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Putting Star Wars to the MythBusters Test 386

Posted by Zonk
from the jamie-i-am-your-father dept.
DangerTenor writes "The cast of the show MythBusters chat about their pasts with ILM, talk about some Star Wars myths (Can you avoid freezing to death in a blizzard overnight by gutting a dead animal like a tauntaun and getting into its carcass?) and why R2-D2 is the perfect sidekick." Not as cool as our interview, but pretty neat.
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Putting Star Wars to the MythBusters Test

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  • by cnelzie (451984) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @04:54PM (#14610441) Homepage
    ...wasn't how they survived the entire evening. It was just to keep Luke warm while Han built the shelter... Geeze.

        (Yeah, I am a Star Wars Geek.)
    • Right on. And Luke falling from the AT-AT, well, if you read the novelized version (written by Lucas), it explains that Luke didn't walk away from that unscathed, even though he tried using the Force to slow his fall.

      Star Wars geeks unite!
    • Exactly my thought. However, I'm wondering how they could imitate this kind of situation. Afterall there's no chance they'll kill some animal in some cold place and put one of their interns in it over night. That would be pretty cruel taking into account that it's just done "to be sure"...
      • by IAAP (937607) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @05:09PM (#14610568)
        Afterall there's no chance they'll kill some animal in some cold place and put one of their interns in it over night. That would be pretty cruel taking into account that it's just done "to be sure"...

        You mean would be cruel to the animal. The intern, on the other hand, well, they're interns!

        • I'm more concerned about the animal. We kill them for food, but usually we don't do it for entertainment. On the other hand I don't want to be the one sleeping in a bleeding corpse at all, but as you said, those are just interns ;)
          • >those are just interns

            They've elevated the others on the show this season. They used to be referred to as "the build team" or "Myth-terns", but they get billing as "MythBusters" the same as Adam and Jamie this season.

            I don't think you're going to get Kari to crawl inside an animal carcas (she's a veggie). She could hardly stand it when they brought back a pig neck/spine with meat still on it to use inside a ballistics gel model.

            The other thing is they seem to do is go out of their way to get animals t
          • We kill them for food, but usually we don't do it for entertainment.

            They do in Spain

      • Afterall there's no chance they'll kill some animal in some cold place and put one of their interns in it over night.

        Why Not? They killed a whole bunch of bees all in the name of science.

        • ...because it was assumed that there was some practical use to it. But if you do the same because you are interested if some Star Wars plot is "realistic" you are just doing it for entertainment, because there's no real life use to it (not taking the 0.00001% probability into account, that you get lost in some arctic region and manage to kill a deer right before you are close to freezing).

          Personally I don't care much about bees, but they are cold blooded anyways and they are way too small to fit anything i
      • by ArsonSmith (13997) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @05:32PM (#14610777) Journal
        As someone who grew up hunting and skinned many a deer and elk I can say that the insides will stay rather warm for quite some time. While bow hunting you often have to track an animal the next morning because a bow wont kill it right away. While I think Hoth was suppose to be something like -60 or more I know that an Elk will hold heat for well over 12 hours in 0-10degree weather.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @10:20PM (#14612887)
          "While bow hunting you often have to track an animal the next morning because a bow wont kill it right away.

          That's why experienced hunters let the ARROW do the killing.
        • While bow hunting you often have to track an animal the next morning because a bow wont kill it right away.

          In Sweden, bow hunting is illegal as it constitutes animal cruelty and doing it could land you in jail.
        • While bow hunting you often have to track an animal the next morning because a bow wont kill it right away.

          I grew up deer hunting with my dad. Any bad shot from a bow and arrow or a gun will cause you to need to track the animal. It's not the weapon per se, it's the shot, where you hit it, etc. A gut shot will most likely cause the animal to live for some time and enable it to run far from the site -- no matter what the weapon. A chest shot, the lungs or especially the heart, will usually drop it wit
      • Exactly my thought. However, I'm wondering how they could imitate this kind of situation. Afterall there's no chance they'll kill some animal in some cold place and put one of their interns in it over night. That would be pretty cruel taking into account that it's just done "to be sure"...

