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Cover Story
How to Outsmart Scammers
They’re stealing passwords, impersonating the CRA, charging thousands to credit cards and ruining our lives. It’s time to beat them at their own game.

Drama in Real Life
Surviving a Triple Organ Surgery
Every second mattered as a team of surgeons raced to replace six vital organs in two patients.

Environment
The Wolf Who Trusted Too Much
Takaya roamed B.C.’s coastline with little fear that a human would harm him.

Health
A World of Worry
Compounding crises have made everyone anxious, but how do you know if you’ve slipped into a more serious disorder—and what do you do about it?

Medical Mystery
Something in Her Eye
Blank spots in Nida Shahzeb’s vision indicated rapid deterioration—but what was causing it?

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Holding in farts

A man went to his girlfriend’s house to have dinner and meet her mother for the first time. Unfortunately, the food didn’t agree with him, and he felt gas welling in his stomach. Not wanting to offend a potential mother-in-law, he held the fart in—and died the next day due to complications of the retained gas. At least that’s how the viral story goes. But like many strange tales on the Internet, this one is likely false, says to fact-checking site Snopes.

People generally don’t die just from holding in a fart, even if it’s a big one, says gastroenterologist Niket Sonpal, MD,  an internist and faculty member at Touro College of Medicine in New York City. That’s not to say you won’t experience some ill effects from trying to keep your gaseous emissions in. And you don’t want to make it a habit, he says.

Why farts happen

Flatus, the official name for farts, happens when gases in the intestine are released through the rectum, a process that can range from characteristically loud to infamously “silent but deadly.” Farting is generally painless and often provides a sense of relief.

There are several ways gas ends up in your intestine. The most common type, called endogenous gas, is a byproduct of the digestion process. Food travels to the large intestine, where bacteria ferments it, producing gas.

Gas is sometimes produced when stomach acid interacts with food in the small intestine. Some foods produce more gas during the digestion process than others. Beans are known culprits, but other foods that can cause gas are high-fibre foods like broccoli and prunes, sulfurous foods like onions, sugar-free foods containing sugar alcohols, and inflammatory foods like dairy and gluten, says Trista Best, a registered dietitian at the Whitfield County Health Department in Dalton, Georgia.

Certain behaviours can contribute to gas, like eating too quickly, says Best, who is also a consultant with Balance One Supplements. You can also trap gas in your intestines through swallowing air—usually by breathing through your mouth, drinking soda, smoking, or chewing gum, says Dr. Sonpal. (Find out more surprising things your farts can reveal about your health.)

Regardless of the source, when there is too much gas in the colon, it puts pressure on the colon wall and triggers the flatus reflex.

Normal farts contain a mixture of nitrogen, hydrogen, methane, and carbon dioxide gases. Depending on the food you ate and the type of bacteria in your gut, they may contain other gases, including sulfur, which gives them that “rotten egg” smell that can really clear a room.

Everyone farts

While some people brag about never farting, the truth is that everyone does it—and there’s a wide range of what’s considered normal and healthy. The average person produces about 705 millilitres, or 24 ounces, of gas in 24 hours. But the amount can range from 476 millilitres (16 ounces) to 1,490 millilitres (50 ounces), according to a study published in Gut.

To determine these numbers, scientists recruited 10 healthy adults and had them eat half of a can of beans in addition to their regular diet. Over the next day, they measured their gas using a rectal catheter (which was likely as pleasant as it sounds—the things people do for science).

They found that men and women both farted about eight times a day, although passing gas up to 20 times a day is normal. Large farts were most common in the hour after meals, and the subjects released half as much gas while sleeping as they did while awake.

Some illnesses can make you pass gas more than normal. Health conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, lactose intolerance, food poisoning, celiac disease, and gastroesophageal disease all have increased gas as a common symptom, says Dr. Sonpal. If you feel like you are farting more than usual and have other symptoms, like pain, diarrhea, constipation, or a fever, you might want to speak with your doctor. (Here are 50+ symptoms you should never ignore.)

What happens when you hold in a fart?

So what do you do if you are in a situation like, oh, meeting a future in-law or giving a presentation in an important meeting and you don’t want to let a fart fly? Thankfully, the rectum is a sphincter, and you can override the urge to pass gas and hold it in indefinitely.

