Episode 150: Cold Feet

Air Date: October 20, 2010

In this episode, the MythBusters chose some popular idioms and tested to see if they literally held true.

When you get “Cold Feet” (i.e. scared/timid), your feet literally get colder.

plausible

To test this idiom, Tory, Grant, and Kari each had to participate in an activity that frightened them. They used temperature sensors and thermal cameras to measure the temperature of their feet.

Tory’s task was to fly with stunt pilot Sean D. Tucker in an aerobatic plane. Tory endured several frightening maneuvers and although there may have been a slight drop in his foot temperature before each stunt, the data was not conclusive. Grant’s task was to have his head covered with a number of tarantulas for 2 minutes. His foot temperature dropped by 15°F throughout the experiment. Kari’s was present with a buffet of various odd foods and tasked to eat at least two of them. She chose to eat a waxworm and a cricket. Like Grant, her foot temperature also dropped about 15°F.

Considering all three results, this myth was declared plausible. Grant theorized that the fight-or-flight response leads to constricted blood vessels in the extremities, and thus a drop in temperature.

If poop literally hits a fan, everyone around the fan gets covered in the mess.

plausible

To begin, Adam and Jamie decided to create imitation poop that would be more hygienic and pleasant to work with. Jamie came up with a formula that had the similar physical properties (density, compressibility, and stickiness) to real dog poop. Adam built a slingshot to throw the poop at the fan at roughly 30 mph.

The first tests used a 12-inch fan with plastic blades. Without any impressive results, they quickly upgraded to a 20-inch fan with metal blades and formulated the imitation poop to be softer. Still not achieving 360° splatter, they upgraded to a 30-inch fan with a 1/4 horsepower motor, which created enough splatter to call this idiom plausible. As a finale, Adam and Jamie used a very large box fan and all of their leftover fake poop to create a giant mess.

(Although it was censored on camera, this idiom is most commonly spoken as “when the shit hits the fan”.)

29 Comments

  1. Tyler says:

    Whenever I hear the idiom “when shit hits the fan” I picture a ceiling fan. Why did they never once think of this? All they tested was upright fans. I tend to think a ceiling fan would yeild even better results.

    • Rob L says:

      me too

    • chuck knight says:

      Because that saying has been around for years even before ceiling fans became popular.

    • theresa says:

      I completely agree I’m seeing this episode for the first time today ..I thought a ceiling fan would’ve flung it out in all directions ..I was disappointed when it was never tried

  2. Andrew says:

    I noticed a variation in the cold feet testing. Tory’s test involved fear, while Kari’s was disgusting. Perhaps we should ask Grant if he finds tarantulas scary or gross. His answer just might explain Tory’s lack of cold feet.

  3. Cody says:

    I thought this episode sucked. Wheres the car crashes and bomb explosions! Guess their budget has been blown.

  4. fatev1 says:

    Just aheads up when Kari eats the bugs she first drops the worm down her shirt and thenn spits water out before she even got the cricketin her mouth. Myth Busters just went down a notch on my myth-o-meter.

    • Angela says:

      I know, I just watched that episode and it was really disappointing! Kari clearly never ate the bugs and of course when you fling any substance at a fan it will go everywhere! The more liquid the more messy. What a waste of a show, it’s becoming quite hollywoodized in my opinion

    • Tyler says:

      If you watch frame by frame you’ll see that she did not drop the bug before it went in her mouth. She may have spit it out while coughing, but that’s not really all that important.

      As for the liquid in her mouth, they actually cut the shot, you can see right before for a few moments she refused to open her mouth at all. Chances are she put water in her mouth to try and swallow it like a pill after doing the first one dry.

      • bob says:

        I just watched frame by frame the 1080p version, and for both she had water in her mouth, probably just to make sure it doesn’t get stuck into the throat, but yeah she doesn’t drop it and seems to swallow it both times.

  5. Diana says:

    I liked it when they put the tanatrulas on top of the box to see if Grey has cold feet.

  6. Dave says:

    Tory’s foot temp prob didnt drop as much as the others as he was being thrown around in a plane forcing his blood to different parts of his body, mainly legs and feet.

    • Ken says:

      more likely to do with his being an adreneline junkie than anything else. while the other were totally terrified for what they did on some lvel a part of Tory must have been enjoying it, much like a kids first time on a roller coaster

      • Steve says:

        Exactly my thought.

