fall while sidestepping since you don’t lift your feet as high. If you’re with a group, link arms. The technique creates more contact points with the streambed and gives everyone a more solid footing.

5. Become a Bump on a Log

If the rapids are too fast, shuffling across may be a bad idea. Look for a log that spans the whole river instead. But don’t walk on it! Wet wood can be dangerously slippery. Instead, straddle the log and scoot along until you reach the other side.

6. Float Away

In situations where the river is deep but the current isn’t very swift, a football or soccer ball can be a handy improvised flotation device. Tether it to your wrist and grab on when you get tired of swimming. Or hug it with one arm as you sidestroke for extra buoyancy.
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Once you make it to the opposite shore, dry off and toast your successful crossing with a round of Dos Equis.

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