back to article MythBusters: Savage and Hyneman detonate truthiness

They've built working crossbows using rolled up newspapers, shot frozen chickens at airplane windshields, and tried to paint a room using dynamite. They say their crowning moment was actually floating a lead balloon, disproving the old cliché. And when their 2011 season debuts Wednesday night in the US, they'll determine whether …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Wouldn't it be better :-) ?

    To use the originals rather than dummies

    1. mmm mmm

      Mythbusters

      One of the best things on TV and one of the only things I'll go out of my way to watch.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nah. I understand Buster

      even has a star on his closet door and his agent insisted he be listed in the credits whenever he appears in the show.

  2. A handle is required
    Thumb Up

    Let me be the first to say (here at least)...

    that these guys are awesome. Can't wait for the next season.

    1. MinionZero
      Happy

      The awesomeness of being a MythBuster

      They are not only awesome, I think they have the best job in the world!

      I can't count how many times I've watched the show and thought, I would love to be doing their job!

      1. A handle is required
        Thumb Up

        Indeed

        It looks like a fun job, without question.

  3. Ammaross Danan
    Coat

    Overclocking

    Computer Myth:

    I have a friend who claims to have "OC"ed his CPU by (stupidly) splicing in an extra PSU to his ATX mobo connectors. Said his CPU (being bound on top by his heat sink) actually popped through the base of his motherboard and through the side of his case, sticking into the wall. I believe his story about as much as one would believe Kill Bill's version of "punching" through 6 feet of dirt.... which Mythbusters attempted as well, incidentally.

    1. ArmanX
      Boffin

      Hmm... I have accomplished the same with a hard drive

      I was error-checking an old hard drive when it "violently failed" - stuck part of the platter in the wall.

      Meanwhile, that would be an interesting bunch of myths to test - how fast you can overclock a CPU (complete with burning CPUs), overspin a CD, DVD, BluRay, or hard drive, or otherwise generally overtask. How long a computer would last in an oven would also be interesting (or submerged in oil, or...)

      1. james4765
        Thumb Up

        Already did the exploding CD a few seasons ago

        They had to clamp the sucker in a 15,000 RPM motor to do it - the sight of a slab of ballistics gel with shards of exploded CD-ROM sticking out of it is one of my favorite things they've ever done.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Funny you should mention it...

          The mentioned that it was unlikeley and no one had seen it IIRC. After friday I have a single stich in my arm, a ripped shirt and bits of CD embedded in my accoustic tiles after a cheap supermarket brand dvdrw let go in a laptop and destroyed drive and laptop (and my arm)

          Not long after the show we had a run of them and a crate went off to M5 containing drives, bits et al.

      2. Alien Doctor 1.1

        Overspinning...

        was done several seasons ago; it was quite an interesting experiment if you happen to have some plexiglass to hide behind.

      3. Michael C

        Seen CD's do that...

        at 52x, a CD has amazing force in it. I've seen the glass shrapnel (later called "sand" a few micro seconds later), blow out the internals and metal casing far enough that it impacted the case supports itself and made it impossible to remove the drive physically from the PC. Essentially, you could see where a shard of CD dented the sides out from within, and it dented it so far out that it also dented the rails, embedding the CD drive permanently in it's own notch in the case. We also had one explode and a shard blew off the front door, flew about 6 feet across the space between 2 work benches, and hit the back of the monitor on the desk behind it hard enough to enbed in the plastic and crack the LCD on the other side of it. Luckily, no one was there at the time (found it that way one morning, and thus an immediate corporate ban on leaving CDs in a drive at all period unless they were in use installing software or being written).

        There's a reason they stopped making 60x drives, and even 52s are hard to find now.

      4. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

        Confirmed.

        I had this one drive I was trying to salvage data off.

        This was taking a lot of time and unfortunately not going too well, when suddenly and inexplicably it hurled itself violently off the table top (eSATA connection, see) and made a nice hole in the plasterboard wall about 6 feet away.

        The other half maintains that I was responsible, as it coincidentally also took out a ugly framed print of something she called art hung up right there on that bit of the wall... , but ... I swear, it wasn't me.

