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MythBusters - The Lost Experiments 362

Posted by samzenpus
from the they-should-battle-mr.wizard dept.
theLorax writes "From Discovery: "If you like the MythBusters here are some videos they just posted of some of the out takes and things that didn't appear on the show. Cola bits (cleaning things with cola), water torture, otter ping pong, live power lines, cement build up and plywood flight." Here is the interview we did with these guys in December.
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MythBusters - The Lost Experiments

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  • by caffeinemessiah (918089) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:01PM (#14506011) Journal
    From the summary, it sounds like these guys are a step removed from Jackass. But seriously, when are they going to deal with the myth that Java "is just as efficient as C++ these days"
    • by CyricZ (887944) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:23PM (#14506134)
      They only have about 15 minutes per myth. That just isn't enough time to start up your typical Hello World! application written in Java.

      • >time java HelloWorld
        Hello world!

        real 0m0.284s
        user 0m0.236s
        sys 0m0.020s

        And that is in Java 1.4, newer JVM versions have faster startup.
        Myth busted! ...though I guess I fail the "sense of humour" test.
    • by AuMatar (183847) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:35PM (#14506194)
      They only take on myths that are remotely possible. Nobody believes that about Java.
    • But seriously, when are they going to deal with the myth that Java "is just as efficient as C++ these days"

      Ah, but the MythBusters actually try things out and believe the evidence.

      Slashdot myths this are famously immune to evidence, and therefore un-bustable.
    • Re:a step removed (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      when are they going to deal with the myth that Java "is just as efficient as C++ these days"

      The same day they deal with the myth that C++ is as productive as Java.

      • Is that not the same episode where they take on the myth that OSX is actually better than BSD? You know... they should try some that arent obvious busts ;)
    • Right after "C++ is usable", "C# is a viable alternative to Java", "PHP is elegant", "there actually exists someone who can read Perl", "Python is popular", "Objective-C is used by anyone besides Apple" and "Fortran is not completely obsolete". (I was going to mention Smalltalk and Lisp, but seriously, no one uses them. Well, except for EMACS users who need therapy anyway. ;)

      Ahh, no better way to start the day than insulting all major programming languages (and one operating system with built-in text edit
    • Re:a step removed (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DrugCheese (266151)
      somehow I doubt we'll ever see them stick a lit firework up their own ass or eat a snowcone flavored with their own piss

      their IQ is at least a double digit number, which puts them many a step from jackass
  • by Anonymous Coward
    • They did Vodka already, they probably won't do one so similar soon.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I'm guessing the carbonic acid levels aren't enough to harm the insects, but the caffeine levels might be sufficient to poison the insects. After all, remember that caffeine is a natural pesticide made by some plants to paralyse and kill insects. In fact, science report [sciencenews.org] mentions:

      Even concentrations of only 0.1 percent caffeine may prove useful. Sprayed onto such slug-prized cuisine as cabbage leaves, those concentrations deterred feeding by 62 percent, respectively, when compared to uncaffeinated salad gre

  • Coke (Score:3, Funny)

    by gcnaddict (841664) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:04PM (#14506024)
    I found it ok, but some of the things they did were a waste (who wastes a good bottle of Coke on a cleaning job? -_-;;)

    I could've had that bottle...
  • Reason (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JonN (895435) * on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:05PM (#14506033) Homepage
    I am just thinking of the reason behind these videos being released. Is it because they enjoy communicating with, and appreciate their fans? Or is it simply a marketing plan created by the Discovery Channel.

    Don't get me wrong, I love watching them, I just prefer to keep that squishy feeling in my heart that they really love us, and the interview they did here helped that along, with this pushing it further.

  • by CyricZ (887944) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:08PM (#14506047)
    I have relatives in the US who recently told me about the lack of quality on the Discovery Channel. I recall watching very good shows on it around a decade or so ago. True to their name, they focused on content that most traditional channels wouldn't bother to touch.

    However, what I've been hearing now is that the Discovery Channel is moving away from their specialty programming, more towards content that will appeal to a wider range of people. This change does being a decrease in quality, according to my cousins.

    I think I know what they mean. Shows like American Chopper and American HotRod, which I have watched over here in the UK, are more like soap operas than educational, enlightening shows. The two or three minutes of engineering in each episode is overshadowed by 57 minutes of workplace drama and commercials.

    While a show like Mythbusters isn't as bad, it still lacks the quality that previous shows on the Discovery Channel had. None of the hosts have much engineering or scientific experience, and it shows. Even watching just one episode, one will hear numerous factually incorrect statements (especially when it comes to chemistry or physics). Perhaps it is entertaining, but educational it is not.

