MakeShift

Check back here every Wednesday for new columns, including a challenging scenario and the best reader-submitted solutions. Don’t hesitate to challenge yourself! Spend some time thinking through possible solutions before you move on to the analysis and commentary sections.

For the first five years of Make:, we ran a column called “MakeShift,” by Lee David Zlotoff, creator of the iconic TV show MacGyver. As with the show, where science and engineering improvisation were a central theme, each MakeShift installment presented a sticky situation — like a viral outbreak on a plane, how to communicate with the outside world during a high school lockdown, or surviving a zombie attack — and then challenged our readers to submit “makeshift” solutions. We were constantly blown away by the cleverness and intelligence of the responses. People really got into it.

In looking over these columns, we decided that we wanted to bring them back to share with the current Make: readership. In the columns and summary articles, Lee and Make: staffer Bill Lidwell (who edited the challenges) talked about a MacGyver-worthy measure of intelligence that they called MQ (for “MakeShift Quotient”). MQ is one’s ability to use knowledge of science and engineering, combined with some chewing gum and bailing wire, to fashion workable solutions to problems on the fly. We hope these columns will assist in increasing your MQ.

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