Are you planning on making more videos with tested? I'd love to see some model making How-to
Yes! Lots more to come! One just came out today, actually, a build I did for my dogs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UmBKWQ52oQ
Awesome! I'm very much looking forward to this! Another question if I may, I've got two kiddos now, Both girls. I want to encourage them to become makers, and get interested in creating and exploring. How the heck do I do that?
I love this question because my first answer is… don’t ask a white dude. Don’t ask me! Ask them!
Girls are the most natural, critical thinking scientists there are. The trick is to normalize for everybody that they can manipulate their world. That they can actually have an effect upon it.
It was natural for me to want to take things apart when I was a kid. My parents kind of encouraged that; they gave me old stuff to take apart. When you take apart enough things, how they go back together becomes kind of clear to you. Every kid is different, I have two boys and my thing is: they don’t necessarily have to be makers, but I’d like them to know how manipulatable the world. Part of that is when they’re enthusiastic about something, I put it in front of them. That’s really important because that’s what my parents did for me and that’s exactly the kind of way I want to privilege my kids’ enthusiasm.
If they’re interested in making anything, go ahead and take them to a class to do that. My mom took me to tons of summer classes in pottery and woodworking - stuff like that. There was a community center near my house in Westchester, New York, that had summer classes and I went and took them all the time. There was a woman who gave art classes in my neighborhood and my parents sent me to that art class. So, it’s like it might not even be that they end up becoming makers, but send them to classes in which they make things with their hands. If there’s any proclivity at all, that’s where they’ll find it.
Hi Adam! What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far?
I can't single out a single thing. I will tell you that I was at TED a couple weeks ago doing a talk, I was speaker, and after my talk, one of my all time heroes came up and spoke to me. I got to talk to Harrison Ford for a few minutes. Harrison Ford is very important to the person that I have become.
We all have little phrases that run through our brains as kids and as growing adults of the way we want to be. Indiana Jones is a key filter of the kind of man I decided I wanted to be when I was a young lad. He was a lovely person to talk to. That was thrilling. The kind of access you get to other people that you admire when you're given a little bit of fame is thrilling! And then, you know, some of them can be crazy, that happens too. But more often than not, you find yourself meeting on a common plane.
Also meeting scientists and other makers of things, you know. People like Tony Fadell from Nest invented the iPod, one of my design heroes. There's countless number of people we've brought on Mythbusters. Scientists far from thumbing their nose from what we're doing found something simpatico in our approach, in the way we've found joy in the process of not knowing and discovering and getting past our bias to come to an answer that made them treat us like peers. I have to say that's really the highlight.
What was the first myth you busted?
Does creating a fireball in M5 with Jamie in 2002 while taping our demo for Discovery Channel count? https://www.facebook.com/therealadamsavage/videos/vb.1009761719037011/1160629483950233/?type=2&theater
Where does your energy come from? How much caffeine do you consume?
I try and keep it to 1 cup of coffee in the morning, or if I’m going to my local place (Ritual in the Mission) their to-go cups are kinda small, so I’ll have two of those. And that’s about it, I’ve got a cold right now, so I’m drinking a lot of tea, but after noon it’ll all be Throat Coat (which, by the way, is the greatest tea if you have a cold)
As far as my energy, my parents always encouraged me to make stuff. They both gave me an example of a life lived doing the thing you want to do. Both my dad and mom had careers they were very invested in. I was very lucky to see that. They supported me in finding my way. By that I mean they helped me pay my rent when I quit a job I didn’t like; that’s a tremendous privilege they gave to me. I am incredibly grateful for it, and that allowed me to find my place in the world, which didn’t really happen until I moved to San Francisco in the early 90s. By then I sort of found things that I was excellent at, like building and problem solving, and I was able to push those into careers. And when you push the thing you’re really good at into a career it does feel like work, because it’s really hard work to do something well, but it also doesn’t drain you at the end of the day. It’s self-generating. And now with the 13 years of MythBusters (where the best plots were where Jamie and I had the most enthusiasm, and Kari, Grant, and Tory) the best episodes were the ones that we were the most invested in. Our job was effectively to find the thing we were thrilled by and put everything we had into it.
So again, that’s energy generating. I am always looking for things that I find interesting and trying to dive into them. That’s just part of my makeup.
I don’t know if that’s exactly an answer to your question, but it’s sort of an answer to why I keep on doing six different things at once and why it seems to be working right now.
What is your favorite subreddit? Are there any that you don't like?
Hey Adam, do you have a favorite gas station snack?
Do I have a favorite gas station snack? It's funny because I know my wife's right off the top of my head. She likes the Lays Barbecue potato chips. That is absolutely what I better walk out of the gas station with because it's just road trip food.
For me, it's got to be sour patch kids, and really specifically the sour patch watermelons. I don't know why, but those don't carve up my mouth as much, and I don't know anyone else's experiences, but I find a wide variance in sour patch kids quality. And by quality, I mean chewiness. Specifically, my perfect sour patch kid is not super chewy, but it starts to dissolve the moment I'm chewing on it. And you can artificially induce this by putting a pack of sour patch kids in your pocket for an hour and when they're warm they are easier to eat.
I am a deep expert in sour patch kid consumption. But right out of the bag they can be everything from super chewy to super dissolving, which I find sort of annoying. And so the sour patch watermelons tend to be more consistent. I'm amazed at the specificity I was able to bring to the sour patch kids.
What is your ideal sandwich?
Reddit actually asked me that once and they did a really cool graphic for it! https://upvoted.com/2015/10/22/perfect-sandwich-adam-savage/
Do you play any video games? If so which ones are your favourites?
I play Millipede! I have one in my shop. It's a great stress reliever. I actually did a video on Tested about it once: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kZBrZ3jsmU
Thanks for doing an AMA! What did you end up doing with all the squeaky toys you bought for your "duck bomb" videos? Did you ever actually "bomb" anyone with them? (I'd also like to point out that they were pelicans, not ducks!)
The squeaky ducks from the duck bomb video are still in my shop. I have not bombed anyone unwittingly. That is sort of because I don't like pranking people. I know that seems kind of weird, but my inclination is to not prank people. It's simply because it’s very hard to prank people nicely. Now a duck bomb isn't necessarily a bad prank, it's not because I think duck bombing is bad per se, it's just I don't think towards pranking in general.
But, I'm fully aware they are pelicans not ducks. That same company makes pink flamingos, they make pelicans and they make a couple others, but really the pelicans are by far the best. they have the most plaintive cry of all of those screaming, rubberized animals. And interestingly, I have not ever given one to one of my dogs. I just don't want to hear that thing in my house.
Any chance Tory, Kari and Grant will be brought back for the finale?
