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back to article Mythbusters cannonball ‘myth-fires’

If non-US readers have ever wondered how far the Alameda County bomb disposal range (beloved of Discovery Channel show Mythbusters) is from homes, it seems it’s at least close enough for a misdirected cannonball to hit a house. And then another house, a hill and a car. Mythbusters hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman are red- …

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perhaps

if you are worried about the hearing of your children you shouldn't buy a house next door to a bomb range.

It's not as if the bomb range just came down with a shower of raine one day.

As for explosions I was near hit by a railway tie when the local signal cabin was blowen up and that was well over half a mile away.

If you are going to blame anybody blame the safety experts employed by both the show and the police dept who own the bomb range

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@Futureshock

The reason I mention 'new born' was because there were several people sleeping during the day.

Its not uncommon (and actually /very/ practical) to take a quick nap when the little one is sleeping as well. Especially after a rough night of being kept awake by an unhappy critter :-)

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I was with you until you started on the semicolons. What've they ever done to you?

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Sorry, ShelLuser ...

... I don't agree with you. The key point here is that *no-one was hurt*. This means that everyone involved (programme makers, cops, safety bods) get the chance to think very hard about whether they are taking this sort of thing seriously enough, and how to improve their planning. There is absolutely no reason to be dragging in officialdom.

Mistakes are what makes progress possible - the person who never made a mistake never made anything (except a lie).

Disclaimer: I haven't watched MythBusters for years, because the stupidity of the males rapidly overcame my interest in Kari Byron ...

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@tom13

Perhaps, but no. You can't expect the people working there that they can fully oversee the consequences of whatever gizmo the Mythbusters have cooked up that time.

Their job lies with explosives, not firing stuff. So I don't think its fair to try and put the blame on them.

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Mushroom

F*cking awesome!

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I bet you the program will get massive viewing

Nothing like a massive, published cock-up to attract viewers :-). And it proves it's for real.

Having said that, I am VERY glad no-one was injured. Maybe a God particle took a day off and put in some rescue efforts?

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Happy

Bang On

Woohoo! Want one for Christmas

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Pint

"...wrecked a Toyota..."

Not all bad then...

MythBusters: "Improving the World - By Destroying One Tedious and Boring Transportation Appliance at a Time" ™

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Happy

but i thaught...

Top gear had proved that was impossible!

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Coat

bit of a mythstake there, by those mythguided mythfits

are they gonna be charged with a mythdemeanor?

the cannon must have been mythaimed or mythaligned

or there was some sort of mythunderstanding with the range of the mythille

wonder if they were mythadvised.

what a mythadventure!

>crawls back under rock ashamed

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Coffee/keyboard

I tried to read that out loud... now my monitor is covered with spit.

Thanks a lot, Mark

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Anonymous Coward

"I tried to read that out loud... now my monitor is covered with spit."

Or thpit.

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Mushroom

Oops, I mythed

B

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Anonymous Coward

Ooopth thurely?

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WTF?

Fishy...

What time did they fire this cannon at for people to be asleep!! Surely during daylight hours (of which there are not many at this time of year) otherwise there wouldn't have been a lot to film, and during a work day. Something about this story is a bit fishy.

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But..

To be fair, when have a day off, i dont tend to surface much before midday either...

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Anonymous Coward

You could be right...

In th past they have always done cannon style tests on the abandoned air field (naval base?) with has a few miles of runway and then a mile or so of harbour before there's anything to hit.

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...abandoned air field (naval base?)...

The (Ex) Navy stations at Treasure Island (in the middle of the San Fancisco bay) and Alameda (also in the S.F. bay) would both have been even worse choices for something like this than the bomb range they chose.

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That base has been sold to the city of Alameda and will be condos in two years.

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Joke

What??

There are no nuclear wessels at Alameda? How will Kirk and the crew get the whales to the 24th Century?

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Awesome shot

'In through the front door, out through the back'

Then totalled a mini-van 1km away.

I'd love to see these people play pool.

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Anonymous Coward

Adam and Jamie are apologising in person

If it was my house, I'd rather they sent Kari.

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Mushroom

Ahh, Mythbusters

Ahh, Mythbusters, and their decreasingly rigorous testing of decreasingly mythical myths. It was good once upon a time, but they're really scraping the barrel these days in therms of the "myths" they take on. At least putting lives in danger adds a bit of an edge of excitement to things, so I hope this isn't the last time they do it. Explosions and Kari in a tight t-shirt are the only reason to watch that show now.

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Explosions and Kari are plenty reason enough, though.

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Boffin

Any relation to Horatio?

Alameda County Sheriff's Department spokesman J.D. Nelson said:

"It missed the target and took kind of an oddball bounce, It was almost like skipping a rock on a lake. Instead of burying it into the hill it just went skyward."

But he's not the first Nelson to realise that a cannon ball will do more damage if it 'bounces' first.

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Mushroom

Big bad wolf canon

Will huff, will puff, will blow your house down/away.

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When I first heard about this from a co-worker, I found it hard to belive that they could have srewed up like this. I've been watching the show for years and just couldn't picture Adam or Jamie messing up so badly. Now I see it was the other ones and it makes more sense. I'll bet that Tony figured heavily in this...