How long you can hold it varies from person to person and day to day. “It’s tough to say how long you can hold in a fart since that depends on several factors, including what foods you are eating, hormonal activity, and medical conditions,” says Dr. Sonpal.

Holding in farts - woman covering her bum

Problems with holding it in

Holding it in keeps the gases trapped in your intestines, where they will continue to build up and put pressure on the colon wall until you find a way to release them.

“Holding your gas usually won’t lead to adverse health effects or damage,” says Dr. Sonpal. “However, it is better to release your farts than hold them in.”

Here are some of the downsides:

Pain

Perhaps the most common side effect of holding a fart in is that the increased pressure in your gut can become painful. It can range from a dull ache to sharp, stabbing pains. (Here are the red flags your upper abdominal pain is an emergency.)

Bloating

Bloating occurs when gases are trapped inside your intestines, distending your belly. Not only can it make you look several months pregnant (regardless of gender), but it also can make you feel uncomfortable in your clothing and self-conscious.

Mouth farts

Sometimes it seems as if a fart just disappears on its own. This is because your body can reabsorb the gases, at least temporarily. But they will find a way out, if not through flatulence then through belching or being exhaled in your breath, according to a study published in Digestive Diseases and Sciences. Yes, you read that right: your farts can come out through your mouth.

Diverticulitis

A repeated habit of holding in gas could possibly lead to diverticulitis, a debilitating condition where pouches in the digestive tract, usually in the colon, become infected. The result: pain, vomiting, constipation, or abdominal tenderness, says Dr. Sonpal.

How to fart less

The best thing to do when you need to pass gas is to simply pass the gas. It may be noisy and/or smelly, but it is one of those bodily functions that should be normalized. You can’t eliminate flatus, but if you want to reduce the number of farts you produce, there are some things you can try.

Do an elimination diet

The first step to reducing your gas is to figure out what is causing it, says Best. Doing an elimination diet—totally eliminating common gas-causing foods from your diet for several weeks—can help you pinpoint which foods are the problem. Start by eliminating garlic, artichokes, apples, mangoes, prunes, cauliflower, and most gluten-containing products, she says.

Avoid trigger foods

Once you’ve identified the foods that cause you gas, make a plan to eat them less often or avoid them entirely.

Pop a supplement

Sometimes people become extra gassy because they lack the right bacteria or enzymes to digest their food completely, says Best. Taking a probiotic and/or digestive enzymes supplement may provide some relief. (Check out the proven health benefits of probiotics.)

Skip the gum and cigarettes

Anything that requires you to open your mouth repeatedly, like chewing gum and smoking, can cause you to swallow air, leading to increased gas. (Of course, there are even more important reasons you need to quit smoking, pronto.)

Nix carbonated beverages

Some people find that drinking bubbly beverages causes their tummy to bubble. If that’s you, stick to drinks without carbonation. It’ll help reduce the gas in your stomach.

Eat smaller meals

Large, heavy meals can lead to an increased amount of gas being made at one time. Eating smaller meals throughout the day spreads out the digestive process and the gases produced.

Eat slowly

Inhaling your meal causes you to swallow air. The fix: eat slowly and mindfully, says Best.

Go for a walk after a meal

Exercise is known to help speed digestion and keep things moving through your intestines, says Best. Taking an after-dinner walk may help reduce gas and bloating, and it also gives you an opportunity to release it unobtrusively outdoors. (Here’s what happens when you start walking 10,000 steps a day.)

Do this yoga pose

There is a specific yoga posture called Pawanmuktasana or “wind releasing pose” that is designed to help you expel gas. Doing this before going somewhere public may help get the farts out of your system in private. Lie on your back, lift your legs, bend your knees and bring them towards your chest. Applying gentle pressure in this position may help release some gas.

Next, find out what your burps can reveal about your health.

The Potential Health Benefits of Pumpernickel Bread

1. Pumpernickel bread has a low glycemic load (GL)

Traditional pumpernickel bread is made with coarsely ground rye flour (and perhaps some wheat flour) and is fermented with sourdough starter. The acetic acid from the starter and the soluble fibre in rye keep the glycemic load (GL) of the bread low—much lower than that of white or even whole wheat bread. (Glycemic load is the measurement of how much carbohydrate you are consuming.)

