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Old April 8 2010, 02:13 AM   #1
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Mythbusters: Spy Car Escape

"Spy Car Escape": Nice idea to test these.

But why did they insist on calling the caltrops "tacks" instead of caltrops? Also, I think the problem with their caltrops is that the spikes were too cylindrical and thus plugged the holes. They should've gone with more conical spikes, which might've popped out.

Not much to say about the smokescreen and oil slick. Simple and effective, once they got the bugs worked out of the smokescreen. Why didn't they just try putting the roof up, though? Then you don't have the low pressure sucking the smoke back into the car.

The Adam vs. Jamie escape device competition was cool. Adam's parachute was a good idea (shades of the Batmobile), but looking at the high-speed replay, it seemed to me that he released the chute too soon, so that the lines wrapped around it and it sort of rolled up in midair and let the chase car go right under it. Had it stayed fully unfurled longer, it would've been a better obstacle.

But Jamie's device -- man, that thing is vicious. Let's all hope Jamie never uses his powers for evil.

Well, it was vicious in concept, anyway. Surprisingly ineffectual in practice. Maybe it was just luck that his gizmos didn't damage anything critical?

Still, I wonder how much of the failure of some of these techniques was attributable to the skill of the policeman doing the driving, who is after all an expert. The bad guy chasing after a spy might not be as skilled a driver and might fall prey to these attacks more easily.


"Vector Vengeance": Odd that they'd even call this a myth. It's basic physics. Heck, it's basic arithmetic. The result was exactly as predicted and that wasn't the least bit surprising.

The whole thing about trying to do this with Tory jumping off the truck, instead of going with a weight, was rather odd. And getting the call from the insurance guy just before Tory did the jump? Hard to believe that wasn't staged.

I think they were trying too hard to cancel velocities exactly on the 60mph test. Heck, on that very first test, the ball fell very nearly straight down, which is certainly proof of concept within a reasonable margin of error. But I guess they had to get twenty-plus minutes' worth of material out of this very straightforward principle, so they had to try to dial everything in as exactly as possible. I guess the calibration tests and the tachometer to test the car's actual speed were kind of interesting.

Still, I have to admit, seeing that shot where the ball just hovered in midair and fell exactly straight down... that was a thing of beauty. So I guess it was worth it.
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Old April 8 2010, 04:01 AM   #2
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Re: Mythbusters: Spy Car Escape

The caltrops:

IIRC the spike strips and caltrops laid about by police agenices are hollow, allowing the air a place to leak out of. If anyone has ever rain over a nail on the road you know that the tire doesn't instantly pop and you don't find out until days or even weeks later when you either find the nail, it's found by someone working on the car, or you get the tires checked out because they're not holding air.

The caltrops should've looked more like smaller versions of the thing Jamie made later in the show.

The oil slick: I personally think this test wasn't more definitive because they used vegitable oil rather than using motor oil. I think the latter would've produced a more obvious result.

The smoke screen: The first test results was humorous but overall I suppose not too surprising on what happened. The second test went better, I didn't much like the rig (I would've prefered them keeping with the "spy car" motif and just have ducted/ventilated the smoke better but time and such, yeah I get it.) The results weren't too surprising, anyone who's driven even in light fog can tell you how quickly and easily visibility can be impared.

I think it would've been cool to have seen Jamie and Adam build a full-on spy-car rig with all of these devices implimented into it. That would've been pretty cool.

The bullets fired backwards: Interesting how the Insurance Company always calls right before something dangerous is going to be done, isn't it?

Very interesting, and kind of surprising, how this all worked out. The test with the dummy was surprising, the test with the ball was surprising, overall a surprising myth.
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Old April 8 2010, 05:28 AM   #3
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Re: Mythbusters: Spy Car Escape

The insurance company thing certainly seemed staged. It also seemed funny that it looked like the chase car could have driven around Jamie's devices.

The caltrops seemed a bit odd given the ridiculous lengths they go through to prove/disprove myths. Obviously, they just didn't care to spend any more time on that one but I think it's quite possible they could have made that more effective.
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Old April 8 2010, 02:04 PM   #4
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Re: Mythbusters: Spy Car Escape

Mr. Adventure wrote: View Post
It also seemed funny that it looked like the chase car could have driven around Jamie's devices.
Didn't look that way to me. Jamie specifically dropped them on a narrow stretch of road with bushes on either side so that there wasn't enough clearance for the chase car to go around them.
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Old April 8 2010, 05:41 PM   #5
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Re: Mythbusters: Spy Car Escape

Christopher wrote: View Post
"Spy Car Escape": Nice idea to test these.

