10 Times the Myths of the Mythbusters Did not Make it to the US TV Screens
The end of the Mythbusters in 2017 was the end of an era. After Mythbusters premiered in 2003, it became one of the most popular shows on the Discovery Channel. Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman explored uncountable myths. Soon, they were joined by Tory Belleci, Kari Byron, and Grant Imahara who all very soon became an indispensable part of the show. They handled their own myths apart from the main duo and brought dynamic energy to the show. Even though the Mythbusters busted or confirmed many myths, there are a few that never made it to the screen. We bring to you 10 such Mythbuster snippets which did not make it to the US TV Screens.
1 In 2006, the Mythbusters tested the myth that the cereal boxes themselves are healthier than the cereal inside it. Two groups of mice were given either item. While the Mythbusters were making remarks about it, the mice who ate the cereal box ended up eating each other!
As kids, how many times have we created tantrums for a handful of sugary cereal? There’s no counting, actually! Kids absolutely love the sugary cereals such as fruit loops. But parents have always been critical of the nutritional value of such foods. This seed of suspicion was planted when Paul A. Stitt, a biochemist, published a study in 1982. He mentioned that rats surviving on cereal boxes lasted longer than the rats who were eating only cornflakes.
So Mythbusters went ahead to test this. In a Q&A talk, Adam Savage disclosed their experiment. The team had three categories of lab mice. The first was served normal mice food, the second was served sugary cereal, and the third was served cardboard pellets. Everything was fine for almost five days. But soon after, the team noticed that the mice who were eating the cardboard were getting restless. When they checked on the mice, they found that one of the mice eating cardboard had eaten the other mice in the group!
Due to the graphic animal violence involved in this experiment, Discovery refused to air this episode. Moreover, they made Adam swear that he would never show the tape to anyone. (1, 2)
2 Mythbusters was supposed to air an episode on how hackable and trackable RFID chips on credit cards are. But they got bullied out of it when credit card companies threatened to boycott their show.
Mythbusters was all ready with an RFID-busting episode when they received a call from Texas Instruments warning them not to air the episode. Adam and Jamie had tested the publicized vulnerabilities of RFID chips and were ready with their verdict for the world. In the Last Hope conference in 2008, Adam Savage recalled, “Texas Instruments comes on along with chief legal counsel for American Express, Visa, Discover, and everybody else (co-host Tory Belleci and a MythBusters producer) were way, way out-gunned.”
The lawyers made it clear that Discovery Channel should back down from airing this segment and never talk about how hackable these chips are. And being a large corporation that relied on revenues from these advertisers, there was nothing that the channel could do.
But the story was a little different according to Texas Instruments. Their spokesperson claimed that the call was not to “threaten” them but was to answer a few technical doubts that the Mythbusters team had. The call comprised of a few product managers and a representative from only one, contactless, payment company. Later, even Adam Savage changed his statement saying, “If I went into the detail of exactly why this story didn’t get filmed, it’s so bizarre and convoluted that no one would believe me, but suffice to say…the decision not to continue on with the RFID story was made by our production company, Beyond Productions, and had nothing to do with Discovery, or their ad sales department.” Makes one think there might be a conspiracy there! (source)
3 There was supposed to be a test that a truck full of liquid oxygen spilled on a roadbed has the potential to turn into a life-threatening bomb. The Mythbusters decided to leave this dangerous one out as they realized that if they are going to spend a ton of money on something that would just explode, it’s better to leave it out!
On a Reddit AMA, Adam talked about a myth where they were trying to test with a truck full of liquid oxygen. The test was to find out if the oxygen got spilled on a roadbed would it turn the entire road into a life-threatening bomb. The team had already played enough with liquid oxygen to know how dangerous it could be. Adam called it “some of the scariest stuff on earth.”
Liquid oxygen has the potential to turn a simple, oily rag into a bomb. So, the team thought maybe dealing with an entire truck of the material might not be such a good idea. Plus, to shoot the segment, they would have to spend an enormous amount of money. And if at the end of all the hard work everything just explodes, then there might not be a reason for doing it! Considering the danger and unpredictability of liquid oxygen, the Mythbusters took the correct decision. (source)
4 The upside-down race car is a myth that a formula one or IndyCar has so much downforce that it could drive upside down and still hug the road. The Mythbusters have been wanting to do this since the first season, but they never did as the cost for this single myth would exceed the cost of the entire episode.
There is an urban legend that a formula one or an Indycar is built with so much force that they can drive upside down. The cars have so much power that they would just hug the road even when upside down. The Mythbusters team has been wanting to test this myth since the first season. But the problem was that they could never do it on a full scale with a road.
So, the team thought maybe build a tunnel just for this segment. But that too turned out to be impossible as it would cost thousands of dollars for this single segment, exceeding the budget for an entire episode. They then started looking for a wind tunnel but were unable to find one that would go fast enough.
Moreover, no one was willing to give them a formula one or an Indycar to hang it upside down a wind tunnel. And even if they got the car and the tunnel, the budget would still be a problem. Hence, they decided not to shoot this sequence. (source)
5 There was another experiment that involved a baseball player and a train. Basically, the player throws the ball in the opposite direction as the train and at the same speed, then the ball would just drop down straight as the velocity would get canceled.
This was an interesting one. So, if a baseball player was traveling in a train and decided to throw a ball out in the opposite direction of the train, what would happen? Let’s say the player decides to throw the ball in the opposite direction as the train and at the same speed as the train. Then, the velocities would just cancel each other and the ball would drop straight down.
The Mythbusters team wanted to test this out but wanted to portray it in their own style. According to Adam Savage, “I actually wanted to do was be the baseball. I have this concept of building this reverse-facing slingshot outside of a bus. You would press the trigger and it would go off, so you would end up – bang – on the side of the road, dead still. For some reason, they won’t let me do it.”
Praise God they did not allow it! (source)
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