Yes! We did a one-hour reunion show with them that airs after the finale this Saturday. It was SO fun. http://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/mythbusters/videos/milfbusters/
Thanks for everything over the years!
My question - what technology are you most excited about becoming more easily obtainable in the next few years?
I love rapid prototyping and 3D printing, laser cutting, 3D Routers, all the techniques; it’s very exciting what’s happening. But CAD/CAM (the drawing of something in 3D and then the translation of that into some machine language that outputs out of your 3D printer, laser cutter, whatever) still sucks. Everyone knows that it sucks. Translating something from your head out onto a screen in 2D so it can become 3D is still really, really difficult. There are a lot of people doing amazing work on it. I love what AutoDesk is doing in that they’re trying to make it more intuitive. And when that worm turns, when CAD/CAM becomes genuinely, naturally intuitive, that’s when I think things are going to get genuinely exciting.
Right now the 3D output tends to be rough for consumer level machines (it’s getting finer and finer; we’re covering a lot of that on Tested.com) but these two paths of both the output being refined more and using recycled materials is really exciting, alongside the translation from people’s brains into their computer out to the machine; that’s really thrilling.
I think that when kids can see something that they want to make, and they invest themselves in wanting to make it extant (my whole life has been spent doing this: thinking something in my brain and putting it in my hands) when a kid can see that that can happen, it wakes up this whole other portion of possibility for them.
That’s a world that should be open to every kid.
Are you having a viewing party for the last episode? Are there going to be tears shed after it airs?
Also what is your favorite myth that that doesn't evolve an explosion?
Yes! There will be a viewing party with some of the cast and crew during the West Coast airing. I will be sharing as much as I can on my Twitter and Facebook, so stay tuned.
Do the ducks still call to you?
All the time.
Do you think that Buster has a vengeful spirit out to get you, Jaime, and the build team? If so, how screwed are you guys?
Buster was always the perfect professional. He never complained and he was never late. If he was ever unhappy with me and Jamie, he certainly never let on.
How's your day going?
Great! Thank you. Yours?
What was the most interesting new thing you learned from your week at TED?
TED is amazing. And I know that it's been going on so long that TED sometimes feels like a parody of itself, but to be at TED there's a couple of things I didn't realize. One is that all of the speakers, all the people who are giving talks at ted, are all a little bit freaked out about the weight of that red dot.
You know, you give your TED talk on this big round red carpet, and it does carry a weight. And the weight is that you want your talk to be resonant, and to be good. Because you do that, we're all working really hard on our talks.
I spent so many hours running my talk, maybe 200 times. I memorized it until I could forget it and feel natural about delivering it, and it's a deep amount of work to get that. And everyone else is also freaking out about their talk, to get it right, and that engenders a bond between speakers that is really lovely. I made several friends at TED who i know will be life long friends, I'm not kidding.
The 2 most impressive talks at TED--one was by a new friend Adam Foss. It hasn't gone live yet, he's a prosecutor, it’s an amazing talk. When it goes up, it’s amazing. The other one was Al Gore, and that talk is up. I love Al Gore -- I believe in his mission. Al Gore is an amazing man, and what he's done for the world is hard to quantify or qualify. But I didn't think of Al Gore as a super dynamic speaker. I'll admit to you, I didn't think of him as like "Well that's a gold standard". But Gore got up and did a talk that took us all to school about giving a real talk in public.
He started out a little slow and then gut up to an almost country preacher, barn burner of a speech that's so inspiring at the same time he's calling out the dangers of what we're doing and how our behavior is going to harm us, and he's doing it all off the top of his head. There were no notes, there was no prompter, there was nothing against the back of the hall that he could read, and all of that data is coming out of him so naturally, so easily flowing, and working with the projections behind him that was a masterpiece to watch. And I was sitting next to another speaker and we were both like "Holy shit balls!" It was really an education in public speaking from someone who's been doing it for decades on the fly, off the top of their head, working hard. I'm sure he's done the full gamut from extreme preparation to off the cuff. It was really inspiring to see it in person.
Now that mythbusters has ended, what will happen to your workshop and all the things you've build over the years?
I still have my shop. M5 is Jamie's shop. As for the things built on the shows over the years that were at M5, they were given away, mostly. I have some of them, Jamie has some, the production company has some, and the crew has some.
I know you and Jamie used to not spend time together outside of filming Mythbusters. Has that changed since the show ended? Are you friends now that you don't have to see each other so often?
Jamie and I have long made it clear that we’re not friends; so we don’t actually get along on a day-to-day level. The other side of that coin is that we disagree about all the little things, but we have pretty much never disagreed about the big things. By the big things I mean directions to push the brand, ways in which to tackle and make a good show; we have a lot of small disagreements about it, but on a big scale we don’t.
The end of the show has not made us closer, I have spoken to him I think maybe once since the show ended, and we’ll see each other at various things, you know we still get hired to do stuff together. There still will be many circumstances in which we’re thrust together or forced to talk about stuff, and that’s fine.
But no, I think it’s just going to go back to the way it used to be, which is probably checking in once a year to see how things are going.
Hi Adam, I'm a small-time woodworker to make some money while I'm in college, and watching your builds has inspired me quite a bit. I'm very grateful for that.
My question: If there's one tool in your workshop that you couldn't go without, what is it?
I can’t say there’s one tool I couldn’t do without. A good knife is maybe the most important thing to have nearby.
If you’re a woodworker and you don’t know about forstner bits, get some forstner bits. They’re this tool I was late in learning about (I probably had been working with wood for like five years before someone showed me a set of forstner bits)
They’re basically big, fat drill bits, but they carve in a way that allows you to almost machine wood, even if you don’t have a milling machine. They’re amazing. A full set of good forstner bits can start around $35-$40 on Grizzly.com.
A good table saw and some sleds to use that table saw are amazing. Lately I’m obsessed with the YouTube channel of Matthias Wandel (https://www.youtube.com/user/Matthiaswandel); he’s this guy who builds pretty much everything with a table saw, a drill press, and a band saw. One of his latest builds is a full, working, wood turning lathe, using only wood (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCt3LooUVsQ) He’s got a wonderful amount of ingenuity. So, in terms of using a small amount of tools to get a lot of effect, go check out his channel.
Really wish you would've talked about Hamilton more on Still Untitled. Have any plans to see it soon? I'm dying to see it someday.
I will see it in a few weeks. Can't wait!
Thanks, Adam, for this AMA!
Would you rather try to bust a myth related to Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, or Ted Cruz?
Well, the first question I’d ask is “Is there anything true about Donald Trump?” I mean, he’s nothing BUT myth.
So, when you’re talking about busting myths, you’re talking about reaching an objective truth, which is a very difficult thing to do. Obviously, even within scientific confines, it’s really difficult to do, which is why we repeat experiments and why conclusions are so difficult to come to. And why facts are so rare.