        Based upon the evidence from previous episodes, one has to conclude that Tory is an adrenaline junkie, but I’m willing to entertain the possibility that there were unaccounted for physiological effects in the aerobatic maneuvers that are probably confounders.

  7. Ken says:

    should have tried dropping the ‘Sham’poo (because it’s not real poo) straight from the top with the fan facing up. that should have guaranteed teh maximum spreadage.

    cant wait till this one gets supersized, either with the super fan used for the ‘hurrican house- windows open/closed’ test or the Jet Airplane engine for the other hurricane tests (when Stormchasers guest appeared)

  8. Lisa says:

    I’m not convinced that Kari ate either the worm or the cricket. It very much looked like she dropped the worm before it got to her mouth – in fact, she actually seemed to be looking for it in her lap before she started to gag! It may not have affected the result though, as she still looked pretty horrified at the sight of the various “meals”.

    • Tyler says:

      Watch it frame by frame. It is pretty clear that it does go in her mouth. She *may* have spit it out after (there’s a moment where her mouth goes out of frame and she tugs at her shirt), but honestly, doesn’t really impact the myth and even just having that in your mouth/throat before coughing it up is pretty ridiculous.

  9. Gina says:

    Would love to know where to get the ‘smokin’ t shirt that Kari wears in this episode. Anyone have an idea where to find out?

  10. jfk says:

    They definetly should have had an upright fan (facing upwards) and dropped the shit on it or ‘lobbed’ it on top of it, this would definetly give them their 360 degree splatter they were after with the initial metal blade fan. When shit hitz the fan god don’t walk wit me he carry me man

  11. Brittany says:

    This episode totally made me question every myth they have ever tested because of Kari! She definitely faked the bug eating bit. Total B.S. if you ask me she reacted and “swallowed” before she even gave time for the bug to allegedly reach her mouth. The gagging was way overplayed. It was easy to watch it fall down her shirt. I am officially finished with Mythbusters. Thanks a lot guys.

    • Albert says:

      I agree….I love the show but this one episode made me second guess a lot of the myth tested. I understand that the purpose was to see if you will get cold feet or not and that they already had a positive result but…then again, Kari should had eaten the bugs or just leave it at that…don’t try to BS your audience!

  12. Joe says:

    I don’t think it was faked i have the episode and slowed it down to frame by frame. You can see she squeezed the 1st worm and liquid falls down onto her shirt. The 2nd one she chops it w/ her teeth and it sprays liquid everywhere.

  13. BB says:

    As a pilot I think positive G forces and/or exertion contributed to Tory’s warm(er) feet. When you “pull Gs” in an airplane the blood is pushed to your feet and you are exerting yourself quite a bit to resist the Gs. Since the airplane was doing positive and negative Gs this is more complex but is still plausible. Either or both of these were different than Grant and Kari’s experience. Some more variables to test I guess. If I had to guess I think the Gs were the dominant factor over exertion.

    BTW alcohol supposedly has the same effect on extremities which is why using brandy to warm up is a bad idea. That would be a much more fun version of this test.

  14. phil says:

    Hello, it seems on this episode that Tory kept(guarded) his(her) shoes in the plane, what aims at keeping(guarding) the chaleur.alors whom kari and grant is barefoot in the workshop(studio) and the walking(step) flowerbed(orchestra) what has for action(share) to cool feet faster and change their temperature before and during the test.desolé, I am francais and do not speak English.I think that the test is not plausible

  15. Danny says:

    I have lost all respect for Mythbusters since Kari did not eat the bugs Look at her she follows the worm to the ground when she drops it , she thinks it possibly went down her blouse…Sorry You Have Been Busted.

  16. Ben says:

    Kari’s eating was very very suspect. I saw both creatures fall away. It was a disappointment. The worst part was when she claimed it was wriggling in her throat and like popcorn shell in her mouth. Maybe she just has a good imagination. I feel ripped off.

  17. adam says:

    I took this personally for some reason and slowed down the video. At first i was convinced by Kari’s reaction and the water coming out of her mouth that she did drop one or both of the bugs, but looking at the video closely I didn’t see any sign of the bugs coming out of her mouth or falling to the ground. Even so, I feel cheated with this crappy episode.

    • anton says:

      i am totally agree! and i`m think they all know about that cheat, thats not fair, i think need to repeat and in this time REALY EAT bug

  18. Saudade says:

    How can “cold feet” be just plausible when science explains it and everyone experiences it. The fight or flight response has been mentioned several times and apparently no one using the term understood the physiology of it.

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