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Ask The Mythbusters 1435

Who are the Mythbusters? Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman are the hosts of a unique and popular television show on the Discovery cable channel. Working from a background in the special effects industry and shooting on location at effects warehouse M5 Industries, Jamie and Adam attempt to shed light on hearsay, rumour, and myth. Along the way they usually run across a little bit of science, too. Today, you have a chance to put questions to them. We'll take the 15 best questions and pass them on to the gentlemen to be answered sometime soon after the Thanksgiving holiday. One question per comment, please, and keep things topical. We'll post their responses as soon as we get them back, so ask away.
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Ask The Mythbusters

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  • Favorites (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MikesOnFire ( 324035 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:31AM (#14090541)
    Lets start simple -
    What is your favorite Busted Myth and your favorite Confirmed one?
  • Have you ever been completely blown away by what you've found? Has there been an experiment where you two just sit back and say "Huh...who woulda thought?" Most of the myths are pretty easy to debunk, but I'm just curious as to whether or not there was actually one that you guys did that totally shocked you in being true.
  • by richdun ( 672214 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:32AM (#14090570)
    With an unlimited budget, what "myth" would you most like to test? How about using 1960s technology to try and land on the moon?
  • Limited supply? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by CvD ( 94050 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:33AM (#14090584) Homepage Journal
    Do you think you'll ever run out of myths to test?

    BTW love the show, keep up the good work!
  • by skywalker107 ( 220077 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:34AM (#14090589)
    What Myths have you tested that have never made it on the show? What about them made you and the producers decide they didn't qualify to go on the air?
  • by Winterblink ( 575267 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:34AM (#14090591) Homepage
    What has been your most challenging myth to bust? And is there a particular myth you feel would be a challenging one to try taking on?
  • Injuries (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jacksonai ( 604950 ) <> on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:34AM (#14090592) Homepage
    What is the worst injury anyone sustained while trying to bust a myth?
  • Build Team (Score:3, Interesting)

    by I_Strahd ( 791299 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:34AM (#14090597)
    Can you please get rid of the build team segments? These segments are annoying and I fast forward throught them anyway. I would really enjoy more actual show. Thanks!
  • by selil ( 774924 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:35AM (#14090599)
    Have you all figured out yet that a Robin Hood (two arrows impacting the same spot) is actually possible? disgruntled archer.
  • ultimate myth? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Antonymous Flower ( 848759 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:35AM (#14090602) Homepage
    What myth would the Mythbusters most like to investigate but lack the means to do so?
  • upside down car (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Marqis ( 197235 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:35AM (#14090605) Homepage

    I heard that an F1 racing car has enough downdraft to drive upside down at speed. True or false?
  • Fact vs Fun (Score:5, Interesting)

    by elrick_the_brave ( 160509 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:35AM (#14090609)
    When I watch your show, it's obvious that there is a lot of fun going on. Who wouldn't like blowing up, breaking down, stinking up, falling down, and all-around destroying everything?

    For those of us not of TV-land.. how long does it take for you guys to produce an average episode.. how much of it is fun vs time spent working on getting it right?

    Would you consider a contest to have a guest helper? (Not that I am plugging this potential guest helper at all.. no!).
  • Own myths? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:35AM (#14090612) Homepage
    Was there ever a myth you guys created be it intentional or by accident. As such, have others had to debunk this myth?
  • Is it true? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by robyannetta ( 820243 ) * on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:36AM (#14090614) Homepage
    Similar to a stunt in a famous James Bond film, can a person really be shot out of a submarine torpedo tube?
  • by hal2814 ( 725639 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:36AM (#14090626)
    Did you guys come up with the idea for the show or was it presented to you? If you came up with it yourself, how?
  • Budget (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wobedraggled ( 549225 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:36AM (#14090627) Homepage
    What is the most you can spend on one myth? What is the most spent so far on one myth? Thanks, and awesome show
  • q: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheBeardIsRed ( 695409 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:36AM (#14090628)
    What was the pitch process like for the show and what myths did you propose to sell the TV execs on it?
  • Impact on the World (Score:5, Interesting)

    by verbatim_verbose ( 411803 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:37AM (#14090636)
    Of all of the myths you have busted, has any one in particular stood out as changing the way much of the public thinks?
  • Gilligan's Island (Score:5, Interesting)

    by netglen ( 253539 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:37AM (#14090637)
    QUESTION: Is it possible to create batteries out of coconuts like in all those episodes of Gilligan's Island?
  • Computer myths? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Short Circuit ( 52384 ) * <> on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:37AM (#14090638) Homepage Journal
    Could you take on some computer myths? Like whether or not it was ever possible for a virus to destroy old monitors? It was rumored that if a virus could change the refresh rates to a too low or too high setting, you could fry some of the internal circuitry.
  • Critique (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CrazySailor ( 20688 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:37AM (#14090643) Homepage Journal
    How would you address the critique that you excessively extrapolate from a single data point to a generality?

    In particular I refer to a show where you were examining fuel mileage on SUVs with windows open vs. air conditioning. As an engineer, I believe that you failed to conduct adequate experimentation to demonstrate anything other than results at a single data point and you didn't make that clear to your viewers.
  • Source Material (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DigitalSorceress ( 156609 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:38AM (#14090657)
    I've been a fan since your first season, and in that time, you've covered quite a few of the big, classic myths and legends. Are you ever concerned that you'll "use up" all the best source material, sort of running out of steam as it were? or is the internet such a fertile ground for kooks and bad jokes that you figure you can go on indefinitely (or at least until you accidentally cause the spontaneous destruction of the universe while trying to prove a theory about the second gunman in the Grassy Knoll)
  • by s20451 ( 410424 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:38AM (#14090666) Journal
    Let me firstly say that I like your show as entertainment. However, I do not like it as a form of true skepticism or as science. What you do is fun and interesting, but it is not rigorous. I'm thinking particularly of the time you tried to flip a taxi with a jet engine, which failed on your show, but which actually happened in real life. So it's not obvious that a failure on your show means anything.

