Entertainment, Lighter

The Mythbusters Accidentally “Bust” Someone’s House

Co-hosts of the Discovery Channel's Mythbusters: Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman

Usually they’re busting myths, but this time they busted a house – and a minivan.

Mythbusters is a popular television show in which scientists – led by Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman — try to figure out if certain “myths” are true. For instance, there is an idiom about someone who is clumsy being like “a bull in a china shop.” The Mythbusters crew filled a shop with china and brought in several 1,800-pound bulls to see whether that “myth” was actually true.*

A big part of their show is that they often perform outrageous scientific stunts, like blowing up things or setting things on fire to prove or disprove the myths.

The scientists are trained experts in using explosives safely; they also take many safety precautions to make sure no one gets hurt.

Recently, however, Mythbusters staged an experiment that went haywire.

Three Mythbusters scientists, Tory Belleci, Kari Byron and Grant Imahara, were in a bomb range in California (Savage and Hyneman were not on site at the time of the accident). The scientists were trying to test the speed of a cannonball. To do that, they shot it at some garbage cans filled with water.

But the 30-pound cannonball went over the garbage cans, missing them. And then the cannonball:

-went right through a thick cement-block wall,

-bounced off the hill behind it,

-flew 700 yards into a neighbourhood,

-bounced in front of a home,

-tore right through the house’s front door,

-exited through a wall on the back of the house,

-bounced again,

-crossed the road,

-smashed into a minivan, breaking its window and dashboard, where it finally…

-came to a stop.

The producers of the show said the cannonball should have burrowed into the hill, but instead it bounced off the hill like a rock skipping over water, and it just kept going.

Fortunately, no one was hurt in the accident. The family in the house never even knew their house had a cannonball sailing through it until some drywall dropped on them.

The man who owns the car also escaped injury. He said he and his kids had been in the car not long before it was hit by the cannonball.

Adam Savage said he feels terrible about the accident and that the TV network, The Discovery Channel, will fix any damage to people’s property and pay for people to stay in hotels if necessary. Savage said he is going to visit the people who were affected to apologize in person.

Despite the accident, the episode with the cannonball will be aired, likely in the Spring.

*Mythbusters busted the “bull in a china shop” myth. The three bulls actually walked daintily around the china. Here’s what the Mythbusters website had to say about that episode:

Bulls, horses and other animals with hooves can pivot 360 degrees. By lifting three legs and leaving just one hind hoof on the ground, a bull can turn sharply in one quick motion — much like the pirouette of a classically trained dancer. This ability, especially as the bull takes a corner, delivers some china-preserving results, making the myth itself the most fragile thing in the room.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Can you think of a myth or idiom that you are curious about?  What is the myth/idiom and how could it be tested?

Reading Prompt:
Have you ever tried to do something but ended up with a result that you didn’t expect?  Describe your experience in detail to a partner and explain how it is similar and/or different to the Mythbusters crew’s situation.

Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Extend understanding of texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts, by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Grammar Feature: Verbs
Verbs are action words, such as skip, run, dive, dance.  This article includes several verbs.  Find and circle all of the verbs in the article.