MYTHBUSTERS Revival on The Science Channel -- Season 1 thread

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by Christopher, Nov 15, 2017.

  1. bigdaddy

    bigdaddy Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Discovery owns Science Channel, they are the same thing. So to me all they did was cancel the show so they could fire everywhere, and then immediately brought it back on their sister station. That leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    But I was starting to start questioning the original shows findings a lot. I feel they forgot 'Correlation does not imply causation' with their findings.
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The whole reason for owning more than one network is that they aren't the same, otherwise it would be redundant. They have different audiences and different demographics of different sizes. And they have their own independent staffs that make their own independent programming decisions. Ownership is just about where the money ultimately goes, which billionaire is getting richer. The billionaires pay other people to make the actual decisions, and each network has its own separate decision-makers.

    It's the same reason Supergirl was cancelled by CBS and picked up by The CW -- because ratings that were too low for a CBS-sized network were quite good for a CW-sized network, and The CW's executives were more receptive to a superhero/SF show than CBS's executives were.

    After all, Discovery has long since ceased to be even remotely science-oriented. It degenerated years ago into a stinking pile of "reality" trash, with Mythbusters the only respectable production it had left. The show was a poor fit for what the network had decayed into. The so-called Science Channel may have a lot of garbage of its own, like junk about UFOs and wilderness survival, but it's got more science-oriented programming left than Discovery does. So it makes perfect sense that Mythbusters would get better ratings there.


    I think you're forgetting that very same thing in your comments here. You don't have enough data about the factors behind the decision to say anything for sure.

    As for "immediately," Mythbusters: The Search didn't premiere until 10 months after the original show ended. As I said, it was probably the strong ratings Science got for reruns of the original show that convinced them to commission a revival. They had to see how good those ratings were before they could decide whether to take a chance on a continuation. Which is probably why they did The Search first -- not so much to audition new hosts as to test their audience's interest in new Mythbusters content without the original cast. If The Search hadn't gotten good enough ratings, they probably would've just paid Brian and Jon some sort of consolation fee and shut it all down.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Decent episode tonight, though the myths were both very straightforward and should've been easy to guess the outcomes for. One was the movie myth of whether a cadaver could shield someone against a bullet, which worked about as well as most bullet-stopping myths in movies, i.e. not at all. Though they did some interesting setups and gadgets to put the myth to the test. The most interesting part was when their high-speed footage of a ballistics-gel bullet test captured a burst of sonoluminescence, where an air pocket in the gel compressed so quickly that it heated the air to plasma. Nice to see they're taking the time to talk about scientific principles, which is something the original show did less and less over the years.

    The other myth was even more scientific, involving the non-Newtonian cornstarch-water mix called Oobleck, and whether its tendency to solidify on impact could stop an explosion, or rather, reduce the overpressure of the shock wave to a survivable 10 PSI or less. That one turned out false too, and for a reason I should've figured out beforehand: the stiffened, pseudo-solid substance would actually transmit waves better than a pure liquid. The conceptual flaw underlying the myth is in the assumption that an explosive shock wave is a push analogous to a fist hitting the surface of the Oobleck. It's really more of an intense sound wave, and it passes through matter rather than pushing it forward -- just one of the many ways that the Hollywood depiction of explosions is fantasy. (The high-speed shots showed another way -- you could clearly see that it was the almost invisible shock wave traveling well ahead of the fireball that caused the bulk of the destruction, followed by the blast of shrapnel, even though the actual fireball never even touched the target surface.)

    Besides, I know enough about helmets and car crumple zones to know that the more rigid and un-deformable something is, the less effective it is as a shock absorber. That should've been obvious from the get-go. I'm getting rusty.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I think I may have missed reviewing an episode or two. Anyway, a decent attempt tonight to test the movie trope of an action hero shooting out a window and swinging through it. It was deemed plausible, providing the jump wasn't more than a couple of stories, since being jerked to a stop at higher speed could be fatal. But Jon was in all sorts of safety gear when he went through the pre-shattered window. I wish they'd sent one of their Syndaver human analogs through one so they could assess how safe it was for someone without special gear.

    I'm starting to think that, just as Brian's paramedic knowhow lets him contribute something new to the Mythbusters dynamic, Jon brings something of his own with his athleticism and strength. He's good at this kind of physical stunt.

    The other myth, about testing ways to avoid tearing up when chopping onions, was kind of weak. I guess I can see the logic of bringing in a half-dozen volunteers, since different people might react differently and it would help to average it out, but why the hell did they not tell the volunteers what they were there to test? There was no scientific reason why lack of prior knowledge would matter in this case. It was just a dumb reality-show gimmick to show their reactions for a bit of contrived drama. And watching people being exposed to concentrated onion fumes over and over wasn't much fun. Anyway, the result was that only spraying the onions with lemon juice worked, but it made them taste too lemony. Which hardly seems like a breakthrough discovery.
     
