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The MythBusters

Could a penny dropped form the Empire State Building kill you? MythBusters Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman are with us.

Jamie Hyneman, left, "Buster" the crash-test dummy and Adam Savage, right, during a segment of the Discovery Channel's show "Mythbusters." (AP)

Jamie Hyneman, left, "Buster" the crash-test dummy and Adam Savage, right, during a segment of the Discovery Channel's show "MythBusters." (AP)

We’re loaded with stories we’ve heard since childhood about the way the world works.  A penny dropped from the top of the Empire State Building could kill you.  A shark can sink a boat.  A hot water heater can explode up through your kitchen floor like a rocket.  Call them stories.  Call them myths.  Who really knows?

The MythBusters do.  Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage have been applying street science to urban legends for years now.  It’s made them famous.  It’s turned a lot of kids on to science.

This hour, On Point:  Your questions please for the MythBusters.

-Tom Ashbrook

 

Guests

Adam Savage, co-host of the Discovery Channel television series MythBusters. He and Jamie are currently on tour with a stage version of the show “Behind the Myths.” You can find the tour dates here.

Jamie Hyneman, co-host of the Discovery Channel television series MythBusters.

From Tom’s Reading List

C-Net“For “MythBusters,” one of the network’s top-rated shows, that meant the chance to put together an episode touting its five hosts’ top 25 favorite moments. Since its debut, there have been 191 “MythBusters” episodes featuring 2,326 experiments, so it couldn’t have been easy to pick just 25 to call out.”

CBS News “After appearing with the president at the White House Science Fair, hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman stopped by the set of Washington Unplugged for an exclusive interview.”

San Francisco Chronicle “One of the zany experiments staged by the “MythBusters” television show nearly turned into a suburban tragedy Tuesday afternoon in Dublin when the crew fired a homemade cannon toward huge containers of water at the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department bomb disposal range.”

Video: Can Someone Walk On Water?

In 2007, the MythBusters tried to walk on water. Is the myth confirmed or busted?

Video: Diet Coke And Mentos

Adam and Jamie investigate famous internet videos, including this gem about soda and mints.

Video: Phonebook Friction

Check out this MythBusters classic.

 

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  • http://lizybee.wordpress.com/ Elizabeth Sweetman

    I love this show because it’s so interesting and so funny! I do have to tell Adam and Jamie that they have credit for the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen in my life and that was the ear wax candles…I mean it, I feel sick just writing it…and I am a nurse. BLEURRRGHHH!

    • http://profiles.google.com/vandammes James Van Damme

      I can’t stand the show because it only has about ten minutes total of interesting stuff in it.

  • JustSayin

    IMO Adam, Jamie and the other MythBusters are very intelligent people who are masters of applied science.

    They have aptly presented science as fun, and that rationality is a comfortable and joyful experience. The program is the antidote to religious dogma and common accepted mythologies.

    How many people still believe that there can be a prehistoric Loch Ness monster in a lake formed in the last period of glaciation? Those who reject reality in favor of power, political correctness, and religious dogma are a burden on the entire world, and are living on a kind of intellectual welfare.

    Its time for mankind to mature, embrace rationality, and leave the myths, superstitions, and beliefs behind. If we have hope for a new period of enlightenment for the world.. The MythBusters will be a part of that.

    • Patrik

      I agree.  This show, not even my science teahcers in high school (90s), really helped me start thinking more critically, question and test everything thought to be “truth”. 

  • Physicist in VT

    I really enjoy watching the show–but now and then I cringe when a principle of physics gets misrepresented, ignored, or misstated.  They should employ a physicist on their staff!

    • Modavations

      Was in Stowe area last week.Never saw such a bunch of skanky,fat,tatooed,welfare types.Riddle me this,what does interbreeding do to blood lines

  • Anonymous

    Love the MythBusters! I have noticed a lot more explosions lately, though. It feels almost like they’re making up situations to explode things for no reason. Are they pandering to a younger male audience (as the Discovery Channel seems to, lately) or is this just a normal progression of what they are interested in?

  • gemli

    The popularity and persistence of myths, and the speed at which they can spread, reveals something about human nature.  We’re programmed to believe what we hear from others, because this is how information was spread before the invention of the written word, and, God help us, social media.  We’re vulnerable to plausible-sounding nonsense, as every evangelist knows.  We need more shows like Mytybusters to reach wide audiences, and to help people realize that the popularity of a belief doesn’t mean that it’s true.  If you’re trying to get to the truth, it helps to start from a position of skepticism rather than wide-eyed acceptance.

