Episode 43: Seasickness Cures, Finger in the Gun Barrel, Tailgate Gas Efficiency
- Sticking your finger in the barrel of a gun as it's firing will cause the gun to blow up and leave you safe: mythbusted. You can get a barrel to balloon slightly, but it won't explode and you will lose your hand.
- You save more gas with the tailgate down in a pickup truck: mythbusted. You save more gas with the tailgate up.
- Seasickness cures: they tested various non-pharmaceutical remedies, a placebo, and an over-the-counter pharmaceutical drug and found that ginger pills were a plausible remedy. The pharmaceutical drug worked as well, but made them loopy.
Update: Tailgate Up or Down Revisited
Finger in a Barrel
Cartoon Myth: If you stick your finger in the barrel of a gun, the gun will explode. The shooter will be injured but you will be fine.
There was a great cartoon done for this myth that featured reinterpretations of Adam's "Am I missing an eyebrow?" quote and Jamie's "Quack, damn you" quote.
- Shotgun with remote control trigger
- Ballistics gel hand with a skeleton cast inside of it for rigidity. The hand was attached to Buster.
- Ballistics gel bust for the shooter The bust was made from a cast of Grant.
Tory: "Coming up on MythBusters"
Kari: "Can we get Grant out of this mold?"
Test 1 (gel hand): Buster's gel finger was stuck inside the shotgun barrel. The entire hand was blown apart with no damage to the shotgun.
Test 2 (wax hand): They used a stronger ballistic hand made of wax to plug the barrel. The wax hand was blown apart but the shotgun barrel was ballooned slightly.
At this point they declared the myth busted and moved on to trying to replicate the myth. They wanted to get a 'banana peel' result by firing the shotgun.
Test 3 (dirt): Tory stuffed the barrel of a shotgun with dirt. The end of the barrel peeled back slightly, but the shooter was fine.
Test 4 (Steel spike): They welded a steel spike into the barrel. The gun shot the spike out with only minor damage to the end of the barrel.
Test 5 (squib load): A squib load is a bullet that doesn't have enough gunpowder to exit the barrel. Jamie hammered a bullet into the end of the barrel. The end of the barrel bulged, but it didn't banana peel.
Not only was this myth busted, but MythBusters failed at even replicating the result of this myth.
mythbusted While it was cool that they ballooned the end of the barrel, it didn't explode, the hand was blown apart, and the shooter was safe.
Seasickness: Kill or Cure
The MythBusters tested various seasickness cures. They wanted to see if any non-pharmaceutical, no-side-effect remedy would work.
Motion sickness is caused by your brain being unable to process conflicting signals from your sense: your eyes tell you that your surroundings are still, but your inner ear and your fine muscle controls are telling you that things are moving.
They built a chair modeled after NASA's seasick chair. The chair spun around at 7 rpm while the person in the chair was ordered to move their head to touch tennis balls positioned in front, behind, and to the sides.
Finding the test subject
They had to figure out who in the MythBusters crew was susceptible to seasickness. Adam was a sure bet because of previous seasickness during the Jaws Special. Sure enough, Adam got quesy within 3 and half minutes on the chair. After a half an hour in the chair, Jamie was still fine. Kari and Tory were both fine as well. Grant became the final test subject. He lasted longer than Adam, but he got sick as well.
- Homoepathic tongue tingler. They used a unnamed spray that you squirt under the tongue as often as needed. Grant was sick within 10 minutes and vomited some small chunks. Adam was sick within 4 minutes.
- Wrist straps:They wore little gray wristbands that are 'Barry Manilow's choice.' Adam was sick within 90 seconds. Grant got sick as well. They've gotten pretty quick with bringing a bucket to Grant.
- *Ginger pills: It worked! Adam and Grant were both fine.
- Small shocks on the P6 Accupunture point (on the wrist): Both Adam and Grant got sick.
- Placebo: They told Grant and Adam they were getting an over-the-counter pharmaceutical remedy, but they actually gave them vitamins. Adam's reponse: "I hate this [bleeping] chair" after three and a half minutes. Grant: "This is among the most effective, if not the most effective."
- Over-the-counter pharmaceutical drug: Worked on Adam and Grant, but it made them both a little loopy.
Only thing that worked without any side effects was the ginger pill.
Ginger pills: plausible
Tailgate: Up or down?
Myth: Driving your pickup with the tailgate down gives you better fuel efficiency than with the tailgate up.
Update: Tailgate Up or Down Revisited
Adam and Jamie were each given identical, new model pickup trucks. They both had equal mileage, same tire pressure, and 30 gallons of gas. Jamie drove with the tailgate up and Adam the tailgate down.
- They have to maintain the speed limit
- All acceleration must be done by cruise control
- No drafting
- Windows up, A/C must be exactly the same in both cars
After 300 miles there didn't appear to be much difference in the gas consumed, but after 500 miles Adam (tailgate down) ran out of gas. Jamie made it another 30 miles before he ran out of gas. This result was the exact opposite of the myth.
Water tunnel visualization
According to the experts, a circular pillow of air forms behind the cab of the truck when the tailgate is up. This "separated bubble"/"locked vortex flow" keep the faster moving air from contacting the truck, and thus reduces drag. With the tailgate down, the bubble breaks down and is no longer able to keep the fast moving air out, increasing drag.
In their scale model with the water tunnel, they were able to see that the increased drag. With the tailgate down, the particles in the water were dropping down and hitting the tailgate.