Episode 105: Viral Hour

Air Date: September 3, 2008

A small car can be lifted into the air by high pressure fire hoses.

confirmed

The MythBusters first performed a small scale experiment using a model car and several garden hoses branching from a single fire hose. The model care levitated, proving that the premise is at least feasible. During their full scale experiment, the MythBusters initially couldn’t get a real car to levitate, partly because a city water usage cap limited the amount of time the hose could be kept on. However, they had the idea to remove the car’s engine block, assuming that the people who performed the stunt in the viral video may have done the same thing. Once the engine was removed, the car levitated about fifteen feet in the air.

Goats can be startled into fainting.

confirmed

Tory and Kari went to a goat farm and attempted to scare some goats into fainting. They tried several attempts, from using an umbrella to hiding in food, and were able to demonstrate that goates can, indeed, be literally scared stiff. The attending goat handler explained that some goats, when startled, involuntarily stiffen their leg muscles, which can cause them to fall over and give the appearance of fainting. Tory and Kari warned that results may depend on the goats, but the myth is still very true.

A person can create a huge fireball by dispersing a cloud of sawdust and igniting it with a flare.

confirmed

The Build Team built the cannon according to the specifications shown in the video. After some failed attempts, the sawdust eventually ignited into a large fireball exactly as shown in the video. The Build Team then decided to scale up the sawdust experiment, using a larger more powerful cannon and extremely flammable powdered non-dairy creamer. This created a massive fireball that even startled the Build Team.

A pool of dense gas can make a tin foil boat appear to float in the air.

confirmed

The MythBusters proved this by using sulfur hexafluoride, a gas six times more dense than air. The gas was poured into a rectangular vessel, creating “invisible water” upon which a simple tin foil boat floated. Subsequently, pouring some of the sulfur hexafluoride into the boat caused it to sink.

You can charge an MP3 music player like an iPod by plugging a USB cable into an onion that has been soaked in electrolyte fluid for half an hour.

busted

Grant tested this myth according to the process shown in the video, but was unable to get the iPod to charge. In order to confirm whether or not any charge was moving across the onion, Grant plugged a voltmeter into the onion, which indicated that there was zero charge in the onion. Grant explained that the basic idea would be that the electrolytes could be used as a sort of “wet battery”, but the setup in the video lacked the vital anode and cathode, which would actually move the electrolytes. With this evidence, Grant declared the video a hoax.

35 Comments

  1. JP says:

    I have recently seen a you tubes clips on internet with 4 strategically cell phones ringing at the same time would make popcorn pop.
    I know the myth busters have busted the igniting gas vapors at the gas station, and I highly doubt that they would pop popcorn.

    Could you please do an episode to bust or confirm this myth? I would rather find out from a credible source.

  2. Jacob Diaz says:

    is nanotechnology invisibility real if so is the cloak on harry potter real.

  3. caleb says:

    if you know how a real invisible suits works,
    then you know that it probably is possible to make a nanotechnology invisible suit

  4. Gary Bohling says:

    According to Underwritters Lab. A 5 pound dry powder fire extinguisher will puy out as much Class a fire as a 2 1/2 water extinguisher although it is three times the size. Is this true?

  5. Zhoen says:

    You really need to watch Dirty Jobs more, they did the fainting goats already. Not as a myth, but just went over and met ‘em.

  6. billybob says:

    you know in some movies when they iceskate? and they go in a circel and they fall in the lake? i what to know if you can do it in real live. from:billybob

  7. Daniel says:

    hi would like to know if you roll a snowball down a hill if it gets bigger?
    or

  8. Richard says:

    in response to billybob no if you have ever gone skating at your local skating rink you will notice that you scratch the ice but its only half a mm deep. not only that but skating in a perfect circle right over you existing line would be pretty damn hard. for the ice to break it would have to be pretty thin and chances are it will brerak before you start going in a circle of not at all.

    In response to your comment Daniel it would depend. fresh fluffy snow formed at around 0 – (-1) will stick well sharp snow , the type that feels like little needles when falling won’t stick well. also it won’t get bigger like in the movies. it will roll on one axis and will probably become cylindrical.

  9. Davie says:

    I was wondering if you were in a complete vacuum, where there were no air resistance, and you dropped a brick and a feather from rest at the same time and same height would they hit the ground at the same time?

    • Ted says:

      Yes, and this experiment was done by an astronaut during one of the moon landings with a feather and a hammer.

  10. Kevin. says:

    try a skinned potatoe soacked in electrolytes it should charge the ipod

  11. Richard Landgraff says:

    Sawdust fireball. This has been a proven hazard in saw mills, grain silos and coal mines. My grandfather saw a man blown out of the top of a grain silo when it exploded.

    Remember Physics I in High School. You take a Quaker Oats box, put a couple of cups of flour in it, cut a hole near the bottom, pump some air in for aeration, than stick a spark plug into it wired to a battery. BANG! Myth confirmed for the last 100 years that I know of.

