Premier Date: November 10, 2010
As a tribute to the fans, the MythBusters randomly chose several fan-submitted myths and tested them in this episode.
Adam and Jamie donned tuxedos after meeting with an image consultant to learn about the particulars of black-tie formal dress. Adam boarded a boat to serve as a comparison standard, while Jamie put on a dry suit and took a 40-minute scuba dive to rendezvous with him. Once Jamie climbed aboard, removed the suit, and brushed himself down, both his tuxedo and Adam’s were found to be in presentable condition for a party.
(This myth was inspired by the pre-title sequence in the movie Goldfinger.)
The Build Team ran a car through a test course with regular tire pressure, slightly over-inflated, slightly deflated, extremely over-inflated, and extremely deflated tires, and measured the resulting fuel efficiency for each. The data showed that lower than normal tire pressure resulted in significantly more fuel being consumed, due to a larger amount of surface area contact with the road, causing increased friction. Higher than normal pressure did improve fuel efficiency; however, the Build Team discouraged the idea of over-inflating tires due to the safety hazards involved and the negligible cost savings.
Using a 12-gauge shotgun, the Build Team fired a load of birdshot at a 4-year-old laptop in a leather bag from point-blank range, with a block of ballistic gelatin behind it to represent the owner’s body. The birdshot easily punctured every area of the laptop that was hit and damaged the gelatin severely. In a second test, they targeted the battery – the component with the highest density – and found that none of the pellets would go through it. The team classified the myth as plausible, since only a very lucky shot would be stopped.
The Build Team replicated the conditions of the news story on which this myth was based, firing at a ballistic-gelatin head through a car’s rear windshield from 8 feet behind it. The bullet easily penetrated the head’s hair weave and exited through the front, pulling some of the hair with it. The team hypothesized that in the actual shooting, the bullet may have ricocheted off a metal part before coming to rest near the victim’s head, giving the illusion that the weave stopped the bullet.
The Build Team fired numerous 9mm bullets at a modern refrigerator door stocked with items commonly found in refrigerators. Every shot easily penetrated both the door and a block of ballistic gelatin placed behind it, indicating lethal impacts. The same result was achieved with a double-walled steel refrigerator door from the 1950s.
Adam and Jamie tested three different techniques of containing sneezes – a hand, an inner elbow, and a handkerchief – with the help of snuff and food coloring as in Flu Fiction. Adam’s sneezes into his hand spread droplets up to 9.5 feet away, while Jamie’s elbow stopped nearly all of the droplets from his sneezes. The few that were not stopped traveled only 0.5 feet. When Adam sneezed into the handkerchief, those droplets also traveled 0.5 feet but soaked his hand as well. They noted that the germs would quickly spread to both the user’s hand and other items that touched the cloth, defeating the purpose of using it. The elbow was judged to the most effective device for containing germs from a sneeze.
Adam and Jamie measured the amounts of force required to simply pick up a lollipop versus taking one from a baby. They tried snatching the lollipop from babies of various ages (6–18 months), and found that the babies would actively fight to keep the candy. Younger ones tended to use brute force to hold on to the lollipop, while older ones used different tactics such as crying and moving the candy out of reach. Picking up the candy required 0.08 pounds of force, while taking it from the babies took an average of 2.01 pounds, indicating that it is not easy to take candy from a baby.
The Build Team left bottles of beer inside a freezer for various times, ranging from 120 minutes to 180 minutes, before removing and striking them. They found that 180 minutes of cooling time was necessary to allow the instant freezing to occur. The most likely explanation is supercooling, in which a liquid in a very clean container can be cooled below its freezing point, but will rapidly form crystals and freeze if it is disturbed in any way.