MYTHBUSTERS 10th Anniversary Season

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by Christopher, May 2, 2013.

  1. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    Aren't Corvettes made of fiberglass? Pretty sure I saw the hood on one of them shatter and tear. A fiberglass hood makes a pretty poor ramp. :lol:
     
  2. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    There's some behind-the scenes footage on facebook. Apparently Tori had a bad case of plumber's buttcrack that day, and whenever he was bending over working on something, Kari kept sneaking up behind him trying to drop a quarter in. :)
     
  3. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    Getting ready to watch this episode on the ol' DVR. Looks like an episode full of lots of fun!

    ETA: Fun episode with lots of great moments. I agree with Christopher, "Wanted" looks like one ridiculous movie.

    And I too wonder why they weren't wearing helmets in the two-wheel tests.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2014
  4. Savage Dragon

    Savage Dragon TheSeeker Premium Member

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    I finally got caught up on the new season and I'm enjoying it so far. I too was very surprised the safety gear for the driving on two wheels myth consisted of just a roll bar and a harness.
     
  5. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    The only thing I can think of that wearing a helmet in the skiing test(s) somehow would have interfered with the performing the stunt, that maybe the helmet would interfere with peripheral vision or something. Though that's a thin reasoning, admittedly. It really seemed like the type of stunt where a helmet should have been a must considering the likelihood of rolling the car was so likely they felt the need to install the rollbar in the car.

    On a, somewhat, related note. Jamie and Adam are coming to town to do a show in December and I have tickets!
     
  6. Savage Dragon

    Savage Dragon TheSeeker Premium Member

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    Nice! They seem like they'd be a lot of fun to see in person. Their Comic Con panel was supposed to be great this year.
     
  7. Marc

    Marc Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    a benefit of living in the U.S.

    The idiots at Discovery Canada must have an aversion to showing new eps of Mythbusters because we have to wait months after they've aired in the U.S.
     
  8. Savage Dragon

    Savage Dragon TheSeeker Premium Member

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    I know what you mean. I am Canadian and have only been living in the US for two years. It's been nice to be able to see Mythbusters when it actually airs.
     
  9. intrinsical

    intrinsical Commodore Commodore

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    Its a financial decision, the longer they wait to buy Mythbusters in syndication, the cheaper the price. At least its just months. Over here, the wait is often for years. Just saw escape from Alcatrez using duct tape a couple of months ago.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Heads up: Double feature tonight! Two new episodes back to back, "Laws of Attraction" at 9 Eastern and "Traffic Tricks" at 10.
     
  11. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    Double the Kari, quadruple the :drool:!
     
  12. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    The Sexual Cliches episode was a pretty interesting one, though I suspected it'd pan out true that having a larger bust size would have netted a larger tip-size.

    Part-way through the Driving/Traffic myths episode and they just made their conclusions on the Lane-Weaving myth.

    While I think their conclusions are true, changing in and out of lanes gets you to your destination sooner I think it also showed to stay out of the ramp lane. Which is what I think the problem was with the first test. With Tori staying in the #3/#4 lane he's constantly going to need to slow down as people slow down to exit the highway (as most people in my experience slow down ON the highway rather than once they get in the ramp lane) or slow down as people enter the highway (again, people entering the highway as soon as possible rather than using the ramp lane to accelerate into the flow of traffic.)

    If Tori had picked the center lane to remain in where he wouldn't have needed to adjust his speed as much I wonder if the results would have been different.

    The traffic congestion test was also interesting but I think had a flaw. As Adam noted in the most congested test Jamie eventually needed to slow down/stop because he was now coming up on the traffic snarl HE created. This isn't going to happen in real-world conditions as the person who started the snarl by tapping the brakes is going to continue forward and never have to deal with their very own problem, compounding it. Instead here it created a self-fulfilling prophecy as Jamie never would likely be able to get back up to speed because he'd always be running into the backed up traffic that was backed up from himself.

    I think the general idea is true, one person tapping their brakes on a congested road culminates into slower traffic as that braking propagates through the line of cars and everyone has to come back up to speed. But the testing here has a bit of a flaw in it.

    Not watched the roundabout test yet but I can already think of a problem it has that's largely going to be true in America.

    Most people don't know how to use them or at least don't use them often enough to know how they work. All too often I come up on the ones we have here and see people pretty much treating them as stop signs before merging into the traffic in the circle and then proceeding to their turn-off point. This is opposed to continuing moving while merging into the circle. There, ideally, should be no reason to stop unless there's a lot of congestion in the circle forcing one to stop.
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Laws of Attraction

    Opposite sex makes people dumber: Pretty straightforwardly busted. I'm not surprised. If anything, when I'm with an attractive woman, it motivates me to do better on a test, because I want to impress her.