But when you’re talking about an object truth, you’re in the opposite universe than politics exists in, because politics are all about relative truth. “I’m speaking this truth to this group, I’m speaking that truth to that group” … “I want everyone to vote for me, so I’m going to lie to everybody.”
Which is why I love Bernie so much, because I feel like he gives really consistent answers to everybody, it just sounds simple when he talks. I don’t see him doing all these mental calisthenics when he’s answering questions. There are certain things that we disagree on, but for the most part I feel like he’s just giving the genuine, straight dope as it’s coming from his head. It might not be the truth, but it’s the truth as he’s thinking about it. And he even seems to me like someone who’d change his mind if you brought him evidence to the contrary of something he firmly believes.
So, I know you didn’t ask me who I liked, but I don’t think you have to look very deeply into my history to figure out that Bernie would be my guy.
Hey Adam! I remember you burnt your hair once, did you actually have a date? How did that go...how did she like your new style?
Yes, the day I burned my eyebrow I did have a date.
The date went great, thanks for asking.
What were/are the best model kits to bash for greeblies? Tamiya Tiger, Revell cars, etc?
Tamiya! They make great kits.
Why are you here doing an AMA? Be honest now, think deep.
I love doing AMAs. I do at least one a year, sometimes more, and post pretty regularly (other times I'm just lurking). As for doing it today, I wanted to thank reddit for their contribution to last week's MythBusters, and I was in New York until last night.
Cats or dogs?
Dogs! I have two rescues: Huxley and Maggie. They're the best. https://twitter.com/donttrythis/status/690216936773300225
Are you still missing an eyebrow?
Nope! Thank goodness.
I have never been on time to an AMA before...
Adam, what are you doing today?
Welcome, CR3ZZ! What I'm doing today: I'm got some meetings today after this AMA. I'll probably pop back into this AMA later today and answer more questions, too. And I still have a cold, so I'll probably go to bed early again if I can.
Considering your name is already Adam Savage, if you were a wrestler, what would your stage name be? (Also applicable, radio DJ or adult actor stage name?)
I think if I was a professional Wrestler, my secret power would be…I don’t know. It’d be very theatrical, clearly. There’s a great, weird, early Henry Winkler film, I think it might be called “The Greatest”, in which he plays a guy who discovers that his life’s dream is to become a professional wrestler, I feel like that’s the kind of wrestler I’d be.
So you’re going to have to go back and watch that movie and then you’d get your answer.
Adam, in the gummy bears as rocket fuel myth, how many gummy bears did you and jamie eat?
You don't want to know. A LOT.
Hi Adam, it's Doug Graham (aka KB7RKY) from the MythBusters Fan Club (MBFC), and the First Church Of Buster (FCOB) at this end. I'm honored to have had a small part in shaping the Mythbusters legacy; to have taken part in your one and only Mailbag Special (I'm going to be forever known as the “Here I am! HI!” guy, catapulting paintball fill at the model boat), and especially honored to count you and the entire MB cast and crew among my many friends. It was especially great to have seen you and Jamie in Spokane, WA, last December. I was beyond thrilled when you said you remembered who I was :D
I do have a few questions, and I hope you can answer them, but first, I hope you're feeling better...I know you were initially sick when you first announced this AMA.
Now, my questions:
What were your thoughts when Mythbusters, in general, was just getting started? Did you ever think the show would be as popular as it has been?
What were your thoughts when Mythbusters started to gain in popularity, ie: Was there ever a time, in the entire 14-year run, when you thought, “Okay, this is it. We're done, we've tested every myth we can think of/the fans have”?
What were your thoughts when you and Jamie stared down the inevitable end of Mythbusters, and, now that the final episode is mere hours away, what are your thoughts now?
Finally, after seeing “Buster's Last Ride” on the Discovery site, I need to ask...just how many whacks did it take for you to break the champagne bottle over Buster's head on the rocket sled? And, was that a ballistics gel fist he had?
And now, for my promised farewell speech:
...well, I really can't think of anything poignant to say, except to quote Shakespeare, who is a far better wordsmith than I am:
"And whether we shall meet again I know not. Therefore our everlasting farewell take: For ever, and for ever, farewell, friends! If we do meet again, why, we shall smile; If not, why, then this parting was well made. "
It is with a very heavy heart that I say, "Fare thee well, Mythbusters, and thank you...until we meet again"
Did I think the show would be as popular as it eventually became? Absolutely not. I mean, again this wasn't my concept. I came to this show as hired talent in the beginning and figured out my job on the fly, and my understanding of what that job was changed over the years. But because I came from behind the scenes, I mean I have some acting and performance training in my deep background as a high school student, but as a film crew member--model maker, rigger, all that stuff--I know that the rule of entertainment is that it's super fickle and the bottom can drop out any second. So every year that they renewed MythBusters for the first five or six years, I was like "Really?! Cool!" and we'd get another year to do this. In the middle there, the middle few years, I was like "Okay, you know, I feel like we can pretty much expect another year, that's great." and then at this point it felt like I'm not sure they're gonna renew it another year, that's when we worked with Discovery to shoot this final season.
So, never expected it to do as well. Never expected that we would become part of the cultural lexicon. We never intended to make a show that was educational for kids, that was fun to watch for the whole family. Seriously, none of that was on our radar. We were just telling stories of a couple of guys satisfying their curiosity in as rigorous a fashion as we could achieve within the confines of making a television show. The idea that I would then learn deeply about how creative the scientific method was, and how to tell stories about building rigorous methodologies is not something I ever expected. I'm astonished by how far and wide and deep MythBusters has gone around the world and in our culture and in me.
I've never thought we were done testing myths. At the end of the first three pilots we shot in the summer of 2002, Jamie called me up about a week later and was like "So that was fun" and I was like "Yea!" He's like "I don't know really where it could go. I mean, I think we pretty much did everything. Do you want this Impala?" which is the Impala we used for rocket car, and I was like "I can't store it, I don't have a garage," and he was like "Alright, I'm gonna sell it. Well...talk to you later." and then we hung up. We didn't talk again really until after the show aired, which was January of 2003, and then Discovery awarded the show, I think less than two weeks later. It was amazing how quick it was. And again, I think we were talking at some point and Jamie was like "I don't know what we're going to do because I think we've sort of answered everything." And it wasn't like I had this long list of things that I thought that we were gonna do, but we had no idea where we were gonna go. We didn't realize that film was going to provide all these wonderful movie stunt physics that we could test. Social media really didn't have a whole other world at the beginning. Things like Facebook or Twitter or Reddit weren't extant back then and part of the popular culture. Viral videos weren't a thing, and that's a massive amount of stories that we did. So that sort of gives you an idea about how the narratives that we built changed over the years.