    My question is this: are you taking yourselves too seriously as "myth busters"? (And a suggestion: why not let a physics prof supervise some of your stunts?)
  • Blasting Zone Myth (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fatboy ( 6851 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:39AM (#14090673)
    Hey guys, love the show. I was wondering why you have not tackled the "Blasting Zone" myth. You know, were you are asked to turn off 2-way radio equipment and Cell Phones when passing through a "Blasting Zone". I ask this because several years ago there was an accidental blast in my home town and many speculated on the radio that it was caused by RF from a cellphone. Several of us amateur radio operators kind of laughed at that because there are few guys that supposedly tried to set off a blasting cap with radios, just to see if it could be done. They went so far as to even wire the blasting cap into a 100 watt VHF (low band ~50Mhz) radio's antenna jack. Nope it didn't go off. Using inverse square law, it seems very unlikely that a cellphone or 2-way radio could set off a blasting cap at any distance.
  • Myth Creation (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mrthoughtful ( 466814 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:39AM (#14090676) Journal
    Have you attempted to create any myths of your own?

    There is a myth that myths/new words can be created and propagated very easily, such as the famous myth relating to the Dublin origins of the word "Quiz" - similar to memes such as "All your Base" -though you tend to prefer big explosion myths (and I know why!)

    So - why not see if you can create a myth (that involves explosions, and bust your own myth, and then confirm the myth of being able to create myths?!
  • Budget restrictions? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mr Bill ( 21249 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:39AM (#14090677)

    What sort of budget limits do you guys have for your show these days? I remember seeing some earlier episodes where money really seemed to be an issue (spending an extra $700 on helium for the weather baloon lawn chair seemed to cause some concern). Whereas these days you guys seem to have no problem blowing up cement trucks or catapulting a boom lift.

    As a corollary: Which experiment(s) ran rediculously over budget, and which one was surpirisingly cheap to pull off?

  • by unipus ( 731704 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:39AM (#14090681) Homepage
    Hey guys, great show! Just wondering, what's are the best and worst aspects of moving from behind the scenes to in front of the lens?
  • Question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lunchlady55 ( 471982 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:39AM (#14090684)
    What is the most tedious part of busting myths? I'm sure alot of the fun and games gets on camera, but what are we not seeing and why is it still important?
  • Myths you cannot do? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jessejay356 ( 625312 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:41AM (#14090702) Homepage
    Have there been any myths that were either too expensive or dangerous that you just would not do?
  • by Heliologue ( 883808 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:42AM (#14090721)
    I agree. Actually, I'm surprised this thread hasn't been overwhelmed with drooling over this very subject. In a related but more serious note: I've noticed that Kari seems to get more and more screen time; disproportionately so. Is there a concerted effort to boost her involvement (and no one is questioning her skill or usefulness) as a way to appeal to fans who, well, want to know her (in the Biblical sense)?
  • by arnie_apesacrappin ( 200185 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:42AM (#14090729)
    When watching the show, the introduction emphasizes your experience in the special effects industry but I think I recall you referring to yourselves as scientists on occasion. The reason I ask for clarification is that you routinely ignore good scientific methods. The best example I can think of off the top of my head was the windows down vs. air conditioning myth. I know you revisited the myth, but your initial tests were poor science at best. Couldn't you have some sort of science advisor to at least make sure that there is some sort of logical sense to your experiments?

    Even with my harsh comments, I'm not disrespecting your show. I have it setup to record on my DVR every week. I mostly enjoy the shows but occasionally your lack of scientific method is maddening. I realize you are probably cutting a lot out for the sake of TV, but could you at least point out that there are some possibilities you aren't testing?

  • My Question (Score:2, Interesting)

    by IvanGirderboot ( 925273 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:43AM (#14090735)
    How did you find your Interns/assistants, or did they find you? ..Are they hiring?

    Great Show Guys!
  • by Aggrazel ( 13616 ) <> on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:44AM (#14090761) Journal
    I'm a father of a 7 year old who absolutely loves your show. We have it on our tivo and I'm constantly pausing the show to ask him what he thinks will happen in your experiments.

    You start every show with "Don't try this at home" but sometimes there are experiments that you do which you could try this at home. Have you ever considered having a show where you say, "DO Try this at home?" Its fun to see my child get such a love of science in such a fun way.
  • by lividdr ( 775594 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:44AM (#14090764) Homepage
    Love the show - it's spawned some serious fights with my wife over control of the TV at 9PM on Wednesdays (stupid "Lost" ending up in the same slot!). You guys have just about every geek's dream job - everything from mangling crash test dummies to driving a police cruiser by remote.

    From watching the show, it looks like you've got a relatively tight budget on a lot of the myths you bust. Lots of the gear is picked up from junkyards, donated, or just lying around the warehouse. What was the most expensive myth to bust? What's the single most expensive piece of equipment you've had to buy while busting a myth?

    Then there's the explosions. Things go boom a lot on the show. What's the biggest yield explosion you've ever detonated - I'm thinking of the cement truck that disintegrated in one particular episode, but there was also the critter in the drain pipe, the explosions in the pressurized airliner, the log cannon, the methane in the honey bucket...
  • Scientist on staff? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by caveat ( 26803 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:44AM (#14090766)
    I've noticed you guys have a regard for the scientific method, and make quite an effort to try and keep things controlled with regards to how you run your experiments and derive your conclusions. Have you ever considered bringing a formally trained scientist onto the crew to make sure you're going "by the book", so to speak?
  • Groupies? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Frankie70 ( 803801 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:45AM (#14090786)
    Do you have any groupies following the MythBusters show?
  • by loftwyr ( 36717 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:45AM (#14090789)
    Over the past few seasons, you've exploded a lot of myths (please exccuse the pun). However, there can't be that many myths that can be tested using your techniques. Are you looking into new ways of testing different types of myths or do you feel the show has a limited run, once you've finished the list of commonly held beliefs that can be tested through blowing up a crash test dummy or other physical tests?

    Would there be room on your show for phycological behviour myths through the use of a psychologist as example?
  • M5 Industries (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JBMcB ( 73720 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:46AM (#14090801)
    Are you still doing special effects for commercials and/or movies, or is Mythbusters your full time job now? Have your mythbusting experiments helped out with your special effects work?
  • by neile ( 139369 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:47AM (#14090812)
    In last week's episode Adam was specifically saying how the myth they were testing (tailgate up or down for better fuel economy) was one of the experiments where the result totally surprised them.

