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Vimeo / Pricefilms

How to Sharpen Pencils

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Vimeo / Pricefilms

David Rees, professional pencil sharpener, explains: "A lot of people think they know how to sharpen pencils, but...they don't, really. One of the points of my business is to remind people how to properly sharpen a pencil."

In this short documentary, Rees walks you through one of his processes for artisanal pencil sharpening. He has sharpened over 1,500 pencils for paying customers, and believe me, they're sharp as hell (I've outsourced a good chunk of my pencil-sharpening needs to him). And yes, I paid for them. They're now safely protected in plastic sleeves so they will never become dull.

Sample quote: "You can sharpen a pencil without a pencil sharpener. But you can't sharpen a pencil without a pencil."

There is one f-bomb in the middle of this. But if you stuck around for that, you're probably already enjoying the jokes anyway.

HOW TO SHARPEN PENCILS from Pricefilms on Vimeo.

Rees, the "number one No. 2 pencil sharpener in the world," has also written a book on this. Yes, really. It's here: How to Sharpen Pencils: A Practical & Theoretical Treatise on the Artisanal Craft of Pencil Sharpening for Writers, Artists, Contractors, Flange Turners, Anglesmiths, & Civil Servants.

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Watch How to Make a Compass
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iStock

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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