Are Americans Losing Their DIY Skills?

Are men today losing their DIY skills? Glenn Harlan Reynolds wrote a really interesting piece for Popular Mechanics on how Americans are losing their ability to deal with every day real-world problems:

Even the simplest of automotive tasks, changing a tire, seems to be beyond the ken of many people. According to AAA, nearly 4 million motorists requested roadside assistance last year—for flat tires.

And just look at the Popular Mechanics Boy Mechanic books to see the kinds of skills that boys and teenagers were once routinely expected to possess. These books (which PM published in the early 20th century and recently reissued) assumed that young readers would be prepared to construct a fully rigged ice boat, a toy steam engine, or—I’m not kidding—a homebuilt “Bearcat” roadster powered by a motorcycle engine.

It’s hard to imagine too many teenagers tackling projects of that magnitude these days. To be fair, young people today are likely to have skills that earlier generations never dreamed of—building Web sites, say, or editing digital movies. But manipulating pixels and working with physical materials aren’t quite the same thing.

Does this matter? And if people are becoming less mechanically handy, is that so bad?

(Illustration: Paul Blow)

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Ok so here is my 2
I am an eagle scout and a digital professional. Putting in ram is no more a diy skill as screwing in a light bulb. It only goes in one way. Scouting skills should be required for boys and girls in school. My troop built a 25 foot tower with wood and rope (no metal!) every year at summer camp. That is a useful diy skill, as is knife sharpening. Modern PC skills are all good, but you need to dig a little deeper to see the real skill. Replacing surface mount components on a board? Re-purposing audio gear, circuit bending? Car engine swaps. How bout the open source car ECU supports any style engine (except Wankel's I think)

links to some things i think are cool
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i'm a car nut, and enjoy doing all my own work... and i'm a woman. i'm continually amazed by the men who have no idea what goes on under the hood of a car. i remember one time i was checking my oil, and you should have seen the panicked looks on the faces of the men coming out of my office building... "ah a damsel in distress i presume. should i offer to help? but i can't! omg, what to do, what to do?" lol
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