    The same episode also had them surprised that a finger in the barrel of a gun, even though it couldn't stop the bullet, would actually cause enough pressure buildup to deform the gun barrel at the tip.

  • Love the Mythbusters (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Exp315 ( 851386 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:49AM (#14090833)
    Best show on television. You guys have my dream job. I disagree with the guy that said the Mythbusters' results aren't meaningful because you aren't thorough enough - it looks like you are as thorough as it's possible to be under the circumstances, and you aren't afraid to revisit a myth if you find out more. I also agree with the guy that said you should do a show on computer-related myths (this is Slashdot, after all). But here's my personal question: How much help do you really get from assistants behind the scenes that we don't get to see on camera? It looks like you give plenty of credit to your on-camera team, but do you have other guys that routinely help you build stuff, or on-staff scientific/engineering advisors etc?
  • Blows Me Away (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:49AM (#14090844) Journal
    Have you ever been completely blown away by what you've found

    Well, there was that one show where they had they FBI hook them up with several TONS of high powered explosives.

    Then they used it to make a cement mixer truck dissappear.
    Here's the video [] (CoralCDN to the rescue)

    That pretty much blew me away.
  • by the_lp ( 933099 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:50AM (#14090863)
    Just a quick question... In the slingshot episode, why would Canadians try to fly over a fence when there is no fence on much of the border? (if there is any) That couldn't have been the myth In the pilot with the hair cream... well that might have been the myth... And Yes we have stronger beer :)
  • Guests on the show (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LMac ( 891134 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:51AM (#14090874)
    Have you ever considered having "Guest Busters"? For example if a viewer suggests a good myth to bust and it makes the cut, they get to come on the show and help you guys out.
  • Shown vs. Not Shown (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Craig Maloney ( 1104 ) * on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:52AM (#14090886) Homepage
    Hi Guys,

    Has there ever been a segment that you wish had been shown, but didn't make the cut? Conversely, was there a segment that did make the final show that you wish had not been shown?
  • Controversial topics (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DavidHumus ( 725117 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:52AM (#14090894)
    Have the Mythbusters considered taking on more controversial topics?

    While issues like global warming or fake debates like ID versus evolution are too complex or philosophical to be simply tested on TV, how about something on the efficacy of various alternative medical therapies?

    On completely unrelated topics, how about the myth that a penny dropped from the top of the Empire State Building would pierce someone's skull or the one that rice causes pigeons to explode?

  • Jamie's mistakes (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:53AM (#14090900)
    On the show we always get to see Adam doing dumb things (we don't blame him its the only way he'll learn) I'm wondering what do you Jamie think the dumbest thing you've ever done on the job is?

    I don't mean on the show I mean something back when you were working in the special effects industry, I think it would comfort all(especially Adam) of us to know that even you once did dumb things :)

    Thank you for making a great and always entertaining show.
  • by TheRealMindChild ( 743925 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:56AM (#14090939) Homepage Journal
    What everyone REALLY wants to know is (several questions, but one answer can nail them all):

    - Would you choose to be a Super Hero duo, or a pair of villains, which would you be?
    - Would they be original characters, or someone/something that already exists?
    - Would you wear tights?
    - WHY?
  • Socrates Death Ray (Score:3, Interesting)

    by scronline ( 829910 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:56AM (#14090943) Homepage
    First off to the poster, it's not a "cable" channel :)

    But my question is this....

    No offense, but you guys don't have PhDs or anything like that. Doesn't it stand to reason that documented proof that students from MIT that could prove that the Death Ray could be reproduced show that it could be done?

    Taking into consideration that atmospheric temperature will affect the amount of heat needed to cause combustion and the fact that the bay area CA is a constantly windy location with cool air constantly coming off the water which will also cool "the target". "The Med" being much warmer as well as closer to the equator (and thus more direct sunlight). Wouldn't those conditions be much easier to cause combustion? As a former welder, I know that during the winter for me to make the same welding runs (I worked out doors) in 5 degree weather vs. 80 degree weather I would have to turn the heat up a bit with the first stick so the metal could warm to a sufficent level. I could then turn the amps back down and follow my heat trail.
  • by everphilski ( 877346 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:57AM (#14090956) Journal
    I'm a fan of the show - my wife and I catch it every week. However as a mechanical engineer there are a lot of times we are watching and realise that there are some basic scientific misteaks being made. For example the myth about the hair creme in the cockpit... the cockpit was pressurized at 5psi (i think, or some PSI) at altitude, **not** being pressurized at 5psi over ambient.

    I guess my question is I realise the two of you and your newer companions all have a long heritage in special effects, but not necessarily in hardcore engineering (thermodynamics / mechanics / etc.). Where is the line drawn between science and special effects? The consultants are fine, but have you ever considered hiring a staff engineer?

  • Fans' science (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SilentChris ( 452960 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:57AM (#14090963) Homepage
    How often do fans question your results? Have you had any diehard science/physics freaks tell you you're wrong? Have the "redone mythbustings" occured because of these?

    Great fan of the show, by the way. :) Keep up the good work.
  • by Ancient_Hacker ( 751168 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:58AM (#14090967)
    • The Romans didnt have the number zero.
    • If you let a bird loose in an airplane, the plane gets lighter.
    • Glass flows, albeit slowly.
    • Aluminum foil sould always be used shiny side out.
    • Car oil filters are critically important (in their filtration ability).
    • A car shock absorber absorbs the shocks.
    • Placing a car battery on a concrete floor drains it of energy.
  • Skills needed (Score:3, Interesting)

    by skrysakj ( 32108 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:59AM (#14090987) Homepage Journal
    Can you list the core skills you would recommend to someone if they wanted to
    be as adept as you at designing, crafting, and engineering things?
    (For example: knowledge of welding, some carpentry, basic chemical interactions and electrical engineering)
  • Insurance issues (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mattegger ( 265484 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @12:00PM (#14090996) Homepage
    Last year I heard an insurance underwriter speak about the challenges of covering reality TV. I don't want to lump your program in the same category of "reality" TV, but he did mention that there were shows or specific stunts that he was not able to cover. Have you ever been unable to debunk a myth because of liability/insurance reasons?
  • by _xeno_ ( 155264 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @12:01PM (#14091013) Homepage Journal

    Given that you often refer to getting "lots of angry emails" based on the show, why would you agree to do an interview with one of the websites that's frequented by the type of people that generate most of that angry email? Are you hoping that they'll waste time posting comments and that you can let the moderators get rid of them as opposed to your staff?