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Differing standards of accountability

If it happened to your average home experimenter, it would be followed by a swift visit by the police.

You wouldn't have time to call your insurance company and arrange compensation, you'd be busy finding out what it's like to wear shoes with no shoelaces and how bad tea in the nick can taste.

Followed by an appearance in front of the magistrates and your probity and mental balance questioned by the red top newspapers.

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If your average home experimenter filled out the same paperwork,

bought the same insurance, and used the same bomb range, the results would be pretty much the same.

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don't forget the big difference though.

The Mythbusters crew were being supervise by the county sheriffs dept.

They are responsible for granting access and approving the use of the range for these tests.

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Legal action?

Surely, even in the land of the free, this one must be attracting the attention of the legal authorities. I suspect recklessly firing cannon balls in an urban area might just have breached some local laws.

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Given that they had filled out all the necessary paperwork to use a police bomb range and there were officers on hand to supervise the test, I would have to say that the likelihood of any laws being broken approaches zero rapidly.

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Anonymous Coward

Police are not above the law

Then I would expect the gaol to also be holding the idiots who authorised the attempt. Obviously the test was outside their competence.

For an IT angle

IF [test range length] < [historically recorded range of cannon fire] THEN STOP

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@sisk

Laws not being broken would not relieve them of the civil liabilities from this accident.

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Still culpable

In which case those who got the evaluation wrong should be in the dock for this one.

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@Zippy

True, they are still subject to civil liabilities, but they're already taking care of those without so much as an angry word being cast in their direction, let alone having to be dragged kicking and screaming through the courts. All in all I think they're handling their civil responsibilties in this instance far better than the police would have.

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The article says that they are making good on their civil liabilities; they are paying for repairs and hotels. If the Toyota was totaled it will be replaced and they will probably provide a rental car. The production company has insurance to pay for this sort of damage. Maybe they can get Jamie and Adam to autograph a piece of rubble from the damage. The affected people might even get Mythbusters t-shirts.

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Trollface

I've a dreadful feeling

One of the homeowners was British.

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Wish that house were mine.

I'd say, "I don't think you need to put me up in a hotel, but I would like a guest shot on your show."

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Pirate

i'd not use the phrase ...

..."Guest Shot on the show..." they might still be testing cannon myths... >_<

Also when the shot went awry it was during testing (they just had 2 perfect practice shots and this was going to be the third and last test shot)...

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Wording

I'm not sure I'd use the word "shot" here.

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FAIL

I hate to point out the bleeding obvious...

... but the cannon was in the Alameda County Bomb Range. And that bomb range is clearly in a hollow, so I can understand why nobody expected anything to get hit.

@ShelLuser:

The Mythbusters team also rely heavily on the services of *professionals*, including a retired explosives expert. They don't just rock up with a home-made cannon and aim it at some random hillside. Nobody *likes* paying insurance, so the Mythbusters team are hardly unique in complaining about it. They're required to use consultants and abide by the laws and regulations governing such procedures.

If their *paid* consultants were happy with the setup, *those consultants* need to explain what went wrong, not the presenters, whose job is primarily to look good on TV and remember the script. There's a whole production team behind each show, not just a bunch of guys farting about in a warehouse full of random special effects gear.

Finally, the experiment was being conducted expressly under the supervision of the Alameda County Sheriff's Office. So calling in the police would be kind of redundant as they were the ones *in charge* of this!

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Anonymous Coward

Missing something

Weren't they shooting from inside the bomb range instead of into it?

Why would you have the local police there. Wouldn't this be something that you would clear on a state or federal level?

Since when does a retired explosives expert become an artillery expert?

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... I can understand why nobody expected anything to get hit.

The behavior of spherical solid shot is very well-known to real experts and even laypersons: At low angles of incidence, the shot bounces. ANY casual perusal of written material on the subject makes that abundantly clear. So, why didn't *they* know that..? I don't understand their failure to employ basic safeguards, such as a building a shot trap.

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@Sean

I wonder if this is still allowed but...

Try the "Reply" option next time so that I can spot your response earlier and actually respond to it while the discussion is active.

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You're all too critical

What it sounds like to me, taking the sheriff's official statement into consideration, is that the cannonball bounced in an unpredictable way instead of burying itself in the backstop the way everyone expected it to. Likely it was pointed in a direction that was uninhabited until the bounce. The Mythbusters do take safety very seriously, despite their propensity towards high explosives, after all, plus there were cops on hand to make sure they took all the proper precautions.

Really other that the fact that they were working with a very dangerous weapon for entertainment it doesn't sound like they did anything wrong.

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Mushroom

A learning experience...

next time, there will be a bigger berm to contain the wayward projectile (not to mention that the spray of dirt would make for good footage).

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Flame

"The aim of the experiment was, apparently, to measure the velocity they could achieve with their maker-style ordnance."

Result: "a hell of a lot more velocity than we expected"

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Bah!

The Mythbusters are a bunch of overgrown adolescents who do dangerous (fun) stuff. This was a certainty that just needed enough time to eventuate, and they are bloody lucky noo-one is looking at jail time.

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