Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Best Job in the World

The best job in the world, hands down, has to be whatever it is you'd call those Jamie and Adam guys on The Discovery Channel's Mythbusters show. If you haven't seen it, these guys take three or four myths or legends per show, then set up scale test and scenarios to either prove or disprove the proposed result.

I've learned that you can't blow up a gas tank by shooting at it. And that you can't blow up a shark by shooting a tank of compressed air lodged in its mouth. That shooting a hole in a pressurized airplane won't cause "explosive decompression." Too late for Goldfinger...

Cell phones will not cause gas pumps to explode. If you swim a mere three feet down in a body of water bullets from guns aren't gonna hurt you. Lighting a match won't diminish the aroma of unpleasant bodily functions. And lots of other stuff I can use in my daily life.

They use their engineering experience and aptitude to destroy cars, trucks, airplanes, elevators
and they do it to just the right degree. In other words, once they disprove a myth that says you can destroy a toilet by dropping a lighted cigarette in the bowl, they add things to the commode until it does blow up. They go the extra mile, and it makes them really happy to do it.

What makes it all the more interesting is that this isn't an MTV Jackass approach to wild and crazy stunts. Everything they do, from making working hovercars from those plans we used to buy from ads in the backs of comic books to seeing if it is really possible to glide from the top of a building construction site by holding a sheet of plywood over your head, is done with a measured, scientific approach. Their human-like test dummy has sensors to detect which of his many and various impacts would be fatal to a human, the things they blow up take place in polycarbonate booths overseen by the local fire department.

And boy do they have fun. Makes me want to be an engineer for the entertainment value as opposed to how watching Dean Kamen wants me to be one for the advancement of humanity value. So whether you develop a small, self contained system to purify utterly polluted water that can help end the misery of millions of people in third world countries or determine that you can blow a safe by burning a hole in the top, filling it with water, then detonating an explosive inside. Of course, it trashes everything inside but if it weren't for these two guys and their show, how would we ever know?

They just need to come out with a book that shows all of their experiments and their results. I'm dumber with every episode I miss and that can't be good.


Blogger WBS said...

Important to note: The protective value of water was directly proportionate to the velocity of the firearm. The weapons that had the highest velocity (Hunting & Assault weapons) had their bullets disintegrate in the first 12 inches of water. Shotguns (and if I remember correctly, the 9mm Beretta) looked like they were pretty lethal at short depths. Still, trying to swim away beats just standing there and getting shot, no matter the weaponry of your assailant.

9:03 PM  

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