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Old June 13 2013, 03:13 AM   #72
Christopher
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Re: MYTHBUSTERS 10th Anniversary Season

Moving on...

Crash cushion: I've never heard the term "T-bone" for a vehicle hitting the side of another vehicle at a right angle. It's the favorite car/truck crash method in Hollywood these days because of the visual shock of seeing the vehicle just coming right toward the camera (and the POV shot of same here was pretty scary), but somehow the name for that particular type of impact has never come up in any of the countless movies and shows that use it. Why is it called that? Is it just because the two vehicles are at a right angle like the shape of a T? Is there a reason for the "bone" part or is that just embellishment?

I see they're reusing the huge dump truck from the season premiere. But sadly, they didn't keep that nifty cab armor this time, replacing it with a battering ram. I'm a little surprised it was safe for Jamie and Adam to just crash into another car like that, but I guess it helped that the ram was attached to the hopper or bucket or whatever you call that part of a dump truck, so that assembly and its connections absorbed the bulk of the impact (plus I think the front plate deformed some on impact).

Ingenious plan for the overweight human analogues. Using foam rubber as a storage medium for water is a very clever approach. It is largely air, after all, so in a way it's a more robust water balloon. And I do have experience with how heavy waterlogged foam rubber can get, from that one time I dared to wash a foam rubber pillow (and man, did I get a workout trying to wring the thing out).

I'm kicking myself for not anticipating that the guy would actually be crushed worse whe sandwiched by the other two guys. I realized it about a minute before Jamie said it: water is incompressible! The reason their scale test didn't work was because the "car" they built didn't compress when it was struck, so all mini-Buster had to contend with was g-forces. But in the real crash, the car was crushed. As long as Syndaver Buster was alone in the back seat, he basically did just have g-forces to contend with, but he was crammed in between two large incompressible bodies that were forced directly against him by the compression of the car's frame, so he wasn't just knocked around but literally crushed. So of course it did a lot more damage. This was a case where the small-scale test just wasn't a valid analogue for the real event.

Favorite bits: A battering ram with SCIENCE on it, and Jamie saying "It's clobbering time."


"Hypermiling": I'm surprised the car got better mileage at 45 than 55. I recently learned that the reason the US highway speed limit was set at 55 MPH during the Carter Administration was not for safety reasons as I'd always thought, but because there was a nationwide fuel shortage at the time and the cars of the era got the best gas mileage at 55 MPH. It would be surprising if modern cars, which are theoretically more streamlined, would get their peak mileage at a lower speed.

That technique of accelerating and decelerating slowly is something I do anyway as a matter of course, particularly since I learned how much gas a car uses when it accelerates (courtesy of my aunt and uncle's hybrid minivan with a display that shows you your estimated gas mileage while you drive). I had no idea there was a nickname for it, though. I don't turn off the engine at stop lights, though I sometimes shift into neutral if it's a long light -- not sure how much of a difference that makes, though. And yet somehow I still manage to get worse mileage than I'd like (though I just filled up today and calculated my mileage, and I managed to maintain c. 20 MPG in mostly city driving since my last fill-up, which is better than usual for my car).

As for not braking on turns, no, thank you -- I'll take the loss for safety's sake. It'd be better to get a car with regenerative braking, as I think it's called -- that system that captures some of the lost energy from braking and puts it back in the battery or whatever.

And is removing the side mirror legal? That's surprising. I guess a lot of people get their mirrors knocked off by accident, so maybe it has to be legal so they're still able to drive; but it doesn't seem like it would be all that safe.

The disturbing thing was that the 5-years-older car (I think that's the one Tory was driving) got so much better mileage than the brand-new car. That seems like the wrong direction to be trending.
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