Mythbusters Goofs Up Good

How fast can a cannonball travel? Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage were tackling this question yesterday for an episode of their TV show Mythbusters when things went completely wrong. The cannon misfired, and the cannonball went up into the air over Dublin, California. The next question they will probably tackle is whether the footage will be used on TV.
“This cannonball was supposed to go through several barrels of water and through a cinder block, and then ultimately into the side of the hill,” said J.D. Nelson of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department.

Instead the cannonball flew over the foothills surrounding Camp Parks Military Firing Reservation, before spiraling back toward Dublin like a cruise missile.

It flew straight though the front door of a home on Cassata Place, and bounced around like a pinball, flying up to the second floor before blasting through a back bedroom wall.

The wayward cannonball then blasted across a busy road and through a second home some 50 yards away, demolishing roof tiles.

The story doesn't stop there, and neither did the cannonball. It finally came to rest inside a minivan. The driver had just left the vehicle minutes before. Incredibly, no one was injured in the incident. Ta da! Link -via reddit

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"It flew straight though the front door of a home on Cassata Place, and bounced around like a pinball, flying up to the second floor before blasting through a back bedroom wall." what objects were in this home that caused a cannonball flying straight, to "bounce around like a pinball". sounds unlikely to me at least that whole part of the story anyway
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Let me see if I've got this right..... Cannon..... Residential neighborhood... Cannon.... Residential neighborhood...

Yeah, go for it! What could possibly go wrong.... Besides the sponsors are gonna love this!
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The worst thing about this show is probably the way they purport to be doing "science" and using the "scientific method" and the fact that masses of fashionable "rationalists" actually believe this to be true.

For people who can be seen endlessly supporting "science" and proclaiming its superiority the actual methods used in the show are more like "Trial and Error". The same kind of techniques a "special effects" expert might use. There is no "double blind" or satisfactory "control" in most of their experiments. But people believe this to be "science". Shooting a ball out of a cannon does not equate to an experiment rigidly holding to scientific methodology. It's just a bunch of people who like explosions blowing stuff up to see what happens.

Take a look at CERN or Fermilab. Could these particle colliders be operated in the same half-ass way? What happens if they start leaking gamma rays and other radioisotopes into the surrounding area? Even with crunching all the numbers and decades of planning there are occasional mishaps and meltdowns. Chernobyl. Fukushima. This stuff happens for the same reason, poor planning, lack of oversight and cutting corners.
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BTW I've seen every episode of Mythbusters on Netflix. I enjoy their show, I'm just not one of these people who shows absolute approval or disapproval of anyone or their actions. Mythbusters would be a much better show if they spent more time designing their experiments than designing the scene-changes and coming up with half-witty dialogs between the mythbusters. Their acting is horrendous anyway. Spend less time with bad puns and more time running extra trials to smooth out the results.

In their experiment where they wanted to see if slapping someone would "wake them up" and make them more capable cognitively, there never was any "blind" or similar controls. "Experimenter Expectancy Effect" is a HUGE problem for science. This is made infinitely more important when the experiment depends on "self-reports" as that experiment did. It doesn't matter that they all did (3 trials), they all knew what the experiment was about and even described their "expectancy" prior to the experiment. Then their self-reports were entirely consistent with their expectancy. No surprise considering Rosenthal identified this failure in experimentation decades ago.
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This can be seen in their gross indulgence in "explosions" as Adam likes to say "Let's blow something up" with a big giddy smile and his fists raised and clenched beside his ears. This outward expression of emotion is indicative of a state of mind that is not cautious or thoughtful, but teeming to destruction.

Viewers like it because violence and destruction (next to sex) is the content viewers most like to consume. This video would have twice as many views if someone had died.
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