I love Mythbusters. Today, through a dizzying chain of articles, I arrived at the Wikipedia entry for the show. And I found that someone with far too much time on his hands has catalogued every episode, and the myths that were put to the test in each. Here’s a sampling.
Dangerous urination practices may not be that dangerous:
Myth: Urinating on the electric third rail of a train track can cause electrocution.
Status: Busted. Although it is possible to electrocute yourself by urinating on a third rail, you would have to stand unrealistically close to the rail to do it. In most instances, a urine stream would break into droplets before making contact with the rail.
Need something to do with your keg, post-party? Why not blow it up?
Myth: A beer keg can explode with lethal force if placed in an open fire.
Status: Plausible. While the beer keg exploded violently, there was no shrapnel from the explosion. However, the Mythbusters pointed out that any shrapnel thrown from such a powerful blast could kill a person.
The most unbelievable myth I’ve found so far is this one:
Myth: A water heater can explode like a rocket and shoot through the roof of a house.
Status: Confirmed. In small scale testing, the Mythbusters started with a small six gallon water heater and disabled all of its safety features under the theory of poor installation or neglect. While the water heater eventually ruptured, it did not explode like a rocket. The Mythbusters then upgraded to larger thirty gallon water heater which exploded with significantly greater force, sending the water heater several hundred feet into the air. In order to confirm the stated myth, the Mythbusters obtained a full size fifty two gallon water heater and built a shack around it with a roof that followed standard California building codes. The water heater eventually exploded, shooting through the roof five hundred feet into the air and disintegrating the shack. In light of these results, and the fact that there is documented evidence corroborating the myth, the Mythbusters deemed it was confirmed.
Here’s the link to the episode list. Click on the main articles for each season to see the myths, and the Mythbusters’ results.
EDIT: Video of the water heater episode. Explosions at 9:22, 10:30, 14:55, and 16:30. Totally ridiculous (but really awesome).
DISCLAIMER: Wesleying does not encourage urinating on train tracks, blowing up your beer kegs, destroying homes, or using Wikipedia to cure your boredom.