    Oh, and can you get Discovery to show the show at some time other than 9:00PM EST on Wednesdays? I have a commitment then and always have to miss it. (Silly family.)

  • Bloopers! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by binaryDigit ( 557647 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @12:01PM (#14091019)
    You guys should easily have enough blooper material to fill a show by now, let's have it.

    So, barring, that, my question would be, what are your top 5 "oops" incidents that never made it on to the screen?
  • by zanderredux ( 564003 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @12:02PM (#14091028)
    Since we're getting back to the "jet vs. taxi" thing, one thing they didn't reproduce was the circumstance of the, say, "taxi ejection".

    The taxi was crossing the runway at the point planes approach for landing. This might have been a key part left out since there is an enormous air pressure under the plane during landing, which, in turn, associates with the vortices created both by jet exhaust and wind passing through the wings.

    The myth is plausible, as they later admitted (evidence from TV footage, right?), but incredingbly if not impossibly hard to reproduce.

    Question: what they can do to improve mythbusting on these kinds of myths? Are there any methodologies in sight?

  • Re:upside down car (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Guysmiley777 ( 880063 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @12:03PM (#14091044)
    True, sort of. You have to consider what the downforce is there for in the first place though.

    The car produces more downforce than it weighs, that is true. It generates this force to exert more pressure on the tires, and thus more traction.

    Ok, flip it upside down. Now instead of having downforce plus the weight of the car now you have only the downforce MINUS the car's weight acting on the tires. With that decrease in traction, the rear tires won't have enough grip to maintain speed. Less speed means less downforce, which means less traction which means even LESS speed which leads to not driving upside down anymore.
  • Re:Favorites (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kpwoodr ( 306527 ) <> on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @12:05PM (#14091060) Homepage Journal
    The title of your show is "Myth Busters". That said it would seem to your benefit to have more bustable myths than not. Your reputation seems to be at stake with the need to stay above .500. Otherwise you might have to change the name of your show to something like "Myth Guys" or "Guys who sometimes bust myths, but only easy ones".

    Are there any myths that the network won't let you have a crack at?
  • working at M5 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kin_korn_karn ( 466864 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @12:07PM (#14091083) Homepage
    How do you recruit talent for M5? What qualifies someone to work there?

  • by rastakid ( 648791 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @12:09PM (#14091102) Homepage Journal
    Simple question but I'm curious: do you read Slashdot?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @12:12PM (#14091143)
    Mod the parent up.

    Although Myth Busters is quite entertaining my school science teacher would fail me if I tried to pass off what is done as actual science. You do little or no research before attempting to "debunk" a myth.

    For example you disproved a myth that a lot of people marching in unison could cause a bridge to sway. You mention Roman legions used to march out of rythm when crossing bridges in order to avoid this. What you didn't mention was that this was proven with the opening of the Millenium Bridge in Londom where hundreds of people walking across it caused it to sway by several metres.

    In another show you nearly made me cry when you tried to show that a portable toilet couldn't explode if someone tried to light a match in it. At one point one of the female presenters said "have we proven methane isn't flamable?"!!! You science belongs in an Kansas school room! ;)

  • Myths to avoid? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by immel ( 699491 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @12:14PM (#14091167)
    I've seen a lot of questions so far about myths you would like to do if you had an unlimited budget, if you were invincible like Superman, or if danger to people, property, or reality in general was no object. But is there a myth that you would NOT do even if you had all those things? Do you believe that there are myths that are better left unsolved or too controvertial (basically flamebait myths)?
  • REJECTED MYTHS? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RUFFyamahaRYDER ( 887557 ) <slashdot&kelsdomain,com> on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @12:15PM (#14091179) Homepage
    It seems like you guys are willing to try to bust any myth, but there have got to be some myths out there that you are too afraid to attempt to replicate. So my questions is:

    What are some of the rejected myths that were too dangerous to pull off and why?

    BTW - Thank you for having a great show that is both entertaining and educational.
  • by spaceyhackerlady ( 462530 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @12:20PM (#14091263)

    The AC-vs-windows open myth was one of the few I found to be experimentally unsound, but since it's Mythbusters, I let it slide.

    I sometimes wonder what was their most memorable Buster moment, like the time he fell off the life raft while it was being hoisted by the helicopter. Adam seemed genuinely upset at the carnage...

    Jamie and Adam may not have flipped a car with jet engines, but Top Gear [] did. It doesn't take much to flip a 2CV [], but the Mundano, er, Mondeo was another matter.


  • Libility aside.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DarthVain ( 724186 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @12:21PM (#14091293)
    What is the stupidest thing either of you have done for the show? or conversly what was the stupidest thing that you almost did, and at last minute were like "Hmmm maybe not such a good idea..."?
  • Re:question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by harlows_monkeys ( 106428 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @12:22PM (#14091300) Homepage
    does semen have a really high protein content -- in that it would be healthy for a women to consume regularly?

    This is more of a Straight Dope question, and it has indeed been dealt with there.

    OK, here's a question for the Mythbusters: ever thought of collaborating with others who do similar work? Say, bring in Cecil Adams as a guest Mythbuster? Or maybe Penn & Teller?

  • How'd you start? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by 3D Monkey ( 808934 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @12:23PM (#14091311)
    I'm curently a student of 3D special effects and animation. Physical effects and mechanical engineering have always been a secret passion of mine.

    How did you start your careers in physical special effects, and what training does it take to be a "mythbuster"?

  • by Deven ( 13090 ) <> on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @12:25PM (#14091336) Homepage
    Most restaurants seem to believe that ice is free, and therefore tend to overfill the ice to save money on soda. However, the energy required to freeze water to make ice should be considered -- is the real cost of ice actually less than the cost of an equivalent volume of soda?
  • by StormCrow ( 10254 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @12:25PM (#14091345) Homepage
    It appears that they get a lot of the biggest budget items donated. Any large vehicle that's been destroyed/damaged has been donated by some fan or another. I'm also sure that there is a sliding scale of budget for "cooler" (read blowing things up) myths.
  • Questions... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jackie_Chan_Fan ( 730745 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @12:25PM (#14091349)
    First off, i love the show. They seem like really nice folks.

