Episode 68: Anti-Gravity Device

Air Date: December 6, 2006

Anti-gravity is possible.

busted (for now)

After testing various contraptions that were allegedly able to defy gravity, the MythBusters found that none of them could actually achieve "anti-gravity" the contraptions (that did levitate) generated an upward force that balanced its downward gravitation. The myth was declared busted (for now), because although they could bust the contraptions as anti-gravity machines, the idea of anti-gravity itself could not be busted through their tests.

The heat generated by Christmas lights can ignite a Christmas tree.

busted

After rigging a tinder-dry Christmas tree with hundreds of Christmas lights (using more power than an entire house normally would) and waiting for at least 40 minutes, the MythBusters were unable to get the tree to ignite by itself. Instead, they used an artificially created spark (simulating a short circuit) to set the tree on fire. Though the myth was busted, Adam and Jamie noted how quickly the tree caught on fire once it was ignited, warning viewers to be careful around their Christmas trees. Also, Adam and Jamie proved that you can overload a single extension cord with too many lights and making it short, which they theorize is the primary reason for Christmas tree fires.

Vodka can cure the pain of a jellyfish sting.

confirmed

After receiving a sting from a jellyfish and then treating the wound with vodka, Kari noticed that most of the pain from the sting had disappeared. Vodka-based treatment seem to have worked about as well as the traditional warm water-based solution.

57 Comments

  1. Rich says:

    I seem to recall that vinegar and/or lemon juice is used for box jellyfish stings. If that’s as effective as vodka, it’d be better to keep that around. Nobody is going to drink your “medicinal” vinegar.

  2. Ryan says:

    I read somewhere that if you pour a can of coke or something on the jellyfish sting, then the stinging is nullified.

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  3. Ray says:

    It may be a rumour, as I haven’t actually seen this experiment, and I doubt it too, but an engine racing at over 20000 RPM is supposed to be free from gravity. It is a story from a friend of a friend. You know those ones.

    • Andy says:

      20.000 RPM ain’t that fast, and your friend was wrong.

  4. Dave says:

    Urine also works.

  5. Jawa says:

    I knew this guy who knew this guy how knew this guy who arguments anti-gravity as plausible.

  6. Storm says:

    Meat Tenderizer also works on Jellyfish stings.

  7. Nick says:

    I haven’t seen this season, didn’t reach my country yet, so I don’t know what you might mean by anti-gravity, but there is an apparatus called a Levitron… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levitron
    And you can also achieve “anti-gravity” with super conductive materials.

    • Andy says:

      Super Conductive Materials have nothing to do with anti gravity. You are talking about the phenomena of eddy currents induced by the permanent magnet, which create a repelling magnetic field.
      With super conductors, this field is strong enough to let the magnet float.

  8. Anon says:

    There are plenty of ways to relieve a jellyfish sting, but one from a box jellyfish? If you need something to help a sting from that, just be happy you’re still alive.

  9. Anon says:
  10. Franky says:

    I think Anon’s argument is a good one. How would you relieve a box jelly sting?

    My friend told me that if you put enough voltage into a lightbulb suddenly, it may explode.

  11. Franky says:

    My friend also told me that a laptop placed in a vacuum chamber will overheat, then ifd air is bled in it may catch fire.

  12. MythMan says:

    Quite Right, Franky. The Laptop loses all ventilation and it overheats, like your friend means, then, if you give it air, it fuels the super overheat with Oxygen thus making it ignite

    • MSpears says:

      Unfortunately, any modern laptop would automatically shut down before it could super-overheat, to prevent damage. In most computers, this is set somewhere between 70 degrees Celsius (158 degrees Fahrenheit) and 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees F, the point at which water boils), FAR below the point at which anything in the computer would catch fire, even in pure oxygen.

  13. owen says:

    an idea for a levitation device surely by using magnets you should be able to float say if you sat down had metal seat which was layed with negitive magnets on the underside , then have some magnets on wheels (also negitive ) to create the push needed u could do this using the super magnets !!!

    • Andy says:

      Stuff like that exists pretty much since before WW2…..

  14. Nikolaj says:

    A while I saw a program where someone had constructed a anti-gravity machine, by construction a magnetic field. Which he used to levitate a frog.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJ_gzB0WKF0

    • Andy says:

      This is NOT anti Gravity. It is just levitation by using the fact that everything is reacting to magnets, even water.
      There are just some materials that react really strong like Iron or Nickel.