    But I need to bring up something that bugged me about this whole episode: They never addressed the question of whether their test subjects were heterosexual or not. In fact, the whole episode totally failed to acknowledge that non-heterosexual attraction even exists. Which is ridiculous for a show made in San Francisco, and really undermines their scientific credibility. I figure they were under pressure from the network or somebody to avoid addressing sexual orientation because it's too "controversial" for a family show or some such nonsense.


    "Storm in a D-Cup": Okay, yes, boys, this is an episode that lets us talk about Kari's breasts. Dream come true, yadda yadda yadda. But let's keep it respectful if we can.

    Although Tori seemed to enjoy this whole myth a bit too much...

    I question whether wearing a blonde wig would really disguise Kari, since she's run a gamut of hair colors over the years. But the blue contacts and eye shadow do change her look.

    Anyway, not much more to say, since it was a pretty straightforward test. Not really a surprise that the bigger bust got bigger tips. But I am pleasantly surprised that the smaller bust didn't impact the tipping negatively. Maybe it's because they were still responding to Kari's face and personality.

    And I'll say it: I prefer Kari's real proportions.


    Pheromone sprays: I guess this is like that Axe stuff in the dumb commercials? The results of the t-shirt smell test weren't too surprising to me, since it reminds me of some theories of human attraction I've read, like how we may react more positively to the scent of people whose pheromones or body chemistry are less like our own relatives, and more negatively to those who smell more like our relatives. So some women would respond more positively to Adam's scent and others more negatively as a function of their own biochemical similarity to him.

    I wonder if they responded more to Adam's scent than to Jamie's because Adam's younger.


    Wealth/attractiveness: I don't care for the methodology of this one -- first doing all lower-income professions with one group, then changing to higher-income professions with the next. They should do a mix of higher and lower incomes in each group. If there are two different variables being changed -- the average income of the depicted men and the composition of the audience -- then you can't be sure which one is responsible for any change. And it doesn't really compare relative attractiveness if you don't pit higher and lower incomes against each other with the same group of appraisers. (They did keep half of the professions the same in both, but that doesn't quite address my concern.)

    Also, why was there so little ethnic diversity in the men shown? I only saw one black man and one Asian in the group of 12 photos. Whereas the audience had more of the diversity you'd expect in San Francisco. So I don't get that.


    "Gentlemen prefer blondes": Okay, here's another one where all the people whose attractiveness is being judged are pretty much all white, though I guess in this case it's necessary because of the blonde/brunette/redhead mix required. Still a bit disquieting, though. The saying itself is innately ethnocentric -- do gentlemen in Japan or Kenya prefer blondes?

    Also, I think they're ignoring a key part of the phrase. It's not "men prefer blondes," it's "gentlemen prefer blondes." (Which was a 1925 Anita Loos novel long before it was a Marilyn Monroe movie, by the way.) I've always taken that to mean "gentlemen" in the sense of upper-class men or men of a certain refinement, that classy men prefer blondes -- basically the implication being that blondes are the Ferraris of women, the more rare and precious model favored by men of wealth and taste. Which has all sorts of sexism and other prejudices built into it, but I think that's where the idea comes from. Then again, since we don't really have class divisions like that anymore, that would be hard to test. (Then, of course, there's the fact that the sequel to the novel was called But Gentlemen Marry Brunettes. Which would be really difficult for the Mythbusters to test, I think.)


    Well, most of that one was kind of uncomfortable, Kari aside. Moving on to the second episode of the night:

    Traffic Tricks

    Braking causing traffic jams: This was pretty straightforward and not too surprising, that any slowdown in traffic can propagate widely as a wave. Of course, that's why you're supposed to leave a lot of room between you and the car in front of you -- it absorbs those variations in speed so you don't have to brake and disrupt the flow. Some places have pace cars that deliberately drive at a low speed on the highway just to impede traffic from getting too tightly crowded, as a way of reducing gridlock. I generally try to let some room form in front of me when I'm in slow traffic, doing my part to reduce congestion -- although usually that just ends up with someone cutting into the lane in front of me and making it just as congested. Still, that would clear things up behind them just a bit.

    What I find fascinating is how just removing 2 cars from the group of 22 was enough to make the difference between stop-and-go "traffic" and smooth flow. That's what I'd like to see researched more.