2. Pumpernickel bread aids digestion

One Canadian study found that pumpernickel bread had four to eight times as much resistant starch as breads made with wheat or barley. Resistant starch benefits blood sugar because it doesn’t digest easily. Like dietary fibre, it travels right past the stomach and small intestine and settles in the colon, where it’s broken down by bacteria and eventually expelled. (Try these delicious slow-cooker bread recipes.)

3. Pumpernickel bread contains healthy plant compounds

As with rye bread, pumpernickel loads you up with lignans, the naturally occurring plant compounds that may help reduce the risk of prostate and breast cancers.

Tips for Eating Pumpernickel Bread

Not all store-bought pumpernickel bread has the same benefits as traditional German pumpernickel, though. Many get their dark colour from molasses, not from whole rye kernels, and a special baking process that takes many hours. These types usually contain more wheat flour than rye, and some are made using yeast instead of sourdough starter. (Here are 35 easy bread recipes anyone can bake.)

Buy authentic

Your best bet is to shop at a bakery that sells artisan breads. Such bakeries tend to use more traditional pumpernickel recipes. If the bread feels heavy for its size, it’s probably the real thing. Commercial brands, if you can find them, include Mestemacher (imported from Germany) and Rubschlager, which makes cocktail rye breads.

Cook’s tips

If you buy traditional pumpernickel bread from the bakery or make it yourself, it’s preservative free, so you’ll need to store it in a plastic bag and eat it within a few days.(Check out how to tie a bread bag to keep your loaf fresh longer.)

Serving suggestions:

  • For appetizers, top small squares of pumpernickel bread with cream cheese, sliced onion, and tomato.
  • Serve strong-flavoured sandwich fillings, such as aged cheese, on pumpernickel.
  • Mustard goes well with pumpernickel, so spread this condiment on your next ham and Swiss sandwich on pumpernickel.
  • Serve a slice of pumpernickel as a hearty, satisfying accompaniment to soup or chili instead of crackers.

Next, learn the difference between whole grain bread vs. whole wheat.

For special occasions, there’s no better dessert than a delicious and perfectly decorated cake. While many of us enjoy visiting our favourite bakery for an elegant treat, it is absolutely possible to get stunning results right at home. All you need to learn how to decorate a cake are a few basic tools (we bet you already have most of them in your kitchen) and a bit of patience.

Now, bake up your go-to layer cake, and let’s get frosting.

Sauerkraut Chocolate Cake

Cake Decorating Ideas

Easy Swirls

Think you need to break out your piping bag for an impressive cake? Think again! With just the back of a spoon, you can give your cake a gorgeous swirl texture.

To do this, just layer on your frosting on the outsides and top of your cake. Then, with the back of a spoon, make small swirl shapes until the whole cake is covered with a fun texture.

Purplecake Horiz

Piping

Want to get really creative? Grab a piping bag and some frosting tips. Each piping tip gives you a different effect so you can create all sorts of decorative techniques.

Use different tips to create flowers, leaves, stars, basketweave patterns and other designs. You can decorate an entire cake this way or used piped motifs as an accent. (Read up on the health benefits of stress-baking.)

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Drip Cakes

There’s something about perfectly imperfect finishes that we just crave. Maybe that’s why we love drip cakes so much! This decorating technique is surprisingly simple.

To start, frost your cake and give it a smooth finish using a bench scraper (it’s a cake decorator’s secret weapon). Then make a ganache with chocolate or baking chips. The confetti cake above uses baking chips, heavy cream and a touch of food colouring.

When the ganache has cooled slightly, spoon it over the top of your cake. Using the back of your spoon, push the ganache to the edges of the cake and watch it slowly drip down the sides to form tempting chocolaty drips.

Malted Chocolate And Stout Layer Cake

Naked Cakes

If you want to take the trendy route when decorating a cake, try making a naked cake. Naked cakes still use frosting, but it’s applied thinly to let the layers of the cake peek through. These cakes give you a little preview of what’s inside.

To make a naked cake, layer your cake as you normally would with layers of frosting in between. When it comes to the outer coating of frosting, apply thinly and then use a bench scraper to pull away any extra icing. Essentially, you’re just crumb coating the sides of the cake. It’s really that simple!

