Recently at Reason.tv: MythBusters' Adam Savage on His Show's Origins, Its Effects on Kids (Oh, No!), and Whether We're a Nation of Sheep or Skeptics

At the Las Vegas-based Amazing Meeting, Reason magazine's Matt Welch recently sat down with Adam Savage, co-host of the enormously popular and captivating Discovery Channel series MythBusters.

Each week, Savage and Jamie Hyneman, aided by a crew of demolition experts and special effects whizzes, delve into mysteries of the moment: Does anything that happens in a James Bond movie have a basis in reality?; was the moon landing faked?; is there such a thing as "beer goggles"?; and much, much more. As important, they explain the science behind many complicated phenomena and rarely miss an opportunity to blow things up real good.

Savage talks about the genesis and success of the show, now in its eighth season, and discusses whether people are becoming more or less skeptical in an increasingly interconnected world. Does the faster flow of information mean the bad crowds out the good?

Approximately 8 minutes. Shot and edited by Dan Hayes.

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  • ||

    I have a big crush on Jamie. He's even more competent than the Hub in matters of manly-man skills. The Hub got his head closely shaved recently, but he won't wear a beret, no matter how much I beg or what I offer.

  • kilroy||

    The first season of Mythbusters was awesome. Since then they've steadily drifted further from the science and more towards superfluous showmanship. I still watch the show but with far less excitement and enthusiasm than before. And they've gotten the physics wrong about as often as they've gotten them right in the last 6 years.

  • ellipsis||

    Shave and a haircut: two bits.

  • tekende||

    and much, more more.

  • ||

    The first season of Mythbusters was awesome. Since then they've steadily drifted further from the science and more towards superfluous showmanship. I still watch the show but with far less excitement and enthusiasm than before. And they've gotten the physics wrong about as often as they've gotten them right in the last 6 years.

    I agree about the drift in the show. I also agree that it's still worth watching. I've never caught them in a serious "breach of physics" though. Can you cite some examples kilroy?

    I hate the "don't try this at home" bumpers. The only way you get to where you have your own 'blow shit up for funsies' cable show, is if you try to do at home everything your told not to do at home. Maybe it only discourages the right kids, but it's still dishonest.

  • Paul||

    discusses whether people are becoming more or less skeptical in an increasingly interconnected world.



    I haven't watched the vid yet, but I look forward to what he thinks about this.

    I don't think that people in general are changing. I think they're just as gullible as they always have been. There are more avenues to discuss, explore and discover information on myths and scams, but the number of myths and scams are increasing volumetrically as well.

    Personally, I've also found that someone can be reasoned, educated and appropriately skeptical in one area, and then completely fall under the spell of false information in another.

    Putting politics aside. I hang out on automotive forums for my other job. Consequently, I'll run into a lot of very smart, very knowledgable people on all things auto. But once in a while, one of these people will absolutly fall in for something like RAM Air or HHO in your intake manifold.

    Boggles the mind.

  • ||

    "We're not going to run out of stories until people stop believing stupid shit."

    ...and then he voted for Obama, and couldn't see the irony.

  • ||

    is there such a thing as "beer goggles"

    This really needs to be proven?

    I can affirm for the record that yes indeed, beer goggles do indeed exist.

  • hmm||

    ...and then he voted for Obama, and couldn't see the irony.

    I thought the same thing, but don't know his political tendencies.

    The effect on the kids is a win/win situation. The stupid ones blow themselves up and end up not contributing to the gene pool, and some of the brilliant ones survive and do contribute.

  • ||

    I still like the show. They get stretched a bit depending on the quality of the myths, and they sometimes come to what I think might be wrong conclusions, but they're heads are generally in the right place.

    And they blow stuff up.

  • Warty||

    Beer goggles don't exist. You just stop caring how fat the vagina transportation device is.

  • Mike M.||

    Crime labs that test drug and DNA samples face huge backlogs even when scientists and analysts do not have to testify. If the workers are taken out of the labs to appear in court, those backlogs will grow.

    If our justice system has too much of a backlog to handle its cases, maybe our government is trying to turn too many people in this country into criminals. Just a thought...

  • Ska||

    Nice Warty. Good perspective.

  • Xeones||

    So you're saying it's more like a beer lobotomy, Warty?

  • Ska||

    Mike, you're looking for a thread two doors down.

    As no one has mentioned her yet, I love that red head chick from this show. Hot nerdy chicks ftw. The blonde chick is nice too.

