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Old April 17 2012, 05:48 PM   #61
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Re: Heads up! MYTHBUSTERS season premiere tonight at 9 Eastern!

Christopher wrote: View Post

Besides, the swing myth this week was genuinely interesting. Movies aside, the underlying idea was something fairly basic and close to everyday experience -- we've all had experience with swings or pendulums -- and the test revealed some flaws in our expectations about something so familiar.
We'll have to disagree about that. I was more interested in the go kart... but more from a Boy Building Dangerous Things perspective.
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Old April 17 2012, 08:16 PM   #62
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Re: Heads up! MYTHBUSTERS season premiere tonight at 9 Eastern!

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I was more interested in the go kart... but more from a Boy Building Dangerous Things perspective.
A curious turn of phrase. I'm more interested in watching the girl (Kari) building dangerous things. Or wrecking them.
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Old April 17 2012, 09:54 PM   #63
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Re: Heads up! MYTHBUSTERS season premiere tonight at 9 Eastern!

Christopher wrote: View Post
Professor Zoom wrote: View Post
I was more interested in the go kart... but more from a Boy Building Dangerous Things perspective.
A curious turn of phrase. I'm more interested in watching the girl (Kari) building dangerous things. Or wrecking them.
Oh, the girl helps. I'm envious that they have a shop to build something that could explode. I haven't had something like that since I lived at home. Sigh.
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Old April 23 2012, 03:24 AM   #64
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Re: Heads up! MYTHBUSTERS season premiere tonight at 9 Eastern!

Men vs. women: I'm not sure they were doing enough to debunk the myth of gender difference here, because there were a number of underlying myths they fell prey to themselves, like failing to distinguish between intrinsic and culturally influenced differences and talking about differences between the averages of male and female performance as if they were differences between all men and all women.

It particularly puzzles me that they treated the difference in the driving ability test (about 7 points out of 78) as significant enough to say the men came out ahead, but treated the difference in the grilling ability test (about 4 points out of 40-something) to be close enough to declare it a tie. Those are both about the same degree of variation, the women's score about 90 percent or more of the men's score, so if it's a tie in one case, it should be a tie in both cases.

I guess what's interesting about the grilling test is that it seemed there'd be a culturally learned advantage for the men, but the results were actually too close to call. On the whole, all the results were either too close to call or a very narrow margin of "victory." I wish they'd shown the total statistics sets for the tests instead of just giving us the averages, but they showed us enough of the individual variations within the men and within the women that I think we can safely say that the alleged differences between the sexes are totally swamped by the variations within either sex.

Specific comments:

On the driving test, I wonder how much the heavy suits and goggles and gloves and such impaired performance. Probably the impairment was equal for both sexes and cancelled out, but it would've been nice if they'd done a control test -- drivers of both sexes with the concealment gear and without it -- to confirm that.

I wonder if the website will let us take the emotion-reading test ourselves. I'd like to try that. I got the first couple right away, even though they said the men tended to need more time to decide. (Although when I saw Kari's "angry" eyes, my initial reaction was to read it as a seductive, come-hither look. Wishful thinking, I guess.)

I wonder if Jamie was really sincere about having no emotional expression. I suspect that he and the other hosts have a tendency to play up the personas the fans expect of them, so that as Mythbusters they're kind of caricatures of who they are in real life. Then again, have we ever seen Jamie really show emotion before? We've seen him get irritated at Adam, but without much change in expression or tone.

It figures that the test subjects would find map reading harder in this day and age when most people just use GPS. I wonder if that cliche has become too irrelevant to be worth testing, although I suppose there's value in testing myths from the past (some of their best myths have been the historical inventions and such). Anyway, they did have a couple of rather nice-looking female test subjects for this one. Maybe the editors chose to focus more on them than on others.

In the car-packing test, I wonder how clear Adam made it to the test subjects that the doll in the child seat should be treated as if it were a live baby rather than an inanimate object. Not that it had any effect on the results, but I'd like to know to what extent that demonstrated a problem with following/comprehending instructions, as opposed to Adam just failing to spell it out clearly.