While this type of cake decorating is pretty minimal, don’t forget to give your cake a little extra finish up top so it looks complete. Fruit, crushed candy or sprinkles can give it the finishing touch. (Don’t miss these 20+ cheesecake recipes perfect for spring!)

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Writing and Piped Designs

Part of the appeal of bakery-bought cakes is the perfect penmanship that those cake decorators have. But it’s really not too hard to replicate at home. All you’ll need is a piping bag, a fine piping tip, a toothpick and some patience.

To start, write or print out the message or motif you’d like to be featured on the top of your cake. If you’re very new to piping, do a test run on a sheet of parchment or waxed paper to get used to how the frosting flows out of the piping bag.

After a little practice, trace the design onto a sheet of parchment or waxed paper and lay it on top of your cake. With a toothpick or sharp skewer, prick the design until you have a dot-to-dot of your message. Carefully remove the paper and connect the dots with your piped frosting. That’s all it takes to write on a cake! And once you have a few cakes under your belt, you can do this freehand.

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Sprinkles and More

For celebratory cakes, you can’t go wrong with sprinkles and other colourful toppings. You can top your favourite bake with just a dash of sprinkles and edible decorations or combine them with other decorating techniques. Beyond sprinkles, don’t forget about the tempting qualities of toasted nuts, shredded coconut, chopped candy and cookie crumbles. Use any or all of them to add a little extra dazzle to your cakes.

How To

Cake Decorating Tools

To create gorgeous cakes, there are a few decorating tools you’ll want to have in your kitchen. Don’t be daunted by this list—most items cost $15 or less so you can create pretty cakes even on a budget. According to our Test Kitchen, these tools are must-haves:

  • Offset spatulas: These spatulas are kitchen MVPs, especially when it comes to cake decorating. Large offset spatulas are perfect for adding even amounts of frosting in between each layer of cake. The smaller offset spatulas can help you get smooth finishes and elegant swirls on the exterior of your cake.
  • Bench scraper: To give the outside of your cake a smooth finish, you’ll want a bench scraper. This gadget helps smooth away any imperfections. If you prefer a bit of texture, try these cake combs.
  • Piping bags and tips: For fancy finishes, you’ll want to invest in piping bags and a few different pastry tips. Use these for writing on cakes, making flowers and other decorative elements.
  • Cake turntable: While you can decorate your cake right on a serving plate, the job goes a bit quicker with a turntable. This spinning tray allows you to rotate the cake as you frost so your icing is even and perfectly swirled.

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Tips for How to Decorate a Cake

Choose the Right Frosting

Not all frostings are suitable for filling and topping cakes, but the good news is there are still a lot of delicious options. Buttercreams of all kinds work well for decorating. You can also use cream cheese frosting and ermine frosting. Essentially, you want a thicker frosting that can hold up under the weight of the layers of cake and will also stick to the sides. (This genius trick will make store-bought frosting taste homemade.)

In general, when it comes to decorating you want to avoid whipped cream frosting and very thin frostings.

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How to Fill a Pastry Bag

Yes, a zip-top bag will do in a pinch, but if you’re serious about decorating cakes, you’ll want real-deal piping bags—either the disposable kind or reusable pastry bags.

To use a pastry bag, start by snipping off the tip. Then insert the tip of your choice inside and make sure it’s pressed snugly in the bottom. Put the bag in a tall glass and fold the end over the lip of the glass. Scoop up your homemade frosting with a spatula and press it into the bottom of the piping bag.

Once filled, squeeze the frosting down into the bag and twist the top (you only want frosting coming out of the tip, not the back end). After your bag is prepped, you can experiment with pressure and piping techniques on a scrap of waxed paper or a plate before moving to your cake.

How to Level Cakes

When making layer cakes, it’s important that each layer is level and flat so they are easy to stack. To create even cake layers you can try two different techniques (or a combination of both):

  • Cake strips: You can take measurements before your cake goes in the oven for even layers. All you need are cake strips. Soak these strips in water and wrap them around your cake pans before they go in the oven. The damp strips will help the cake bake more evenly, leading to level cakes.
  • Serrated knife: After your cake is baked and cooled, use a serrated knife to slice off the domed top of your cake. Work slowly and get down to eye level with the cake. This will help you make an even cut.

