The MythBusters The MythBusters

MythBusters Episode 16: Ancient Death Ray, Skunk Cleaning, What Is Bulletproof?

Premier Date: September 29, 2004

Archimedes constructed a death ray by reflecting sunlight onto, and thus igniting, Roman vessels.

busted

In order to have any effect, the mirror would have to be impractically large, and even then, the temperature of wood only raised a few degrees. On the Discovery website, however, a challenge was thrown out to the viewers to come up with an experiment to prove it plausible, and so far, a few of the entries seem to have done so. When all the tests were completed the myth was conclusively busted.

(This myth was re-busted in Archimedes’ Death Ray and again in President’s Challenge.)

The smell of Skunk musk can be removed with tomato juice.

plausible

The strong odor of tomato juice masks the skunk smell until the human nose becomes desensitized to the smell of tomatoes, at which point the skunk musk is again noticeable.

The smell of Skunk musk can be removed with commercial cleaners.

plausible

The commercial cleaners tested had limited success at eliminating the aroma of skunk musk.

The smell of Skunk musk can be removed with a custom mixture.

confirmed

A mixture of soap, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda proved to work best for actually eliminating the aroma of skunk musk. The precise formula may be found in the Skunk article.

The smell of Skunk musk can be removed with beer.

busted

Beer did not work.

The smell of Skunk musk can be removed with a douche.

busted

A douche had also no effect at all.

Bullets be stopped by a book.

busted

A hardcover book of at least 400 pages can potentially stop a .22 rifle shot, but anything stronger would shoot completely through.

Bullets be stopped by a deck of playing cards.

busted

The deck failed to stop any bullets.

Bullets be stopped by a Zippo lighter.

busted

The lighter failed to stop any bullets.

Bullets be stopped by a quarter-inch polycarbonate shield like that used by the MythBusters.

busted

The shield failed to stop any bullets.

Bullets be stopped by an inch-thick polycarbonate panel rated bullet resistant.

plausible

They tested using a four-sided box made of bullet resistant polycarbonate laminate. The panels stopped .22, .357, and .44 magnum bullets but a Springfield .30-06 penetrated both front and rear portions of the box.