  5. Redfern

    Redfern Commodore Commodore

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    The production missed a particular solution many cooks swear by, cutting the onions while they are immersed in cold water. The theory goes that the chemicals released make contact with the water and do not react the same way as they would otherwise do with air. I could be wrong, but I swear Alton Brown discussed this on "Good Eats" since it dealt with the "chemistry" of food preparation, a core theme of that series. Plus, they they would not be drenched with the flavor of lemon.

    I hope fans challenge them to revisit that myth and try the cold water.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Two Western/shooting myths this week. The first was whether taking careful aim is better than a quick-draw spray of bullets from the hip. I figured that the answer was obviously yes, but it turns out that only goes for a revolver. With a shotgun, rapid fire works better, because it isn't from the hip but properly aimed down the sight, and because the shoulder stock and weight give it more stability, so it doesn't have the drawbacks that the technique has with a pistol. That was unexpected.

    Still, the test seemed incomplete, since in the Western scenario, the shooter is being shot at in return. In a case like that, taking the time to aim carefully would be dangerous, and shooting a spray of bullets would be useful as cover fire even if doesn't hit anything. That's the main use of automatic rifles today, according to past Mythbusters episodes -- single shots for targeting, automatic mode for suppression fire so your enemy can't move or shoot. So I think they missed something by failing to test return fire, by using paintballs or something.

    The other myth involved a dynamite-firing crossbow from the infamously bad Jonah Hex movie. That was a pretty ridiculous idea on the face of it, but it was interesting to see how they went about building the equivalent and testing it. Again, though, I'm not sure I quite agree with their conclusion. Their test rig accidentally lit the dynamite still in the magazine and blew up the crossbow on the second shot, so they concluded that the myth was busted because such a contraption was too unsafe. I mean... guys... it's Jonah Hex, however inept the adaptation of the character. It's an exaggeratedly tough, hardcore, nihilistic Western antihero. So it's not that implausible that a character like that would be willing to use a weapon so crazy dangerous that it might kill him. I've never seen the movie, but I'd think that's probably kind of the point. Indeed, that's sort of the point of the first myth, the hero so fearless that he's willing to stand there and take his good time aiming while people are shooting at him from all directions. Willingly taking stupid chances with one's own life is a standard trait of movie tough guys like that.

    So their standard shouldn't have been if such a weapon was reliably safe. It should've been whether it was even possible to use the weapon as shown and not get killed by the explosions. So they should've built a second one and tried again, or else just used the first test as proof of concept and then simply set off explosions at the right distance from their burst disk sensor.

    Despite my quibbles with their methodology, though, I still think Brian and Jon are working out pretty well as hosts. They seem to be bonding as friends in a way Adam & Jamie never did -- it's more of a Build Team-like chemistry. I still think the show could stand to add a female presence, though.
     
  7. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, I had the same criticism of the show. In the scenario where there are hostages I think the test is valid, but they made the valid hit area way too small. In a gunfight if you shoot a guy in the stomach and the shoulder it doesn't matter super-much that you didn't instantly kill him.

    A better metric for that might be, how long does it take the hero to land at least one disabling shot on all the bad guys? And hit area should be anywhere that if you hit, the bad guy would be incapable of effectively continuing.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2018 at 12:25 AM
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Actually I think it would matter. Contrary to what TV and movies tend to show, being shot in a non-vital area doesn't necessarily incapacitate someone immediately. There are cases of people remaining active even after being shot several times. (Sometimes TV and movies do acknowledge this, but only if they want to do the dramatic fakeout thing where you think someone's okay until they fall over.) So the shot would only be sure to neutralize the shooter immediately if it were to a vital area, like the brain or the heart. Maybe a shoulder wound would do it if it renders their shooting hand unusable, but otherwise the opponent might be able to continue shooting for a while before they pass out from blood loss or whatever.

    In the Old West particularly, when guns were less powerful and less accurate, the leading cause of death from gunshot wounds was infection, days or weeks after the fact. Dropping dead immediately upon being shot was the exception, not the rule. (Although Old West towns tended to have extremely strict gun control, and movie-style shootouts were essentially nonexistent.)
     
  9. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

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    What about the stomach or lungs, or if the bullet hits an artery? I'm not saying any hit would incapacitate them, but wouldn't the hit range be a little larger than only kill shots?
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    We're talking about a situation where every second counts. It's not about whether it kills them at all, it's whether it takes them out instantly or not. Even someone who's gutshot or bleeding out might still have time to get a shot off and kill you or their hostage before they collapse. That's why police are trained to take kill shots in those situations -- to go for the sure thing that will end the threat instantly, rather than gambling with an injury that might still give the bad guy enough time to kill someone.

    Besides, they had to simplify some things for the sake of the test. They do that all the time, like with the burst disks and shock watch stickers to measure whether the fatal threshold is crossed, or use the depth of penetration in ballistics gel to assess whether a shot is fatal or not. In individual cases, there could be a fluke chance where someone manages to survive that kind of injury, but as a rule, it's fatal, so they judge it by the rule rather than the exceptions.