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Lessons learned from MythBusters Behind the Myths

TV’s reigning top pop scientists Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman brought “MythBusters Behind the Myths” to Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates Saturday night.

The laid-back, 2-hour show was a chance for fans to ask questions, hear stories, see clips, and even take part in some science projects - meaning it was sort of a cross between an amiable, stadium version of Ellen (or maybe Conan) and the Discovery Channel “MythBusters” that puts to the test fables people take as fact, often to spectacular, explosive fashion.

Kids dig the scientific method, especially if it involves blowing up stuff in a cartoon sort of way. And the MythBusters did their best to get an equal number of boys and girls involved in the fun, even if the fun here had less kaboom about it.

Still, the point of what these guys do, is to show that science and learning don’t have to be dull and boring.

To that end, here are some observations made and information imparted during the course of the evening:

- Sometime next year we will learn if a motorcycle can be ridden across a body of water. Hyneman noted the yet-to-be-aired experiment is one of his favorites.

- Suits of armor really need to come back into fashion. And don’t forget to do routine maintenance on your water heater. Ever. If you’re a fan of the show, you know this. If not, Google either topic and MythBusters.

- High speed cameras can make people look like talking horses. Or Jell-0. See the MythBusters tour Facebook page, which posts such shots from the live shows.

- People who star on television shows frequently look smaller than you think they might when you see them in person. Someone needs to create an experiment about this.

- Every show with audience participation that comes through Chicago should have a guy named Moose come up on stage.

- They still make big phone books, and if you know what you are doing, you can use two of them as part of your support mechanism to suspend yourself from the ceiling.

- If you shoot a bullet straight up into the air, it more than likely won’t hit or hurt anybody when it comes tumbling back to the ground. But if you angle it ever so slightly, well that could mean criminal charges. The guess is, though, that if you’re the type who actually would be trying to shoot a gun straight into the air - say to celebrate the New Year - you won’t be reading this anyway.

- Speaking of senseless, a myth needs to be fabricated to convince dipsticks who feel the need to take pictures or videos every three minutes at a performance that it will cause some debilitating illness or internal explosion. And more shows need to come up with clever ruses to get all those in the audience to turn off their phones, like this one did.

- Finally, as Hyneman and Savage note, the difference between science and goofing around is remembering to write it down.

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