My thoughts about staring down the inevitable end of MythBusters have gone through many stages. All of the stages of dealing with death, I would think. Anger, denial, bargaining, acceptance, etc. and I owe a great amount of thanks to Paget Brewster. Paget is a friend/acquaintance of mine through the Thrilling Adventure Hour theater players. In January of last year we were doing a thing here in San Francisco as part of San Francisco Sketchfest, and Paget said to me "Oh, sweetie, your show is going to end in a year? You better get ready, because it's really going to fuck you up." And I was like "Seriously? What?" and she was like "Yea, I was on my show for 6 years." She was on CSI for 6 years, and she was like "When that ended, I found it really destabilizing and intense, and just when you've been doing the same thing for this long, get ready. It's going to affect you in all these ways you're not planning for."
And it was a great gift that she gave me by telling me that was coming down the pipe. Because we started the last season, and it wasn't like we felt super elegiac about MythBusters ending at that point, and it wasn't until really--that was January we started filming that season--it wasn't really until September that the light at the end of the tunnel was clear, like "Wow, we've only got like 9 weeks left." "8 weeks left" "7 weeks left". And thing that made me most sad is that I realized that I wasn't going to be making this show with these people. The MythBusters crew is the best working reality television crew in television. I'm not exaggerating, and I won't even qualify it. Those guys are incredible. They're my family, and we all effectively grew up together. Many of our people started off like a farm team of researchers and runners, and became producers and directors of photography, and became the best at those jobs. And looking around and realizing that this was the last time that I was going to be showing up on set every day and making up how to make this show every day with these amazing people, that's the part that I found the most difficult and the saddest.
You know, when I finally got back from our stage tour in December of 2015 and settled into the holidays, and then post-holidays when I settled into my unemployment, that affected me in a totally different way. It helped me understand how deeply I had identified with being "the guy with the television show." and now I'm not the guy with the television show, and that's fine. It's just hard to see how much you attach your identification with the thing that you're doing until you're not doing it. And even though I was ready, I was like "I'm ready, I'm ready for life without this show, ready to see what it’s like, ready to deal with the difficulties.” It doesn't even help knowing that the difficulties are coming. It's still difficult. It's still difficult because transition is tough. I mean if there is one thing about humans that's constant it's that we hate change. And it's weird because we seek it, we love change, and yet it's always destabilizing. I mean some people love it, I get it. Some people are going to post and go "I love change!" I get it. But I think most of us find moving our houses difficult. Changing jobs difficult. The things that we do and the ways in which we live our daily lives, they really do help us define ourselves to ourselves. And when those change, it starts to help illuminate the fact that our personalities are completely illusions. And it's a pervasive illusion, but it’s an illusion all the less. There, I just got Buddhist on your ass.
I think Buster's fist on the rocket sled was cast urethane rubber. And as for how many whacks of the champagne bottle, I think it took four or five. Which if there's several cut into the show, that's how many it took. We're not gonna cut any of those out because it's nothing but hilarious that it takes a while to smash a bottle over Buster's hard head.
Edit: Fixed the year, thanks!
what's up adam. love mythbusters. love your work on tested. thanks for working to make both of those as great as they are.
a few quick questions not really related to those... i know from twitter you're a haruki murakami fan. favorite book of his? also, any plans to go back to the nitty gritty of working on special effects teams for films now that you likely have a bit more free time on your hands?
again, thanks for everything!
My favorite Murakami novel is still 1Q84.
I’ve read about half of his books twice, and I also still have a super special place in my heart for A Wild Sheep Chase. It’s definitely because it’s so inspired by Raymond Chandler, who’s my all-time favorite novelist. But 1Q84 is staggering good; it’s an amazing, amazing book.
If you haven’t read it, you’re welcome.
Are you making progress with The Martian suit ?
I have not yet made much progress on the Martian suit, there’ve been a lot of things that have been happening; a lot of other projects that I’ve had to address for right now. But, the ducks are being lined up for the Martian suit.
Make no mistake, we are lining up our ducks, we are going to dive into this very soon.
Have you considered a collaboration with the SlowMo guys?
If i remember correctly, one of the members (Gavin) mentioned really wanting to do a shoot with you.
Yeah, I believe a collaboration with the Slow Mo Guys is entirely possible. I love the work that they’re doing. They have taught me a lot about high speed photography over the years.
So yes, entirely possible.
As someone fairly new to model builds, what do you recommend as a good place to start? Books, kits etc.
To a new model maker, I’d say a Tamiya kit. Tamiya is a Japanese model making company. Their castings are beautiful. Really, really crisp. Many of their parts are some of the favorite parts for model makers to use in space ships. But having fine castings just means the detail will really come out when you paint it.
As far as books, I have yet to come across what I think of as the ‘ultimate model making manual’, hopefully someday I will write it.
How do you hope that Mythbusters is remembered in the years to come?
I hope that MythBusters is remembered as a show that helped people to understand what a deeply creative vocation science can be. I’m using all those words really carefully; we think culturally of science as “that thing smart people do” - I know because I thought of science as that.
And I’m not saying there aren’t smart people in science, but if you think that you’re not capable of being one of them, you’re an idiot. Because science is a vocation like any other, and it’s a deeply creative discipline. If MythBusters has any hand in helping people understand that, I will feel like we have fulfilled a mission we didn’t even know we set out to fulfill.
What myth did you really want to do that production, resources, etc. prevented you from testing?
This is one of the most common questions. What myth did we want to do that the production wouldn't let us do? For the most part if we really wanted to do something, Discovery stood behind it. I might have answered this in another AMA, but I'll tell you there are three. There's one about a truck full of liquid oxygen that spills on a road bed and turns the entire road into a bomb. We played enough with liquid oxygen to respect its power and understand that it is some of the scariest stuff on earth. It can literally turn an oily rag into a bomb, and that's not exaggeration. It's terrifying. And to deal with an entire truck load on a road that might explode (or to be honest if we're gonna spend that much money, it has to explode one way or another) what we found was it was dangerous and unpredictable, and that made going full scale really really touchy, so we decided to leave that one.
Another one is upside down race car. But no one stood in our way of doing upside down race car. I should explain. Upside down race car is the myth that a formula one or indycar (two different kinds of cars, I'm totally aware of that) has so much down force because of its construction that it could drive upside down and still hug the road. We've been wanting to do this since season one. And number one, obviously we can't do it full scale with a road. We're not going to build a tunnel. That's hundreds of thousands of dollars, that's well more than the budget for an episode of MythBusters. We could do it potentially in a wind tunnel, but we could not find either a wind tunnel that would go fast enough, or two someone that would lend us their indycar or formula one car and allow us to hang it upside down in said wind tunnel. If said wind tunnel actually existed, be assured that it would cost in excess of $10,000 an hour to operate, and that right there also pushes us way to the outside edge of the MythBusters budget.