        My understanding is that Buffalo were shot and gutted as emergency shelters in pioneering days, a bio lean-to, but maybe that's urban, uh no, non-urban myth. Further, that was to get out of the wind and rain, which see

    • ...wasn't how they survived the entire evening.

      "Oh yes, we spent the evening in a most delightful tauntaun... The neighborhood was just beastly, though - I don't know how we survived."

      I suppose the viability of the tauntaun-as-pita approach (smell not withstanding) would depend in large part on the [overall] specific heat of tauntaun innards. (I'm assuming here that the insulatory qualities of the fur would be pretty good.) The light sabre would be necessary to cauterize the incision, lest [even m
      • My guess is that it would have been much better to leave the tauntaun alive and just snuggle up against it. While it's alive, it will continue to metabolize its fats and produce heat. A dead tauntaun is just a wet gooey blanket.

        At best, maybe Han should have shaved off part of the hair so that Luke could get closer to the tauntaun's skin...
      • "I spent the night in a Tauntaun and all I got was this lousy lightsaber!"
    • "We'll cut it open to keep you alive, Luke"
      "Uhh, Han, we're on Tatooine, and that's a Gungan"
      "Exactly!"
    • Didn't I read that the pygmies used to do that with elephants. Although how cold could it get in da jungle....
  • by Shadow Wrought (586631) * <[shadow.wrought] [at] [gmail.com]> on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @05:00PM (#14610490) Homepage Journal
    Does talking backward smarter make you sound? Hmmmmm?
  • Deathstar (Score:5, Funny)

    by damonlab (931917) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @05:06PM (#14610531)
    Does the Deathstar run Linux?
  • Water cores (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slavemowgli (585321) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @05:06PM (#14610538) Homepage

    Could you pilot a submarine through a planet's core?

    "If it were possible to have a water core at the center of a planet, then perhaps, but the pressures would be significant," Imahara explains. "That would have to be some submarine."

    "Would the inside of a planet be water?" Savage asks. "I don't think so."

    Indeed, the pressure *would* be significant, and the water would either be in a solid or supercritical liquid phase - it'd be pretty unlikely that you'd find it possible to drive a submarine through it in either case, though, even if the submarine itself would be constructed to withstand the pressure and temperature at the core.

    Of course, IANAP, though, so YMMV.

    • You realize that when you apply pressure to ice it melts?
      • Water Phase Diagram (Score:5, Informative)

        by everphilski (877346) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @05:29PM (#14610743) Journal
        Water Phase Diagram [lsbu.ac.uk]

        Note regions VIII-XI. With enough pressure yes, water will solidify. HOWEVER there is a temperature point at which the water will no longer solidify (not shown on this scale although you can see the "liquid dome" is increasing as temperature increases. Eventually if you go far enough to the right there is a point where only vapor exists, regardless of pressure.

        So while GP is correct that pressure will solidify water there is also extreme temperature that will counteract the pressure. One must wonder why water cores don't exist in real life...
        • by fjf33 (890896)
          There is a temperature at which you don't have water anymore. In the presence of the right catalyst you may have a core that creates H2 and O2 if you get the pressure and temperatures right. You may not even need the catalyst.
        • With enough pressure yes, water will solidify.

          Awesome! At my next party, I'm going to have forged ice cubes! And I'll put 'em in the grill and fry steaks with them!

          One must wonder why water cores don't exist in real life...

          Oh but they do [overclock.net]!
        • by hesiod (111176)
          > One must wonder why water cores don't exist in real life...

          Well, perhaps the answer lies in how the planets formed to begin with. If it started off as mostly rocks and gaseous vapor (including water vapor) collecting together, the denser materials would collect towards the center of mass -- assuming the objects were collectively spinning with enough speed to create a force to draw the pieces together into a sphere/larger rock. Also, the water would remain a vapor until the solid rock nearby was cool
          • >One must wonder why water cores don't exist in real life...
            Well, perhaps the answer lies in how the planets formed to begin with.

