Episode 84: Viewers’ Choice Special

Air Date: August 15, 2007

This episode featured some of the most popular myths requested by viewers.

If you sneeze with your eyes open, your eyes will fly out from the force.

busted

It was hard for Adam and Jamie to sneeze with their eyes open, but Adam eventually did the trick by forcing his eyelids open with his fingers. His eyes were fully intact. It would be impossible for your eyes to pop out because of the number of natural attachments that keep the eye inside the socket.

You can stop a runaway car by shifting the gears into reverse.

busted

Using both an automatic and a manual car, both cars were given the full force of the brake and stopped after 60 and 80 feet, respectively. Shifting into reverse did just about nothing, and both cars stopped after over 1000 feet. It was noted that the automatic car had a failsafe to prevent going into reverse while going forward. Additionally, shifting into reverse at high speeds can damage the transmission of the car.

Firing cigarette butts out of a gun can hit with lethal force.

confirmed

The Mythbusters first fired cut-off cigarette ends, but none of them penetrated the ballistics gel mold, let alone into the heart. It was only after they fired at point-blank range and fired cigarette butts from used cigarettes, full of cigarette waste material, thus adding mass, that the heart was damaged.

By cutting a hole in a tennis ball, one can squeeze the ball and the resulting air pressure can unlock a car door.

busted

The Build Team replicated an online viral video with two different tennis balls with two sized holes, but the car door didn’t unlock. They blasted the lock with full air pressure, but it still didn’t do anything. They finally recreated the events in video by having Tory unlocking the door remotely in the background, and were quick to point out that clever editing can make things look real.

In the Civil War, you could have prevented an opponent’s sword from piercing your chest with a hardcover book.

confirmed

A hardcover book was able to prevent a sword being thrust at human strength and speed from piercing the pig’s flesh.

In the Civil War, you could have prevented an opponent’s sword from piercing your chest with a bunch of coins.

busted

The coins merely deflected the blow to another part of the body.

121 Comments

  1. Keith says:

    Does the radar laser jammers work?

  2. snowman says:

    RE: You can stop a runaway car by shifting the gears into reverse. BUSTED?

    You CAN indead get a car to stop from putting it into reverse, but probably not the newer ones.

    While “Hot rodding” my 1989 camaro “power shifting” I accidently popped past the neutral (weak neutral to OD detent) into reverse @ 50 mph. It squalled the tires and stalled, though it probably could’ve stayed running had I stayed on the gas, but I didn’t feel like replacing an $1800+ tranny.

    As for manual transmissions, it really depends on the transmission. A car with a “Performance” or syncronized transmission will go in reverse while moving forward and vice versa, but most cheap cars that you wouldn’t mind “tearing up” won’t have one.
    I read in a tech manual somewhere that if my other car (a 1995 neon) has a “Performance” transmission, you will be able to go from reverse to forward without stopping. I tried it in a parking lot at low speed and it worked. I know it would be very hard on a clutch so I came to a stop with the brake anyway before I moved forward.

  3. superman says:

    Can you cut down a tree with a cannon ball?Can you cut glass?can you make a touch screen computer from a regular computer?

    • MSpears says:

      In order:
      (1) Yes, theoretically.
      (2) Yes, with a glass cutter or other similar tool.
      (3) Yes… you go to a computer store or order a touch-screen monitor online, and install the drivers on your “regular” computer.

  4. Steve Frye says:

    The car-in-reverse-to-stop-it myth wasn’t busted because it didn’t involve the right test vehicle, as some of the folks who commented here have attested. My own experience with the Powerglide transmission in my 1955 Chevrolet was that when the transmission lever was jerked into reverse (on purpose) at a vehicle speed of about 25 mph, the car stopped, the engine died and the tranny survived several more years. I suspect modern cars are engineered to not allow the sudden shift change to stop a moving car just to prevent damage to trannies in automobiles operated by 16 year-olds.

  5. Randy says:

    I have news for you, I shifted my Mustang into reverse(and I wasn’t trying, by accident) and the rear wheels went crazy burning rubber, so you can shift into reverse. It did not tear the transmission up, but I sure put it in reverse.

    • Fred says:

      This was an SOP when I went thru drivers ED in 1980. We had to stop our car in less than 50 yards by throwing car in REVERSE… I was really bummed when I saw this episode…Epic Fail!

      From what I saw in the show, they just dumped it in reverse and the engine stalled. During drivers Ed, we were instructed to come out of drive, match RPMs in Neutral and then feather the gas pedal to hold tires in place against forward motion. When you came to a stop you would throw it in PARK!…lots of smoking rubber and grinding, but it works! God those instructors were crazy!