  • Sam

    Tom,
    Can you ask your guests what happened with that cannon ball experiment? Where they miscalculated the trajectory and the strength and the cannon ball went over the hill and shot through someone’s house?
    :)
    It’s awesome!
    In fact, I heard about it on NPR morning news.
    Sucks to be the people with the broken house/car, but it’s good that no one got injured.

    Also, I remember when it was just the two of them, without the help of their younger, hotter assistants. And I have to say, the assistants are awesome. Smart, hot, fun. Makes the show more interesting and enjoyable.

    -cheers

    • Anon

      Too bad they dodged your question. They should explain what happened. They could have killed a lot of people and they completely get off the hook. Shameful.

  • Modavations

    Here’s one the whole world ponders…..From whenst the first particle

    • JustSayin

       Its not the particle… Its the energy.

      • gemli

        So true.  Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, but matter can come and go.  Particles are just another state of energy, and they’re being created and destroyed constantly due to quantum fluctuations in what we erroneously refer to as “empty space.”  So the big question is, where did the energy come from?  The proper answer is, “nobody knows,” but a close second would be, “why should we assume that there ought to be something rather than nothing?”  We’ve come up with a big myth to provide an answer, but answering a puzzle with a riddle seems a bit pointless.

        • Modavations

          It’s the frigging Frame Dragging!!!

      • Modavations

        fROM WHENST THE FIRST ENERGY

        • gemli

          Nobody knows.  It’s OK to say nobody knows.  Just a few decades ago, nobody knew what electricty was, or what atoms were, or what disease was or how it spread, or what those bright spots in the night sky were.  I don’t know where energy comes from, but I’m absoutely sure it’s not due to magic.

          • Modavations

            My original questions stands

  • Katharine K.

    I really want to know how the show got started — did they come up with the idea and pitch it to television people, or did someone in television think, “Gee, it would be fun to test these urban myths… who could we get do to that?” or what?  

  • Patrik

    I enjoyed the episode where they tested the “Smoking in the Outhouse” mythbust. 

    Are there any myths or other experiments they really really want to put to the test but aren’t allowed too on TV?

    • Patrik

      to*

  • SK

    The Rube Goldberg episode, the exploding cement mixer episode, and the episode where they made a boat out of duct tape are still my favorites.

  • Anonymous

    I love the show, and I continue to enjoy it.  Please keep up the good work.

    However, I long for the earlier shows where they show more of the design of experiment, and the many failed attempts.  Current shows are entertaining, but seems to cater to people with attention deficit disorder.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=583712836 Quentin Prideaux

    I credit the Mythbusters for my 12 year old son wanting to be a scientist.  Now what should I do about the fact that he wants to beat Adam Savage’s record….and learn how to pick locks before he turns 13?!?  :-)

  • Marc Johnson

    They also tested the myth that a cannon ball could be made out of Cheese.  And it was confirmed!

  • JustSayin

    The diving helmet decompression was a prime example of MythBusters applied science in action. I think it really surprised them as well.  The exact kind of experiment that is full of science and the gross visuals, that the kid in all of us just love.

  • kat

    I’m dating myself, but I loved watching Mr. Wizard when I was little. These guys seem like a logical extension of that concept, only inclusive enough to entertain adults as well.

    • Modavations

      Click and Clack(?)

  • C.L. Reed

    This show should be called “Science Lite”.  Our family has watched it to dissect all the ways that it DOES NOT include real science.  Highly entertaining, but misleading if you want scientific reality.

  • Anonymous

    I’d like to mythbusters do more biology-centric myths.  For instance:

    1. Does putting man’s hand in luke warm water before he wakes up, make him pee in his pants?

    2. Does feeding pop candy to a seagull make it explode?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=583712836 Quentin Prideaux

      They did both of these!  Ans – no and no, unfortunately.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    The build team tried to make a black powder engine.  There should be a revisit using the design of a Webley-Fosbery automatic revolver.

  • John M

    My favorite was the germs show.You helped save my marriage,we had a rough conversation with my wife for years vrs the tooth brush in the bathroom and the sponge in the kitchen.
    Thanks John

  • Sara Ferguson422

    I once met Grant Imahara at an event and asked him, “If you had unlimited resources and space, what myth would you like to test?”. I’d like to ask the guys the same question

    -Sara Ferguson, Bowling Green KY

    • Sara Ferguson422

      By the way, Grant’s answer was testing the idea that if a car got fast enough, you could drive it through a loop and be able to drive it upside down for a while…. very cool!

