Bring Your Questions for the MythBusters
It’s time for another Freakonomics Q&A, in which you guys ask the questions.
If you haven’t seen it, MythBusters is a really good TV show. Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage make science happen in front of your eyes as they systematically test all sorts of conventional wisdoms to see if they are at all true. Does a cell phone, e.g., really spark a fire at the pump? Will a penny dropped off the Empire State Building really kill someone? The answers in these cases are no and no, but it’s the proofs that are exciting; Hyneman and Savage are a smart pair, fun to watch, the opposite of lazy, endlessly bouncing ideas off each other, and occasionally getting in fights.
In real life, they are masters of robotics, animatronics and film special effects. Hyneman (the one with the beret) has had a bunch of careers, from pet shop owner to charter boat captain to wilderness survival expert. He has also created the mechanical spiders for Arachnophobia and competed in the Comedy Central series Battlebots. The founder of M5 Industries Inc., he has created effects for movies including the Matrix sequels and Star Wars: Episodes I and II, as well as more than 800 TV commercials for cars, soda, sneakers, and the like.
Savage has a past that’s no less diverse, having held jobs as a projectionist, animator, graphic designer, carpenter, toy designer, welder, and glassblower. He has worked on more than 100 TV commercials and a dozen feature films, including Galaxy Quest, Terminator 3, and A.I. He’s also a filmmaker and actor. His credits include a Charmin ad, in which he played a stock boy, and a Billy Joel music video. In his spare time, he teaches advanced model making at the San Francisco Academy of Art and works on his own sculptures.
These two mythbusters have agreed to field questions from Freakonomics.com readers, so line up and let ’em rip.
Addendum: You can find the answers to these questions here.