Episode 162: Running on Water

Air Date: April 20, 2011

It is possible to run across the surface of a body of water using a combination of footwear and running technique. (Inspired by a viral video.)

busted

Adam and Jamie found a lake similar to the one shown in the video and laid a strip of turf to its edge in order to ensure good traction. Wearing the same type of water-repellent shoes, they each made several runs but wound up in the water each time. They brought in Olympic sprinter Wallace Spearmon, thinking that increased speed would help, but he also failed.

After studying film footage of the so-called “Jesus Christ lizard” (Basiliscus basiliscus) running on water, Adam and Jamie decided to build separate footwear rigs to duplicate its leg movements. They called in Jessica Fortunato, a trained acrobat and gymnast, and had her try both rigs: Adam’s with hinged foot platforms and a long tail, and Jamie’s with concave foot cups and an outrigger frame held in front. She was unable to stay above water, whether unaided or using either of the rigs.

At this point, Adam and Jamie declared the myth busted and built a submersible bridge to replicate the results. After camouflaging it and setting up the camera at a particular angle, both were able to run across the surface until they went off the end of the bridge.

For the following myths, the Build Team investigated the ability of everyday objects to reduce the likelihood of injury or death from an explosion. They began by detonating a 3-pound (1.4 kg) charge of C-4, with rupture disks at various distances set to burst at 13 psi (90 kPa) (injury) and 75 psi (517 kPa) (instant death). Distances of 10 and 20 ft (3.0 and 6.1 m) were found to be the thresholds of the death and injury zones, respectively, due to the blast shock wave.

For each object tested, they placed it at 10 and 20 feet, with rupture disks and a foam-cutout figure (to gauge shrapnel injuries) protected by it.

A wooden table could protect you from the shock wave of a bomb.

confirmed

The tables were placed on their side, facing the blast, and the disks and figures were set behind them. Both figures were broken in the blast. The 10 ft (3.0 m) table was destroyed, but the disks did not burst. At 20 ft (6.1 m), the table was heavily damaged; the “injury” disk did not burst, but did buckle noticeably. The team noted that shrapnel from the splintered table might cause injury or death independently of the shock wave.

A car could protect you from the shock wave of a bomb.

confirmed

The cars were placed to present one side toward the blast, with the disks and figures behind the front end. No injury was noted at 20 feet, while only the “injury” disk burst at 10 feet.

A metal dumpster could protect you from the shock wave of a bomb.

confirmed

The disks and figures were placed inside the dumpsters. The team observed the same results as for the car and noted that the side toward the blast showed some deformation.

A cinderblock wall could protect you from the shock wave of a bomb.

confirmed

Since the team only had enough time and materials to build one wall, they moved the blast site as needed to achieve the 10- and 20-foot distances. The 20-foot test was performed first; the wall stood, and the disk deformed but did not burst. After the wall was repaired, the 10-foot blast collapsed it and crushed the figure. However, both disks remained intact.

10 Comments

  1. jerenie says:

    i would like to now if its possible to breath ellium and fly

    • lolololololol says:

      NO.

  2. Peter says:

    No. Flying, like a balloon I presume?, requires that you displace as much air as you weigh – i.e. you must become balloon-shaped and LARGE. Helium in your lungs gives only as much buoyancy as the weight of a lungful of air (i.e. next to nothing).

    Breathing Helium can kill you if you do not know what you are doing.

  3. Kevin says:

    just watched this on tv today.. i would like to see it redone with the guys that came out with the youtube video… i see a lot of differences between the way it was done on youtube and on the show

  4. Dean says:

    Just saw this episode on a weekend rebroadcast for the first time.
    Walk on water? Really? 5 seconds of research would show that not to be possible.
    It’s like the post above, asking about flying by breathing helium.
    Just as your lungs cannot hold enough helium to make you float, the combined surface area of your feet is not large enough to allow you to walk on water, which (I think) was the point they were trying to make by building the “footwear”.
    Wouldn’t mind seeing more of Jessica Fortunato, though. =)

  5. Alan says:

    I’m sure the Youtube video is a fake, but I think more than five seconds of research is needed to show that a human can’t imitate the Jesus lizard, if only briefly. Quite a lot of force is needed to push a shovel blade under water, and that force also pushes upwards to keep a human afloat. The trouble is that much the same force is needed to lift the shovel blade out of the water, so nothing gained.
    But I wonder if it would be possible to use a shovel blade, a foot paddle, which was rigid on the downstroke, but folded when retracted, lowering the extraction force. An alternative would be a flat paddle with multiple holes, each with a flap valve- closed on the downstroke, open on the upstroke. A fit, athletic human would be needed to test this, so it would be a good excuse to get Jessica Fortunato back!

  6. sofie says:

    the ppl who ran on water didnt actually run, bc there were flexible tables beneath the water.

  7. tony says:

    hi,,,just wondering if the walking on water thing would work on a salt lake with high salinity,,,never know,,,,,,

  8. caitlin says:

    I thought it was funny but you can not walk on water you would sink

  9. Aaron says:

    Why do you call the second Myth “Bomb Proof”? When clearly the shockwave of a bomb is usually the least lethal aspect OF a bomb. Secondly, You confirm something that only results in injury as “Bomb Proof” when it should be labeled Bomb Resistant (Based on the level and type of explosives you are using). Lastly, a real “Bomb” is specifically made for specific situations and never will you see a “bomb”, outside of a controlled environment, consisting of just a naked explosive compound. Grenades split steal into small beads and shards; Door breaches are omnidirectional and specifically made, in most cases, non-lethal to those behind and next to the blast. Rockets, Mortars and artillery are designed to splash shrapnel in all direction and/or create intense HEAT which are all the more lethal aspects of a real “BOMB”. TRY AGAIN!

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