Head for the hills! Smith Journal volume 24 is out in Australia and online today, and it’s full of dangerous ideas. We meet a group of DIYers building nuclear reactors in their basements. As hobbies go, theirs is as impressive as it is terrifying. Best bring a hazmat suit. Better yet, you could seek refuge in the concrete box on the front cover. It’s one of the many decaying bunkers that dot the French Alps. They were built to defend the country from fascism, but as our photo series demonstrates, they’re impressive pieces of architecture, too.
We camp out with some scavengers in the wilds of Montana, pay a visit to Sweden’s Museum of Failure, learn about some of the stranger things the military has done in the name of war, and look back at the DeLorean, the car of the future that crashed and burned on the way to success. There’s also an unusual amount of animal bravery, from Soviet space dogs to black market bees, flaming camels and murderous pigs.
Thankfully, not all of our stories are as hair-raising. We take a cooking lesson from Ansel Adams, meet the men and women behind our favourite suburban takeaway joints, chat with bestselling author George Saunders about the benefits of swimming in monkey excrement, and meet some smart folk trying to print themselves a space ship.
Want more? We blow the dust off some very old video game consoles, talk with comedian Paul F. Tompkins about the pleasures of dressing up, learn about the first (and probably last) African American pirate, listen to pop music with Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo, and bone up on the secret science of cities.