    • mythbusters is produced by an australian company, discovery channel just picked up north american broadcast rights to the program.
      • by JonN (895435) * on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:15PM (#14506085) Homepage
        That is not the arguement though. The arguement is not if Mythbusters is a good show, it is the question of are they playing appropriate shows on the Discovery Channel (as to their reputation)
        • by bani (467531) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:31PM (#14506175)
          the assumption people usually make when they bring up the subject is that discovery channel programs are produced by the discovery channel. they are genuinely suprised to find out that e.g. mythbusters isn't produced by them.

          discovery channel can only show whats being produced. if shit is being produced then shit is all they have to air. people seem to think they know exactly what is available for discovery channel to purchase for broadcast. keep in mind that junkyard wars, the program discovery channel fanatics always bring up as an example, (aka scrapheap challenge) was a purely accidental find.

          if you know specific programs discovery channel should be airing, tell them.
        • I sincerely hope they do not fall into this direction. We had TLC (The Learning Channel) and they did exactly that. Used to be documentaries (and I actually learned something) and now it's all reality shows doing home decorating, or following an engaged couple through their wedding plans. I don't think I've stayed on the channel for more than 5 seconds any time in the last 5 years! If the discovery channel goes the same way, I'll be left with the History Channel. If they follow suit, I will abandon my T.V.
        • Here in australia on pay TV we have the main Discovery Channel (with the shows like Mythbusters, American Chopper etc) on it, we have Animal Planet which is full of (IMO boring) nature programs then we have Discovery Travel (some good things on there and some crap), Discovery Health (total garbage on there IMO) and then Discovery Science (which has a lot of good stuff on it).

          I suspect lots of the "good" discovery content has moved to channels like Discovery Science (or whatever similar channels your provide
    • I have come to realize that once a channel gets enough acclaim, they open secondary channels to continue with their old company plan, and maintain the original channel simply for ratings. Examples:

      MTV - How often is a diversity of music played on the main channel now?
      Discovery Channel - Read the parent
      CNN - I find their second channel much more informative in relation to a broader view of the news

    • "Discovery" in the Discovery Channel? Looks like it's just about gone..

      Regarding MythBusters, while they can't possibly get all their facts straight, you have to reason they do do a reasonable job, considering the extremely wide breadth of subjects they cover.

      This brings up a good point of the problem with shows that focus on such a wide range of topics that they aren't able to focus on one single topic with much amount of detail.

      Are these shows educational? No. Can it be a feasible starting point for
      • by samkass (174571) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:39PM (#14506218) Homepage Journal
        Are these shows educational? No.


        If you're arguing that Mythbusters isn't educational, you haven't watched enough episodes. Yes, they make mistakes. So do over half of all peer-reviewed scientists' papers, last I read. But it's still a very educational show, and more importantly, one that gets the watcher thinking instead of passively being entertained.

        Even if the show contains a greater proportion of entertainment to education than some might like, I think it educates more than some of the old dry shows, because more people watch them. Just to use some silly math, if a show is 90% educational and is watched by 100K people, let's say it has provided 90K education-people worth of education to the world. If a show is 60% educational and watched by 1M people, it's provided 600K education-people worth of education! How's that for a Mythbusters-style estimate?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I have to agree. A long time ago I used to watch Discovery all the time and I kept my cable just for that channel and a few others like Speedvision. Now Discovery rarely shows anything worthwhile and Speedvision is now SPEED (read: NASCAR garbage).

      Now I only keep my cable for the new Battlestar Galactica but it hardly seems worth $40/mo for one show once a week (I would just download the episodes if I could find someone that posts high quality captures instead of the 200MB/hr crap that always gets posted)
    • This is definitely true. Now it's more like "educational entertainment" than educational shows.
    • The "important" stuff, the stuff you're talking about... that went to PBS or the National Geographic Channel a long time ago.

      As the latter has been confined to channel 273 (on Comcast) whereas the Discovery Channel is still in the 70's, that should say something about how many people watch programming on both channels.

    • by pomo monster (873962) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:37PM (#14506211)
      Obviously, there's nothing left to discover.
    • by transami (202700) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:48PM (#14506267) Homepage
      Cyric, you are terribly off base! These guys are professionals who have a huge amount of hands on experience in material science. And these guys are doing a great job of introducing the basics of expiremental method to a wide audience. Is it perfect? Of course not. But you are comparing apples and oranges. While I would certainly appreciate some in depth programs on paricular aspects of science, just becuase Mythbusters is not this, does not make it worthless. I usually watch TV to relax. If I wanted a textbook education in physics I'd take a college course, not watch Mythbusters. While the information gained from the show may often be trivial, there are nontheless a great many useful tidbits to be gained from watching. Anf these guys are funny too!
    • by freidog (706941) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:49PM (#14506270)
      Same reason all those interior decorating channels are on "The Learning Channel" and Poker and trashy reality shows are on "Bravo" (more of a high brow / art themed network a while ago): these are buisnesses.

