December 10, 2011

Kaa-BOOM!: An errant cannonball's tale. [Bumped and Updated w/ Map]

MAP FROM THE CREATOR @ Mythbusters’ Cannonball Map - via Cannonball Run via Neatorama

My favorite, laff-riot story of the week has to be the Mythbusters' cannonball that went a bit beyond its range. It began with something seemingly simple to accomplish; firing a cannonball at a bunch of water tanks. "No problem," say the Mythbusters' hosts, "Nada problema. We've done this THOUSANDS of time." (Or words to that effect)

In my experience, any time human beings start to mess around with explosives, flammable substances, fireworks, or artillery with the attitude of "No problem we've done this THOUSANDS of times," that's the time you should start digging a deep hole to hide in.

Still, that's what the "Klick and Klack" of TV seem to have gotten up to in their recent filming endeavors. They lined up their cannon, loaded in the cantalope-sized ball, and l"fired a homemade cannon toward huge containers of water at the Alameda County Sheriff's Department bomb-disposal range."....


After which....
1) The cantaloupe-sized cannonball missed the water,
2) tore through a cinder-block wall,
3) skipped off a hillside and flew some 700 yards east,
4) entered, at speed, the Tassajara Creek neighborhood,
5) where children were returning home from school at 4:15 p.m
6) bounced in front of a home on quiet Cassata Place
7) ripped through the front door
8) raced up the stairs and blasted through a bedroom
9) where a man, woman and child slept through it all — only awakening because of plaster dust --
10) exited the house, leaving a perfectly round hole in the stucco
11) crossed six-lane Tassajara Road
12) took out several tiles from the roof of a home on Bellevue Circle
13) slammed into the Gill family's Toyota Sienna minivan in a driveway on Springvale Drive where...
14) Jasbir Gill, 42, who had pulled up 10 minutes earlier with his 13-year-old son, Manvir, found the ball on the floorboards, with glass everywhere and an obliterated dashboard.

Now if anyone had been hurt in this opera buffa there would have been a great wailing, the gnashing of teeth, and the potential end of Mythbusters. No great loss there since the hosts have become more than a bit irritating over the years. But since nobody was hurt, this episode has become COMEDY GOLD! It is clearly a case in which real life imitates Monty Python. That's why it is so disappointing to learn that the doofus boys who run Mythbusters have evidently decided never to air the footage of their wandering cannonball. I mean, if something this rich in "the best laid plans going oft aglay" can't be shown, what reason does anyone have to watch Mythbusters? It seems to me that the myth they most need to bust is their own.

Source: Nation & World | 'Mythbusters' cannonball tears through house | Seattle Times Newspaper


Posted by gerardvanderleun at December 10, 2011 1:05 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

To be fair and accurate, 'twas the "diversity-rich" MythBusters B-team that fired it off, not The Boys. They took responsibilty for showing up and apologizing, apparently. Compare and contrast John "Duh...Where Da Money Go????" Corzine.

Posted by: Robert at December 9, 2011 1:36 PM

"Nada problema. We've done this THOUSANDS of time."

That is the second most scary thing to hear somebody say.

(First is "Here, hold my beer and watch this.")

Posted by: Larry Sheldon at December 9, 2011 2:14 PM

Hear, hear!

Posted by: Jewel at December 9, 2011 2:59 PM

They aren't going to show the video? Heck, I'd pay money to see it and buy a ticket to attend a repeat. Gotta make sure the whole thing wasn't just a myth, you know.

Posted by: chuck at December 9, 2011 6:41 PM

I own a small cannon.

There is no such thing as "too much backstop".

I am dismayed that they won't show the video, though. Dismayed. Not surprised.

Count down to how long it takes California to finally getting around to shutting down cannon shooters for good...

Posted by: TmjUtah at December 9, 2011 9:10 PM

You can cause as much ruckus with a potato cannon, just can't load a big a projectile.

Posted by: Peccable at December 10, 2011 4:18 AM

I like the illustration of the 18th century Slim Pickens.

Posted by: rickl at December 10, 2011 5:43 AM

Meet Baron Munchhausen, doncha know.

Posted by: vanderleun at December 10, 2011 6:20 AM

I think it safe to say Alameda County has declared the entire crew persona non grata at the bomb range, and probably barred any future involvement by county personnel.

Posted by: ThomasD at December 10, 2011 3:02 PM

Anybody but me think it is a little odd that there is a bomb range still operating there?

Posted by: Larry Sheldon at December 10, 2011 4:02 PM

I'm with Larry on this. There are all sorts of safety protocols out there that determine how close people can be to explosives and how much explosives can be used. There's also a big difference between explosives and intentional ballistics such as guns and, er, cannons.

We have ranges here in Jersey that are miles from civilians, and yet they recently had an accident in which they exploded an artillery round via a sympathetic detonation. By some freak of physics, a piece of shrapnel ended up shaped like a frisbee, blew out of the testing canyon, got caught on the wind, sailed a tremendous distance and then crashed through a house. A family cat wasn't killed by the shrapnel, but it did lose it's life.

Don't try this at home, children.

Posted by: Daniel at December 12, 2011 4:42 AM

If they had any cojones, they would make a special show out of it: Myth: that playing with explosives and projectiles can always be done safely: Busted!

That would be a great show: watching them eat a heaping helping of humble pie. They could throw in all sorts of historical "accidents" footage, where the professionals lost control.

The point being, there's no such thing as too much safety, only how much can you afford. Like a little mouse-pfft .22 Long Rifle cartridge: accurate to 100 yds, lethal to a mile. And the importance of doing a "what could go wrong, and what would happen if it did" analysis, before you start shooting.

Posted by: John A. Fleming at December 12, 2011 12:54 PM