            At least one star system in the Star Wars universe (Corellia - Han Solo's home system) was constructed artificially in the long-forgotten past. While Corellia involved relocating planets from other star systems, it seems reasonable to assume planet construction may also have been an option, and given Naboo seems to be a tranquil paradise it may well have been constructed fo

    • Re:Water cores (Score:3, Interesting)

      by StarvingSE (875139)
      I am sure that they did not go through the planets core during that sequence of TPM. I was always assuming they were just traveling through some kind of deep water caves that cut through the land as a short cut to their destination.

      Its like how some people might call the deep water trenches in the Pacific the "planet core" to emphasis how deep they are.
      • That's what I always assumed as well. Makes particular sense given that the statement came from the gungans, who aren't particularly scientificaly, or geologicaly savvy. To a gungan deep cave == planet core.
    • But I thought that solid water (ice) was less dense then the liquid form. Therefore, if you compress water enough, it cannot turn into a solid.
      • Re:Water cores (Score:5, Interesting)

        by pclminion (145572) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @05:54PM (#14610993)
        But I thought that solid water (ice) was less dense then the liquid form. Therefore, if you compress water enough, it cannot turn into a solid.

        There are twelve known physical types of ice [lsbu.ac.uk]. Look at the phase diagram carefully. Even at 10,000 gigapascals there are forms of ice. Most of these types are denser than water. What we typically think of as "water ice" is specifically called Ice-1 (there are two subtypes, cubic and hexagonal). Ice-2 through Ice-10 are all denser than water, with Ice-10 being 2.5 times as dense. That's some heavy ice. Ice-11 is less dense than water, but Ice-12 is again denser.

        Our observations of water here on earth are not really representative of all the forms of H2O in nature. On the contrary, a big part of the reason why life is able to exist on this planet is that we are almost exactly at the triple point of water. By the weak anthropic principle, we only observe those forms of water that are conducive to the existence of life.

        • Re:Water cores (Score:3, Informative)

          by pegr (46683)
          There are twelve known physical types of ice. Look at the phase diagram carefully. Even at 10,000 gigapascals there are forms of ice. Most of these types are denser than water. What we typically think of as "water ice" is specifically called Ice-1 (there are two subtypes, cubic and hexagonal). Ice-2 through Ice-10 are all denser than water, with Ice-10 being 2.5 times as dense. That's some heavy ice. Ice-11 is less dense than water, but Ice-12 is again denser.

          Just stay away from me with that Ice 9 [wikipedia.org], alright?
  • Animal Guts (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AviLazar (741826)
    Yea they do stink, a lot (ever hit a deer, your car will stink for at least a year)....But, an animal of that size (essentially an animal that is big enough to act as a mount for a human) would probably retain enough warmth to keep a person (inside of it...yuck) at a decent temperature for 4-5 hours.
    • by Dunbal (464142)
      (ever hit a deer, your car will stink for at least a year)

            Of course you could always try washing it...
      • Re:Animal Guts (Score:3, Interesting)

        by AviLazar (741826)
        Of course you could always try washing it...

        The deer guts manages to find itself into various areas that is near impossible to wash without taking the car apart. In my case, because I had to drive my car home, enough of the deer stuff got in the ventilation system.
    • Yeah, but if you track sand into them, you'll never get it out.
    • REMOVE Animal Guts (Score:3, Informative)

      by ScentCone (795499)
      I think the real goal would be to dump the animal's viscera and use the large rib cage and fat/hide as a sort of shelter or smelly windbreak. The damp gutsy stuff in an opened-up belly would very quickly be a big old heatsink in the sort of wind and temps portrayed in the movie.