    Adam worked on some of the Star Wars films. Which ones and what was his specific job as apart of the special fx team?

    It's nice to see a "mr wizard" like show on TV. Like Don Herbert, they make science look fun and exciting. Which is always a good thing in todays world. We need more American's motivated by science and its one of the few shows that easily exposes new people to science and special fx work.

    Have shows like Mr Wizard, American Scientific Frontiers, Bill Nye the Science guy, Nova, and the likes influenced them? How important is the educational aspects to the program? I've noticed that they do try to explain things and often there are things that can be learned. It seems they balance the "awe" with the "knowledge" aspects of the show thus keeping it it fun, entertaining and still very educational.

    Have there been any close calls? Anything that hasnt aired that might be of interest? :)

  • by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) <> on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @12:33PM (#14091464) Journal
    I've broken the nock off more than a few arrows in my time, which, in this time of aluminum arrows, is about as close to "splitting" an arrow as you can get. If you're a good shot, and you're shooting at a small target it's not unlikely that you could hit an arrow that's already there. Basic probability distribution says that.

    You'd have to be more uber than me to be able to do it repeatedly, or to hit the arrow on purpose, but I've known people who could hit their own arrow, given a few shots.

    If I'd seen them prove that one "busted", I would have been peeved as well. In the era that they're referring to, in England, archery was the only allowed sport...I bet there were some damn ferocious archers, who could do things that modern sport hunters would not be capable of. They bow hunted for birds for christs sake.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @12:35PM (#14091486)
    What do you think about the dumbing down of the Discovery Channel? Discovery's programming used to be packed with science and nature shows. These days, its packed with motorcycle handle-bar fabrication and hot-rod build-outs. Your show seems to be one of the few that actually has anything to do with science, in that you've used some basic physics on some of the shows.

    Please please please don't start building motorcycles on your show.
  • by Eric_Cartman_South_P ( 594330 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @12:36PM (#14091494)
    What is the one myth you would like to bust, think you could bust, but the network says "NO!" for whever reason (danger, money, etc)?
  • Re:Limited supply? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @12:37PM (#14091508)
    do you ever plan on trying to tip a cow? hyneman seems like a big scrappy guy, if he can't do it, then i know i can't. also, kari is very hot and should be on the show more.
  • by Kodack ( 795456 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @12:37PM (#14091512)
    San Francisco recently put a ban on hanguns in the city limit. People are not allowed to own, possess, manufacture or sell firearms within the city anymore. Several episodes involve busting firearms myths. How will this new law affect the show? Michael Scott Plano, TX
  • Myth-ing Proof (Score:5, Interesting)

    by caffeinebill ( 661471 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @12:39PM (#14091535) Journal
    Are there any myths you would love to test/bust/confirm but it is not possible to prove/disprove it? For example, have you pondered the myth that NASA filmed the landings on the moon in a studio?
  • Worst Fallout (Score:5, Interesting)

    by theonetruekeebler ( 60888 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @12:44PM (#14091609) Homepage Journal
    Okay, there are a lot of people and companies who have invested heavily in the credibility of various myths and bogosities. Some of them are scammers, and some are true believers.

    What Busting has had the most dramatic fallout for companies and people who've relied on the Myth being true?

    And while we're out it, how many times have you been sued or threatened with lawsuits?

  • by MykePagan ( 452299 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @12:49PM (#14091668)
    ...of budding scientists and engineers? Today's mainstream society treats technology as a black box, never to be opened or touched. Inquisitive kids need to be shown that they can take things apart, learn about them, and experiment with them. I don't buy into the complaint that Mythbusters lacks scientific rigor. Better to try things out in your back yard with only one or two data points than to accept things without thought.

    I watch the show with my 9-year-old daughter. The highest compliment I can pay is that the show makes her ask a continuous stream of questions about what you are doing.
  • Energy drinks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheGSRGuy ( 901647 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @12:49PM (#14091670)
    Red Bull, Monster, Rockstar, No Fear...there's tons of these so-called "energy drinks" on the market. But do they even have any tangible effects? What's really happening to me for $2.49? Is it just an overpriced can of soda?
  • Dangerous work (Score:3, Interesting)

    by signingis ( 158683 ) <signingis&hotmail,com> on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @12:55PM (#14091729) Journal
    From the look of things, your "arena" can be pretty dangerous. How close have you come to killing yourselves or someone else in one of your episodes?
  • I noticed that in the more recent episodes instead of just Jamie and Adam in the "Who are the Mythbusters?" section of the opening credits, you also have Grant, Kari and Tory listed. It's still the two of you who get the iconic billing, but why the change? Are they more than just "Mythterns" now? (i.e., permanent cast members)

    Also my Wife noted "boy they don't really make any bones about using Kari for sex appeal" and not that I mind one bit but I did notice that even before changes in billing and the departure of other female Mythterns, Kari was pretty much like the third host of the show. Were I to guess I'd say her increased useage on the show was Discovery's idea (since the audience is probably mostly male) - is there any concern about using her too much?

  • Didn't Air (Score:2, Interesting)

    by EBFoxbat ( 897297 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @12:59PM (#14091802)
    Have you ever carried out an experiment with the intent of showing it on the show and then had it not air?
  • Re:Injuries (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ubergrendle ( 531719 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @01:01PM (#14091821) Journal
    On a related note...

    Are there any myths that you would like to attempt to prove/disprove, but the risk involved is too great? Specifically, are there any scenarios that you can build sufficient saftey measures around that would allow you to test?

    (Love your show, keep up the good work. One of the few things worth watching on Discovery anymore...)
  • Re:Favorites (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Glsai ( 840331 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @01:05PM (#14091856) Journal
    It's quite a bit more expensive than salt, but this has to be a much geekier way to do it: []
  • Nuclear Power (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @01:05PM (#14091863)

    I used to work at a nuclear power station in the UK (Magnox).

    The DND (Delayed Neutron Detection) system was highly sensative to RF. Distant thunderstorms or on-site welding could set it off, and trip both reactors.

    Cell phones were banned on site for this reason. One day some moron was sitting in the canteen and fired up his cell phone. Reactor 2 tripped on DND.