      With the proliferation of cable / sat TV networks it is increasingly difficult to draw in the ratings needed to pay the bills. 10 years ago Discovery channel didn't have much competition in its niche market. Now on digial cable or satellite service you might have 4 or 5 networks that devote at least part of their programming to somethign appealing to Discovery's core audiance. So The Discovery Channel has to go off and bring in more viewers, and that means shows with broader appeal: ie Mythbusters. It's still science, and still informative (somewhat), but it's mostly about people blowing things up and hurting themselves.

    • You're absolutely correct, Discovery Channel has gone vastly downhill. However, I wouldn't blame the 4 big shows. They could certainly support 4 hours of non-educational crap per week, and still fill the rest of the schedule with their previous (read: GOOD) content. It was a conscious decision they made, and they made it across all of their channels.

      TLC was the absolutely worst. It went from showing things like surgery, engineering, and other mostly-good content, to being the 24-hour "Trading Spaces" ch
    • I knew Discovery Channel went to the dogs when they dropped excellent shows like Discovery Wings and started showing crap like American Chopper.
    • Discovery Channel has long since spun into multiple channels -- Discovery, The Learning Channel, Science, Animal Planet... I had always assumed that the interesting shows just got moved over to the Science channel. Unfortunately, I only pay enough for cable internet access and thus I only receive a few basic cable channels (which include Discovery but none of the other) so I have no idea if that is actually true or not.

      The rise of "Reality" style Discovery shows could have been predicted by anybody. I jus

    • You think that's bad? You should see what they've done to The Learning Channel.

      We have a strange blend of Austrialian, asian, and American channels where I live, and I'm never quite sure which version of a particular channel I'm watching (although I'm certain we get Austrailian Discovery and US TLC), but the History Channel seems to have filled the void somewhat. At least on whichever version we get, Modern Marvels, Extreme Machines, and other shows focus on present or near-present developments rather tha
    • Shows like American Chopper and American HotRod, which I have watched over here in the UK, are more like soap operas than educational, enlightening shows. The two or three minutes of engineering in each episode is overshadowed by 57 minutes of workplace drama and commercials.

      Amen. The worst example to my mind is the Americanizing of Scrapheap Challenge. First, change it to Junkyard WARS, because WARS are MUCH COOLER. Less tinkering and technology (that is boring), more arguing and soap style "talking in pri
  • by bizitch (546406) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:17PM (#14506106) Homepage
    God I just love watching that cement truck explode!

    If you've never seen it - dont miss it! - It's at the very end of the video
  • by BrentM77 (553133) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:32PM (#14506182)
    Most of these were shown on TV in an outtakes show they did. I love the show, but don't understand why they are saying these weren't shown before.
  • I have heard it suggested that each segment of their show should be preceeded by a disclaimer explaining that what they're doing is not science, but is purely entertainment.

    Many people mistakenly think that the MythBusters present the proper way of performing scientific experiment, and that they present verified scientific information. Indeed, watching even a single episode shows that they have very little scientific or engineering background.

    • "Indeed, watching even a single episode shows that they have very little scientific or engineering background."

      How scientific.
    • Science (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Freaky Spook (811861) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:58PM (#14506312)
      Science in its most basic form is a system of acquiring knowledge, based on experimentation to find truth.

      The mythbusters discuss the theory of the myth & then generate a hypothesis weather it is plausible or not, then conduct an experiment to find out weather their hypothesis is correct.

      What is not science about that???

      It may be basic science, but its still science.

      From what I have seen it is getting a lot of people interested in science so that has to be good doesn't it.
      • The problem is that their experiements aren't usually well constructed. I spent five misspent years of my an applied physicist doing experimental materials science on thin films... I understand experiement construction. But Mythbuster gets people thinking - and that's a good thing. Its also bloody entertaining.
    • I think you do not understand the concept of science. The shows follow the base scientific method you learn in elementary school. As to the engineering comment, I take it you haven't watched the rainwater-pipe runoff episode, or the one where they disprove the myth of slingshotting immigrants over the border.
    • by raoul666 (870362) <pi.rocks@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @11:26PM (#14506480)
      It's not great science, but a lot of it isn't half bad. Besides which, they're usually testing fairly simple myths to see if they're plausible or not. Some stuff, like "could you raise a boat with ping-pong balls" they do. Scientific or not, that's a good, solid result. It's possible. It's really the busted myths that may or may not be accurate. To give them credit, I usually hear them say things like "for this to work you'd need this, this, this, and this to happen, and that's incredibly unlikely" or "we couldn't build a jetpack, so an average joe probably couldn't either." As for scientific or engineering background, they may not be certified or educated, but they certainly do alright. Their solutions are usually simple, and they typically work. Look at the rig they used to get those ping-pong balls down to the boat. Design me something cheaper, faster, and easier, if you can.