Lastly, there is an episode that we were going to do in the last season, but we didn't have time to complete, and so I had to let it go. It's a Native American myth, supposedly, that if you wanted to go duck hunting, you would float pumpkins in a pond that the ducks frequented and get them used to pumpkins floating around them. Then when you were hungry and wanted duck for dinner, you would put a pumpkin on your head and swim over to the duck that looked, I guess the tastiest, and the duck would not notice you because you're just a floating pumpkin. And then according to a hunter friend of mine you could reach out and pull the duck right under. Now we weren't gonna pull the duck under on camera, or at all because of, you know, cruelty to animals. But I did want to find out if I could swim up to a duck dressed as a pumpkin and capture it, because that would be amazing! Unfortunately, a couple of the episodes in our last season ended up being so difficult to shoot that we put those difficulties into the narratives, and thus we ended up with narratives that were fat enough we didn't need this secondary story. Pumpkin duck hunting was always going to be about a 12-13 minute story, not a very long one. And like I said, we ended up with enough narrative that we didn't need that, so I took one for the team and chucked it. So I'll never get to know. Maybe someday I'll get to know, but not on MythBusters.
How much per sentence do you curse?
When the cameras aren’t on, I’m cursing all the time. I have a very dirty mouth. It’s just how I communicate with the world. It’s interesting raising children too, because at a certain point you realize “I can’t not curse around these beings” It’s just not in my nature. And then they start to curse, and when children curse it’s just…it’s just gross.
And yet there’s an age when it becomes ok.
Sure enough, when my boys were like, 15 or almost 16, it was just time to stop asking them not to curse. They curse just as much as I do now. I can’t say that I’m proud of that. Look, I feel like words shouldn’t have as much weight as they often have. So, I feel like cursing is a way of taking their power away.
Hi Adam! I've watched Mythbusters since I was a kid and I love it when science and engineering meets art and design. Which companies should I apply to to get into the field of Industrial Design? Also do you have any other career suggestions? I am a Mechanical Engineering major with a Studio Art minor and I'm graduating this Spring!
So, my knowledge of the whole landscape of industrial design companies and stuff like that is pretty limited. I know that out here there is a wonderful company called IDEO that has been around for decades and they’re a very important shop in industrial design and engineering. I know some of the people there and love them; they’re deeply committed to design and beautiful elegant engineering. There’s a lot of wonderful places doing really innovative stuff. I know Danny Hillis and Bran Ferren from Applied Minds; those guys are doing amazing stuff on all sorts of fronts. I’m in the Bay Area where there’s tons of these companies making stuff.
As far as giving you some kind of answer which will give you any sort of comprehensive overview, I’m not qualified to do that.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how soft is Jamie Hynemans beard/mustache?
I can’t speak to how soft Jamie’s mustache is – if I touched it, it was so briefly – I don’t want to know how soft it is!
Have you ever touched Jamie's mustache?
I do believe I might have touched it once. I don't even know, the circumstance was probably that there was one errant hair in the beginning. There was this funny point a couple years into MythBusters; Jamie's wife--awesome awesome woman, life long science teacher--came by the shop and she and Jamie are very sweet, they've been married forever, and she was talking to him about stuff that they were doing. But as she was talking she affectionately smoothed out his mustache, which was so freaky for me to watch a human touching Jaime's mustache. It was like "Woah...what is she doing?!!" but you know, that's how they roll and it’s totally cool.
Hi Adam. Longtime fan from Norway. If you were to buy something for $30 or less. What would you think is an item would give you the most joy?
Is there a dream project you've not yet done, but would like to?
That's interesting. My first thought is like a Criterion Collection DVD set of one of my favorite films. That's about what they cost, and I love the Criterion Collection because they are for film geeks like me. That's not necessarily an object, that's media I'm consuming, so I recognize I might have stepped outside the citadel of what your question is hoping to encompass.
I love me a good sketchbook. These days I'm keeping my notes in a series of sketchbooks, and I have multiples. Each one is a different project that I'm working on, or a different mindset that I'm thinking about, and I'm able when I have an idea to pick it up and put it in the notebook it belongs in. I used to buy these think notebooks, you know, like 3/4 of an inch thick, like the moleskins and stuff. My problem with those is I would fill the first 50 pages and then stuff would be so jumbled I'd never be going back to it because it would be like, one page is a build I want to do, and another page is a movie idea i've got, or some sort of narrative, it's all over the place. This allows me a nice granular attack on each project so that when I open it up, there's all my thoughts within this one thing. But the perfect notebook, I have not yet found it. My guess is though, when I do, it will be under $30. Look, maybe I'll have to make it. That's also possible.
What music are you currently listening to?
I’m listening to Hamilton, and I’m seriously listening to Hamilton all the way through, like twice a day.
Today I’m obsessed with the song “Hurricane”, which is towards the end. It’s an amazing, amazing song. I have this really weird thing: I LOVE LOVE credits music. If there’s a song over the closing credits on a movie or television show, I almost always want it, which is why I love the soundtrack to Girls. Every single song on there is like “Oh, I LOVE this song” and I’m listening to the first Girls soundtrack, which is the first season, and the first season is so amazing. I go down memory lane.
Recently I was watching a show (I can’t remember what show it was. It could have been Togetherness…maybe Aziz’s show) there was a song by a group called the Bowerbirds, “In the Yard”. It came up at the tail end of some show I was watching and I immediately Shazamed it and immediately bought it and I’ve been listening to that a lot.
Did you ever fear for your security (or your life) in the show?
I feared for my life all the time on MythBusters. You know, you work through a stunt to try and do it so that you know you'll be safe, but when you're sitting at the top of a water slide in a greased latex wet suit, you can't help but wondering what you haven't thought of. I'll leave it at that.
Hi Adam, I feel like your show is the new generation's "Bill Nye." Have you ever been influenced by him during your life?
Of course! I grew up with Bill Nye. I grew up with Mr. Wizard. Bill’s amazing.
We do different things; Bill is a master science communicator and explainer. He understands the science that he’s talking about on a level that’s even deeper than he’s revealing. I mean, he’s a really, really great intellect. And also, brilliantly funny. I’m jealous of him for both of those qualities. I wish I was funnier and I wish I was smarter.
And yet, we have different shows. Bill’s show is a science demonstration show. He explained a concept, and then he would demonstration how that concept works. We were a genuine experimentation show. We would investigate a concept and figure it out on the fly, but much of the time we really had no idea what the results of one of our tests was going to be. That’s an inherently different narrative structure.