    Weaving vs. staying in a lane: I wasn't aware of this one, but it's interesting to learn about. Mainly I'm just startled at how dangerous the test seemed to be, all the weaving. The guys are taking a lot of chances in cars lately, it seems. Anyway, it definitely doesn't seem worth the stress. I do some weaving myself, but usually not in conditions as cluttered as shown here, not unless I need to get into the exit lane or something. On non-highway roads that I know well, I generally prefer to get right away into the lane I know I'm going to need to be in by the end of the journey, so that I don't have to worry about changing lanes later on. For instance, when getting off the freeway onto the road that leads to my home street, I get into the far left lane on the exit ramp. I always used to be nervous when I was a passenger and my father took that lane, because there's a railing and a bit of a drop beyond it and I found that a bit scary, so up until recently I chose the next lane to the right of that. But recently I realized that was making it a bit trickier to shift lanes a few blocks further on, and if I get to the far left lane right off the bat, then that lane takes me right to where I need to be to turn left onto my street. So now I get why my father preferred that lane.


    Four-way vs. roundabouts: Why didn't they test it with traffic lights, to be thorough? I wonder if it would've been slower than the 4-way stop because of the long periods of stopped traffic, or faster because half the cars at any given time wouldn't have to stop at all.

    Anyway, the roundabout result was interesting, but I still don't quite understand how they work. I mean, how do you decide whether to go forward or to stop and let another car move ahead of you? How do the accident rates compare?


    Flying vs. driving: I can definitely believe that driving is faster over smaller distances, because I have firsthand experience with this. Just last week, I flew to the Shore Leave convention that I usually drive to. I know from experience that I can drive home from Baltimore (or at least the DC area) to Cincinnati in as little as ten and a half hours, including several rest breaks and meal breaks. But this past Sunday, from hotel to light rail station to BWI Airport to Philadelphia Airport to CVG Airport to shuttle van to bus to walk home, it took me about nine and a half hours to get home, just an hour or so less than driving would've taken (well, if I'd been able to make the entire drive in one day). Of course, it would've taken less time if I'd been able to get a nonstop flight, but it does make the myth plausible. (The distance, by the way, is 525 miles.)

    I think the results actually confirm the assertion, because the distance they travelled was very near the 400-mile threshold between journeys where flying is faster and journeys where driving is faster, so it makes sense that it would be about equal. What they should've done was tested it with, say, a 200-mile trip and a 600-mile trip to get a sense of the pattern.


    I generally try to stay in the second lane from the right around on-ramps so that I don't have to deal with cars merging into traffic.


    But the point isn't about any one car, it's about the wave propagating backward from that car. In this case, when Jamie comes back around, he represents the 21st car behind the braking car. Since we're talking about a wave rather than the particles that make it up, it doesn't matter whether the particles are the same or different -- whether the wave is propagating through a circle or down a straight line. All that matters is how far the wave propagates. If it propagates through all 20 cars in the circle three times, that's equivalent to a braking wave propagating through 60 cars on a straight freeway. And that's what they were testing, whether one car's braking could affect many cars behind it.
     
  14. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    I sort of thought of the "gentleman" part of the phrase as well, but I suppose in this day and age that's a distinction that's pretty antiquated with "gentleman" more-or-less being a catch-all phrase for a male.

    As far as why the various tests didn't include homosexuals, I assume they left them out in order to reduce the variables. I mean "gentlemen" prefer blondes, but what about the homosexual female?

    Men may be distracted by an attractive woman in the room, but what about an homosexual female? It just adds too much more of an unknown because the cliches they were testing were very heterocentric. It's less of a cliche that a homosexual female is likely to tip a big-breasted woman higher, or that a homosexual male is going to be flustered by an attractive man being in the same room.

    As for what we'll just call "white-washing" of the attractiveness-over-wealth that's a bit harder to pin down. There could be any number of reasons why they chose the people they did for the experiment which likely had more to with TV reasons than anything more sinister. I doubt the Mythbusters or Discovery is going to have an ethno-bias to white people for the tests it could just be as simple as no people of different races auditioned for the experiment, were willing to sign a release to be on camera or some other TV reason.

    The gender-studies episode was pretty interesting, though, I admit had its flaws.

    On the rest of the car episode.

    Okay, so they gave the drivers some test rounds with the roundabout in order to cancel out Americans' unfamiliarity with them. Fine. So "all things being equal" roundabouts are more efficient than square intersections because it allows more than one car in the intersection at one time.

