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Old November 5 2012, 03:04 AM   #199
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Re: Heads up! MYTHBUSTERS season premiere tonight at 9 Eastern!

A set of mini-myths this week.

I was surprised to find that "I know it like the back of my hand" actually proved valid. And I was surprised along with Adam that people didn't know their teeth even better, although the difference between the two was only 10/12 vs. 11/12, which is well within the margin of error. Also interesting that recognizing one's own palm gave results no better than a random guess... or, no, wait, I think Adam was wrong about that. After all, it was a choice between ten different palms, not two. So random chance would've given more like 10% correct results, and they got a shade over 50%. So not as good as with the back of the hand, but still significantly better than chance.

On the needle-throwing myth, I don't think the sheet in the viral video looked like glass -- from the way it was punctured, it seemed more like some kind of plastic, or maybe the breakaway sugar glass that's used in TV and movies. Anyway, the best part was the audience of cutouts for the baseball pitcher, including cutouts of Adam, Jamie, an Apollo astronaut, and the Gorn.

On the underwater bike, it was interesting that Adam was more buoyant fully submerged than half-submerged. I guess that's because more of his body was underwater, and since the density of the body is about equal to that of water, and lower than the density of the bike (since the bike sank), that means that the more of the body was submerged, the greater the buoyancy of the combined bike-rider system became.

My first thought about increasing the traction of the bike was to fill the tires with water. That way, the weight is concentrated toward the bottom and the bike would be more stable. Also it would make the wheels more massive and the gyroscope effect would create more stability. (This is an old trick for making a bicycle stay upright without a rider. It was used in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? for the live-action bicycle that was being "ridden" by a toon in one shot.) Adam's approach was similar, though he was going for softness and traction rather than mass redistribution (anyone know how the density of corn syrup compares to water?). And the gyroscope effect wouldn't even kick in with the wheels turning so slowly.

I wonder if it would've been possible to modify the wheels with some kind of paddles on the sides. But how to get them past the frames holding the wheels in?

On the, err, other myth, I really don't want to talk about it much, but I did kind of wonder how the differences between male and female anatomy in that, err, region might've affected the results.
Christopher L. Bennett Homepage -- Site update 4/8/14 including annotations for Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel

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