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Chill the Cake Layers

Cold cakes are easier to frost. If you have the time, pop your cake layers into the freezer to firm up—30 minutes should do the trick. Once chilled, stack and frost as normal. The cake will be sturdier and the chill will help contain some of the crumbs. (Here’s how to get a cake out of a bundt pan.)

And whatever you do, never, ever frost a warm cake—the icing will melt right off.

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How to Crumb Coat a Cake

Strange as it sounds, the crumb coat is to prevent a mess, not make one. A crumb coat is a thin layer of frosting applied to the exterior of a cake to help contain crumbs that the cake may shed. This foundational layer means any decoration you apply on top will be neater and cleaner.

To crumb coat a cake, use an offset spatula and apply the icing, and spread it as thinly as possible. Make sure you get the sides and the top. Then pop the coated cake into the freezer for 15 to 30 minutes to firm up before adding more decoration.

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How to Slice a Cake

After all the hard work of baking and frosting, you want every slice of your cake to be picture perfect.

To slice a cake cleanly, grab a sharp knife and dip it into hot water. Then wipe the knife dry and cut into the cake in one fluid motion. The heat from the knife will soften up the frosting and the sharp edge of the knife (nope—no serrated knife or cake cutter needed!) will give you the best looking slice. Wipe the knife clean and repeat for each slice.

Next, put your skills to the test with these 20 easy cake recipes.

Can you freeze milk?

Can you freeze milk?

If you’re not drinking milk every day, the idea of finishing off a two litre carton can be daunting. After all, you don’t have much time to waste: milk lasts only four to seven days past its use-by date once opened.

Luckily, we know a simple trick to avoid having to pour your milk (and money!) down the drain. Follow along to learn how to freeze milk.

Yes, milk can last for several months in the freezer, but for the best quality, we advise consuming it within the first month. After that point, milk will begin to separate and turn grainy. (Here’s how long you can freeze every type of food.)

Because freezing changes the texture of milk, most people prefer to cook with thawed milk instead of drink it.

Tips for freezing milk

Freezing milk is simple, but you need to avoid a few pitfalls.

  • Always leave 1 to 1-1/2 inches of headspace in the container before freezing. Like other liquids, milk expands when it’s frozen. Having too much in the container can cause it to crack.
  • Store milk in an airtight container. Milk is highly susceptible to picking up odours from other foods in the freezer. This can change the milk’s flavour once thawed.
  • Skim milk is more freezer-friendly than full-fat milk. Milk with a higher fat content separates more readily when thawed.

The best way to freeze milk

Our favourite way to freeze milk was brought to us by reader Ruth M. of Tunnel Hill, Georgia:

“To save it, I pour it into clean ice cube trays and freeze them. When they’re frozen, I put the cubes in heavy-duty resealable plastic bags or containers. When a recipe calls for milk, I take out just the number of cubes needed.”

Using Ruth’s tip can help you save freezer space, plus it lets you thaw exactly the amount of milk you need.

For reference, two cubes in the average ice cube tray will equal about 1/4 cup milk. If you’re looking to use larger portions of milk at a time, try this 1-cup ice cube tray set that’s great for freezing soup and stock, too. (Check out more clever ice cube tray hacks.)

How to thaw frozen milk

Simply leave frozen milk in the fridge to thaw overnight. If the milk has separated a bit, give it a vigorous shake before using.

Now that you know you can freeze milk, find out how to prevent freezer burn.

How to Save Your Laptop After a Spill

What to do after you’ve spilled coffee on a laptop

Switch the laptop off

Shut down the laptop. Pressing and holding the power button for five seconds is quickest. Remove the power cord, unplug any peripherals and remove the battery. The biggest danger at this time is the device shorting out.

Remove excess liquid from the laptop

Blot up excess liquid with a soft lint-free cloth or paper towels. Do not use a wiping motion as that just spreads the liquid further.

Turn the laptop over

With the laptop facing away from you, tilt it from side to side and from front to back in a gentle rocking motion to help the liquid to escape from all four sides.