  • by Pollux ( 102520 ) <speter@t e d a t a> on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @01:07PM (#14091878) Journal
    I remember the episode where you were trying to make the Intrepid taxi tip over using a jet engine, but were unable to use a commercial 737 jet due to "safety concerns" with your insurance company.

    What is going on behind the scenes that we don't see on camera to keep all your stunts and myth busting as safe as possible? Also, after seeing you turn a hydrolic lift into a catapult (hoisted up on empty shipping cargo crates, no less), how can a commercial 737 jet be considered unsafe?
  • Bittorrent (Score:5, Interesting)

    by boatboy ( 549643 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @01:07PM (#14091879) Homepage
    First make sure the lawyers aren't around, then answer this one: Your show is available on bittorrent networks to download and watch when/where it's more convenient. Some users, however, could download the show without paying for it via cable service. How do you personally feel about this? (Cheated\Angry\Flattered\What's A Bittorrent?)
  • Re:Favorites (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ArsonSmith ( 13997 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @01:07PM (#14091882) Journal
    Simpler still, Are you hiring?

    Ohh, my dream job. Build stuff then blow it up.
  • Kari (Score:3, Interesting)

    by NardofDoom ( 821951 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @01:18PM (#14091980)
    Dear Savage and Teh Hyneman:

    Are you upset that your prominence in the show went downhill after you brought Kari on board? Cause you know most geeks are tuning in to see the hot redhead, not you two goofs.


  • by tomcres ( 925786 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @01:25PM (#14092045)
    Can you guys like try to bust the myth that you can't read Slashdot and get laid?
  • How many times... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jav1231 ( 539129 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @01:29PM (#14092082)
    I'm curious as to how many "You busted this myth, but my cousin's best friend's brother actually had that happen to him!" responses you get.
  • by Divide By Zero ( 70303 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @01:29PM (#14092091)
    The myth was that it was done with a wooden arrow so that's what they were trying to prove. They went to a local archery club and found archers who'd done this with carbon fiber arrows (and had the arrows to prove it), though not a perfect nock-to-tip split. Most were telescoped or had sheared off a part of the "target" arrow.

    They tried what I assume was field point - a pencil-tip-like point, met with no success, and moved to broadhead. Still no success. A combination of the wobbly-arrow-in-flight phenomenon (which I'm sure has a name) and the inability to get perfectly straight wood grain on their "target" arrow was what busted it.
  • Since its slashdot (Score:2, Interesting)

    by del_ctrl_alt ( 602455 ) <paulsd&skiing8,freeserve,co,uk> on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @01:29PM (#14092095)
    what kind of technology are you both into and using. (eg. PC or Mac? Windows or Linux? Explorer or Firefox?) and do you use it for any aspect of the show.
  • by Kickassthegreat ( 654117 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @01:39PM (#14092190)
    I have heard several times of supposed myths which were 'Busted' on your show, only to be refuted by scientists, educators, government officials, etc.

    A particular incident of this which comes to mind was the 'myth' of 'Urinating on the Third Rail', which had been 'Busted' on the show, but which was later refuted by officials from a large city (I believe it was New York) who stated that several people each year are electrocuted by contact with the third rail in their subways, and felt the show had misportrayed the safety hazards of contact with a third rail.

    What efforts do you take to ensure that the science of the tests you are performing is valid? Do you have any sort of outside independant review (similar to a scientific peer review process), to ensure that you are not accidentally miseducating the public (either about potential real dangers, or simply by teaching bad science)?
  • by CaroKann ( 795685 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @01:39PM (#14092195)
    I have always wondered, if a real life person were to engage in a firefight like they do in a typical action movie, how much ammunition would that person have to carry?
  • Fooling Police Radar (Score:3, Interesting)

    by KC7GR ( 473279 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @01:49PM (#14092284) Homepage Journal
    Considering that part of my job is repairing and certifying police radar and LIDAR units, I have to ask...

    When you did the episode where you were debunking the myth that hanging a CD or something similar from the rear-view mirror would confuse SMDs (Speed Measuring Devices): Did you ever consider (or try) taking the microwave source/horn assembly from a junked radar unit, and mounting it in the car so it was facing forward (through the windshield) and powered up?

    Or, alternatively, how about having someone in the passenger seat operating an identical radar unit to the one being used by whoever's measuring the vehicle speed?

    With that said, let me add that neither technique would be very effective (if at all) in actually fooling radar units (the receiving unit would probably just interpret the approaching signal as a really strong return echo), but I would like to see you repeat the experiment under such conditions. I'd be curious to know how the SMD reacts.

    Thanks much.

  • Batteries (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Council ( 514577 ) <[rmunroe] [at] []> on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @01:49PM (#14092287) Homepage
    What battery has the most energy in it? (AA, AAA)

    It varies with discharge rates, of course, but you can do a bunch of very public tests in different applications and come up with some total energy numbers.

    Every time I see that ad that says "if you think all batteries are the same, consider this:" I always get excited, thinking they're actually gonna show me some, however biased, numbers. But they just say "famous person x trusts these batteries." It seems that if there's really a difference between duracel and energizer and the off-brands, whoever has more energy would quantify and advertise it. But they don't think it's a good idea, for whatever reason.

    Wanna do it for them?
  • Science Education? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by radl33t ( 900691 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @01:53PM (#14092327)
    I think your show offers excellent scientific exposure to lay people. Unfortunately, this seems lost on reflection. Do you think your show would better promote an interest in science if it was an explicit goal and component of discussion?
  • Re:Favorites (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DesireCampbell ( 923687 ) <> on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @02:05PM (#14092438) Homepage
    Exactly, one of my favourite upisodes was the myth about diving underwater to escape gun fire. The shot bullets into the water to see how far it took to slow the bullets down enought to make them non-lethal. The 9mm hadgun took about a dozen feet (as I recall) and the shotgun took about the same. When they moved up to supersonic weapons, the water proved an insurmountable force - stopping the bullets almost instantly, and more, the bullets SHATTERED into hundreds of peices withing the first foot of water. They even tested anti-TANK rifles - huge explosion of water, little fragments of bullet. Proving you could be completly safe from firearms if you slim a couple of feet underwater. Just one of the myths that they proved true.
  • by TheHawke ( 237817 ) <rchapin@[ ] ['stx' in gap]> on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @02:22PM (#14092573)
    or on the phone for that matter. You guys partially busted that, but I feel that the energy source that you guys used did not have the voltage or amperage that real lightning packs. What about using a Quarter Shrinker to get the genuine results? The gadget pushes over 100K Amps @ 15K Volts @ 6,500 Joules, can reshape any metallic object that you wind in a copper coil. IMHO, that is as close as you can get to the genuine article. []

    And knowing Adam, he'll be giggling like a kid in a candy store when he hears the shrinker fire the first time at 5K Joules.
  • by zonix ( 592337 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @02:28PM (#14092627) Homepage Journal

    Could you take on some computer myths?

