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‘Mythbusters’ to stun Centennial Hall, sans explosions

Jamie Hyneman (left) and Adam Savage mix their special effects backgrounds with mad science methods in their popular show.

Jamie Hyneman (left) and Adam Savage mix their special effects backgrounds with mad science methods in their popular show.

Fans expecting a blast at Saturday’s “MythBusters” presentation might be in for a disappointment.

” ‘Behind The Scenes At MythBusters’ does not include experiments or explosions,” states a news release.

Darn! That’s the fun of watching the popular Discovery Channel show. Instead hosts Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage will attempt to entertain audiences with an “Inside The Scientist’s Studio” style presentation.

Each week Hyneman and Savage, who have backgrounds in special effects, carpentry and literature (among other things), test assorted myths through their mad science methods, which often include explosions.

Our staff was eager to ask Savage about the show and test his knowledge of myths specific to the Old Pueblo and Arizona. He graciously agreed to answer our questions in an e-mail interview.

Q. What myth would you love to put to the test if money and materials weren’t a factor?

A: Well, we already tested the moon landing myths, but we’d really like to go to the moon and hand-carry back a piece of Apollo hardware.

Does the jackalope exist?

That’s cryptozoology (the study of hidden animals). We don’t go there.

What is the most surprising myth that ended up being true?

Bullets fired into water. We had no idea of the stopping force of water. Turns out that 3 feet under water, you’re reasonably safe from most regular bullets!

What is the coolest thing you have ever destroyed in your efforts to bust myths?

Misconceptions? No, seriously, we just smashed 230,000-pound semi-trailers into each other at 50 mph. That was cool.

Is it true that a rattlesnake can still bite you even after its head has been cut off?

I believe it is. But like poodle in a microwave, it’s not one we’ll be testing soon.

What sorts of injuries have you and your team sustained during your work?

Jamie and I both have tons of stitches. But as for serious injuries, the worst one we’ve had is a broken finger sustained while moving a piece of safety equipment.

How many people work on the models and experiments behind the scenes?

Nobody. If it’s built for the show we built it. We consult lots of experts, but we never take credit for something we haven’t built.

What’s the scoop on the Chupacabras?

See answer No. 2.

You’ve faced some of your fears on the show, but is there anything you wouldn’t do?

Not yet. I still hate wasps, so I suppose I’ll be dealing with those at some point. I’m not looking forward to it, but hey, good TV is never about dignity, is it?

Have your findings ever been attacked by the scientific community as being incorrect?

No. Don’t get me wrong, there are tons of people yelling at the TV during any one of our experiments, and our results, supported as they are by data sets of 1 or 2 aren’t as rigorous as I’d like them to be, but I’ll always stand by our methodology. And that’s the compliment that nearly every scientist we run into usually pays us: that we demonstrate conclusions based on evidence that we’ve gathered. We’re demonstrating the scientific method, in all its glory, and that puts a lot of top scientists on our side. Critical thinking is in short supply these days and we put as much as we can into the show.

What does it take to make Jamie crack a smile?

. . . Usually a seriously off-color joke. He’s got a very dark sense of humor.



What: Behind The Scenes at “MythBusters,” an evening with hosts Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: UA’s Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd.

Price: $36.50-$46.50

Info: 621-3341, www.uapresents.org

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