        The other half however, also knows now how to back up :P

        1. thecakeis(not)alie

          Flying disks

          Aye, it happens. Had a 4-disk NAS bodycheck itself off a shelf during a catastrophic disk failure once. All I heard was a loud BANG. I turned around just in time to see the thing fall off the shelf for no apparent reason. Wrecked the guard designed to keep it in place.

  4. Annihilator
    Happy

    Love Mythbusters!

    But "Savage has worked on Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace" - almost dented my love for him and the show, but not quite.

    1. theSensibleGeek

      Episode 1

      He didn't write the dialog, or make the decision to have a character named, of all things, Jar Jar Binks, so he's still good in my book as well. Dialogue and stupid characters notwithstanding, the movie was solid from a visual standpoint.

    2. Graham Dawson

      Just...

      ... think how much worse it would have been without him.

  5. Timo

    they did overclock a CD drive

    a long time ago they did test the myth that a CD would self-destruct if spun too fast, that being the logic of why you didn't get ever faster optical drives. They couldn't get a stock drive to spin a disc to pieces, so employed a woodworking router to do it (at 20k RPM or something). The shrapnel that resulted stuck in all kinds of things.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge
      Happy

      "They couldn't get a stock drive to spin a disc to pieces...."

      It can happen, I have seen it. In the early days, a 4x read drive was considered fast. My son had a game bought around that time[1]. When I upgraded to a 32x drive, said game disc disintegrated quite thoroughly in the drive with an impressive BANG (no bits flew out as it was all contained in the drive - there's yer busted myth, right there).

      You almost certainly won't get a modern disc to fall apart in a modern drive, but an early one in a modern drive? That's a different matter.

      [1] I think it was the Teletubbies one.....

    2. The Fuzzy Wotnot
      Happy

      I had it happen to me on a bog-standard CD drive once! Scared the life out of me!

      Swear to God, honest truth.

      It was TEAC CD drive round about 2000. I put in a CD-R disc and it started reading, I then attempted to copy off a shed load of data after about 30 secs there was a nasty grumbling noise and then a huge bang and a shattering plastic sound, the grinding and whining was quite loud, I just pulled the power out the back of the machine immediately!

      I pulled the drive out of the case and it sounded like a parcel with china in it had been through the hands of Royal Mail! Shaking the now unplugged drive it sounded like those plastic-cup instruments with beans inside that you make with your kids.

    3. Ammaross Danan
      Coat

      All it takes....

      ...to destroy a CD in a "normal" drive is to have a fracture in the disc. I've seen some (stupidly) attempt to play their FF7 or somesuch computer game with a crack running half the radius of the disc. Only seen or heard of one catastrophic failure though.

  6. FozzyBear Silver badge
    Grenade

    Nine Seasons already

    Nice!

    Have to say If they had admitted to not just working on Star Wars Episode 1, but Jar Jar, the love affair would have ended then and there

    Grenade of course, what else its mythbusters... BOOM

  7. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Up

    How to make science classes interesting...

    ... show your pupils Mythbusters!

    The default position for science is scepticism. You start with an hypothesis and then test it to see if it's valid, if not, it's Busted.

    If it comes out appearing to be Plausible or Confirmed, then you put out your results to Peer Review (in the case of Mythbusters, the online forums where fans can comment on what was done and, possibly, things that were missed) and re-evaluate your conclusions and perhaps test again (ie revisit) the myth to check your conclusions.

    What's most important, of course, is that you shouldn't get so wedded to your conclusions that you refuse to accept that they may be wrong.

    Now *that* is science!

    1. Kevin Johnston Silver badge

      So true

      As Adam has mentioned many times, it is the results which don't go the way you expect which are the most thrilling. How many people remember the 'are elephants really scared of mice' episode. Everyone knew it was just some cartoonish joke but when they ran through the test the elephants backed away!!

      So much material used in education tends to be taken on faith when a little investigation shows either no supporting evidence or else conflicting evidence and remember, the victor writes the history (or some sycophant writes it to please them). Only later do 'balanced' viewpoints try to get written at which point the legend could be set in stone and your great-to-the-10th-Grandad ambushed my great-to-the-10th-Grandad for no reason, how on earth do you set about getting the truth behind that.