  • phalkor||

    vagina transportation device

    I wonder how this terminology would fly on feministing? It doesn't have any of the usual "sexist/ableist" words that get them in a tizzy. I'm gonna go have to go try.

  • kilroy||

    Warren:

    The first one that comes to mind was a story about a yacht that struck a pylon and split apart. They couldn't afford (according to them) to do it in the water so they tested it in the lab with a boat on a rail and a pole. They completely glossed over the fact that the density difference between air and water is important.

  • Ska||

    Dear feministing,

    The female body, or vagina transportation device as I like to think of it.....

  • ||

    I have a big crush on Jamie. He's even more competent than the Hub in matters of manly-man skills. The Hub got his head closely shaved recently, but he won't wear a beret, no matter how much I beg or what I offer.

    Here I must confess (or maybe it's more like bitterly grumbling) that I just wasted close to two minutes searching the web trying to figure out who "The Hub" is. I figured it must be a nickname for the other Mythbusters guy, or maybe some new character they'd added to the show.

    In fact, it's apparently some personal nickname for your significant other, which you expected everyone to get. (Yes?)

    Gggrrr.

  • ||

    phalkor,

    It reduces a woman to nothing more that a life-support and mobility device for vaginas. It's objectifying to hold reductionist views. Nothing else than viewing a woman as an integrated whole is acceptable behavior.

  • ||

    I just wasted close to two minutes searching the web trying to figure out who "The Hub" is.

    He's the guy who looks miserable in a beret because of his wife's Wilford Brimley fetish.

    "Jesus, honey. Do we really have to watch Remo Williams again?"

  • hmm||

    The hot nerdy chick was an original part of the show that went from host asking questions to nerdy chick helping build shit.

  • Ska||

    Man, I was watching some half-assed Cambodian POW rescue flick starring Gene Hackman, the biker of the apocolypse, and Remo Williams (plus some other '70s cornballs who I didn't recognize). Seriously, does that guy even have a real name? I've never seen anyone refer to him as anything other than Remo Williams.

  • ||

    Fred Ward! He was Lou Frimple for fuck's sake!

  • kilroy||

    Ska:

    Uncommon Valor?

  • Paul||

    "We're not going to run out of stories until people stop believing stupid shit."



    ...and then he voted for Obama, and couldn't see the irony.


    Fixed.

  • ||

    kilroy,
    Yeah. I was unhappy about that one too. But I wasn't thinking about the density of water. I was hung up on how they didn't do enough to ensure a straight on collision with the tip of the bow. Their boat kept deflecting off the pole and I was like "Duh! you're hitting almost at the tangent".

  • Ska||

    SF - noted. And kilroy, yes, that was it. I thought I've seen 'em all, but clearly there are some gems hidden out there playing on Starz 4 at 1 in the afternoon.

  • Warty||

    It reduces a woman to nothing more that a life-support and mobility device for vaginas.

    Ahem.

  • ||

    Fred Ward? Man, he's done more than that.

    I read the first book of the Destroyer series and enjoyed it.

  • Chiun||

    Remo was cruelly spited by nature to have been denied Korean birth. The Korean is the most perfect creature ever to sanctify the earth with the imprint of its foot.

  • ||

    Don't "Ahem" me, Warty.

    I know about your strict allegiance to the bumhole. And so does poor Dagny.

  • ||

    I stopped reading them when the original guys stopped writing them sometime around #50. I still have them all in a box somewhere. The first 30 or so are pretty good.

  • Warty||

    Don't project your love of buttmusk on me, SugarFree. Even the pinkest and shapeliest of anuses can't compare to sweet, sweet snatch.

  • Lester Hunt||

    I love that show because its hero, its protagonist is science. Not actors impersonating scientists, but science itself.

  • ||

    Fred Ward! He was Lou Frimple for fuck's sake!

    You could have referenced Tremors instead of one of your '80s teen romances, you know.

    Mythbusters has done excellent work in dispelling gun myths, it has to be said. Most of their work is good, but the gun stuff has been excellent.

  • Paul||

    Abandon thread!

  • ||

    If there's a buttmusker around here, it's clearly you, Warty. I can smell your sodomy on the wind like night jasmine.

  • ||

    Even the pinkest and shapeliest of anuses can't compare to sweet, sweet snatch.

    What happened to your career as an analrapist?

  • Warty||

    The state disapproved of my methods. Stupid anti-pimping laws.

  • ||

    I know, Epi. It's like he's trying to throw all his past perversion down the memory... er... hole.

  • ||

    "Just tell me it wasn't the Crushinator."