      If you really a fun portrayal of this sort of thing, watch the evade-the-British-captors scene in the 1995 version of Rob Roy [imdb.com], starring Liam Neeson. That's a great movie, even without light sabers. Ye Old Ferrous Cutlery does just
  • by truthsearch (249536) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @05:11PM (#14610584) Homepage Journal
    "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. Contrary to what you've just seen, war is neither glamorous nor fun. There are no winners, only losers. There are no good wars, with the following exceptions: The American Revolution, World War II, and the Star Wars Trilogy. If you'd like to learn more about war, there's lots of books in your local library, many of them with cool, gory pictures." -- Bart Simpson
  • A 50 footer? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Otter (3800) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @05:12PM (#14610586) Journal
    Could you survive a 50-foot fall into a snow bank like Luke Skywalker did?

    Huh? Jamie Pierre just broke the skiing cliff-drop record [localnews8.com] with a 245-footer in Grand Targhee. I haven't seen the video yet, but supposedly he didn't even land it cleanly. (The New Zealander who previously held the record hit a 225-footer into slush, landing on his back with a backpack full of foam.)

    C'mon, a 50-footer won't even get you into a movie nowadays unless you throw at least a 720...

    • Re:A 50 footer? (Score:3, Informative)

      Even without skis or a snowboard, at least 130 feet is plausible without injury [myway.com].
    • C'mon, a 50-footer won't even get you into a movie nowadays unless you throw at least a 720...

      Yeah. Anybody who's flipped through a volume of Accidents in North American Mountaineering could tell you that people have survived MUCH longer falls than 50 feet, and people have survived long falls (80+ feet) onto solid rock as well. It is highly dependent on your orientation when you land. You probably aren't going to get up and walk away from something like that, but survivable? Absolutely.

    • Re:A 50 footer? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Lord_Dweomer (648696)
      Your post got me wondering about the actual height of the ATAT. Estimates put it at roughly 22-23 meters tall.

      In the process of googling it...I came across this [theforce.net] site that has WAAAY too much information on those sorts of vehicle specs. It is actually quite a fascinating read since they don't just give the height....they give about 10 in-depth bullet points of movie and merchandise analysis to scientifically try to determine the actual height.

      And that's just the height....they try to figure out dimensions f

  • My favorite ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WankersRevenge (452399) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @05:13PM (#14610598)
    Could you survive a 50-foot fall into a snow bank like Luke Skywalker did?

    "It's plausible, depending on the exact conditions," Imahara explains. "You could survive, but you'd be pretty badly hurt. Let's just say you probably wouldn't be jumping up on a tauntaun and riding to the next outpost, if you know what I mean."

    *cough*cough* ;) [boston.com]
  • I must be weird (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ackthpt (218170) *

    I must be weird. I just watch the movies and don't talk about them much if at all. Tech and stuff in Star Wars is just too much of a stretch, what I'd refer to as fantasy, rather than Sci-Fi. Trying to explain stuff from Fantasy, down that path madness lies.

    so, y'see, if greedo shot first, han wudda been blinded anyway, so...

  • by Vexler (127353) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @05:16PM (#14610620) Journal
    Can a weapon like a lightsaber actually exist?

    Even the most uninformed fan knows that it's not just the light, but it's plasma being shaped into a cylindrical shape approximately 1 meter in length (according to the Episode III novel) that gives the lightsaber its power. (Yes, and the Force, but let me just talk about the saber for the moment...)

    One of the problem has to do with the state of the plasma, often called the fourth state of matter. It is by no means solid, and yet the fact that the lightsaber has a distinct shape when activated and the fact that two lightsabers can clash in a duel mean that there is a solid-like boundary to the blade that is inviolable. On the contrary, often we see the blade cutting through other objects and body parts with frightening ease. (Just ask Count Dooku.)

    Which brings me to another issue: The power required to confine the plasma in a blade-like configuration (be it magnetic or otherwise) may well exceed the power to generate the blade in the first place. It seems almost redundant for a weapon of this type to be built, as the builder can control and direct the flow of plasma with a device no more than 30 centimeters in length. As someone else said regarding construction of Dyson Spheres, "If you can build it, you don't need it."
    • by XxtraLarGe (551297) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @05:25PM (#14610706) Journal
      Can a weapon like a lightsaber actually exist?

