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MythBusters and the Scientific method
Episode 37, “Escape Slide Parachute (Story of Vesna Vulović)
Textbook: Chapter 3, Accelerated Motion. Free Fall.
- What is the myth?
A person can survive free-fall from over 20,000 feet
How far is this in meters?
Convert feet to meters. 1 foot = 0.31 meters.
20,000 feet x 0.31 meters = 6200 m = 6.2 x 10 3 m
- Why would people believe that myth is true?
Newspaper articles: Vesna Vulović, a Serbia flight attendant, survived the explosion of a DC-9, from 30,000 feet, in 1972.
- Testable predictions: A crash-test dummy, dropped from a high altitude, within an airplane, will experience survivable damage
- How do they test their prediction?
* Purchase used airplane
* cut away the rear section of the plane.
* Strap a crash-test dummy into flight attendant’s seat.
* Lift section up, thousands of feet high, with a helicopter.
* Drop section in free-fall.
- Evaluation of the results?
* Buster had a terrible amount of damage.
* A person in that position would not survive this drop.
* Yet it has been confirmed that Vesna Vulović (Serbia flight attendant) survived the explosion of a DC-9, from 30,000 feet, in 1972.
* The section of the plane that the MythBusters dropped was only partially destroyed; other parts were still in shape.
* Conclusion: Since we know such a fall is thus theoretically survivable, something was not adequate about our experiment:
* Did they need to form a new hypothesis: Yes – they should re-test this with multiple crash dummies. They can be seated in various sections of the airplane. And the entire test could be repeated several times.
from Polygon.com: “The Mythbusters always had an amazing secret weapon: They can’t stand each other” – The best working relationship in television is almost over.
By Ben Kuchera on Oct 22, 2015 at 12:30p
Mythbusters is a long-running show, with 14 seasons and 267 episodes under its belt. It was recently announced that the show was coming to an end, and stars Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman seem equal parts saddened and relieved by the news. 12 years is a very long time to work on a single show, and the shooting schedule for Mythbusters was often punishing.
There’s much to say about the show, but one of the most interesting aspects of Mythbusters is the fact that the working relationship between Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman is built on respect and mutual appreciation for what they do, which is a very adult way to create a show for 14 seasons … especially when the two don’t like each other.
This may be news to casual fans, but it’s been openly discussed for years. The two stars don’t get along, and have no relationship outside of the show.
“We like to point out we’ve known each other for 25 years and never once sat down to have dinner alone together,” Hyneman told Entertainment Weekly in a recent interview. “We sort of managed to tolerate each other. I think it’s probably safe to say that continuing our onscreen relationship in front of the camera is probably not happening. I expect Adam may well pursue things in front of the camera, but I’m most likely not. It’s not who I am. This has been a very rewarding and interesting decade, but its not really what I’m cut out for.”
Savage also addressed the situation in this video:
“We’re not afraid to say something that will hurt the others’ feelings, because we don’t care,” Savage says, which is a quote that sounds brutal on paper but works within the wider context of what he’s saying. “We consider it a point of pride that the right idea always wins — it doesn’t matter whose it is.”
There are arguments to be made over the rigor of the experiments on Mythbusters, but the amount of work that goes into each episode, including the fabrication and design done by the team, is staggering. The fact that the two of them have been able to work together for this long while not being able to stand each other’s company, more or less, is something rare in pop culture: It’s a working relationship based purely on respect and mutual gain.