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Old May 23 2013, 03:17 AM   #40
Christopher
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Re: MYTHBUSTERS 10th Anniversary Season

Another "special" this week, this time focusing on race-car myths.

Car vs. runner: This is sort of the same principle as their classic myth about whether a toy car could outrace a real car coasting downhill. The difference is that the car and the runner are both under power, but it's still about relative rates of acceleration over a short distance.

Impressive that Adam was able to tie the car on one trial. Though as it turned out, that was because Jamie couldn't accelerate the car as effectively as the pro driver could. Interesting that the result came down more to the driver's skill than the runner's. Their pro runner could definitely have beat Jamie or Adam's driving.


Manhole cover: My main question is, why would Indianapolis 500 racecars be racing on the streets instead of the speedway?

And if manhole covers can't be sucked up, where did the myth come from? I'm wondering if the shape of the cover has anything to do with it. Theirs had a smooth surface, but a real one has kind of a waffle-iron texture, and I think they sometimes have holes in them. I wonder if it would've made a difference if they'd replicated those properties.


Fast weight loss: Okay, so they called it plausible that driving in a race for three hours could generate enough sweat and exertion to burn off ten pounds, though they only got five. But it seems to me that losing ten pounds through sweat alone can't be very healthy, or very long-lasting, since it's basically just dehydration.

One thing I've never quite understood is how weight lost to exercise actually leaves the body. I mean, that's physical substance that has to go somewhere. Does it all just get sweated out? My assumption would be that the fatty compounds and such are broken down by the metabolism and, err, go the way of all bodily waste. If that's the case, then real weight loss, of fat rather than just moisture, couldn't be registered immediately after exertion, but only after... err... some time had passed, let's put it that way.

Also, how much of the perspiration was still saturating their clothes when they weighed themselves post-race (and post-sauna)? Maybe they should've showered and changed into identical dry clothes before the second weighing.

At first I was surprised to hear that an auto race could last for three hours. That seemed an oddly long time for something so fast-paced. But then I remembered... the name "Indy 500" refers to the number of miles driven, right? So 500 miles in 3 hours would be 167 mph, which is more or less consistent with the speeds mentioned for the race cars featured here. (You can tell I don't follow sports much.)
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