  • Warty||

    NO PA I LOVE HIM

  • ||

    On certain cold and lonely Kentucky nights I can hear the "Whalers on the Moon" song before I drift off to sleep.

  • squarooticus||

    Wouldn't "vagina delivery device" work a little better? "Transportation" makes it sound like you want to fuck by mail order.

  • ||

    It reduces a woman to nothing more that a life-support and mobility device for vaginas.

    I think that makes them noble. All that meat, all those organs, all that acoustic activity just to keep a vagina alive, moist, and mobile... is a good thing. And don't forget about breasts.. So men are getting a twofer.

  • hmm||

    "We're not going to run out of stories until people stop believing stupid shit."

    ...and then he voted for Obama, and couldn't see the irony.



    You're right, at least in the sense of campaign contributions. Oh the irony.

    I'll just watch the show for the walrus guy with the Russian linguistics degree (WTF?) and the hot chick since they always get a political pass due to boobs.

  • ||

    What kind of party is this? There's no booze and only one hooker.

  • ||

    So men are getting a twofer.

    Technically a fivefer, or a ninefer you do it right.

  • Warty||

    "Transportation" makes it sound like you want to fuck by mail order.

    You don't?

    Fine, how about vagina support system? (Not vaginal support system, mind you, that's a sling-like device I sell to women unable to afford labioplasty.)

  • hmm||

    What happens if your transportation devise makes significantly more income than you do? Is that a threefor?

  • PantsFan||

    Once again, a fine demonstration why there are no hot female libertarians here.

  • squarooticus||

    "Transportation" makes it sound like you want to fuck by mail order.

    You don't?



    Well, maybe if they can get it to work like Netflix: log on, choose your broad, she arrives in 1-2 days, you can keep her as long as you want, and return postage is included. The only things you have to provide are equipment (clothing, bed) and power (food).

    Being able to have multiple rentals at a time would be a nice bonus.

  • Ska||

    Netchix. Will it offer live streaming?

  • kilroy||

  • ||

    Forty years ago today, Apollo XI left earth bound for the moon, its journey made possible in part by Apollo I's tragic fate; one of the doomed astronauts aboard Apollo I was Gus Grissom, portrayed in "The Right Stuff" by FRED WARD.

  • Warty||

  • ||

    Warty has nothing to say for once.

  • ||

    I think it's the most articulate post he's made in years.

  • Warty||

    Hm, that's odd.

    Will it offer live streaming?

    Yes, if you order Cytheria.

  • ||

    The only things you have to provide are equipment (clothing, bed) and power (food).

    You have an oddly limited view of the equipment useful for enjoying your Netchix, squarooticus.

  • ||

    (Not vaginal support system, mind you, that's a sling-like device I sell to women unable to afford labioplasty.)

    ...and don't take VTD's with that condition for a drive in a convertible with the roof down... unless all that flapping around turns you on. I did that once and cop pulled me over because he thought I was waiving him down.

  • Steven||

    I like the show. But my opinion of Savage isn't that high. I followed his Twitter feed for awhile, and he doesn't come across as all that bright.

  • ||

    Dear feministing,

    The female body, or vagina transportation device as I like to think of it.....


    This is why we can't have nice things.

  • Space Fiend||

    I like the show, but many times they reach conclusions that are clearly contrary to documented facts and common sense.

    eg, claiming the majority of casualties in battles between ships of the line were not caused by splinters but by direct hits from cannonballs.

  • hmm||

    I think the contention with the pirate cannonball episode was the difference between a 6lb ball and a 24 or 36 pounder. The larger presumably would create more splinters, but it's kind of hard to find a 36lb ball cannon these days.

  • ||

    "eg, claiming the majority of casualties in battles between ships of the line were not caused by splinters but by direct hits from cannonballs."

    Forget the splinters. The high speed camera showed the 2x6 whacking that pig with who knows how much force. Like hmm says, put a bigger cannon ball bursting through the boards, and I think you'd have more than just splinters. You'd have full boards smashing people in the head. Maybe a giant board whacking the pirates in the noggin wouldn't kill them, but they'd be easy to stick with a knife once you boarded.

    I know they are limited with episode timing. But sometimes they come across an alternative explanation without exploring it. Instead of focusing on the lethality of the splinters, they might have considered all of the casualties caused by a cannon ball bursting through the wood.