  15. Ali says:

    As for ur comments owen… u did use the term for magnetic field but rather then u need a metallic chair but anti gravity defines u should float with out any metaalic object… which needs to be proven. And Nikolaj u said a frog that floats still uses magnetic field all aroung it so u wud only float if the whole earth were covered by magnets every where… as shown the frog floats through a hole with magnets all around it, which u wont see ever happening on humans

  16. John Trev says:

    Why a dry tree? Okay, that seems intuitive at first glance, but…

    http://science.howstuffworks.com/fire1.htm
    http://www.firetactics.com/service.htm

    Heating a green tree gives off volatile gases that will ignite at around 300C, lower than the ignition point of dry wood, aparently. Try a search on backdraft or “white smoke explosion”.

    IMHO this myth has some bangs left in it!

  17. T says:

    Urine does NOT work. It bothers me immensely that people perpetuate beliefs like this, especially on a website that is about a show that seeks to prove or disprove such things.

    • Andy says:

      You know what is strange? That even experienced experts say that urine DOES WORK.
      And i don’t talk about people who know a friend of friend, no i talk about people who actually did it themselves because there was nothing else available.

  18. rachel says:

    How come they never used FAKE christmas trees for their christmas-light-fire-tree experiment?? Obviously those are drier and more likely to flame up!

    • Andy says:

      Fake Christmas Trees are made from a fire resistant polymer.
      It will melt, but it takes an open flame for quite some time to start burning.

  19. maricris r says:

    About anti-gravity: What they are trying to test on is that whether or not a device/solution can be made that will ‘nullify’ gravity. Devices that use magnets and semi-conductors (e.g. like those maglev trains) are not anti-gravity devices because they do not render gravity of the immediate location void; they render a thing upwards because of magnetic forces (analogous to the lift forces of an airplane).

  20. maricris r says:

    Oops.. I should have said superconductors, not semi-conductors. My bad.

  21. Andy says:

    Is the centre of the earth hollow? Since there can be no gravity at the centre then matter would by the laws of physics be attracted to matter with the heaviest at the greatest concentration at the point where gravity is the greatest. This will not be at the centre but must be 1/2 way between centre and the surface. Since gravity is transfered by matter then surely anything in the centre of the vacuum (held in position by magnets) could possibly lose mass.

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  22. Jordan moran says:

    you are very fun to watch and hopefuly I can be a mythbuster when Im older

  23. Jordan moran says:

    The best special was the james bond special because my grandad bernard would enjoy it too if he watched it and gave it a chance then he would like it.

  24. Lana says:

    I agree with rachel…You should have tried fake trees.

  25. Lana says:

    Pine-Sol cut half and half with water will take the pain out of a jellyfish sting in under a minute. Tried it myself. It works.

    Just soak a paper towel in the mixture and put it in a ziploc bag when you go to the beach.

  26. Jibbly Tim says:

    Is that vodka used internally or externally. I know I don’t feel any pain with enough vodka.

  27. kyle says:

    If you want to know about anti gravity then there are hundreds of videos on youtube entitled ion wind or stuff like that. But it doesn’t work like that, what happens is that the tin foil has a less dense cloud of electrons than the wire above and as the electrons fly from the tin foil to the denser electronic field of the wire they create an area of low gravity that the devise falls strait up into.

    • Tristin Black says:

      Where on the internet can I see the tin foil experiment, materials list and instructions?

  28. caleb says:

    If you want to know about anti gravity then there are hundreds of videos on youtube entitled ion wind or stuff like that. But it doesn’t work like that, what happens is that the tin foil has a less dense cloud of electrons than the wire above and as the electrons fly from the tin foil to the denser electronic field of the wire they create an area of low gravity that the devise falls strait up into.

    • Meena says:

      Take a long slow drive through difnereft neighborhoods and check out the color schemes along the way this helps in the real world Personally I like earth tones have fun!

  29. caleb says:

    If you want to know about anti gravity then there are hundreds of videos on youtube entitled ion wind or stuff like that. But it doesn’t work like that, what happens is that the tin foil has a less dense cloud of electrons than the wire above and as the electrons fly from the tin foil to the denser electronic field of the wire they create an area of low gravity that the devise falls strait up into

  30. caleb says:

    The reason the hover plate didn’t work in the vacuum is because it has high voltage but low ampage. The ampage gives it it’s strength. When there is air molecules around it the electrons ionize them so it helps the electrons from the tin foil to get to the wire above. The ampage on its own isn’t strong enough to get the electrons to the wire. So with no air the thingy won’t hover.

