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Old May 7 2012, 02:01 PM   #94
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Re: Heads up! MYTHBUSTERS season premiere tonight at 9 Eastern!

Anyway, back to Mythbusters:

Water heater cannon: At first blush, it seems surprising that the water heater cannon didn't work as well as a regular cannon, given how much power past water-heater explosions have had. But I guess they just seem that powerful compared to our expectations about what water and steam are capable of. It really shouldn't be surprising that a gunpowder cannon actually designed to be a cannon would be more powerful. Although I guess it's impressive that the water-heater cannon was even half as powerful.

And this just wasn't their day for testing, was it? First a bad heating element, then a brush fire (or was it the other way around?). Well, at least it didn't go as far awry as that other cannon myth that was in the news a while back. (EDIT: Redfern, your answer is in the link. The other Mythbuster team was testing whether other objects fired out of a cannon would have as much force as a cannonball.)

Fireworks Man: Pretty straightforward. They improved the design of the launch vehicle and got better results. Nothing surprising, so not much to say. Nice to see the legendary cement-mixer-explosion quarry again, though.

Limo tilt: How appropriate that the bird they used as a model was a Kori bustard. They should rebuild that mechanical bustard and make it their new mascot.

I think the problem with testing this myth is that the idea behind it is that the car is so precariously perched that it only takes a tiny change to send it over, whereas they have to make sure the car is just a touch less precariously perched so that it'll be stable enough that it won't go over just with a gust of wind. So I'm not sure it's really feasible to test the exact circumstances of the myth. It's the sort of thing that might be plausible with just the right incredible fluke circumstances, but that's hard to test for.

Fine motor skills with heavy machinery: I like that inversion of expectations, trying to do something very subtle with these powerful vehicles. I think they should've done the needle threading second, though, since it was a lot more impressive than the wine pouring. (Heck, I have trouble threading needles even up close with my fingers. Though I wonder how many tries it actually took.)
Written Worlds -- Christopher L. Bennett's blog and webpage
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