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July 16th, 2005


Last weekend Discovery Channel was running a few episodes of MythBusters, so some watching was in order. Really, I’d heard of the show before but never gave it any more than a fleeting thought… and now I’m sorry I didn’t catch it sooner.

The premise is rather simple. Two guys – Adam and Jamie – along with their crew set out to determine, scientifically, if urban legends are true or not. If they find ’em true, the myth is confirmed. False, it’s busted. Otherwise, it’s inconclusive. While there are some scientists out there who might guffaw at… something in their process, the overall scientific process is intact on this show.

Here’s a good example of what was done: Chinese water torture. You’ve inevitably heard of it… the legend is that a prisoner was strapped down on tables while a pot of water hung overhead. The water would drip, single drop by single drop, onto the person’s forehead until he/she confessed and/or went crazy. They actually tested two iterations of this: one with a solid board for one to lay on, with shackles around the ankles and wrists and a face mask; another, with a comfortable chair and no restrictions.

The interesting thing to me was that the crew member in the more torturous environment really did exhibit signs of anxiety and fear after about 90 minutes under the drippity-drop. It was really amazing to see, because early on she was pretty calm and collected… ultimately she said that the confinements had a huge role in it.

As for the comfortable chair, which Adam sat in, he was doing fine until he had to pee after a few hours. That’s what did him in.

Other neat myths I’ve seen include how a bullet can/can’t really “blow someone away” as it does in the movies; killing someone with a playing card; making someone poop themselves on demand with the “brown note”; and whether plants do better with someone talking to them or not.

It really is a great little show. I know it’s not new, but it is definitely Ping-worthy.

Posted in Television, Movies, and Music

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