    But the problem is they had to train the Americans in how to use them! Probably 99% drivers on the roads in America today are not familiar with roundabouts or how to use them. They've only fairly recently started popping up around me but not nearly enough that I can see them being part of any driver's training classes or license road-test. I'd have to get a hold of a present-day learner's book but I wonder if how to use them are even THAT. (The one I had in the 1990s still had illustrations in it from the 1940s/1950s and taught you how to use hand signals to indicate which direction you were going to turn and how/when to use the high-beam toe-tap button, something not very in common cars made past the early/mid 80s.)

    So how long will it take to train American drivers how to use roundabouts enough for their efficiency to show up? A couple generations? Hell, they recently changed the left-turn at a controlled intersection here from a standing "yield on green" light to a "yield on flashing yellow arrow" light and that's confused people.

    So, while the roundabout may be more efficient over a standard intersection it'd take decades for the efficiency to play out in America because it'd take that long for older drivers not familiar with the system and not taking intensive road tests/driver's education courses to get less on the roads and for younger drivers who ARE trained in how to use them to be more populous on the roads.

    As I said up-thread every time I encounter a roundabout usually the other drivers (most often older drivers) are baffled and confused by them. And "Yield to traffic in the circle" doesn't mean anything to a city full of people who don't even understand the concept of yielding to the moving traffic on the highway. (I.E. they get on the highway at a ramp speed rather than using the ramp to speed-up to the flow on the highway and merging in pacing traffic.)

    Roundabouts will never happen in America and if they do, as I said, it'll take generations for any efficiency they have to appear.


    Yes, but Jamie having to slow down again as he lapped his own congestion compounds the problem. So instead of being able to continue to speed up he has to now slow down again in order to avoid an accident, making the congestion continue.

    Imagine they did this test in a straight line. (Or to allow for their to be a circuit a much larger circle.) Jamie taps his brakes and slows down, so does the car behind him, the car behind that and so on and so forth causing the congestion. Jamie now has to accelerate back up to speed, so does the next car, the next car and so on and so on. But "in a perfect situation" the snarl evens out eventually as the cars regain their pace.

    Sort of how if you ever find an inexplicable snarl on the highway that suddenly disappears once you past the point of snarl (usually something shiny in the shoulder or something dumb like that) traffic usually finds its pace again.

    This is usually my experience, at least. Once we pass what ever caused the initial slow down (a stopped car on the shoulder, debris in the roadway, an accident, whatever) things pick up again.

    Now, on a busy highway with congestion things are much more active situation because there's always something happening. Traffic re-finds that balance but then someone cuts into the lane causing someone to hit their brakes, someone merges into the lane moving slower than traffic, etc. So when there's a lot of traffic and congestion it's hard for the snarl to ever phase out because there's pretty much always something happening to cause someone to tap the brake.

    But never does traffic remain slow and congested because the person who caused the congestion ends up in the back of the very congestion he just created, making the problem continue.

    That's sort of my problem with the test. In a more real world situation with these cars not moving in a circle where the lead car can lap its own congestion the snarl would have eventually balanced out as the lead car was able to regain speed, then the car after that, the car after that and so on.

    Sort of like that shiny object in the shoulder that slows people down. Once you pass that point everything eventually finds its pace again.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2014
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I'd buy that if they'd at least acknowledged the existence of varying orientations and explained how and why they'd selected only hetero test subjects. But the problem is that the myths in question didn't specify orientation -- they just said "men" or "women" would respond a certain way to the opposite sex specifically, as if it were universal. Heck, the very existence of LGBT people busts any such myth on the face of it, so they should've brought it up. The fact that they ignored this fundamental reality of human sexuality completely and pretended that hetero- is the only sexuality that exists is contrary to the entire spirit of Mythbusters, because it's a huge and outdated myth.

    And I could buy that in most of the tests, they pre-selected subjects who were heterosexual for simplicity's sake. But the bust-size test was in a public coffee shop... in San Francisco. There's no way they could guarantee that every patron in the shop was heterosexual, so breaking the tips down simplistically between men and women was just unrealistic.


    Heck, well before then we'll have self-driving cars, or at least interconnected cars and roadways that can provide smart, context-sensitive cues to drivers. Which would make traffic faster and smoother through pretty much any kind of intersection.



