Mythbusters is a show on the Discovery Channel, where various urban myths are put to the scientific test. The show’s team will set up an experiment to replicate the conditions of a certain alleged story, and then prove or disprove the story.
What’s really cool is the way they set up the experiments: As dramatic and visually spectacular as possible, while still fulfilling the conditions in the myth! For example, ‘Can a coin dropped from a tall building kill you’… Rather than BORINGLY drop a coin from high up, they rigged a staple-gun to launch coins at terminal velocity!
And since the two hosts are guys, they often test out high-destruction myths like ‘Can a cell phone cause a petrol-station to explode’ or ‘Can a spinning CD explode and kill you’ (both of which I’ve watched).
In fact, after they disprove a certain myth as false, they don’t just end on that disappointing note. Instead, they ramp up the conditions UNTIL the mythical occurence happens!
For example, when none of the cellphones causes a gasoline vapour-filled chamber to ignite, they added more gasoline vapour. When that still didn’t work, they rigged up a naked high-voltage spark… Just to spectacularly blow up the chamber.
The Verdict: Properly working cellphones pose no danger, but static electricity discharge from repeatedly getting in and out of the car actually have a risk of igniting gas vapours.
This is the kind of science job and lab work I wouldn’t mind – Getting paid and famous to play with dangerous weapons and blowing stuff up on international syndicated television.
Read about the crazy science guys in Wikipedia. There are also quick and easy summaries of various urban myths they confirmed/disproved in Season 1, Season 2, Season 3, Season 4 and
Specials. Good to acquaint yourself with some fake-o nonsense they forward on the net, hey?