Use compressed air to dry the laptop

Make sure that you have removed all excess liquid. Then, if you have one, use a can of compressed air to help dry the laptop. Alternatively, use a hair dryer on its coolest setting: keep the dry moving all the time and hold it at least 20 cm above the laptop.

Leave laptop to completely dry out.

Leave the laptop opened in an inverted “V” shape in a warm area, to completely dry out. Do not leave it in direct sunlight or on a radiator. Wait for 24 hours or longer, making sure the keyboard is completely dry, before reinstalling the battery and peripherals.

If you must replace your laptop keyboard

Most laptop keyboards can be replaced by a technician, or you can purchase a new USB or wireless keyboard to use with the laptop.

Now that you know what to do when you’ve spilled coffee on a laptop, find out the 13 mistakes that shorten your laptop’s life.

Ready for an oddly satisfying way to clean your laundry? Laundry stripping is a method of washing clothes, sheets and towels that allows you to actually see all the dirt and grime that’s hanging out on your supposedly clean linens. It’s kind of gross; but also totally gratifying when you’re done, knowing your laundry is probably the cleanest it has ever been.

Here’s everything you need to know about laundry stripping—and how to DIY.

Laundry stripping is essentially a soaking method meant to deep-clean your laundry. The soak is done in a Borax solution that removes built-up residue from detergent, hard water, body oils and fabric softener. What makes it so satisfying (but also might leave you slightly horrified) is that often the soaking water turns brown or gray from all the gunk that is “stripped” away from your linens! (Here’s how to tell if you’re using too much laundry detergent.)

How to strip your laundry

You’ll need:

  • Borax
  • Washing soda (sodium carbonate)
  • Laundry detergent
  • Bathtub (or large bucket)

Step 1: Make the soaking bath

First, you’ll need a vessel large enough to soak the linens you want to strip. We recommend using the bathtub, but you could also use a large bucket or bin. Fill the bathtub with hot water. Add one part Borax, one part washing soda and two parts laundry detergent. For a bathtub, we recommend ¼ cup Borax, ¼ cup washing soda and 1/2 cup detergent.

Gently stir the water to dissolve the powders.

Step 2: Soak the linens

Add clean laundry to the water, completely submerging it. Let everything soak about four to five hours, or until the water is cool. Stir the water and swish the laundry around occasionally; the movement helps to remove the dirt and grime from the fabric.

Step 3: Rinse

Remove the laundry from the bathtub and drain the water. (Don’t forget to admire the gross murky brown colour!) Now run the laundry through the washing machine, using a rinse cycle without detergent. Dry the laundry as you normally would; then enjoy your crisp, super clean linens!

When you should (and should not!) use laundry stripping

Laundry stripping is great for sheets and towels because those items are used frequently and can easily collect a buildup of body oils and detergents. If your towels feel less absorbent than usual, and your sheets look a little dingy, it might be time to try your hand at laundry stripping.

Be careful with colourful linens, because laundry stripping can cause dyes to run. You’ll also want to avoid delicate linens like lace or embroidered pieces. Also, clothing isn’t a great candidate for stripping.

Remember, laundry stripping requires hot water; so keep that in mind and check care label tags before you get started.

Next, here are the ways you’ve been doing laundry wrong—and what to do instead!

Some car makers recommend replacing the brake fluid in your car every two years or 40,000 kilometres. Others don’t mention it at all. But it’s easy to do a little DIY car maintenance and test your brake fluid. Just dip a test strip into the fluid and compare the colour to the chart on the packaging.

You can’t do a complete brake fluid flush yourself, but you can do the next best thing—a fluid swap. This procedure won’t replace all the old fluid with fresh, but you’ll introduce enough new fluid to make a difference.

What You’ll Need to Change Brake Fluid:

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list:

  • Baster
  • Brake fluid test kit
  • Brake fluid

How to Change Brake Fluid Yourself, Step by Step:

Use a baster to suck out the dark brown brake fluid (brake and power steering fluids are incompatible, so use a different baster for each). Squirt it into a recycling bottle. Refill the reservoir with fresh brake fluid as shown. Then drive the vehicle for a week to mix the new fluid with the old. Repeat the procedure several times over the next few weeks until the fluid in the reservoir retains its light honey colour.

Note: The brake fluid may damage the baster’s rubber bulb, so don’t suck the fluid all the way into the bulb.