But why did they insist on calling the caltrops "tacks" instead of caltrops? Also, I think the problem with their caltrops is that the spikes were too cylindrical and thus plugged the holes. They should've gone with more conical spikes, which might've popped out.
Wouldn't be the first time they've done something wrong. If I recall they stated that it was impossible to go too fast for a speed camera. Top Gear, over here in England found out that it was possible (obv in a super sports car and a long stretch of track). I can't recall the figures but if I recall correctly mythbusters just didn't go fast enough.
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Old April 8 2010, 06:10 PM   #6
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Re: Mythbusters: Spy Car Escape

I quite enjoyed this one. The "A" and "B" myths were both solidly entertaining. Hard to go wrong with spy cars.

I'll admit, I guffawed when they set off the smoke device and the car filled with smoke. I wouldn't have seen that coming.

The "B" myth with the physics demonstration, the final shot of the soccer ball dropping straight down was quite impressive! Nice to see all of that hard work pay off. I personally didn't think it was a possible to get that good a shot of it. The shot they got in the first 20 minutes I thought was good enough, but they were quite picky about it.

The point about the caltrops being solid, not hollow, is a very good one. I've noticed recently that they don't always fact-check the way that they used to. It used to be that if a myth had a real-world precedent they'd research the circumstances. I guess it's not strictly important for an entertainment show.

It might just be me but I think the pace of the show is getting a little wonky. I wasn't really clear what they were doing with the cannon in the "B" myth at first, though I did figure it out eventually. This isn't the first time this has happened- sometimes they'll gloss over the explanation and jump straight to the build to the extent that I'm not sure what they're building, or why. A consequence of the new faster pace of the show I guess. Or maybe I'm just not paying proper attention.
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Old April 8 2010, 06:13 PM   #7
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Re: Mythbusters: Spy Car Escape

Kibbin wrote: View Post
Wouldn't be the first time they've done something wrong. If I recall they stated that it was impossible to go too fast for a speed camera. Top Gear, over here in England found out that it was possible (obv in a super sports car and a long stretch of track). I can't recall the figures but if I recall correctly mythbusters just didn't go fast enough.
I guess you missed the revisit episode where the Mythbusters used a rocket car and it did succeed in beating the speed camera. But the myth was still busted because there was no way such a vehicle would be used on actual city streets that would have speed cameras. And if it were, it would be so conspicuous that the speed cameras would be superfluous anyway.
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Old April 8 2010, 06:17 PM   #8
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Re: Mythbusters: Spy Car Escape

Kibbin wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
"Spy Car Escape": Nice idea to test these.

But why did they insist on calling the caltrops "tacks" instead of caltrops? Also, I think the problem with their caltrops is that the spikes were too cylindrical and thus plugged the holes. They should've gone with more conical spikes, which might've popped out.
Wouldn't be the first time they've done something wrong. If I recall they stated that it was impossible to go too fast for a speed camera. Top Gear, over here in England found out that it was possible (obv in a super sports car and a long stretch of track). I can't recall the figures but if I recall correctly mythbusters just didn't go fast enough.

The thing with the speed camera was down to legality issues, not any failure in the methodology. In the UK, a camera needs to take two pictures in order to get a conviction, whereas in the US, you only need one. On top gear, the second picture wasnt taken due to the speed it was going at, but on Mythbusters, all they needed was the one pic - and thats what they got.

As for the smoke screen issue...why didn't they just put up one of those wind shield/deflector things most convertibles have nowadays? IIRC, a simple shield at the back of the drivers seat negates the pressure differential, making it seem like your in an enclosed car.
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Old April 8 2010, 07:50 PM   #9
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Re: Mythbusters: Spy Car Escape

^On the other hand, they were testing spy car myths, and spy cars in movies are often convertibles with the top down.
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Old April 8 2010, 07:58 PM   #10
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Re: Mythbusters: Spy Car Escape

There's some "myths" that really don't need to be tested to the extreme. The Vector Vengeance one being a prime example.