      Ah, but of course! [howstuffworks.com]

    • by radtea (464814) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @05:44PM (#14610904)
      the fact that two lightsabers can clash in a duel mean that there is a solid-like boundary to the blade that is inviolable

      Clearly there is some kind of quantum coherence going on in the plasma that effectively makes each lightsaber a single giant fermion. Then the Pauli exclusion principle keeps any two lightsabers from occupying the same space. This is why the only thing (other than Chuck Norris) that a lightsaber can't cut through is another lightsaber.
      • This is why the only thing (other than Chuck Norris) that a lightsaber can't cut through is another lightsaber.

        What about cortosis?
      • Things to know about Chuck Norris: 1. Chuck Norris' tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried. 2. Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits. 3. Chuck Norris is currently suing NBC, claiming Law and Order are trademarked names for his left and right legs. 4. The chief export of Chuck Norris is pain. 5. Chuck Norris defines love as the reluctance to murder. If you're still alive, it's because Chuck Norris loves you. 6. Chuck Norris isn't hung like a horse. Horses are hung like Chuck Norris. 7. If you c
    • by SETIGuy (33768) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @06:34PM (#14611365) Homepage
      Even the most uninformed fan knows that it's not just the light, but it's plasma being shaped into a cylindrical shape approximately 1 meter in length (according to the Episode III novel) that gives the lightsaber its power. (Yes, and the Force, but let me just talk about the saber for the moment...)

      I have a device that is very much like a light saber that uses no power at all. It consists of a thermal electron plasma which is contained by a matrix of positively charged ions. I can't get it to glow like a "light saber" unless I supply a lot of energy to it, but doing so weakens the ion matrix to the point where it might fail to stand up use.

      Electrostatic repulsion and the strength of the ion matrix prevent it from penetrating another saber of similar design, but the same electrostatic repulsion, when focused to specific parts of the blade, is quite adept at slicing through flesh.

      There is a picture of a saber of the type I describe right here. [medievaltimes.com]

  • Would it be possible to have something as big as a death star? How about Star Destroyers?

    Imagine, a Beowulf Cluster of Death Stars.
  • by Microsift (223381) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @05:28PM (#14610736)
    I'm going to ruin it for you... In episode IV, the Storm Troopers set their blasters for stun and fill the room up with blaster energy (it was represented as concentric circles), and capture Princess Leia. Why on Earth wasn't this the default setting? Much is made in the movies about the Jedi's ability to block blaster fire with their light sabers, (and in Vader's case his hand). It seems like the obvious tactic against a Jedi is set for stun, knock the Jedi out, set for kill, kill the Jedi. No muss, no fuss. But they never do this...
  • Take a lot at the Museum of Science's exhibit about Star Wars. They have plenty of props and there is also some exhibits that are related to the movie.
    http://www.mos.org/doc/1857 [mos.org]
  • by squidfood (149212) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @05:34PM (#14610789)
    Given the angle of attack, exit wound, etc., did Han shoot first?

    (Personally I suspect some post-Imperial propagandist doctored the data).

  • Fifty foot fall (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @05:40PM (#14610860)
    My dad was in the paratroopers (I was born at Ft Campbell). On one jump, one of his fellow paratrooper's chute didn't open, and neither did the reserve.

    Dad says the fellow fell 2000 feet (divide by three for meters), landed in a muddy, plowed field, and didn't break a single bone! He was in the hospital for his bruises for only 2 days (this was in 1951).

    OTOH my Grandfather worked for Purina, and went four floors down an elevator shaft onto a concrete bottom (roughly fifty feet) in 1959. He lived, but he would have beeen better off if he'd died; he was a complete cripple and severely brain damaged, but he lived. But he didn't land in snow or a plowed, muddy field.

    So yes, it's completely plausable to not only fall fifty feet into a snowdrift, but to get up and ride that funny looking horse.

    -mcgrew
  • by JUSTONEMORELATTE (584508) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @06:09PM (#14611125) Homepage
    What's creepier -- flirting with her brother, or flirting with the guards? [irregularwebcomic.net]
  • Can you survive overnight in a blizzard by gutting a dead animal and getting into its carcass?