    My big problem with that episode was the sail cutting portion. They assumed that the knife would constantly be held perpendicularly to the sail the whole time. But a simple adjustment of the knife angle (10 or 20 degrees) would have provided the drag necessary to slow the slicing pirate down. I mean, it's still unrealistic, but you could hold the knife at a slight angle to slow you down, then straighten it out when the seams came. Plus, let's not assume that Tory has the grip strength of a man who makes his living killing people with a dagger.

  • ||

    note to matt welsh...

    next time thank your guest when you are done... it is called good manners

  • ||

    Personally, I've also found that someone can be reasoned, educated and appropriately skeptical in one area, and then completely fall under the spell of false information in another.

    Most common example: anti-religious but can't get enough big government.

    Head over to ScienceBlogs. Massive religious skepticism coupled with colossal progressivism and "the government needs more power" attitude. In other words, near zero skepticism about government (well, a Democrat controlled government), and libertarians are dismissed as "libertards" and other incisive and blindingly mature analyses.

    I actually had one of them say they'd accept a 99% tax rate if it gave them a comfortable standard of living. In what universe does that even make sense? Another said income over $250K should be taxed 100%. When I pointed out that, very probably, no employer would bother offering salaries over $250K, they just started in with the "don't dare contradict me- *I'm* a scientist!" line of smeg.

  • ||

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  • Cap\'n NoStar||

    Remo???
    Give me a break!
    His name is Lyle Swan...TIMERIDER.

    click on my name.

  • ||

    "Personally, I've also found that someone can be reasoned, educated and appropriately skeptical in one area, and then completely fall under the spell of false information in another."

    Maybe our brains just aren't big enough to be skeptical about everything. At some point, we have to believe in something.

  • ||

    Love the show, but another time they messed up the physics was in the football filled with helium vrs air test. They shot them out with some huge tire driven machine that would send them out at the same velocity, so of course they flew the same distance. But, the human arm just might be able to throw the slightly ligher helium ball just a tad farther...

  • Paul||

    Fuck it, I'm gonna start double-dipping again.

  • Matt Moore||

    I agree about the drift in the show. I also agree that it's still worth watching. I've never caught them in a serious "breach of physics" though. Can you cite some examples kilroy?

    They did finally get the answer right, but the "can you curve a bullet" episode drove me nuts. It's a simple matter of Newton's first law... objects travel in a straight line unless there is a force acting on them.

    That was a total waste of an episode, since the "myth" had been convincingly busted centuries ago.

  • ||

    Have they ever busted a myth that would truly piss a lot of people off, like JFK conspiracies, or organic food, or scientology by chance?

    Somehow I suspect not.

  • dfd||

    Love the show, but another time they messed up the physics was in the football filled with helium vrs air test. They shot them out with some huge tire driven machine that would send them out at the same velocity, so of course they flew the same distance. But, the human arm just might be able to throw the slightly ligher helium ball just a tad farther...

    I didn't see the show, so I have no idea if this is correct, but my first thought is why would the tire driven machine send them out at the same velocity any more than a human arm would? Typically the motor is producing a relatively fixed torque which causes a relatively fixed force to be applied to the ball. The mass of the ball puts a load on the tire/motor mechanism and slows it slightly (presumably not enough to change the torque / force all that much hence my assumption of a fixed torque). The marginally lower mass ball would place a marginally lower load on the motor just like it places a marginally lower load on the muscles of the human arm. It would therefore undergo a marginally greater acceleration and have a marginally higher initial velocity in either situation.

  • ||

    " a woman as an integrated HOLE is acceptable behavior."

    FIFY

  • ||

    They did a mythbuster on JFK, but it was unconvincing.

    They failed to give any good reasons why the guys that JFK fired from the CIA like Allen Dulles were given so much responsibility in "investigating" his murder.

    They failed to explain why Henry Rybka was not interviewed by the Warren Comission.

    I'd have loved to have heard him explain why he had to stand down here

  • Mike Laursen||

    Maybe our brains just aren't big enough to be skeptical about everything. At some point, we have to believe in something.

    Perhaps, but there are plenty of examples of folks who are skeptical about religion and government. Something else is going on.

    People often choose to wall off certain subject areas from rational examination. Maybe because they've always grown up believing X, and nobody has ever challenged belief X. Or everybody in their family or social group believes in X, and they don't want to risk separation from the group.

    The most tragic case is when person who has always believed in fallacious idea X is challenged by arrogant asshole with faulty arguments against X, reinforcing belief in X. Unfortunately, we libertarians have often been guilty of that one.