      Anyone who can make it interesting to look past the pretty story to see if it is Confirmed/Plausible/Busted deserves support to if only to defeat the 'if it's on the Internet it must be true' danger.

    2. Jon 52

      confirmation bias

      >If it comes out appearing to be Plausible or Confirmed, then you put out your results to Peer Review

      ans somtimes you should publish the negative results, otherwise you get confirmation bias. where there are 1 study that proved x and was published and 99 studies that disporved x but were never published.

  8. The Mighty Spang

    crap for idiots

    as much about hard hitting science as the wonders of the universe.

    oh i made something blow up. whoopee. the dumbing down of science tv continues.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Confusion

      You're confusing Mythbusters with "Braniac: Science Abuse". The latter truly is crap. Mythbusters might not be as pure as, say, Rough Science, but it does at least apply analysis and method to the problem. Before, of course, blowing something up. Just like we all want to do :)

      1. Seanmon
        Go

        Rough Science!

        Hell yeah. Whatever happened to that?

        1. Mike Richards Silver badge

          Rough Science

          Became very expensive when the presenters found themselves in demand for other programmes.

          'Bang Goes the Theory' is the replacement and it's pretty good fun even if there has been something of a lack of thermite.

    2. Naughtyhorse

      spleen from the unimaginative

      thats all

    3. Haku

      @The Mighty Spang

      You're wrong, you must be thinking of one of these 'science' shows:

      "Brainiac: Science Abuse" - UK idiocy

      "Smash Lab" - US idiocy

      "It's Effin' Science" - US fuckwittery of the highest order

      However there was another really good sciency type show that unfortunately didn't last long, "Prototype This".

      Oh and if you like watching things in slow-mo, "Time Warp" has some quite fascinating video footage even if some of the stuff they do is fairly stupid and one of the presenters appears to be from another planet.

  9. '); DROP TABLE comments; --
    Headmaster

    "methodological"

    I think the word you are looking for is "methodical". It's shorter and easier to spell, besides actually existing in the lexicon.

    1. Chris 244
      Grenade

      You need to buy yourself a better dictionary

      Methodological: 1. of or relating to methodology (a body of methods employed by a discipline).

      Methodical: 1. performed with method: SYSTEMATIC 2. the state of being marginally easier to spell than another word with a different meaning. 3. a word thankfully requiring few enough letters for Drop Table to be able to count them all without having to take off his socks and sandals.

  10. Muckminded

    Fish food

    They haven't tackled God yet. I expect ratings to further surge if they do. God may not respond well to a "Busted" sign being chucked out after His (or Her) segment, but advertisers are not so fickle.

    P.S. - They did the CD-ROM rpm test here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MythBusters_(2003_season)#CD-ROM_Shattering

    1. frymaster

      can't be done

      the assertion of existence of a deity isn't falsifiable - it can't be tested. This is the reason why it's not a question for science

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        then again...

        ...creationists believe that the existence of God *is* falsifiable by evidence that their chosen interpretation of the bible is wrong. So it's definitely a question for pseudo-science!

      2. Claus P. Nielsen

        Depends on which deity you are talking about

        If I claim my god is a blue rooster that grows out of my forehead, it is very easy to test my claim (and disprove it).

        Many religions have lost their initial followings because their claims could not survive physical tests (some of the doomsday cults for instance).

        So we are left with the "clever" religions that claim that their gods are ethereal beings and their existence cannot be tested and that this very fact is what makes them extra special.

        Hence the admiration given to people who are especially strong in their faith - despite no supporting evidence that this faith has any merit.

        1. Steve X
          Troll

          So...

          If the religions with provable beliefs have been disproved, and only the ones who insist that non-provability is a fundamental tenet are left, doesn't this prove that natural selection and evolution must be at work?

    2. koncordski
      Pint

      Savage's british accent always makes me laugh....