I’m really grateful for Bill for inspiring me at a young age of the idea that science could be fun. And so, absolutely - he’s been hugely inspiring.
Do you ever get the point in a project where you decide you aren't going to finish it?
Rarely. I certainly get to stopping points where I don't know what the next step is going to be, but at that point what I will do is I will box it up with all of its notes and all of my research on it and put it up in my loft until such time as I've thought about it and know how to attack it again. I certainly regularly come to points in a build where I don't know how to proceed, and in that case I'll put it aside for a while. I think at any given time I've got 15 or 20 of those sitting around.
Thanks for the laughs, and the learning.
You always say "failure is an option" - to that end, what failure would you say you have Learned the most from? And which myth/experiment was the most disappointing fail?
I’ve been divorced. That’s a pretty significant life change right there. It’s hard to go through. You learn a lot about yourself in that process, both before and after. Changing my life after that was significant. This is the other thing about that kind of thing - you look back on your life and you think “Right, I got married to someone and then I got divorced from them” but that doesn’t mean that I would change what happened. I’m really happy with how things turned out. The only history I get is the one that I have, and so I have to understand that I’m the product of everything that has happened to me up until now.
This present is…I’m very pleased with it. I’m not sure I would take the odds on any other given present. When you add to that I’m currently married to the love of my life, and that I was not ready to meet her until the very moment that I met her. I’m telling you that if my wife met me a year before I met her, she would have been like “yeah…no way.” I know that the moment I met her was this right moment in my life.
So, again; I’ve gone through some large life mistakes and recovered from them, but I’m not sure if I would change any of them if you gave me the choice.
Were you as fast at doing model builds when you first got the job at ILM as you apparently are now?
Yeah. The thing is when I first thought I wanted to work in special effects, I did not have any usable skills at that point. So I was like 23, and I thought “oh, I want to work in special effects!” – I didn't know my ass from my elbow. I didn't know that I didn't know!
But cutting my teeth on 200 television commercials in Jamie's shop for 4 years...that gave me the skill set and the mindset of working quickly, working elegantly, working efficiently...that was a great skill set to show up at ILM with. And when I showed up I was darn fast and it was a lovely niche to fill. It afforded me a bunch of projects that I wouldn't have normally gotten.
Hey Adam! I’m part of a BB-8 builders club on Facebook. They supply BB-8 STL files to print. Have you thought about taking a go at making a full sized BB-8? How do you think it works? I know many people (myself included) think that it moves on a single axle drive (Star Wars Celebration stage version at least). Also, what’s the best 3D printer for the money in your opinion?
To answer the questions backwards, I don't know what the best 3D printer for the money is. I have yet to see the perfect storm of ease of use, speed of print, and fineness of detail. I know it's coming. I know it’s coming fast and I'm looking forward to it, but I don't own a 3D printer right now.
The BB-8, yes. I know how the BB-8 works, and we've covered a really beautiful BB-8 build on tested.com. Go check it out. I am going to make my own BB-8. That is a plan that I will bring to fruition. I have decided what my BB-8 will be able to do, and I don't want to spoil it because I think BB-8 is awesome. I love that J.J. Abrams was able to make another droid that I could fall in love with. I thought R2D2 would have my heart forever, and he does, but now I have a new love of BB-8. That's awesome.
Do you remember telling me that you love me last time you were here? Follow up, do you mind that I have been putting that on my resume?
No, I don’t mind telling you that I love you last time I was here.
You know, I met this great pair of kids in LA a few years back. They’re like the niece and nephew of this good friend of mine. They were awesome when I met them; they were dressed like little Gatsby characters. The boy was wearing a Seersucker suit, if I remember correctly. These kids were like 7 and 9.
They were so fun to talk to that when we parted I said “When you tell people about meeting me, you’re allowed to say that I’m a good and close friend of yours.” and I hear a couple of years later that they are absolutely still doing that, and I think that’s great.
Where there any myths that seems like a great idea but then turned into a miserable, unsatisfying chore to do?
Conversely were there any myths that you didn't think would be great but turned out to be a lot of fun?
Both of those things happened a lot. I would tell you the rocket special in this last season (it aired a couple weeks ago) was a real ass-kicker of an episode to get right. We ran into difficulties we did not expect. They ended up taking us far longer to solve the problems than we expected. It was a real grind, especially because working in the Mojave desert in 105 degrees; just not easy to work under those conditions.
Stories that seemed like they were going to be tough but turned out to be really fun? Nah, you know - we started every episode with “I can’t wait to get our hands on this”. I loved where the vacuum cleaner car lift ended up, that was awesome that it didn’t work the first time. We were a little bit like “ahhh…”, but once we started on the second attempt we felt pretty confident we had something and that ended up being great.
What is something that us regular folks, don't know about you?
It's hard to know. I don't know how much research you've done, haha. I like to cook, and my main food I'm really good at cooking is eggs. I make a mean soft scrambled eggs, and also a pretty darn good omelet. I juggle. I can play one song on the piano. I ride a unicycle.
Oh! Here's something you didn't know about me: In 1919 my grandfather, who was a pilot in world war one was on a bender with his best friend in New York City, and at 5am they were in Washington Square Park drunk as skunks, fat with cash from having left the war, and apparently according to my dad, my grandfather's best friend Pare Lorentz, Pare and my grandfather bribed 2 milk truck drivers--and at this point milk was still delivered in a horse drawn carriage--bribed 2 milk truck drivers 5 bucks each, which in 1918/1919 was a lot of money--and they had a chariot race up 5th avenue in a pair of milk trucks while drunk. How about that?
I mentioned the full name of my grandfather's best friend because Pare Lorentz was actually a really important new deal filmmaker and did a lot of films for Franklin Delano Roosevelt about the depression and about the dust bowl in particular, and along with his composer, Virgil Thompson, was a really important early american documentarian filmmaker.
What are your best suggestions for a tourist in the Bay Area? Favourite places to go, restaurants or bars to eat at etc?
The Bay Area is amazing. I would avoid Fisherman's Wharf, but not the Ferry Building. Actually the Ferry Building is a great place to go as a tourist, especially on Saturday, when you can go get one of those Korean tacos from Namu, or one of the most amazing burgers in the city from 4505. The ferry building is incredible, because we’ve also got The Slanted Door, a San Francisco institution. Everything is delicious there, and you’re near the Exploratorium, which is maybe - actually, not maybe - it’s the best science museum in the world, and we have it right here on San Francisco’s waterfront, near the Ferry Building. You should go there too.
We have many of the best restaurants in the world here, honestly. And I’m biased, because I live here, but seriously the food is insane. I live in the Mission district where, if you’re gonna go get a really great burrito, you can go to El Farolito on 24th and mission and get the finest San Francisco burrito there is.