  6. Captain Crunch says:

    Being an experienced seaman, I mounted a 50 lb anchor on my rear bumper and spring loaded it for quick ejection. An electrical solenoid and a push button on the dash jettisoned that sucker really well. Fortunately, I chose the right side of the vehicle because it could have hit the driver behind me. The unlucky thing was that his Persian cat was lying on his dash and it blew out the windshield and squoshed his butt. I’m now thinking of driling a hole through my radiator and extending the crankshaft out to an airboat prop mounted backwards. I can then put the tranny in neutral, race the engine and stop the vehicle. No, I’m not related to Leonardo Davinci.

  7. Sam Marcotte says:

    Can you stop the run away car if you turn the engine off ? I always thought that would be good. But it does take the power out of your breaks :(

  8. jimmy burkett says:

    First of all,great show.My request is can a above ground swimming pool stay operational once the 110v motor/pump initially starts the swirling of the water. Using the water with a small paddle wheel attached to a pole and hanging over the edge of the pool in the swirling of the water. Hook up to a generator and once generating then turn off the 110v power and see will it keep the pump working properly just with the water moving. Reason is I think the water will slow down gradually meaning power slowing.

  9. Bob Bob says:

    The myth states thatthe coins will keep the sword from piercing the chest. How is it Busted if the sword was deflected to a different part of the body? It missed the chest didn’t it?

    • Jim says:

      the point was not to cause any damage at all…………….

  10. zlatte says:

    Firstly I would like to say hi love your show, any way I have a myth for you:
    -There is no statistical evidence ever recorded that blond women are with a lower IQ (dumber)then all of the rest.
    I think this would be a great Myth to be busted….. OR NOT? :)
    Hit me back with your decision, bye bye…

    • jason says:

      lol that would be a good one, but i don’t think they would ever air that due to how contraversial it would be. it would be the equivalent of testing the IQ of blacks vs whites

  11. Helmut says:

    Different results for different cars for: By cutting a hole in a tennis ball, one can squeeze the ball and the resulting air pressure can unlock a car door

    A similar test was conducted in Germany by the Galileo team (a TV show somewhat slightly similar to Mythbusters) at the Pro7 channel. The results proved that the early 1990s models of Volkswagen and Audi with vacuum operated central locking systems indeed could be opened with a rtennis ball. Since the car thieves found that out quite fast, this locking systems has been replaced with more “traditional” systems very soon by the car manufacturers.

  12. Richie says:

    the tennis ball lock pick does work they made the mistake of doing the experiment on a car fitted with mechanical locks if they had used a car with pneumatic locks ie Mk3 golf or early ford escorts they would have succeeded.

  13. Daan says:

    I was wondering about the cigarettes butt kill.
    When you shoot a gun at that close range I don’t think you need anything in the barrel. The pressure of the expanding gas from that range is enough the do significant damage.

    • MSpears says:

      To score a penetrating wound, however, *does* require something in the barrel. It was a so-called “blank” that killed the actor Jon-Eric Hexum.

      For those who don’t know, a blank still has a paper or plastic wadding to seal the gunpowder into the cartridge, and Hexum was pressing the gun barrel right against his temple. (Nobody had told him that blanks can still be dangerous, and he was bored due to a delay in filming. Basically he thought he was playing a harmless game.)

      At that range, aimed at a vulnerable spot on the body (e.g. the temple or an eye), the wadding can be ejected with enough force to cause severe trauma or even death.

  14. Don Howison says:

    My wife is always onto me to wind the clthes line up as she reckons the clothes will dry quicker if it is wound to it’s highest position. I claim it won’t make any difference. What do you think? Has this myth ever been tested?

  15. Jame Spurr says:

    Some Cars Will Stop When Shifting into Park.

    I did this when I was 16. It was my Dad’s car at the time, and it was probably a year-and-a-half old. I threw it into park at about 45 MPH. The car went into a lock-up skid, and I recall hearing a sound like a big zipper. I think it stalled, but I am not sure. Amazingly, it did not seem to damage the car. I drove that car through college to more that 100K miles, and sold it to a friend (who happened to be with me when I did this). He later sold it at about 140K miles.

    Please try this again with a 1976 Buick Skylark (231 V6, Automatic)

  16. Jame Spurr says:

    Killer Cigarette Butt Bullets?

    Some Cigarette Filters use a plastic structural framework. I’ll bet if they tried those, it would have been deadly farther away than point-blank.

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