    You're still not getting it. It's not about any single specific car. Once Jamie's looped around again, he's no longer representing the original car that braked. He's now representing the 21st car that comes up behind it -- and then on the second loop he represents the 41st car, and then the 61st car. You're following the car, but the test is following the wave. Yes, the first car that initially braked would later speed up, but that's irrelevant to the experiment because it's no longer a factor in the phenomenon being observed. It has no bearing on the fact that the 21st car coming up behind the 20th car would need to brake. The point of the test is to follow the wave backward through the overall pattern of traffic. Ignore the individual cars -- they're like electrons in a wire, interchangeable for these purposes. All that matters is the overall pattern.


    Not necessarily. It depends on how dense the traffic is behind the initial car. Jamie lapping himself here was analogous to a 21st car coming up close behind the 20th. If there are enough cars coming up behind the braking car, then the braking wave will continue to propagate further back just as it did in the circle. In both cases, there are new braking cars coming in to replace the accelerating cars ahead of them -- and it doesn't matter whether those new cars are fed from the original stock of cars or from a new supply, because all that matters is how close they are on each other's heels and whether the wave -- the pattern -- dies out or continues to propagate.
     
  16. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    I guess it makes sense in the "following the wave" aspect as opposed to following the car.
     
  17. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    Speaking as someone who commutes 22 miles twice a day in northern NJ's insane traffic, that episode gave me anxiety. :lol:

    Weaving: What I tend to do is pick the fastest lane and plant myself there. Of course it's usually the left lane. If the right lane starts moving faster, I'll wait for an opening and move over there. On the odd chance the right lane clears out completely, I'll move over into it just to get out of the crowd (and wonder why everybody is still hogging the left lane when the right is empty). And yeah, if it's clear for a stretch, I'll accelerate to pass all the left lane folks and find a spot farther up the line.

    But one thing I notice: you have to be able to read the traffic. Don't just weave in and out and expect to get somewhere. The thing I see every day that makes me chuckle: (enough with the colons!) I'll be cruising along with a knot of traffic in the left lane, going marginally faster than the right lane. Behind me is The Guy In A Hurry. He sees an opening in the right lane, and jams over there, and floors it to try to get around me and as many cars as he can. But he didn't notice that 1) the opening wasn't big enough to get much farther up, and 2) there's no opening for him to get INTO in the left lane if he DID make any headway. So he has to slam the brakes on, and swing back into the left lane behind me again, right where he started. Maybe even farther back if the next guy has closed the gap behind me. And then he'll try it again, and again. Lane change, zoom, fail, brake. lane change back. Lane change, zoom, fail, brake. lane change back. The end result is a lot of stress and effort and dangerous lane changing for zero gain. And a good laugh for the rest of us watching him.

    Lane changing when another lane starts going faster is sensible, and will probably gain you a few minutes and make you feel like you're getting somewhere. But mostly, picking the fastest lane and sticking with it (until conditions change) works fine and is better for everyone else.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Well, you're not really supposed to pass on the right, but sometimes I do it when it's the only available option. I'm normally a rigorously law-abiding sort by nature, but I learned from my father's advice that when it comes to highway driving, you have to adapt to the realities of the situation -- for instance, if the speed limit is 55 but the traffic as a whole is going 65, then it's safer to match the speed of the traffic flow than to stick to the speed limit.

    I'm not really that comfortable being in the far left lane for long, because that's the preferred lane of those drivers who seem to think they're in a race with other cars on the highway. Every so often I'll see a car coming up behind me closer and closer without slowing as though the driver intends to drive right through me, and in those cases I move right as soon as possible to let them pass. I hate those guys.

    As for drivers not paying attention to conditions, I still remember the time when I was coming off the Pennsylvania Turnpike and caught in a jam that was inching forward maybe a couple of meters per minute. The car in front of me was able to move forward a few meters before stopping, but I just stayed where I was, because it would waste more gas to keep accelerating for a few seconds and braking for a few seconds than just to wait until there was room to move forward more steadily. And the car behind me honked at me. Why? If I had moved ahead promptly, they only would've gained a few meters of headway, which was hardly worth honking the horn over. It wasn't as if my moving forward would make the hundred cars in front of me move forward. The instinct to deal with a traffic jam by crowding forward as much as possible and hungrily snatching every inch of progress at the earliest opportunity is counterproductive. It's the crowding that makes it impossible for traffic to flow smoothly, as we saw with the initial 22-car bunching on the circular track. If more drivers would just be patient and let some room form ahead of them before advancing, then jams would dissipate a lot more quickly.
     
  19. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    That's one of those "I just wanna feel like I'm making some progress" situations. It may be illusory but it makes me feel better. I'd honk at ya too. :) In fact, I'd be checking the other lanes hoping for a way to get around you. Welcome to NJ! ;)
     
  20. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!

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