On the whole, it was nice to see a topic that involved the two teams of Mythbusters working together, mixing and matching. We see that too rarely these days; usually it's more like there are two completely independent Mythbusters shows, one starring Adam and Jamie and one starring Kari, Grant, and Tory, that are being intercut. I'm not crazy about their approach to these tests, but I wouldn't mind seeing more battle-of-the-sexes episodes if it means more full-cast teamups like this.
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Old April 23 2012, 11:31 AM   #65
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Re: Heads up! MYTHBUSTERS season premiere tonight at 9 Eastern!

I don't want to touch the stuff in this episode with a 10-foot pole. Just want to say it was interesting and I wasn't surprised it ended in a "tie." Though, like Christopher, I too noticed that Jamie and Adam called a slim difference between the sexes as a "win" for the men when the other similar differences were seen as ties. I too wondered if it was made clear to the subjects that the doll in the car-seat was to be treated as a real child. (Maybe it would've been more clear if they had used a child-sized crash dummy or a more realistically sized/appearing doll instead of the Raggedy-Anne looking doll they had here.

I wonder if Jamie was really sincere about having no emotional expression. I suspect that he and the other hosts have a tendency to play up the personas the fans expect of them, so that as Mythbusters they're kind of caricatures of who they are in real life. Then again, have we ever seen Jamie really show emotion before? We've seen him get irritated at Adam, but without much change in expression or tone.
Jamie clearly seems pretty lowly-expressive when it comes to his face, it even seemed that way in the early days of the show before they got typed into their "characters." There's been times on th e show where Jamie has shown expression of emotion but it's came from real, genuine, moments (like the look of "glee" he had when their first test of the rocket-car launched (in the pilot episode IIRC) and he simply can't just "look happy" on cue.

And, yeah, I saw Kari's "angry" look as more come hither/sensual than angry too. Maybe that's a guy thing? We're driven by desires and emotions and make us mis-judge things. That or there's a link between "angry" and "sensual."
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Old April 23 2012, 02:43 PM   #66
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Re: Heads up! MYTHBUSTERS season premiere tonight at 9 Eastern!

Trekker4747 wrote: View Post
Though, like Christopher, I too noticed that Jamie and Adam called a slim difference between the sexes as a "win" for the men when the other similar differences were seen as ties.
Well, they only did that in one case. They gave the women the clear "win" in the emotion-reading test, although there I think the difference was big enough to be statistically significant, though just barely.


Jamie clearly seems pretty lowly-expressive when it comes to his face, it even seemed that way in the early days of the show before they got typed into their "characters." There's been times on th e show where Jamie has shown expression of emotion but it's came from real, genuine, moments (like the look of "glee" he had when their first test of the rocket-car launched (in the pilot episode IIRC) and he simply can't just "look happy" on cue.
Oh yeah, I do remember him being happy on occasion.


And, yeah, I saw Kari's "angry" look as more come hither/sensual than angry too. Maybe that's a guy thing? We're driven by desires and emotions and make us mis-judge things. That or there's a link between "angry" and "sensual."
Well, there is the saying "You're beautiful when you're angry." I think that what the eyes do when you're angry at someone -- focusing intently on them, narrowing to shut out distractions -- is similar to what they'd do when you're looking at someone with intense desire.

And just the general tension and strength of emotion can be similar. It's like the way riding a roller coaster or seeing a scary movie can help intensify attraction between two people on a date, because the adrenaline surge caused by fear is much the same as that caused by desire. By the same token, if someone's angry or yelling threateningly at you, that can get your adrenaline going in much the same way as if a sexy person is coming on to you. So if it's a sexy person angry at you, the arousal response may be similar.
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Old April 23 2012, 08:54 PM   #67
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Re: Heads up! MYTHBUSTERS season premiere tonight at 9 Eastern!

WE didn't get a really close look as his face, but when it involved walking across the duct tape rope bridge, Jamie probably exhibited the most fear he's ever displayed on the series. He stated he wasn't overly fond of heights before walking across it and as he was doing so, one could hear the "concern" in his voice. Now, comapred to someone else, yeah, he may have still appeared rather stoic, but for Jamie, the guy was in a near panic.