Now that you know how to change brake fluid yourself, find out the 20 automotive tools no home mechanic should be without.

Missing Plane Mysteries - Amelia Earhart
Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

The fate of Amelia Earhart

The disappearance of Amelia Earhart continues to be one of the most talked-about missing plane mysteries in history. On July 2, 1937, the world-famous American aviator and her partner, Fred Noonan, disappeared in her Lockheed Model 10-E Electra. The pair took off from Lae, Papa New Guinea, with the goal of flying around the world—unfortunately, they lost contact somewhere over the Pacific Ocean and were declared missing the same day. Ships and aircrafts from the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard later scoured more than 640,000 square kilometres of ocean, but Earhart and Noonan were nowhere to be found. Official reports conclude they ran out of fuel, crashed into the Pacific and drowned.

The vanishing squadron

What began as a routine training flight turned into one of the most infamous missing plane mysteries ever. On December 5, 1945, five TBM Avenger Torpedo bombers—collectively known as Flight 19—departed the Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale carrying 14 airmen. During the mission, the pilots began speaking incoherently, compasses started to malfunction and an eerie buzz of static replaced radio communications. To add to the mystery, the Flight 19 bombers were flying over the Bermuda Triangle at the time of their last signal. After learning that Flight 19 was completely lost, two Martin PBM Mariner flying boats were dispatched—20 minutes into the search, one of the Mariners vanished as well. To this day, the exact cause of Flight 19’s disappearance is unknown.

India’s missing military plane

On July 22, 2016, an Indian Air Force Antonov AN-32 military transport aircraft carrying 29 passengers, including 11 Indian Air Force personnel, disappeared while flying over the Bay of Bengal. The resulting rescue mission became the largest search operation for a missing plane in India’s history. Unfortunately, the plane was not equipped with an underwater locator beacon. The search was eventually cancelled on September 15, 2016, with all passengers declared dead.

Missing Plane Mysteries - Air France Flight 447
The majority of passengers on Air France Flight 447 were French, Brazilian and German.

Technical failure and human error

On June 1, 2009, Air France Flight 447, travelling from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 228 people on board. France’s Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety found that heavy turbulence, malfunctioning speed censors and a number of incorrect decisions made by the crew led to the crash. The Brazilian Air Force launched a search-and-rescue plan to find all passengers on board, and the next day, some wreckage was found. By 2011, more than 100 bodies were recovered and sent to Paris for identification.

The mystery of the Bermuda Triangle

Every myth about the Bermuda Triangle’s so-called paranormal powers can be traced back to the Star Tiger. On January 30, 1948, the aircraft, a BSSA Avro Tudor IV travelling from the Azores to Bermuda, vanished while flying over the Atlantic Ocean. Twenty-five passengers and six crew members were on board. The last communication between the Star Tiger and Bermuda’s airport tower was recorded at 3 a.m.—later calls to the Star Tiger went unanswered. The U.S. Air Force commissioned 26 aircrafts for a five-day rescue mission, but the search was in vain.

A pilot’s enigmatic final word

On August 2, 1947, a BSSA Avro Lancastrian airliner—Star Dust—carrying 11 passengers and crew was on its way to Santiago, Chile, from Buenos Aires. A routine Morse code message went out at 5:41 p.m., signalling the aircraft’s expected arrival in Santiago. Later, however, the airport received a message that matched no known Morse code abbreviations: S-T-E-N-D-E-C. It was the last communication received from the Star Dust, which never reached its destination. A massive search for the wreckage and possible survivors proved fruitless. Fifty-three years later, climbers on Mount Tupungato in Argentina discovered the remains of a Rolls Royce engine, fuselage and strips of bleached clothing. This sparked an expedition to search the mountain, where debris and human remains were finally found. The mysterious meaning behind S-T-E-N-D-E-C has never been solved.

Missing Plane Mysteries - Andes Mountains in Argentina
During their ordeal, temperatures on the Andes sometimes dropped to −30 C.