  • Yar

    I liked the pigs in the corvette.

    • Modavations

      A righteous one

  • Guest

    Absolutely LOVE the show – not only for myself, but what a great way to use T.V. to educate. In this day and age of Jackass, it’s a great way to let children realize there is science behind everything.  My teenagers (operative word here!) now see all things as science because they realize that all these “stunts” they see in life have math and science behind them.  All things are questions now.   Making a fire in the fire place now becomes questions of why does this happen, or what if we did that… and they’ve learned that match and science are not boring!

    • guest

      MATH AND SCIENCE NOT MATCH – SORRY THE TYPO!

  • Bn

    My house in Poland was struck by a lightning. It fried the power meter, circuit breakers and a computer connected to a ethernet. I’m glad I wasn’t using it at the time…

  • http://twitter.com/rsybuchanan R. S. Y. Buchanan

    Regarding myths I’d love to see tested: I’ve been in a number of cars driven by people who, when braking abruptly on wet or snowy roads, will swerve back and forth, ostensibly to increase their braking power by increasing the distance traveled. It seems to me that this just invites the car to lose traction and spin out. Which is it?

    I also wanted to say how happy I am that Keri is on the show (and Scottie and Jessie back in the day). I have bunches of nieces who are at an age where boys (including some teachers) tell them girls can’t do science and math, can’t work with power tools, and can’t fire guns or drive fast cars. Words cannot describe how happy I am to have a smart, funny woman on TV who is doing all of these things.

  • BHA in Vermont

    OK, the bathtub and toaster thing.
    Most houses are currently built with PVC drains. Therefore there is no metal for the current to follow. Not that I have ANY intention of trying it, but would that change the result of the experiment?

  • Jeff

    How do you two decide who is going to be the practice victim for your experiments? Alternate, flip a coin, arm wrestle?

  • Karen from VT

    Why aren’t more elementary schools adopting this approach to learning, combining science with an arts or theatrical twist?  Jaime and Adam, along with John and John of They Might Be Giants with their “Here Comes Science” recording, are right on the mark about how kids WANT to learn.

  • Cory C

    My six-year-old son and I watch MythBusters together, and it’s great to see him get excited about the scientific method — to the point that he proposes his own experiments.  The downside: He’s after me to buy a high-speed camera!

    -Cory C, Grovetown GA

  • Anonymous

    I’ve seen the show a few times and have enjoyed it but I hate that so much of it is taken up with filler before and after the breaks, “coming up . . . ” and then the recap. 

  • Julia

    Mythbusters has a huge fan base here in Boston.  Please come here on your next tour!

  • bart101

    Mythbusters rocks!  Two quick questions:  Can they please describe their experience participating in the huge rally to restore sanity and/or fear in Washington DC with Stewart and colbert two Autumns ago,,, AND
    could they please test whether a skydiver gets enough oxygen blown through their skin that they dont need to breathe!  Thanks…

  • BHA in Vermont

    The car WILL NOT COOL OFF THAT MUCH in the amount of time it takes to fill it with gas!!!!!

    Read the sign on the pump that says it is illegal to leave the car running while pumping. Then shut it off.

    • Anonymous

      The main reason to not leave your car running (or so I’ve been told) is to prevent someone from accidentally putting the car in gear while the gas was pumping.

      This isn’t as much a problem nowadays with breakaway hoses and safety valves on them.

  • fufluns

     have you found any evidence for the existence of any gods?

  • Will

    How about you test something very similar to a death ray.  Will a giant magnifying glass fry a ship?  I am 9 years old and I wanted ask you this.

    • Modavations

      They did it at least 30 yrs ago on a movie entitled Atlantis.This giant faceted crystal,mounted on a nautilus looking ship would zap you,turn you into a skeleton.All these years later I remain in awe

  • Jscallen

    As an engineer with over 3 decades of experience, I find the testing conducted by mythbusters entertaining more often than all that convincing. While scientists have their own standards for rigor, engineers also have their own standards- primarily that for any given configuration of standard components, tolerances, error budgets, and enviromental parameters need to be brought to the accepted limits over a reasonable lifetime of the object.

    • Anonymous

      It is a TV show first and foremost.  They aren’t Bell Labs.

  • JAMESDTHOMPSON

    As a young teen-back in the late 60s and early 70s we used to drop cherrybombs and m-80s in waterbuckets and in at least one case:) a full toilet.  Always pretty cool explosive treats with water.  How and why did these cherrybombs and m-80s stay lit under water and then indeed explode?