But, like I stated, no cameras were trained closely upon his face to record his actual expression.

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Old April 23 2012, 09:38 PM   #68
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Re: Heads up! MYTHBUSTERS season premiere tonight at 9 Eastern!

We saw a rare example of Jaime's happy face in this very episode with him shaking the TV in the "don't try this at home" bit. Although he's never been good at acting for the camera on command, so I can see why he would have trouble doing it here.

Anyway, I thought it was a fun episode. One can question their methodology (especially the very limited sampling sizes they used), but generally speaking I think the truth is probably the way they showed it-- there might be slight advantages here or there, but not enough to say that one gender is massively better at certain things than the other.

I do have to wonder how much people's nerves played in these tests though. No matter how adept you might be at driving normally, if you're at a police training center with a police instructor grading every move you make (not to mention all the cameras watching you or the ridiculous outfit you're wearing) you're GOING to drive a bit differently.

If it was me I'd probably be shaking like a leaf. Lol

And putting a severe time limit on the car-packing test seemed kind of odd to me as well. Some people might require more time to pack a car properly, but that doesn't mean they don't know HOW to do it.
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Old April 23 2012, 09:55 PM   #69
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Re: Heads up! MYTHBUSTERS season premiere tonight at 9 Eastern!

davejames wrote: View Post
Anyway, I thought it was a fun episode. One can question their methodology (especially the very limited sampling sizes they used), but generally speaking I think the truth is probably the way they showed it-- there might be slight advantages here or there, but not enough to say that one gender is massively better at certain things than the other.
And again, these are just differences in the average performance, and it's always unwise to forget the wide variation within each gender. For instance, there were those studies a while back (which I think have since been debunked anyway) showing that boys did "better" at math than girls; but really it was just that the average for the boys was slightly better, and if you plotted the boys' and girls' bell curves on top of each other, they'd overlap almost completely. So there'd be a lot of girls who did better at math than many or most of the boys.

It's always dangerous to take averages too literally. Averages are statistical artifacts that we invent to simplify things, but they can be misleading. The average position of a car on a circular racetrack (if it moves at constant velocity) is the center of the circle -- a point it never actually occupies.


I do have to wonder how much people's nerves played in these tests though. No matter how adept you might be at driving normally, if you're at a police training center with a police instructor grading every move you make (not to mention all the cameras watching you or the ridiculous outfit you're wearing) you're GOING to drive a bit differently.

If it was me I'd probably be shaking like a leaf. Lol

And putting a severe time limit on the car-packing test seemed kind of odd to me as well. Some people might require more time to pack a car properly, but that doesn't mean they don't know HOW to do it.
But those would only be significant here if men and women responded differently to the stress. Otherwise the effect cancels out and both sexes' performance is equally impaired, so it doesn't hurt the results.
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Old April 23 2012, 10:26 PM   #70
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Re: Heads up! MYTHBUSTERS season premiere tonight at 9 Eastern!

Yeah, both sexes responded about the same. I just think it made the volunteers look a lot sillier and more incompetent than they would otherwise be.

It kinda made the tests more about "how well do you perform these tasks under pressure" than how both sexes actually perform them in the real world.
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Old April 23 2012, 11:41 PM   #71
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Re: Heads up! MYTHBUSTERS season premiere tonight at 9 Eastern!

^But again, even if that's so, the only thing that mattered was whether the results differed by gender. As long as it was made equally harder for both men and women, then it's irrelevant to the specific thing they were testing.

Unless you're implying the possibility that men and women respond to pressure differently, thereby contaminating the results. But that in itself is a claim they'd have to test separately.
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Old April 30 2012, 02:52 PM   #72
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Re: Heads up! MYTHBUSTERS season premiere tonight at 9 Eastern!

