Thursday, March 10, 2016


My son has a new favorite quote: "The difference between screwing around and science? Writing stuff down." This comes to us from freshly retired Mythbuster, Adam Savage. Compared to Peyton Manning, who will most likely have his pick of big paychecks, Adam will probably have to hustle a little bit to catch up to the current zeitgeist. When Mister Savage started his old job busting myths, Al Gore had only recently turned us all loose on his Internet. If you wanted to find out if something was real or fake, you had to send a letter to the friendly and inquisitive folks at M5 Industries. Is it possible to make a lead balloon? Sure, but could you make it fly? Thanks to the busters of myth, we now know that it is possible.
Over the years, nearly a decade and a half, there were hundreds of myths confirmed or dismissed by Adam and his curmudgeonly partner Jamie. Did you think that carrying your credit cards in an eel-skin wallet would damage the magnetic stripes? Fret no more. The Mythbusters took care of that one. Did you believe that cell phones emitted rays of such intense radiation that they could pop corn? Now worries. That one turned out to be less than true as well. Over the run of the show Jamie and Adam, along with the help of their "build team," five hundred forty eight myths were debunked outright, compared to just two hundred fifty-one that were confirmed. There were another two hundred sixteen deemed "plausible," but some of those required stretching the definition.
But mostly, it gave my son and I an opportunity to watch things blow up. Water heaters, small appliances, and cars. Lots and lots of cars. And a cement truck. Each new detonation was a revelation for the two of us. We would sit through whatever science may or may not have been involved just to see the smithereens be distributed far and wide. The tinier the bits, the better.
And now it's over. My son has grown out of his "I reject your reality and substitute my own" T-shirt some time ago, and moved on to watching videos on YouTube that skip directly to the blowing up part. His other favorite Mythbuster quote came from Jamie: "When in doubt, C4." And that pretty much sums up our love affair with those busters of Myth.
Which is also why I bothered to write this down. Now it's science.

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