    "It would have to be a pretty big animal, but have you ever smelled the insides of a dead animal?" Belleci asks. "I think I'd rather freeze to death."

    Hmmm, yes I have. It smelled like chicken or fish, depending on whether i was smelling a dead chicken or a dead fish.

    Boy, that was a tough one but I think we have that myth busted!

  • by gwatt (945206) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @06:33PM (#14611349)
    What about ftl (faster-than-light) travel? I think they might want to ask about that.
  • Midichlorians. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MsGeek (162936) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @07:07PM (#14611679) Homepage Journal
    No mention of the absolute Worst. Star Wars tech. Ever. I suppose midichlorians are so bad they needn't be dignified with a debunking.

    I nearly walked out on Episode I because of them. Reducing The Force to a symbiotic critter in your bloodstream is just plain wrong. I don't know what kind of crack Lucas was smoking when he came up with that concept. But I suspect it would do permanent brain damage, hence the quality of the Prequel Trilogy.

    Lack of exposure to this substance would explain why Genndy Tartakovsky actually did a good job on the Clone Wars shorts.

    Midichlorians. I hate those guys.
  • by TechieHermit (944255) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @07:19PM (#14611808) Journal
    ...Dig a cave in a snowbank, pack the snow down nice and hard, wrap up in as many blankets as you can, and light candles. The temperature will get up around 40 or 50 and you'll be ok. It's an old trick, but a good trick -- snow is an excellent insulator.

    An alternate technique, if the snow is deep enough, is to dig a circular pit around a tree, down to the base of the tree, and tie a tarp around the top of the hole to keep the wind out. The snowbank trick is better, though, especially because you can pile up your own snowbank, pack it, and tunnel into it. :)
  • by glwtta (532858) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @07:21PM (#14611820) Homepage
    Can laser beams travel so slowly that you can see their progress?

    Can mobs of various primitive, semi-sentient beings repeatedly defeat large imperial armies (presumably with state of the art training and equipment), by throwing random objects at them?

    Can ships exploding in space not only make a lot of noise, but also not annihilate other ships in close proximity?

    Can you really cover the same distance in varying numbers of parallax seconds?

    Can all religion be explained with symbiotic micro-organisms?

  • by jbuilder (81344) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <nisefukindave>> on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @07:47PM (#14612033)
    Do ANY of the myths they debunk involve Kari wearing that bronze bikini princess leia wore in Ep 6? If not then I really don't see the point in any further discussion.

    And if any of the discussion DOES involve that bikini for GOD sake please take pictures!

  • by the_rajah (749499) * on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @09:49PM (#14612747) Homepage
    Here in Central Illinois, the story is well known of a circuit riding preacher who was caught out in the sub-sero temperatures of the initial blizzard that started on December 20th, 1830. He managed to survive the night by killing his horse and using it's body warmth. For over two weeks the temperature stayed below -12 degrees F. The article here [rootsweb.com]doen't have that story, but it does describe the conditions that Winter.
  • by triclipse (702209) <slashdotNO@SPAMcombslaw.cc> on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @01:24AM (#14613710) Homepage
    I always wondered why Luke didn't just stick his light sabre in the snow to create a nice, toasty light sabre Jacuzzi.
    • Well, assuming that the lightsaber radiates enough heat to melt a door (as seen in the "Negotiations" scene of The Phantom Menace, you'd have several problems. First, containment. What holds the hot water? The surrounding ice? That would melt too, and your "Jacuzzi" would lose its shape. Second, temperature differential. To melt the snow/heat the water, you'd need to plunge the lightsaber into it, which would create a super-hotspot in the water. Sure, you could stir it around, but you'd risk scalding
  • by boot1973 (809692) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @05:16AM (#14614338)
    Thank you

Whatever is not nailed down is mine. Whatever I can pry up is not nailed down. -- Collis P. Huntingdon, railroad tycoon

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