Driving in heels/other bad shoes: A surprising result, since I would've figured those awkward types of shoes would indeed cause problems with the pedals. But apparently once you get acclimated to them, it still works. If Jamie and Adam had done badly with the women's shoes, I would've complained that they should've brought in Kari to try it, on the theory that a woman would be more used to wearing heels and might do better. But since even a couple of guys had no trouble at all driving in spike heels, I guess it's unnecessary.

Driving with a full bladder: Kind of a mixed result, since it didn't fit the mythical claim of being as bad as driving drunk, but was still a sufficient impairment to be dangerous. Overall, though, not a subject I want to dwell on.

Superglue/upside-down room: I'm a bit surprised they pulled it off, though I have a couple of quibbles. One, if they really wanted to match the myth of the rock stars and the hotel room, they should've waited to test whether everything stayed stuck to the ceiling for a few hours, since it might've taken a while before the cleaning staff got to the room and discovered what had been done to it. Given that the glue only held the car for a few moments, I think staying power was something they should've tested too.

Superglue as "seatbelt": Not surprising that this didn't work, and the reason for the failure makes sense. Even if the bond formed by the glue is superstrong, the materials that are glued together are not, and can give way under too much force. This myth is based on the same oversight that leads to superhero scenes like Superman lifting an ocean liner without it breaking under its own weight, or Steve Austin lifting a car by its bumper without the bumper just ripping off (or without his non-bionic spine breaking). It's a failure to consider the structural limits of the objects themselves.

And the big question they didn't address is, if you superglued yourself to your car seat, how would you get out? You'd have to abandon that set of clothing, and might need to be cut out of it.

So they're up to Buster 4.0 now. I can see why they needed him -- Buster 3.0 is a wreck. (And that steel-plate superglue trick may have kept him in the seat, but without a headrest he got horrible whiplash.) Buster 4.0 looks pretty clean and pristine -- that won't last long.
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Old May 1 2012, 08:22 PM   #73
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Re: Heads up! MYTHBUSTERS season premiere tonight at 9 Eastern!

Christopher wrote: View Post
This myth is based on the same oversight that leads to superhero scenes like Superman lifting an ocean liner without it breaking under its own weight...
Well, in theory, Superman can extend his "super-aura" that gives him his powers through the sun around or onto whatever object he's touching or near. So, ...

The driving in heels thing, yeah I'm surprised that they didn't become too much of a encumbrance to Jamie and Adam's driving especially considering their inexperience with those types of shoes. But I sort of wished they hadn't just focused on women's shoes and maybe tried some more encumbering men's shoes. Heavy work boots and the like.

I've driven with a full bladder plenty of times (hell I do it once a week) and it's "difficult" and makes you antsy but I don't think it really "impairs" you, at least not the same way alcohol does.

The super-glue myths were a bit surprising, I really wasn't even aware the stuff had so much "staying power", I'd like to see some aspects sort of "over done." Like if they had put a lot more glue (like a whole bottle) between the car and the lift would the car have stayed there longer or mostly permanently?

(It also looked like on top of the super-glue they were using that stuff you can add to it that makes the glue bond within minutes instead of hours.)
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Old May 1 2012, 09:14 PM   #74
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Re: Heads up! MYTHBUSTERS season premiere tonight at 9 Eastern!

Trekker4747 wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
This myth is based on the same oversight that leads to superhero scenes like Superman lifting an ocean liner without it breaking under its own weight...
Well, in theory, Superman can extend his "super-aura" that gives him his powers through the sun around or onto whatever object he's touching or near. So, ...

The driving in heels thing, yeah I'm surprised that they didn't become too much of a encumbrance to Jamie and Adam's driving especially considering their inexperience with those types of shoes. But I sort of wished they hadn't just focused on women's shoes and maybe tried some more encumbering men's shoes. Heavy work boots and the like.
You mean like big winter boots?
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Old May 1 2012, 10:31 PM   #75
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Re: Heads up! MYTHBUSTERS season premiere tonight at 9 Eastern!

Yeah, they tested a wide range of different types of awkward footwear ranging from high heels to work boots. It wasn't just women's footwear; it's just that two of the three shoes that gave the worst reaction times were women's shoes (the third being heavy snow boots).
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