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Latest MythBusters Results

Episode 113: "End with a Bang"

Air Date: November 12, 2008

It’s better to hit the ground running.

busted

The MythBusters tested this idiom in a literal sense by applying it to running, bicycling, and driving. They wanted to see if you can be faster when your legs or wheels are already moving at the start of a time trial. For running, Kari, Tory, and Grant each ran 30 feet from a standstill, then after dropping from a trapeze bar while running in the air, and finally after riding a zipline to the starting line. All of them were faster when running from a standstill. For the bicycle, Tory made a rig that allowed him to elevate the rear wheel and drop it, spinning, onto the ground. This made the bike unstable and was slower than a dead start. Finally, the team raised the front wheels of a car off the ground while Kari revved the engine. The front end was then dropped, but once again, a dead start proved to be faster.

You can’t polish poop.

busted

Adam and Jamie visited a zoo to obtain a variety of feces to try to polish. They tried to pick the most polishable candidates and baked them to remove the moisture. Adam tried to shine his poop with a buffing wheel, while Jamie reasoned that using a wax polish would result in a shine. Adam eventually sought the advice of an outside expert, who showed him that it was possible to apply a shine to dirt with a tedious technique. Applying this technique, Adam and Jamie were able to obtain very polished poop without using any foreign materials like polish.

It’s better to end with a bang.

up to the fans

To test this myth, Adam and Jamie tried different ways of ending the episode: first with a bang, then with a slow burn. For the bang, detonating cord was wrapped around Jamie’s moped, and Adam added bottles of gasoline. The explosion utterly destroyed the moped. For a burn, Jamie mixed over 1000 lbs of thermite, intending to use it to cut an SUV in half. While the SUV was not completely severed, the thermite burned through most of the vehicle, and both Adam and Jamie enjoyed the destruction. Adam preferred the bang, but Jamie liked the burn more. They decided to leave the verdict of the myth/idiom to the fans.

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Episode 112: "Coffin Punch"

Air Date: November 5, 2008

A person buried in a coffin 6 feet underground can successfully punch his or her way out, then dig up to freedom. (Based on a scene in the movie Kill Bill.)

busted

Based on tests with a martial arts expert, the Build Team determined that greatest force at which a person in a coffin could punch is about 1450 Newtons. Grant built a robot that could generate that force with a 3-inch punch, and it was placed inside a plain pine coffin. After 600 punches the robot had created a crack in the lid, but had not punched a hole in it. Then the team placed six feet of dirt on the coffin, and again the robot only split the lid and could not create a hole. To test what would happen if a hole could be made, the Build Team built an acrylic coffin outfitted with a trapdoor and a sliding panel to let dirt in. First Tory entered the coffin and 2 feet of dirt were placed on him. He was able to dig himself out. When Grant repeated this experiment with 6 feet of dirt, the dirt entered the coffin so fast and filled it so completely that there was no way anyone could escape. Based on these results, the myth was declared busted.

A police badge is bulletproof.

plausible

First, a silver star was tested, but the bullet easily penetrated it. A star on a copper shield was tested, but it also failed to stop the bullet. Finally, a star on a nickel shield was tested. It was heavily deformed, but it caught the bullet.

An MP3 player/iPod is bulletproof.

busted

Firing an AK-47, Adam’s second shot cleanly penetrated an iPod after his first shot only grazed it. The myth came from a story about a soldier in Iraq who survived when the iPod he was wearing was shot. However, he was also wearing body armor when he got shot.

3 pizza boxes in a warming bag are bulletproof.

plausible

Based on a story that a pizza delivery boy survived a shotgun blast by holding his warming bag in front of him, Adam and Jamie first fired birdshot at a warming bag containing three pizzas, and it stopped the all but six of the pellets. They then used buckshot which easily passed through the pizzas. To see how far the buckshot would penetrate, 5 warming bags, each containing 3 pizza boxes, were placed in front of the ballistics gel dummy. Buckshot was fired at it, and the shot made it all the way to pizza 14.

Human fat is bulletproof.

busted

Determining that the largest layer of fat around a human (Walter Hudson) would measure 16 inches, Adam and Jamie placed that amount of human-temperature cow fat in front of the dummy. The bullet made it all the way through the fat easily.

Human muscle is bulletproof.

busted

Using the measurements of a man with 3-inch pectorals and 11-inch biceps, Adam and Jamie placed 14 inches of cow muscle in front of the dummy (assuming the man placed his bicep over his pectoral and the bullet passed through them both). The muscle failed to stop the bullet.

A mixture of cornstarch and water is bulletproof.

busted

Adam reasoned that this mixture’s properties as a non-Newtonian liquid might allow it to stop a bullet. However, 6 thin bags full of the liquid failed to stop the bullet.

Bathroom tiles covered in a fiber-reinforced gypsum cement is bulletproof.

plausible

This material stopped rounds from a 9mm pistol, a .45 caliber handgun, and buckshot. It failed to halt deer slug or rounds from a M4 Carbine.

A belt buckle is bulletproof.

plausible

Although the bullet did pass through the belt buckle, a policeman who had been shot in the belt buckle and survived spoke with Jamie and Adam, saying that the bullet caused a large bruise but lodged in his shirt.

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Episode 111: "Motorcycle Flip"

Air Date: October 29, 2008

Throwing a wooden pole into the spokes of a motorbike’s front wheel will cause it to flip. (Based on a scene in the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.)

busted

The Mythbusters first obtained a bike similar to the type used during filming of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. They built a mechanized rig that could fire a pole at human-like speeds. During a full-scale test with the bike moving at a speed of 40 miles per hour, the bike snapped the wooden pole without stopping, busting the myth. Undeterred, The MythBusters decided to redo the test with a steel pole. Although the steel pole did stop the bike, it skidded instead of flipping, definitively busting the myth. The team analyzed the movie scene and discovered that explosives were used to flip the bike. They then built a mortar and used it to flip the bike in an elaborate recreation of the movie scene.

While escaping prison, you could climb down a wall using a rope made of toilet paper.

plausible

To compensate for toilet paper’s low tensile strength, Tory twisted it into multiple yarns to create rope. After creating the rope, Tory found that it was strong enough to support his weight. During a test climbing down a courthouse, Tory had difficulty keeping a firm grip on the rope. Nonetheless, the Build Team declared the myth plausible.

While escaping prison, you could climb down a wall using a rope made of bedsheets.

confirmed

Grant found that making his bedsheet rope was very easy and quick in comparison to the toilet paper and hair ropes. During the test, the rope held Grant’s weight and he successfully descended to the ground.

While escaping prison, you could climb down a wall using a rope made of hair.

plausible

In order to make a rope, Kari braided numerous ponytails together, with some difficulty. Despite initial doubts, she managed to successfully climb down the hair rope. The Build Team declared this myth plausible since getting the necessary amount of hair to create a rope would be extremely impractical.

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