Episode 122: Prison Escape

Air Date: June 3, 2009

You can use dental floss to cut through the steel bars of a prison.


Grant built a flossing robot, applied toothpaste to the bars (the grit used to clean your teeth, they reasoned, could be used to aid the floss), and let it run for a week. After a week, the bar had been worn away a fraction of an inch, which, by Grant’s calculations, mean that you can cut through one bar in less than 300 days if you flossed 8 hours a night.

An 18th century prisoner placed the ball from his ball-and-chain into the prison’s ceremonial cannon, fired himself over the prison wall, and survived.


After getting the specifications of a ball-and-chain for a 170 pounds (77 kg) person (what the dummy weighed) from an expert, Tory built a homemade cannon for the ball. Using one shotgun shell full of black powder, they launched just the ball 80 yards (73 m), well over the fence. After attaching it to Buster and using two shells, he flew an unspectacular 6 feet (1.8 m). Using rope to simulate hip ligaments, they fired again. Buster’s leg was completely separated from his hip, leaving this myth busted.

A person can hold onto the roof of a car with the windows down while the car is zig-zagging.


A safety rig was constructed in case Jamie couldn’t hold on, but he was easily able to hold onto a car going 45 miles per hour (72 km/h).

A person can hold onto the roof of a car with the windows up while the car was zig-zagging.


Jamie could not hold on when the car was going 45 mph. The windows were up for all tests after this.

A person can hold onto the roof of a car while the car is making a big turn.


Jamie fell off when the car was going at just 15–20 miles per hour (24–32 km/h).

A person can hold onto the roof of a car when it makes a sudden stop.


Jamie lost his grip and almost blacked out after a 45 mph stop.

A person can hold onto the hood of a car while the car is zig-zagging.


Adam fell off after the first swerve at just 20 mph.

A person can hold onto the hood of a car while the car is making a big turn.


Adam fell off immediately at only 20 mph.

A person can hold onto the hood of a car when it makes a sudden stop.


Adam was able to hold onto the hood at both 20 and 45 mph stops.

A driver can shake someone off of the roof of a car by going through a car wash.


The car wash had no effect on Jamie except for the chilly 55 °F (13 °C) water.

A driver can shake someone off of the hood of a car by going through a car wash.


Adam easily held on to the hood.


  1. Rickey Barnes says:

    In the old wild west, how can it always happen when the good guy shows up to stop a good ole fashion linching at the last minute he is able to shoot the rope that is being used in half with one shot with his pistol ?

  2. ANGELA FRANK says:

    I would like a to see you test a if a bullet in a dryer could actually be ignited. My mother would always freak when my Dad would leave them in his pockets and then doing wash it would start BIG arrguments when she would hear them rolling around in a hot dryer?

  3. alexis dalessandro says:

    hello mythbusters I will present them an experiment that I could never put it on approval but I would like that you if. for the experiment it is necessary to put 10 kg of an alkaline metal (they prove which is but strong), they have to prepare a box it shields with a metal cover they put the whole alkaline metal inside the box it shields then for the cover they add him water and they leave running then if the box explodes it will be true otherwise it will be false.

    greetings: mythbusters

  4. Vince says:

    Angela, the reason the bullet fires is because the metal pin is what hits the center of the shell, igniting the propellant. It could be plausible I believe, but only if the shell of the bullet hit the metal in the dryer just right.

  5. Lawrence Dell says:

    Dear Mythbusters,

    Is it posible for a car to flip if another object
    is moveing fast enough beside it?

  6. umpity squat says:

    when i was a whee bit lad i actually had a friend who kept throwing 22 cal shell at the ground till it went off… IT WENT OFF! no one was hurt luckily but could easily have been… MOM is right bout the dryer.

  7. Mister Whirly says:

    Umpity squat-

    That is because .22 shells are rimfire cartridges, not center fire. You can strike the rim of the shell anywhere to get it to ignite. Center-fire cartridges can only be struck it the very center to have the primer ignited.

  8. Sophie says:

    what would happen if a small fire broke out on the paper in a printer would the printer explode? thats my question

  9. Charud says:

    Hello, guys. I have some remarks towards a man on the roof of the car. I have noticed that you made a test using a THICK PROTECTIVE GLOVES, which reduces the grip VERY MUCH. For example, you can’t climb a cliff even with the thin gloves, but you can do it easily without them. Of course it’s the matter of how strong is your fingers, but I believe that it could be done.

  10. rooftop crazy says:

    while at university, we played a game called roof drive(lots of alcohol needed for this one). Quite simply a mate drives the car and at 120km/h you get out onto the roof and hang on for dear life while the driver swerves wildly through the city streets doing some corners at 80km per hour. You need to do the test again, ’cause it is actually plausible.

  11. Sangelia says:

    I have just read a variant on that in the news.
    woman held onto a wiperblade and a mirror of the minivan her husband was driving. while being splayed across the hood.
    he was reported at going about 100 mph.
    there are at least 2 calls to 911 on this one.
    dont know if he swerved or not. but the dude is up for attempted murder of his wife.

  12. sam says:

    Mythbusters, in the car cling myth that you busted, only adam and jamie held on. You seriously need to test this myth again because although Adam and Jamie are big strong humans, a stuntman could actually hold on with a lot more grip. Please test again ’cause it could be plausible.

  13. Steven says:

    For the floss myth – just look at any industrial sewing machine. Thread will do a number on the cast iron housing and stainless guide bars. More than just plausible.

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