    • Modavations

      I’ve trashed many a toilet myself,not to mention aerial assualts in assorted aquatic floral and fauna.The Cherry bombs always went off

      • Ben

        The fuses are made of a material that can burn under water.

    • Anonymous

      The fuses have a chemical that acts as an oxidizer so they don’t need to get oxygen from the air when burning.

  • Barry

    The show is fun and entertaining but some mythologies (in the negative sense of the world) are more serious than others.  I would love to see you guys take on the hugely destructive mythologies at the heart of conspiratorial thinking about the 9/11 attacks. 

    • Modavations

      Popular Science did a story that was at least 10 pgs.Their verdict….No conspiracy

  • Anonymous

    I don’t have tv, and until now was baffled when people waxed enthusiastic about Mythbusters. Now I get it!  BTW: I have seen a gas station fire start– the flames followed the fumes from under the car to the opening to the gas tank where the pump handle was.  Oy.  Scary.  Notice you didn’t mention cigarettes in gas stations.  Big no no, but people smoke all the time and then look baffled when the attendant (or someone else) yells at them. 

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Put an A-10 on a test runway and shoot the gun.  Measure how far and at what velocity the aircraft goes backward, if at all.

    • Anonymous

      You can do a similar demonstration with a rolling chair and a fire extinguisher.  A lot cheaper too.

  • AC

    um, boys? why not mention girls?

    • Modavations

       I have some terrible news young lady.If it weren’t for sex, most males would want nothing to do with women

  • Phillip Ludlow

    just wanted to say i loved both of your performances in “the Darwin awards” and iv always been curious if i put mud in the barrel of a rifle, will it explode.

  • Ann O’Flannigan

    Tom, I was disturbed by your comment encouraging little boys to get their science degree. Please stop perpetuating that only males are the only ones involved in science and technology. Women are under represented in these areas and continuing the stereotype doesn’t help encourage young girls & women to get involved in science & math.

    • Anonymous

      Boys are the ones having trouble graduating right now, not girls.

  • David Huffman

    when you tested if ship radars can cook you only tested current radars which are short pulse and short wave lengh the myth started around WWII when radars were much longer wave length and higher power and not pulse systems.

    • http://profiles.google.com/vandammes James Van Damme

      I’m a radar engineer and I don’t know where to start about what you wrote. So I won’t.

  • Laura Duckert

    Hey – why don’t you guys come to Wisconsin – say Green Bay or Milwaukee? 

  • Noahramthun

    i have a myth:
    can radio waves from a cell phone kill brain cells?
    I heard it on the today show a few years ago.

  • Brad Pirlot

    After watching a segment on Mythbusters about fuel efficiancy I have to laugh whenever I see pickup truck drive by with the tailgate down to increase gas mileage!

  • Jjgallardo3

    Tom, Arquimedes was not Roman but Greek. He was actually killed by a Roman soldier

  • Siragusag

    MBs deserve a medal! Please please please come to either Madison Madison,WI.

  • Wrayschmieg

    Wheeee that was a great show

  • Travis

    Mythbusters,
    I USED to love your show.  You lost me when you “busted” the myth that marching soldiers could shake apart a bridge (a historical fact). Natural resonance is a scientific fact, but you HAVE to hit the resonance frequency. When your little soldiers were unable to march that particular bridge apart, you “declared victory” that the myth was busted. It’s like if you rig a target to blow up if you hit the bullseye, but the amateur archer has trouble even hitting the target so he declares that it’s impossible to rig a target to blow up. I used to put a lot of stock in your findings, but now when I watch occasionally, I see guys who like to have fun but don’t do their research and ignore actual science.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broughton_Suspension_Bridge 
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angers_Bridge 
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacoma_Narrows_Bridge_(1940) (this one isn’t marching, but is resonance).

    These references are just the first ones I came across in literally 30 seconds of searching, I’m sure that many more can be found.

    • Fred

      In none of your references is the marching directly responsible for the collapse. Soemething you should have noticed if you had done your research instead of some quick Googling.

    • Jason

      They had to revisit this myth in episode 60 http://kwc.org/mythbusters/2006/12/episode_60_earthquake_machine.html
      and actually got a result out of a Tesla Oscillator on a bridge.
      If nothing else the mythbusters are willing to go back and do it again if they missed anything.

    • Prometheus

      Historical fact… the world used to be flat.  Look it up.

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