The Miracle of the Andes

Later dramatized in the 1993 film Alive, the tale of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 is one of the most famous survival stories of the 20th century. On October 13, 1972, tragedy struck when the Fairchild FH-227D’s pilot mistakenly believed they had reached their destination of Curicó, Chile. In reality, the plane, which carried 45 passengers (including 19 members of a Montevideo rugby team), was still crossing the Andes. It descended too early and struck a mountain, which damaged both wings and caused the aircraft to crash in a remote valley in western Argentina. What followed was something out of a horror movie: over the course of 72 days, the survivors—34 initially, then 16—decided to eat the bodies of the dead to stave off hunger. On December 23, two helicopters located the survivors, who up until that point were presumed dead. It’s not surprising that this tale of survival became known as “The Miracle of the Andes.”

A mid-flight explosion?

On March 16, 1962, a Lockheed L1049H Super Constellation prop liner carrying 93 U.S. soldiers, 11 crew members and three South Vietnamese passengers disappeared into thin air. The flight, which was heading to Ho Chi Minh City from California, stopped to refuel in Guam—but disappeared 80 minutes after takeoff. The aftermath? One of the largest air and sea searches in the history of the Pacific, covering 220,000 square kilometres over eight days. Unfortunately, neither the aircraft nor any bodies were found or recovered. There’s some speculation that the aircraft may have exploded mid-flight since a bright light was seen in the sky after its last radio contact, but this has never been confirmed.

Missing Plane Mysteries - Malaysia Airlines Flight Mh370
China, India, Japan and the United States were among the countries involved in the search.

The costliest search in aviation history

One of the most famous missing plane mysteries is Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. On March 8, 2014, the plane, en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur with 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board, disappeared an hour after takeoff. Search efforts began in the South China Sea, with 34 ships and 28 aircraft from seven countries participating. Analysis of radar and satellite data revealed that after its final message around 1:00 a.m., the plane veered dramatically off-course before cruising on autopilot for hours. It’s now believed that the plane flew until it ran out of fuel and plunged into the Indian Ocean—far from initial search efforts. Two years after the disappearance, debris from the aircraft was discovered off the coast of South Africa and Mauritius, but no passengers and flight crew were found.

The disappearing Douglas DC-4

On July 21, 1951, a Canadian Pacific Air Lines Douglas DC-4 took off from Vancouver to Tokyo with 37 people on board, including Army and Air Force personnel. On the way to a stopover in Anchorage, Alaska, however, the plane faced heavy rain and icy conditions, causing it to veer from its flight path. A rescue operation was launched several hours later when the Douglas DC-4 failed to arrive. After a three-month search by both Canadian and American aircrafts, the search was called off on October 31, 1951. To this day, no trace of the aircraft has been found.

Next, read up on the strangest unsolved mysteries of all time.

Every single day, human eyes process thousands of colours. But the way you see the green of the leaves on trees might be slightly different than how someone else sees it. If you think your eyes are sharper than others and want to test your sight skills, challenge yourself to this very difficult colour distinction test. (If you already know that you have 20/20 vision, see if you can spot the animals camouflaged in these photos.)

United Kingdom-based retailer Lenstore created an interactive test to see how well various people can perceive colour. It’s not as easy as you might think; fewer than one per cent of people scored perfect. They tested the eyes of 2,000 United Kingdom residents to see which demographics have the strongest colour perception. The 10-question quiz tests people’s ability to differentiate between multiple colour shades.

After the results came in, they found that the majority of people (24.1 per cent) scored six out of 10 on the colour quiz. Just 23.4 per cent got five right, 17.4 per cent got seven right, and only 0.2 per cent got all 10 questions correct. Here’s the full breakdown:

  • 0 right answers: 0.2% of respondents got this result
  • 1 right answer: 0.3%
  • 2 right answers: 2.2%
  • 3 right answers: 7.4%
  • 4 right answers: 13.7%
  • 5 right answers: 23.4%
  • 6 right answers: 24.1%
  • 7 right answers: 17.4%
  • 8 right answers: 9.1%
  • 9 right answers: 2.0%
  • 10 right answers: 0.2%

Here’s the colour distinction test itself:

Colour is in the Eye of the Beholder by Lenstore UK
While analyzing the results, Lenstore also discovered that women are able to perceive and differentiate colours better than men. The average score on the test for females was 57.7 per cent and the average for males was 53.8 per cent.

How did you make out on the test? If you need another crack at it, test your eyesight with this brainteasing colour quiz.