  12. wumbo says:

    reply to richard & daniel…if you roll a snowball made off good pack snow down a hill it would not become cylindrical but more like a disc since only once side would be gathering snow…and soon enough it would tip and shatter if it was going long enough because it would become so tall and thin it would be unstable

  13. Paul says:

    We would like to see the cell phone poping popcorn video tested too.

  14. Trent says:

    The cloud of non-dairy powder explosion has been done by persons in the military for years. When an open fire has been lit, we have grabbed handfuls of the powder and thrown it into the flames. The resultant fireball always brings laughs from the others.

  15. jason says:

    i think with the sawdust fireball if you were to shoot up the sawdust (without the flare in it) and shoot a flare gun into the sawdust as it’s in the air the same explosion will happen

  16. Alessio says:

    In the italian TV show “Scommettiamo che…?” (on italian TV RaiUno) firemans have lifted into the air a car with success!

  17. Gary Bohling says:

    I find it hard to believe that a 5 pound dry chemical fire extinguisher will put out more Class A fire than a 2-1/2 gallon water fire extinguisher, as claimed by Underwighters Labitory. (Class A is wood and paper.) I would like to see Mythbuster confirm or bust this.

  18. Ben says:

    The cell phone popcorn thing has been declared false; some video editing tricks. Go here for the details: http://www.snopes.com/science/cookegg.asp

  19. John says:

    You can’t charge an ipod with an onion for two reasons: no anode and cathode to form a voltage pair, but more importantly ipods talk to the charging equipment to make sure it can work with them. You can’t charge an ipod from a straight DC power supply: it has to be a computer or a charger that can act as a USB master. Other mp3 players can be charged directly from a voltage source, and would be better choices for the experiment, although it still won’t work unless you attached silver and copper wires to the + and gnd of the USB cable.

  20. darlene says:

    I want to know more about why coffee creamer is explosive. Not being aware of this previously, I now question whether I should be swallowing it in my morning cup ‘o joe! And should I be keeping it away from my gas range??? – No warning on the label…..

  21. Marc Barrett says:

    Not a brick and a feather, but a hammer and a feather, in a vacuum.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5C5_dOEyAfk

  22. Dukemd69 says:

    I have personally witnessed sparks emitted from an electrical outlet and a ceiling fixture during a thunderstorm. The former occurrence actually ignited curtains hanging over it. Did lightning cause these phenomena? Was this from poor grounding of the “lightning rod”?

  23. Mister Whirly says:

    Darlene-

    It isn’t the creamer itself that is flammable – it is the fact the particles are so fine and small. Any fine powder is flammable.

  24. Bob says:

    Creamer is made of flammable substances like casein, sugar, and oil. Powdered rock, talc, etc. is NOT flammable. Only flammable substances are flammable when made into a fine powder.

    • oz1 says:

      WRONG!!! I.ve seen it done with flour, custard powder, talc. As long as it is in a fine enough cloud, it can burn!!

  25. Ron says:

    In practical terms, no, Oxygen is not “flammable”. Go read any MSDS sheet on Oxygen and the flammability sections will be listed as “N/A”. It only forms one part of the three parts required for fire: Fuel, Heat and Oxygen. It is however a “Hazardous Oxydizer” and because of its potential to rapidly accelerate combustion, should be treated as if it were.

    Also, I’ve never tried powdered rock or talc but I do know from personal experimentation that steel powder and steel wool burns nicely with a normal flame when provided just a little more Oxygen than is normally present in the atmosphere.

    Of course, steel is sensitive to oxydation. It rusts. Maybe that’s the key, not the “flammability” of the powder’s source. If it oxydizes, it can burn.

  26. XTIAN170174 says:

    ‘Thrustierness’

    I’d like to know, based on the viral vid “car lift” – Using detachable high pressure hoses (as altitude is gained the hoses break off as pumping ceases)…

    …Water recycled through a huge reservoir, pumped at very high pressure – on a scale with a hydroelectric dam, although modelled to create and confirm/dispel myth.

    If this lift is sufficient to supplement rocket launch, and the fuel being expended could make the steam ‘explosive’ and gives further thrust that is exploited by the design of the craft, then missions could become significantly less expensive, and with less fuel to carry – safer.

    Could Mythbusters do an entry level experiment?

  27. Garrett says:

    You should throw a box of 50.cal tracers into a fire and see what happens

  28. Zachary says:

    Can you make a bomb that only works if you use of hay and potatoes and a jug and if you can is it lethal?

  29. Troy says:

    Ok so if someone wher to make a tinfoil lifter big enough to stand on how could they power it and stear?

  30. Troy says:

    Tin foil can be used to make a lifter but if you made a 12 ft by 12ft one could it lift a person?

  31. Troy says:

    I testing to make a flying car.

  32. Troy says:

    I don’t have the circuitrey for power conversashen and don’t have $1 to spend hou can I make a working tin foil lifter?

  33. Troy says:

    Hou type o how how do I

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