  31. caleb says:
  32. kris says:

    I think you guys might need to test the one about the Ionic wind again. Ive read and seen some videos where some people clame that some of thoes ion wind devices dont actualy create any thrust. I saw one where they placed a plastic bag over the device. IDK if that would stop ions from passing through or not but it does raise some questions.

  33. Bogdan says:

    Gravity is a propriety of matter. It cannot be nullified. Wanting to nullify gravity is the same as wanting to isolate electrical charge from an electron. When there is mass, there is gravity. Even the tiny photon has mass (and we know that by seeing gravitational lens in action, when some star occludes other and the image of the distant one “jumps” swiftly from one side to the other).

    There are theories that gravity is accompanied by a hypothetical elemental particle called graviton, and blocking that particle (similar as we are blocking the photons using opaque objects or radio waves using Faraday cages) will isolate any object inside the blocking device from any gravity field from the objects around it. Unfortunately, the graviton particle is just a theory and not a very well regarded one, too.

    Anything else used to counteract the action of the gravity should not be called an antigravity device, since it is only some type of propulsion, no matter how fancy it is.

  34. AndyB says:

    Many have written about “anti-gravity” and most refer to use of magnets. This is fascinating stuff and not without applications (maglev trains for example). But it remains electro-magnetic suspension… not Anti-gravity per se. Scientists are still trying to uncover the scource of gravity at the sub-atomic level ( I believe work at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN has this as one of it’s aims) basically noone seems to understand the origin of gravity, it’s carrier, or how it is propagated well enough yet to make either a gravity or anti-gravity generator. That’s not to say it’s impossible, usually effects are discovered before their cause… so who knows…

  35. AndyB says:

    errm… one more thing… gravity affecting light… and the gravitationa lens… is it the gravity effecting the ‘mas’ of the photons (do they have mass?) or is it rater the effects of photons moving in ‘straight lines’ in space-time local to the mass that is bent (by the presence of the mass & it’s gravity) -with respect to the space-time around it?

  36. jody kirk says:

    You Guys Have a Funny Way of Defining Somthing Anti = Meaning Against
    Gravity = A Pulling or Atractive Force Created By A Objects Centrifical Motion
    And In Responce To T In your Coments Section Urin Most Certantly Dose Work To Kill The Sting Of A Jelly Fish But Dose Nothing To Remove The Toxins

  37. cameron says:

    Bogdad, the gravaton theriory is part of M-theory. A good NOVA documentary that talks about it is at this site: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/elegant/program.html

  38. simon says:

    on Episode 68: Anti-Gravity Device you guys said to defeat gravity you have to make the object wight less how do u make the object wight less.

  39. NoFA says:

    Hi there I wonder if there is any way to get the part of the show with the jellyfish. I tried to google and youtube it but it can’t be found. I want to show it to my girlfriend so that she might belive me that vodka can cure it. So my question is can it be found anywhere? (Sorry for the bad english :D)

  40. Thomas C. says:

    The only way with just the housing christmas lights to start arcing of current if the air around the christmas tree is dry air because it has to do with the realitive humidity of outside mixing with the air inside your house so go buy a humidifier to keep wet air so you do not get a fire that destroys and kills you in the process !!

  41. Thomas C. says:

    Christmas tree fires happend because the cold dry air outside comes in your homes and makes your inside cold dry air too so its the realative humidity around the tree in your homes so go buy a humdifier and put it by the tree ! The dry cold air has static charges in the air that will not bind to water because there are none right ?

  42. Jayvee says:

    I read the myths and i find it helpful for my science project, What did you use again to make that triangular Aluminum foil thingy levitate? , some kind of Electromagnet and high voltage?

    • Caleb says:

      It’s nothing to do with magnetism. You can probably find tutorials on YouTube about how to make them. They are a LOT of vidoes about them.

  43. Gerry says:

    Has Mythbusters tested electromagnetic levitation at earth’s magnetic poles?

  44. Otto says:

    In the episode, they claimed there was no thrust generated in vacuum. However, the only thing proved is that it didn’t generate enough thrust to overcome the weight of the craft (5-10 grams?)

  45. lewis daines says:

    The myth that heat generated by Christmas lights can ignite a Christmas tree could be confirmed with different types of christmas trees e.g. wood or plastic

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