      It's ultimately a fun and engaging show that never takes itself too seriously. The presenters all look like they are having a great laugh and if it gets kids interested in science and engineering then great. Don't bother coming on here with your chemistry degree and dislike of social interaction bitching about how it's not 'real science', it's not supposed to be. Jeez......

      Plus a beer for Kari Byron, god she's geek hot!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Grenade

      You might be waiting a while

      IIRC Savage has said he prefers not to do supernatural topics.

      1. Ed 16

        I believe Adam has called them

        Oogie Boogie myths..

  11. Shaun 2

    Um..........

    The Hitler Bunker episode aired in the States last year, so we didn't get it first..........

    1. Tom 13

      OK, I thought I'd seen that episode

      but was wondering if it was History channel instead. It was very interesting.

    2. bubba-bear

      Repeat

      The Hitler Bunker was aired in the States on Wednesday -- and it was a repeat. It was followed by a new episode, they tested the believability of latex masks; Grant and Kary tested getting a playground merry-go-round to spin by shooting at it.

  12. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    I just love that show!

    In part because they do all sorts of experiments first my parents and now the missus somehow never let me do.

    My childhood was not too bad, I did get to blow up some stuff and build a rocket AND I still have all my fingers.

  13. Spartacus
    FAIL

    IF they can't sort out the concave mirror focal point...

    I call them Idiots... How embarrassing for Obama..

    Every time (I believe its three times now) they have tried this with flat glass mirrors, whereas the original myth used metal which CAN be curved very easily into slight dish shapes, giving a specific focal distance, they dont all have to be the same either, just that each soldier needs to know his distance and maintain it.

    What are they doing wrong? well they are failing to focus, all they do is use 1000 flat mirrors pointing 1000 incident rays, like a mirrorball.. whereas a single concave mirror will focus a billion 'rays' (ie every bit of light) into a point the genius is in the curve. they really should look at the "Bang goes the theory" Mirror Clip on youtube to see what a 2m mirror can do.

  14. SuperTim
    Thumb Up

    Compulsive Viewing.

    I love mythbusters. As much for the fact that it may be the best job in the world, I like that it is realistic(ish), I know it isn't the most scientific of shows, but it does attempt to be real-world about a lot of stuff, and it also peer-reviews itself. They are not afraid to retest something when prompted by viewers pointing out flaws. Also, How clumsy are Adam and Tore? They seem to get hurt a lot, which is always worth a giggle.

    Top notch edutainment, and better than watching Vic Reeves not being funny.

  15. Steve 48
    Thumb Down

    Yawn..........

    Theese guys annoy me to hell - apart from the oh-so-obvious poor scripting and execution of the script, most of their experiments wouldn't stand up to scrutiny. They tend to run their tests based on very narrow assumptions that have been tailored to give the answers they want, then claim that a myth is busted based on absence of a "sucess"; also much of the "science" they base their experiments on is wrong. At least with Brainiac they got the right mix of tongue-in-cheek, eye candy, presenters and assorted explosive materials.

    1. Naughtyhorse

      DOH

      200m range parabolic mirror 1 m in dia would have a depth at the centre of .625mm to observe the effect you are looking for they would need a curved surface accurate to better than 1%.

      (think hubble!)

      and to aim it within 1m of a target at 200m requires an accuracy of less than 1/3 of a degree.

      you try holding a 1m dia dish up _that_ still for 1/2 hour, now get 500 of your closest friends with their own mirrors to join in.

      the reason this myth has failed 3 times is that it is BOLLOCKS.

      the real question is why do they keep wasting their time going over and over this one

    2. Tom 13

      Their science on this one is solid.

      In point of fact one of the unaired tests run by a contestant was with a parabolic mirror. It works at short distances, but fails at the required distances of 150 or 75 feet. The focal point for the parabolic mirror is too close to shore to have an effect.

      http://kwc.org/mythbusters/2006/01/episode_46_archimedes_death_ra.html

      The flat mirrors at irregular distances is a better chance at approximating a parabolic shape focusing at the single point. But I think the engineering required to get the precision alignment of the mirrors makes it impossible for it to have been done in ancient times.

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