Do you have a few minutes to talk about Rampart?
Not only do I want to talk about Rampart, but I’d like to talk ONLY about Rampart, and not about previous drug use of Woody Harrelson, or even sexual congress that he might have had or might not of had with someone in his deep past.
You said you were great at recreating "hard" props (guns, machinery, vehicles, etc.), but not "soft" things, like creatures, monsters, etc. If you had the chance to make a soft thing perfectly, what would you choose?
Right now...that's a really good question. Right, because I talked about hard and soft edged model making in my maltese falcon talk, which is now 7 or 8 years ago. And I have done some sculpting since then. But if I wanted to make something soft right now? I don't have anything at the top of my list. It would be some sort of costume thing. It would be some kind of prosthetic makeup that I would probably wear. And if you gave me a choice to dress up as anybody, it still would be Hellboy, because I love Hellboy. It was the first costume I ever wore at Comic Con. I still have the latex prosthetic head and chest that I hired a wonderful sculptor to build for me. Yea, I'd love a much more form fitting Hellboy mask. I just love the character. That's probably what I would go and do.
I recently ran out of good books to read. Can you recommend one?
Either the Hamilton biography by Chernow, or the Three-Body Problem, which is Chinese science fiction that just blows my mind.
What's the most recent thing you've learned ?
I am obsessed right now, as everyone in the world should be, with the musical Hamilton. I don't care if you haven't seen it. Buy the album on iTunes and listen to it, and then listen to it again, and then listen to it a third time, because it's so important. Not just because Hamilton, himself is an amazing historical figure. I am currently reading the Chernow biography of Hamilton and discovering some astonishing things, such as in the middle of the Revolutionary War, Hamilton is in his mid 20s and understands deeply at that point the kind of financial institutions that will help what will then become the United States come to fruition, and is really largely responsible for the financial system we have now.
I know, I know, for better and worse. However, it is astounding to read this history of Hamilton and see how precociously he conceived of this stuff based on his experience in the Revolutionary War and being Washington's right hand man at the tender age of his mid twenties. It's freakishly brilliant. This is something you'll find if you read about any of the founding fathers in any great detail, is that these were some unbelievable brains, incredible minds, and incredible people. So the most recent thing I learned is that. That Hamilton single handedly conceived of our current financial system in his mid twenties in the middle of fighting a war.
In terms of socializing, how do you make friends? Are your friends only ones you've made during your career?
Are my friends only friends I’ve made during my career? No way, I’ve got old friends. I actually just had dinner with my oldest friend, in New York. He’s known me since I was 18. People who knew you when you were that unformed, they know you in way no one else will ever know you. It’s really important to me to keep up those friendships, I have several of them from the deep past.
How do you make friends? It’s harder the older you get, it’s very interesting. You know, you find common subjects and common ways of thinking and it’s lovely. It’s still lovely to make friends. Like I said, at TED I made 4 or 5 friends that I know I’ll keep in contact with for a long time, and that feels like such a bonus.
What's your favorite lunch meat?
Right now I am addicted to the tuna nicoise sandwich at Bi-Rite Market, the grocery store. There are two of them now in San Francisco, I think one's on Divis and one’s near my house in the Mission. Their tuna nicoise is an absolute world-beater of a sandwich. That's not answering your question though. If I had to choose a lunch meat, I love liverwurst. I love a good liverwurst sandwich, man. It's hard to beat a good New York liverwurst sandwich on rye with pickles and mustard. Shit, that's so good.
What do you think of dropping it all to go do something crazy when you're young? I think it would be really cool to go to europe and hitchhike around the country for a summer, or hike the north country trail, or live in another country for a few months when I get out of school rather than just get a job and go to work.
I think that’s a great idea.
Everybody has their own pace; people are always asking me what education I had, and I don’t have any. I have a high school diploma, and a semester of college in which I was pretending to attend. But that’s literally not because I was “I’m smarter than those guys”, I was an idiot; I didn’t know what I wanted to do and I was arrogant…you wouldn’t have liked me if you had met me when I was 19. I’m serious. You would have been like “Ugh, that guy, jesus christ, when will he shut up?”
I’m totally serious about that.
So, I’m a proponent in taking things at your own pace. I think one of the things that happens when you’re about to graduate from high school or graduate from college, is that you feel a pressure to have decided upon a path.
I think that if I could go back and tell my young self one thing, it’s “You’ve got more time than you think.” Now, I recognize in the global scheme we have a very short time on this earth, but at 18…you have so much more time than you think. You have time to learn how to weld, or breed cattle, or farm, or become a woodworker. There is time to do those things. I remember being 18 and looking at a friend’s sculpture that he had welded and thinking “Ha, welding! There’s something I never have time to learn!”
What a stupid thought to have. Really ridiculous. That was ludicrous. Future me would go back and smack myself in the head and be like “Dude, you’ve got time to learn how to weld. Get over it.”
Do you bleed?
Yes! I've even done it on the show a few times.
Do you wish you could pull off the beret as well as Jamie can?
Yes. Who doesn't?
Hi Adam! Why do I always seem to find out about AMA's about 3 hours too late?
Don't worry. I'll be popping in and out of this AMA all day, between meetings.
Is your butt sore from Stephen Colbert shooting it with a penny?
It hurt just enough to be funny. Here's the high-speed of the shot, without the blur. http://imgur.com/0UoRFO4
Big fan been watching since a kid. Two questions, what's your advice to young makers and what's the average budget of an episode of Mythbusters?
Advice is to find an object you want to make and then work with the materials at hand: cardboard and masking tape can do amazing things: http://www.instructables.com/id/Build-a-17-Tall-Cardboard-Papercraft-Gandhi/
Average budget of MB was about 7k per episode for materials, location fees, experts, permits and expendables like on-site meals etc. That doesn't cover crew costs, camera rentals, vehicles etc.
Do you, or any of the old crew have a new show with Science or Discovery Channel on the horizon since Mythbusters are ending... so sad to hear it? I ask because I am really going to miss seeing you and the rest of the crew doing all the amazing things that some of us can only dream of being able to do.
What about a creating a new episode or a season of "Unchained Reaction"... or "Dangerous Toys" back in 2014? I would love to be on unchained reaction or sit and watch another Dangerous Toys episode
Aww shucks thanks. I'm proud of both of those shows, especially 'Toys.
Are you not afraid of cancer when you bleach your bunghole?
Not even a little bit.
What is the most expensive myth that you guys have tested on the show?
Third Rocket car.
Do you enjoy blowing shit up?
Seriously? Or is this your "he's gone and will never read this, so I'll just post this anyway...
