The MythBusters The MythBusters

MythBusters Episode 194: Mini Myth Medley

Premier Date: November 4, 2012

People can easily recognize the backs of their own hands.


Adam and Jamie brought in 50 male and 50 female volunteers and took photos of the back of their right hands. 12 additional volunteers were blindfolded while their hands were photographed, then (while wearing gloves to prevent cheating) they were asked to identify their hand among a set of 9 other similar-looking hands. 11 out of 12 people identified their hand correctly, many of them very quickly.

Adam and Jamie also decided to see how well people could identify their palms and their teeth. Using the same methodology as above, 7 out of 12 people correctly identified their palms and 10 out of 12 people correctly identified their teeth.

It is possible to pierce, without shattering, a pane of glass by throwing a needle at it.


This myth was based on a video of a Shaolin monk performing this feat. The Build Team started by throwing large needles at a 1/8 inch (3.1 mm) thick window pane. Kari, Grant, and Tory – with throwing speeds of 28 mph (45 km/h), 38 mph (61 km/h), and 47 mph (76 km/h), respectively – could not pierce or break the glass. Next they brought in a professional baseball pitcher, Matt Cain, to help them. Matt Cain was able to throw the needles up to 113 mph (182 km/h), and despite bending the steel needles, he was only able to chip the 1/8 inch pane. To make the task easier, they switched to 1/16 inch (1.6 mm) thick glass. Again, despite shattering a steel needle, Matt Cain was not able to pierce the glass. Finally, they moved on to 1/32 inch (0.8 mm) thick glass and Matt Cain shattered it several times, but could not pierce it cleanly. At this point this myth was declared busted for humans.

To see if the feat was possible at all, Tori began used an air rifle to shoot the needles at 1/8 thick glass. His first two shots at roughly 140 mph (225 km/h) and 160 mph (257 km/h) were not effective, but a third shot at 180 mph (290 km/h) finally pierced the glass without shattering it.

It is impossible to ride a bicycle under water.


At a pool, Adam and Jamie both struggled to ride an unmodified bicycle under water because of the density of water and the lack of traction. Adding 50 lbs of weights helped slightly when riding downhill but they still could not ride uphill. They decided to modify their bikes further and have a race to see whose ideas worked the best. Adam filled his tires with corn syrup in an attempt to improve traction and he added 50 lbs of weight to the bike’s frame. Jamie, meanwhile, added lead training wheels weighing 140 lbs total to the front and back of his bike. Both Adam and Jamie still struggled greatly to ride their bikes uphill in order to complete the race. Despite their troubles, this myth was busted because they did find it possible to ride under water on flat ground.

Doing the “potty dance” helps alleviate the urge to urinate.


For a control test, Grant, Tori, and Kari began with empty bladders and each person drank 2 liters of water. They continued their normal daily activity and measured how long they could wait before urinating. Tory was able to last 1 hr 57 min; Grant, 1 hr 58 min; and Kari, 2 hr 40 min.

They repeated the procedure the next day, but this time attempted to dance and move around to help them combat the urge to pee. In this test, Tory lasted 1:31, Grant 1:51, and Kari 2:47.

On the third day, the procedure was again repeated and this time each person attempted to relax as much as possible both physically and mentally. Tory lasted 2:05, Grant 2:46, and Kari 2:43.

After noting that the results of each method can vary widely from person to person, the team called this myth plausible.