Friday, December 13, 2013

Day Three Hundred and Forty-seven - Mythbusters: Season 10, Episode 2, "Kari is skydiving for why now?"

Mythbusters is always a fun watch, even if they're not exactly the most rigorous in the repeatability of their experiments. This particular episode, they're split into their regular groupings of Adam and Jamie on one experiment (Bourne Magazine Bomb) and Kari, Grant, and Tory on another (Blue Ice).

I'm kinda meh when it comes to the Bourne Magazine Bomb. It's a nifty enough to see Adam and Jamie progress from a small plastic cube (to gauge fuel-air mixture for methane to oxygen) to a scale-sized apartment that they fill with gas to attempt to recreate the movie explosion from The Bourne Supremacy. Still, while it's not exactly the same, it's pretty similar to several experiments they've done in the past.

I do like the safety precautions they've implemented, including the rather kludgerific saftey cutoff (a pipe on a rope!) and the box fans to draw the gas out of the test apartment for resets, but really the only fun part of the whole thing are the EXPLOSIONS... which are pretty much the main draw of the series, I think.

Grant, Tory, and Kari's experiment is much more interesting to me. Tasked with trying to recreate the infamous Blue Ice myth, where mysterious blocks of icky waste are supposedly falling from the sky, dropping from poop chutes evacuated by pilots on cross-continental flights. It doesn't take long for the trio to dispel the myth of pilots actually having control of waste expulsion in mid-air. There is still some plausibility to the myth, though, as mechanical failure could cause the noxious fluid to be dropped at altitude, causing instant frozen balls of doom.

In order to get data, they put together a mock-up fuselage and enlist the help of NASA, which has an icing wind tunnel, in order test two scenarios: a catastrophic release all at once or a slow drip. It turns out that the slow drip is the real deal and has potential to create the icy balls of death. What I don't get is why Kari needed to go skydiving to watch a real ice ball drop from altitude. I can see why they would have trained skydivers tracking it with GoPro cameras, but Kari could've been on the ground with the boys tracking with binoculars, too.

Ah, well... any excuse for a little daredevilry, I suppose.

Overall, while the episode isn't exactly the most scientific or elucidating, Mythbusters is always a fun watch... most especially for their enthusiasm for SCIENCE, which is often lacking in our society. I'll almost always recommend the show for its entertainment value, if not totally for its educational merits. I say "almost" because I don't think I could ever recommend the Seth Rogen epi. Heh.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

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