      Also, a lot of the time they call in experts. I think that's a pretty good lesson to be teaching people, about both science and life.
    • Indeed, watching even a single episode shows that they have very little scientific or engineering background

      Who cares? It's a great show. I especially liked the episode where they challenged the American Grafitti movie's 'chain-cop-car-to-a-pole-and-rip-out-rear-axle' myth.

      Man, a real size remote control police car. I suspect these guys don't really care whether their facts pan out or not, they're having TOO MUCH FUN!!

  • I have to admit it - I absolutely love the mythbusters show. Its a show allright - but wouldnt you rather prefer as how like this (being the geek you are) rather than those endless idiot-shows like wheel-of-fortune, jeopardy, tv-poker etc.?

    Sure, Jamie and Adam gets it wrong sometimes, but it inspires normal people to get an interest in science because theyre "naturally" funny and they like what they do, whats wrong with that?

    You want to see bad stuff on Discovery? Watch Brainiac - probably the "WORST"
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:56PM (#14506304)
    Forget Otter Ping-Ping - I want to know if Thai beaver really can shoot ping-pong balls! I knew a girl with a half-thai beaver, but I could never convince her to give it a shot, so clearly this is a job for mythbusters!
    • Yes. (Score:3, Informative)

      by lorcha (464930)
      Yes, Thai bar girls really can shoot ping-pong balls from their pussies. They can also smoke a cigarette, suck in a bottle of Coke, and operate chopsticks, among other stupid pussy tricks.

      And before you ask, yes, I have seen it done.

      • Operate chopsticks?

        Thai people don't use chopsticks, and there are precious few in the country (unless you go to a Chinese restaurant or are hanging out somewhere where there are a lot of Chinese tourists).

        So this aspect of your story seems, well, apocryphal.
  • As for the power line myth - they didn't prove it by any means. Consider: 1) They didn't know the current on the wires above them, compared to the current of said myth, perhaps it wasn't very high voltage at the time? 2) They had a huge loopy coil of wire, something makes me think that there are more efficient ways of developing an inductive coil... The show is fun to watch, but it makes people who have sense ask a few more questions.
  • And yet an article that already violates Taco's guidelines.
  • Next myth to bust (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Are Slashdot comments moderated to +5 informative, really informative?
  • Still lost.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MrLint (519792) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @11:48PM (#14506625) Journal
    I wonder if they are ever going to show the video of the the card throwing experiment using metal cards? With the tivo you can see that the numbers are recorded on the data sheet but the experiment isnt shown. However from the data the results looked rather lethal.
  • by OgGreeb (35588) <og@digimark.net> on Thursday January 19, 2006 @12:16AM (#14506787) Homepage
    In the last clip, where they were testing aperson sailing from a height using a plywood sheet, at the very end when they were trying to persuade Christine to be the third guinea pig -- I mean test pilot, you could see the show's producer push her one last time to take the leap. I think she was kidding about asking for a raise, but they abruptly cut away thereafter.

    Coincidence that she's no longer seen on the show? I think not!
  • These have been on the website for months now. I watched them around 6 or so months ago. And yes, they are all from episodes that have screened, but these are BITS of them that were not aired. PAY ATTENTION PEOPLE! :D
  • Screw Mr. Wizard (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tedrlord (95173) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @02:43AM (#14507483)
    People keep complaining about how unscientific Mythbusters is, and I often see problems with their experiments, but personally I just like the creative ways they use their special effects skills to build test cases. It's just fun to watch, and it makes me wonder about the actual myths.

    Mr. Wizard always bugged me, because it was targeted toward children as actual scientific experiments, but it was really obvious even when I was young that they just took existing facts then had these kids do rigged and generally flawed experiments to demonstrate them.

    There was one that I still remember from when I was young where he had a kid test whether vision or hearing was more sensitive. They had the kid match a tone using a generator that had 1000 different tones, and was off by one. Then they had her match a shade of blue out of a range of a hundred cards. Again, she was off by one. Since 1/1000 is more exact than 1/100, obviously hearing was more sensitive.

    I got really upset about that one and went huffing off to tell my mother how they didn't use an equivalent sample set or use the same gradation of sound/light frequency between the two experiments (not in so many words, of course). The way Mr Wizard told the kid that the results demonstrated her hearing was more sensitive than her vision really irked me and turned me off the show completely.

    At least with the Mythbusters there's that general sense of "Huh, well this seemed to work," and they're open to retesting a theory if people call them on it. Personally I think incorrect conclusions and an open, experimental mindset are better science than established facts and weighted demonstrations. For kids these days, it's easy to look up information, but the inquisitiveness and cleverness in experimentation they demonstrate is a lot more compelling to young minds.

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