    Oooh, how about Van Eck Phreaking []? Not exactly a myth, but wouldn't it be cool?

    Would it be allowed even?

  • My question... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by duke_cheetah2003 ( 862933 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @02:31PM (#14092665) Homepage
    I didn't have time to read through 3 pages of comments to see if someone asked this one: Has there been a myth you guys considered too dangerous to attempt to confirm or bust, if so, what was it?
  • Halloween (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BenderMan ( 840332 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @02:31PM (#14092669)
    Given all the cool technology at your disposal, do you guys build costumes for halloween? If so, what are some of the costumes you've built? Pics.
  • McGyver? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dascandy ( 869781 ) <> on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @02:34PM (#14092711)
    McGyver appears to be able to make anything he wants out of duct tape, a few pens, some rubber ducting, steel tubing and a torch. It does sound believable at times. Which ones would you like to try?
  • by PoitNarf ( 160194 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @02:35PM (#14092719)
    I'm sure plenty of people are interested in how myths are selected for each show. Who gets to pick the myths to bust? Do you rely mostly on fan submissions about myths, or do you come up with the myths yourselves?
  • Re:Favorites (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mugs_oh ( 910277 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @02:37PM (#14092730)
    They do lose credibility on this when they show the video of a taxi being flipped by a jet engine in Brazil. Their mistake is that they never stay true to the conditions of the myth. They often interjct their own thoughts as to what is should be instead of what it was. In this case they used a heavy American taxi instead of the lightweight little cares used as taxis in Brazil. They were too short-sighted and didn't research their experiment. I used to like this show, but became too frustrated watching it and seeing glaring porblems with their recreations. Another example is the "Magic Bullet" experiment from the Kennedy assasination. They assumed the "Magic Bullet" was made out of ice. But, in the lore of the assisination the "Magic Bullet" is used to refer to a bullet that entered and exited Kennedy twice and ended up in Conolly's leg. Again, they got it wrong. There are some theories that an ice bullet was used, but it is not the Magic Bullet so often referred to.
  • by hendersj ( 720767 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @03:08PM (#14093057)
    While the idea has been "posted to death" on Discovery's message boards, I would like to know why you haven't done a show on cell phone interference. I used to travel a lot, and it always made me laugh when the pilots would put their phones on the center console in the airplane, and then would ask passengers to turn their phones off. I've talked to pilots about the idea of cell phones interfering with aircraft navigation systems, and all they do is laugh; yet the FAA wants the public to believe that a cell phone being left on or operated on a plane will cause the navigation systems to go nuts - or at worst, that a rogue cell phone could bring the plane down.
  • Re:Favorites (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @03:19PM (#14093194)
    > Are there any myths that the network won't let you have a crack at?

    Creationism... Intelligent Design?

    Now that would be a hell of an episode. No pun intended.
  • by joemontgom ( 933181 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @03:28PM (#14093290)
    My question for Mythbusters. A baseball pitcher stands in the back of a pickup truck facing backwards. The truck picks up speed until it reaches, say, sixty miles per hour. If the pitcher then throws a baseball (in the opposite direction that the truck is going) at sixty miles per hour, will the ball hang in the air, drop straight down, or drop in a parabolic arc? I think the ball will appear to pause briefly in the air and then drop straight down (providing the ball and truck are traveling at exactly the same speed), but some friends think it will drop in an arc. They believe that the wind will play a factor but I disagree...unless there is a head wind or cross wind. I'd love to see Adam and Jamie conquer all the physics issues to see what will happen (although I do see a pitching machine or tennis ball cannon take the place of the pitcher for consistency). Joe Montgomery
  • Re:Favorites (Score:3, Interesting)

    by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @03:31PM (#14093319) Journal
    Don't aim at the hull.

    Aim at the sail.

    There's nothing more flammable than an untreated sail.

    Unless it's a sail treated by oiling it.

    The inability to tile the plane is one of MythBusters' greatest faults. They consistently miss things that any cagy science student would see immediately. You'd think they'd keep at least one truly anal technical advisor on staff. Or maybe they're just doing so much they can't get enough runway to reach analytical flight.
  • Re:upside down car (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HarvardAce ( 771954 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @03:40PM (#14093408) Homepage
    At the speed where an F1 car is generating "2.5 times its weight in downforce", there is a LOT of drag, which means there is a LOT of power needed to maintain the speed.

    I think you'll find if you do the math, you won't have a problem maintaining the speed. First, the article quoted said that an F1 car could generate 3.5g of lateral force. This means that the tires are gripping the ground at 3.5g, which is after the coefficient of friction between the tires/road has been factored in. If the car is turned upside down, that is now more than 1.5g of force the tires are able to apply (3.5g - (2 * (coeff. of friction * g)). Even if we assumed the tires can only produce 1 g of force, this would mean that the drag on the car at that speed would have to be equal to the force of gravity. This point is also called its terminal velocity. So you are basically arguing, at an absolute worst case, that the terminal velocity of an F1 car is about 200mph. Since a skydiver's terminal velocity is about 200mph [] with his arms tucked in, I'd venture to guess that an F1 car has a higher terminal velocity.

    Remember, this is assuming that we can only generate 1g of lateral force. In reality, this number will be at least 1.5g and probably closer to 2g.