Other than being too lazy to make real caltrops, I didn't see too many significant problems this time around like I usually do. I don't quite understand why they tested the smoke screen or oil slick on a practice course when they obviously had access to a more realistic area. And using an oil slick at the right time in the right area is going to be -really- effective, especially if the car is actually designed to spray it properly and in any notable amount. Same goes for Jamie's rig, really. Were we not supposed to notice the stunt driver guy slowed -way- down against that and the only reason he kept up with Jamie was because he was sitting there waiting to play iwth his second trap?
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Old April 8 2010, 08:30 PM   #11
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Re: Mythbusters: Spy Car Escape

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Were we not supposed to notice the stunt driver guy slowed -way- down against that and the only reason he kept up with Jamie was because he was sitting there waiting to play iwth his second trap?
What do you mean, "not supposed to notice?" The whole point of the first phase of the trap was to bring the chase car to a temporary halt so that Jamie would have the opportunity to deploy the second, more damaging device. The device probably wouldn't have worked if deployed at speed; it would've been too dangerous to attempt such a maneuver, and the device would probably have been left behind before it fully unfolded. So stopping the chase car temporarily and pulling up beside it was a necessary phase in the trap. So of course we were "supposed to notice" it.
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Old April 8 2010, 08:43 PM   #12
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Re: Mythbusters: Spy Car Escape

Oh right. I forgot. In a car chase, the entire point is so slow down and wait for your enemy to roll up next to you. My bad.
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Old April 8 2010, 11:09 PM   #13
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Re: Mythbusters: Spy Car Escape

No, the point is to escape your pursuer. If you stop next to them long enough to completely disable them and retain your own mobility thereafter, then that obviously counts as a successful escape. Jamie was following "Tortoise and the Hare" reasoning, i.e. that going fast isn't necessarily the only way to win a race.

By analogy, let's say a thief is running from a cop on foot and the cop is catching up. The thief ducks around a corner, stops cold, and when the cop runs around the corner, the thief trips him, hits him over the head with a flowerpot, and runs away from the injured, immobilized cop. If he'd just kept on running, he would've been caught. By stopping long enough to take action against the cop and immobilize him, the thief is able to get away. So it's wrong to say that stopping to attack your pursuer is automatically a bad idea. Yes, it's a risk if your attack isn't as decisive as you intend, but that doesn't mean it can't succeed.

The flaw in Jamie's plan is that his device didn't tear up or immobilize the car as thoroughly as he expected. That might've been due to luck, the device not tearing into anything vital, or it might've been due to the skill of the stunt driver at controlling a damaged vehicle dragging a heavy object underneath it. Also it was due to the fact that Jamie's "lair" wasn't far enough away. He did, in fact, cause crippling damage to the pursuing car. If he'd kept fleeing for another minute, say, he would've succeeded in getting away. So your criticism is misplaced. The concept was sound, there were just problems with the execution. Which is only to be expected from a prototype.
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Old April 8 2010, 11:38 PM   #14
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Re: Mythbusters: Spy Car Escape

Both Jamie's giant caltrops and Adam's chute both had merit in "working" but both plans would only work if they ideally happened.

Adam's chute could've really slowed down and blinded the chasing car, the wind just didn't blow the chute onto them very well. Jamie's caltrops worked but the situation was too "controled" if he was in a real high-speed chase with a real persuer they would've either swerved severly to avoid them or ran them over at high speed. Either of which would've slowed the persuer down or cripled him.

The rocket-fired caltrop also, as Christopher said, could've done quite a bit of work in disabling the pursuing car, again, if the chase was "real" and more high-speed and lasted longer.

As Chris said up-thread, it's a good think Jamie uses his ideas for good rather than evil because that side-fired caltrop was evil.

And, again, Jamie's caltrops were much more like the little ones they used earlier should've been. - Hollow.

I'd really like to see them re-visit or "supersize" this one. There's a lot they can do with it, it was a lot of fun.

The "though experiment" test was still really interesting to watch and it was just neat to see the ball pretty much drop straight-down. (It seemed to me that the ball more-or-less did that earlier but they did a good job of dialing things in to get it perfect.)

I guess in thinking about it it makes sense why it "worked" or happened the way it did but it was still a bit surprising to me.
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Old April 9 2010, 02:51 AM   #15
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Re: Mythbusters: Spy Car Escape

Maybe it's because I studied physics, but I'm surprised anyone found it surprising. I mean, it's no surprise that 60 + (-60) = 0 every single time. But I guess people who weren't physics students aren't as prone to think of events in terms of equations.
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