  • ||

    Dammit Gabe because we all know time traveling psychic sylvia brown traveled forward in time taking science from the future that allowed her to create shifts in space-time going back in time to her younger self and giving her the technology to in the future create a time machine that could go forward in time and get super advanced guns (the only guns in existence in time that are capable of piercing the thick alien skin of a Kennedy.)

    Thus knowing all of this she cunningly set up......

    God. I wish "common sense" wasn't so god-damned "common".

  • ||

    Coincidence.

    The only thing that keeps me from calling myself libertarian are the number of conspiracy RETARDS in the party.

  • Daniel||

    Haw many times is this getting bumped?

  • Pantsfan||

    I just want to say that I saw them exploding non-dairy creamer last night, and I do want to try that at home.

  • Xeones||

    I'd like to know why your mom was not interviewed by the Warren Commission, gabe.

  • ||

    Or everybody in their family or social group believes in X, and they don't want to risk separation from the group.


    A huge factor that generally doesn't receive enough attention.

    Most people in our society never question concepts like "money is the root of all evil", becuase it so engrained in the social norms we live with. A bunch of defunct Christian dogma, really, but it underlies a huge portion of the political dialogue on economics.

  • ||

    Hazel,
    1 Timothy 6:10 - "THE LOVE of money is root of all evil..." It's a common flaw to take this out of context, so don't feel bad. Money is not 'moral' or 'immoral', according to 'defunct Christian dogma'(your description, not mine).

  • ||

    The coffee creamer episode was one of those "I can do that at home" episodes. Any soldier that has ever used a MRE will tell you that they have set fire to the creamer at one point or another! Endless foxhole entertainment!

  • ||

    Xeones, a "your momma" joke...? really

    You guys know that LBJ had no moral problem killing political rivals right?...have you read the authoritative biography by Caro?

  • ||

    My research has revealed definitively that Joe DiMaggio was behind the JFK assassination. He was pissed about Marilyn. It also had something to do with Mr. Coffee, though you'll have to wait for my book to learn more about that connection.

  • ||

    Wow, 90 comments in 2 minutes. It's almost like we've been here before.

  • ||

    Is there some bonus for hitting 100 comments or something?... just a few more bumps and it might get there!

  • Xeones||

    Your mom had no moral problem killing political rivals, Gabe.

    (sorry but i HAD to)

  • ||

    Can someone explain why this post is bumped with today's date every day? This has been going on for over a week now. What gives?

  • ||

    Gabe, the JFK conspiracy is busted by the simple fact that all the FBICIAInternatioanlCommunist-JewishConspiracy had to do was reveal the details of his personal life.

    Kennedy didn't even try to keep his philandering a secret. It was up to people around him (either on the government payroll or his own personal retainers*) to coverup and keep things quiet. Even the Press Corps went along even though his dalliances were common knowledge.

    If the American people had known that they had a president who kept two "secretaries" on the public payroll for his personal "service" and had Secret Service agents specifically to procure hookers for him while out of town there is no way they would have re-elected him. And if the information had been released earlier in 1963 he probably would have been forced to resign.

    One of the most persistent myths about JFK is that he was an exceedingly popular president. In actual fact by the time of his assassination his ratings were so low that there was a genuine fear among his backers that he might lose. Lee Oswald may have been the best thing that ever happened to the Camelot legend.

    *People originally hired by his father to get him through school (the real JFK was something of a dim bulb) and after that make him look good. Ghostwritten senior thesis at Harvard turned into Pulitzer prize winning book anyone? War hero myth?

  • Mike Laursen||

    Can someone explain why this post is bumped with today's date every day? This has been going on for over a week now. What gives?

    It's called, "promotion." Same as when Lonewacko makes comments filled iwth links to his website, except reason.com's links are worthy of clicking on and learning from.

    I actually like that they don't start a new comments thread every time. I wish they would do the same for all posts that fit into one of the perennial meta-topics: free-market vs. government health care, global warming, whining about the decline of newspapers, hippy hatred and organic food, story about immigration or tacos intended to tweak Lonewacko, story that mentions Ayn Rand intended to tweak Objectivists, etc.

  • Ray||

    regarding splinters, I think they misunderstood how big a splinter is - if a beam splinters you could get struck by a 2 foot long sharp piece of wood, and it's still a splinter

  • Ken||

    Your Wish Is Your Command is a course sold by Kevin Trudeau. No one can say that he is not a compelling salesman and his infomercials hawking various products are legendary. This latest product targets the natural desire for wealth that most people obsess about while also pushing conspiracy theories that blame "secret societies" for keeping the secret of wealth and prosperity from the masses.Your Wish Is Your Command

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