  • Most requested myth? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Yogger ( 24866 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @03:53PM (#14093584) Homepage
    What is the most requested myth you guys have been asked to test? Have you done it, if not why?
  • Ooga Booga myths (Score:3, Interesting)

    by theantix ( 466036 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @03:54PM (#14093612) Journal
    I know at one point in the show you've stated that you like to stay away from the "ooga booga" myths, meaning I suppose the ones with a bit of mysticism attached to them. But still, a large percentage of the myths out there actually fall into that category. A good compromise might be doing a Halloween episode in which you dedicate one show to taking on a few of the most tv-friendly "ooga booga" mythbusting. What do you think of this idea?
  • by pisces22 ( 819606 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @04:09PM (#14093820)
    How much pressure do you feel to test more and more dangerous myths in the pursuit of ratings and have your safety standards changed at all for the sake of "good TV"?
  • Bad Myth (Score:2, Interesting)

    by WasII ( 112575 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @04:29PM (#14094119)
    What is the worst myth that you have ever tried to bust or confirm. One that, once you had it going, was just vile and wished you had never picked it.
  • (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AdamWeeden ( 678591 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @04:43PM (#14094335) Homepage
    Do you ever use the information at []? (My personal favorite for busting day to day myths.)
  • by macoppock007 ( 933207 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @05:07PM (#14094648)
    I'll take a crack at answering this question. Please note, though, that this estimate makes a lot of assumptions. All assumptions are listed below.

    1. You purchase a 20-oz soda (or 600 mL) from McDonalds. Let's assume they fill the cup to the top with ice, and let's assume that if you melted the ice, you'd displace 300 mL of the cup with water. (i.e. in order to "save money", they give you 300 mL of soda and 300 mL of water, instead of a full 600 mL of soda.)

    2. How much energy does it take to cool 300 mL of room temp (25 C) water to, say, -10 C? To answer this question, we need to break it up into 3 parts:

    a. What is the energy required to cool water from 25 C to 0 C? Using the equation Q = c m deltaT, where c is the specific heat of water (1 cal/g C), m is the mass of water (300 g, assuming a density for water of 1 g/mL) and deltaT is the change in temperature (25 C), the energy required is 7,500 cal.

    b. What is the energy required to freeze water? The specific latent heat of fusion for water is 80 cal/g. So 300 g of water would require 24,000 cal.

    c. What is the energy required to cool water from 0 C to -10 C? Using the same equation as (a) above, except using 0.48 cal/g C as the specific heat of ice, and 10 C as the deltaT, the energy required would be 1,440 cal.

    This is a total energy requirement of 32,940 cal. There are 859,845 cal in 1 kwh (kilowatt hour). So it would require approximately 0.038 kwh to freeze this quantity of ice.

    3. What does this amount of electricity cost? Assuming that electricity costs 10 cents per kwh (a high estimate), and that the freezer used is only about 10% efficient (probably a high estimate as well), then it would cost about 4 cents.

    4. What does an equivalent amount of soda cost? A quick cursory search on Google found that 5 gal of Coca-Cola syrup can be had for $40.00. This is mixed 4.5 parts carbonated water to 1 part syrup, so the effective amount of soda produced by this 5 gal container is 22.5 gal. This comes out to be about 47 cents per liter; 300 mL would cost 14 cents. (This assumes that the cost of carbonated water, and the electricity to precool the syrup and water, is zero. So the effective price of the soda is actually higher.)

    5. Conclusion: McDonalds saves 10 cents by filling your cup brim full with ice. With billions served, that comes out to a lot of money!
  • by Morrog ( 706170 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @06:10PM (#14095400)
    To Adam and/or Jamie: How do you feel making this show has impacted you, in any way? Is it something you're proud of and really enjoy doing?
  • No dust collector? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jemenake ( 595948 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @06:35PM (#14095655)
    On the Discovery Channel's discussion forum, they solicit suggestions for bustable myths. However, they also list a littany of "don't bother suggesting these" myths that, apparently, have either been busted/confirmed already or have been ruled out. One of the items on this list is exploding woodshop dust-collectors (ignited by static electricity build-up) in PVC ducts.

    Why is this myth off-limits? It seems to have all of the MB pre-requisites: It involves something exploding or catching on fire, it's fairly easy to test, and, if you bust the myth, you can go overboard with the myth to force the phenomenon (personally, I've made a flame-thrower with a leaf-blower and a bag of flour). Most-importantly, however, is that this myth has real-world implications for how wood-workers plumb their shops for dust-collection (using PVC vs. steel ducting) unlike, say, exploding jawbreakers. Or, is that precisely *why* you guys don't do it, because it would have *such* real-world effect? Because MB might bust the myth, woodworkers across the country would plumb their shops with PVC, one of them would still somehow blow their shop up, and then sue the show?
  • by phoenix_rizzen ( 256998 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @08:24PM (#14096617)
    The myth is not that you can hit another arrow (every archer's done that at one point or another), or the same spot twice. The myth is that Robin Hood split the arrow *from nock to tip*. In other words, the entire shaft of the arrow is split down the middle.

    While there may be that 1 in a bazillion chance that it would work, all the tests they did showed that it is impossible. The blade of the arrow tip follows the grain in the wood, and unless you have a perfectly straight grain that never hits the edge of the shaft, the arrow will always pop out before it hits the target.
  • Friends? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by reason ( 39714 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @08:47PM (#14096781)
    On the show, Adam and Jamie seem to just barely get on. Is this an act to make it more edgy for viewers, or is it the reality of your relationship?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @08:55PM (#14096833)
    How much would a men's magazine have to offer Kari to get her to pose nude, and if she did so, would your opinion of her change in any way whatsoever?
  • by neolith ( 110650 ) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @10:32PM (#14097379) Homepage
    Wikipedia mentions in his write up that he "has a degree in Russian language and literature. He has had a variety of careers, including scuba diver, wilderness survival expert, boat captain, linguist, pet shop owner, animal wrangler, machinist and chef." Adam has (jokingly?) referred to his murky past as a special forces member, an outlaw running guns in the jungle and spending time in third world prisons. That's Adam being funny, but even the Wikipedia article sounds like hyperbole. The thing is, Jamie's such a man's man that I'd just about believe anything about him. The guy appears freakishly strong, can engineer anything, and manages to pull off the bespectacled / shaved-head / beret / moustache combo with panache. What can't he do?

    Where do you come from? How did you go from scuba and boats to special effects? And why don't you drop any Russian on us for the show?

The greatest productive force is human selfishness. -- Robert Heinlein