Premier Date: October 20, 2010
In this episode, the MythBusters chose some popular idioms and tested to see if they literally held true.
To test this idiom, Tory, Grant, and Kari each had to participate in an activity that frightened them. They used temperature sensors and thermal cameras to measure the temperature of their feet.
Tory’s task was to fly with stunt pilot Sean D. Tucker in an aerobatic plane. Tory endured several frightening maneuvers and although there may have been a slight drop in his foot temperature before each stunt, the data was not conclusive. Grant’s task was to have his head covered with a number of tarantulas for 2 minutes. His foot temperature dropped by 15°F throughout the experiment. Kari’s was present with a buffet of various odd foods and tasked to eat at least two of them. She chose to eat a waxworm and a cricket. Like Grant, her foot temperature also dropped about 15°F.
Considering all three results, this myth was declared plausible. Grant theorized that the fight-or-flight response leads to constricted blood vessels in the extremities, and thus a drop in temperature.
To begin, Adam and Jamie decided to create imitation poop that would be more hygienic and pleasant to work with. Jamie came up with a formula that had the similar physical properties (density, compressibility, and stickiness) to real dog poop. Adam built a slingshot to throw the poop at the fan at roughly 30 mph.
The first tests used a 12-inch fan with plastic blades. Without any impressive results, they quickly upgraded to a 20-inch fan with metal blades and formulated the imitation poop to be softer. Still not achieving 360° splatter, they upgraded to a 30-inch fan with a 1/4 horsepower motor, which created enough splatter to call this idiom plausible. As a finale, Adam and Jamie used a very large box fan and all of their leftover fake poop to create a giant mess.
(Although it was censored on camera, this idiom is most commonly spoken as “when the shit hits the fan”.)