(if this is a serious question, the answer is yes)
Just watched the Reddit episode so tell me Mr.Savage how do baby unicorns poop out gummy bears?
I could describe it but you'd have to see it happening in order to understand.
It's like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MO0r930Sn_8
Only different. Just be pure of heart, you'll see it eventually. I believe in you.
Do you ever just....not. I mean. Take a day off and veg' out on the couch? Not that I'm not loving all the content though!
I take more of those than you'd think. My version is sleep in (when you have kids 9am is sleeping in) make breakfast drive dogs to the beach come home and eat a sandwich nap take dogs to the woods make dinner tv sleep
What was your first job? And what was your first job that had to do with what you do now?
And is it true that you once sat through a five-hour-long silent movie?
First job was paperboy. Second was sorting returned books at the Library (Warner Library in Tarrytown, NY). First job that touched on my current circumstances: I worked afterschool for free for the local public access cable station in 82,83. I helped produce a weekly show called "This World of MIME".
What did you do that got you to where you are now? For instance what should I do to become a co-host of a show where you blow stuff up and take stuff apart?
Dude that ship has sailed. I can't even get that job anymore.
What is the thing you're going to miss the most about being on set with the crew? What is the thing you'll miss blowing up the most?
I miss my crew period. They rock. Best crew in TV.
What do you plan on doing now that my favorite show is done?... What am I gonna do now that the show is done?
Here's the plan: I'm gonna do stuff on Tested.com and other places. You're gonna watch it.
Does that work? (there's already a lot of stuff to watch on Tested.com, and years of my podcast, if in fact it's me you miss (which I'm assuming because you're writing to me (might be self-absorbed to think it but my name is at the top of the page (okay that's enough parenthesis))))
Hey Adam! I just want to say how much I idolize you. I've always bragged to people that I live about 15 minutes from the bomb range.
Anyways, are you going to Bay Area Maker Faire this year and if so would it be possible to meet you somehow? I missed your talk at Maker Faire a couple years ago by 15 minutes and it really bummed me out.
I will be at the Maker faire this year! I always do a long autograph session there, so that's a good place to start.
1) Why don't you use (at least some) statistical tools to analyse data and determine what exacltly the experiments you've carried out is showing? On mythbusters, you guys throw expressions like "statistically significant" a lot but it's never supported by any sort of analyses. We've seen that many times: you look at 2 data points - only 2, e.g. race lap times of 2mins 15 secs and 2 mins 45secs - and conclude that they're not "statistically" different or whatnot. It's profoundly wrong and retarded, and it totally discredits you as scientists (even though you routinely claim that you're doing scientific experiments). Moreover, it gives the impression that stats are just some sort of feelings-based social science. That show would have been a fantastic tribune to increase people's understanding of statistics and how to read data, so that media have a harder time feeding us biased information.
2) Why haven't you hired a resident scientist on mythbusters? Don't tell me Grant is a scientist: he's a technician, a engineer. I am absolutely baffled by the number of times you, jaimie or the narrator said something soooo dumb, which could have been corrected by having a scientist proof-read the text. One example I have in mind is when you tried to determine if air bubbles in water affect the density of water and therefore the buoyancy of swimmers. That episode was shock-full of errors that could have been avoided by having a staff scientist. BTW: water bubbles don't decrease the density of water, just like a bunch of metal balls in the bottom of the pool don't increase the density of water. Dissolved gasses do affect the density of water, but a heterogenous mix of water + whatever you want doesn't change the density of water itself nor the buoyancy.
I'm sorry we disappointed you.
What makes you so happy all the time? Every time I've watched the show it seems like you can laugh off anything, and are rarely miserable.
I'm pretty optimistic. I get it from my mom. She makes me look like an amateur. She's 81 and I can't keep up with her.
Hey Adam! Love the show and all you do.
Just two simple questions.
Do you consider a hot dog a sandwich.
Do you like ketchup on hot dogs?
I like two, no three kinds of hot dogs. 1. Plain sabrettes (from NEW YORK) with mustard AND ketchup (I know I know... deal with it) 2. Chicago style (the full monty) 3. Japadog in Vancouver. 4. 4505 makes a mean dog here in SF
Mythbusters is ending? That's sad, but tbh I thought it ended like a year ago, havent seen it on Discovery in a long while. D:
Thanks for piping in, that was illuminating. We all appreciate your contribution to the conversation.
Did you get the hunters point gantry crane model I mailed your office?
Yes!! Thank you! I really appreciate it. I has a pride of place on my 3d printed shelf in the Cave.
I just wanted to say that you and mythbusters have played a crucial role in my curiosity of how the world works. I listen to all your tested stuff and have seen almost every episode on mythbusters. I have been 3D printing, laser cutting and engraving, designing, painting, woodworking, soldering and way more than I can list. I have gotten into drone FPV racing because of norm's special with charpu on tested and I'm loving it.
I am also a father of twin boys and am separated from their mother. You are my inspiration that I can have a quality life separated and still be a great father to my kids, while being successful.
My question is:
In your opinion is No Face from Spirited Away good, bad or simply shaped by his surroundings?
I just showed my boys (they're 4) spirited away for the first time and it was the only movie so far they were glued to their seats. They're one sentence was "daddy I don't want to be turned into a piglet" lol.
Please keep up the awesome work, and thank you for being an incredibly positive influence on my day to day life.
No face is absolutely shaped by his surroundings, but he's essentially good, he just wants love.
and you're welcome. Thanks and good luck!
Hey mister Savage, is it true your working with Simone giertz?
We do have something in the works. She's amazing.
Can a wasp have autism?
Yes. So can catholics.
Are you guys gonna just retire and roll around in your money on a private island or what? What is next?
If you can point me to where that bed-made-of-money is, I'll be happy to go there. I mean we were well paid, but that's COPPERFIELD money you're talking about. We didn't make that kind of money.
If you make a quesadilla with one tortilla that is folded, is it a half or whole quesadilla?
Depends upon how many tortillas I have.
Hi Adam, thanks for doing this AMA, I've always loved you and the whole Mythbusters crew! I used to set a series record on my Sky box so I could watched every episode every day they came out. I must've watched every episode at east 5 times
Since I've moved to university, I no longer have Sky so can't watch Mythbusters, so I found out about your channel 'Tested', and I've been hooked ever since! You've made a difficult, and stressful university degree more manageable when I know that I can sit down at the end of the day and watch one of your videos, so thank you for that.
I'm not sure if you'll read this far down the comments, and I'm sorry that I don't really have a question for you, I just really wanted to say thank you :)
I guess my question to you (seeing as the mods removed my comment for not being an actual question) would be: How do you sustain such immaculate facial hair?
I recently moved from a razor to an electric razor. I am too lazy to go see what brand I bought, but it's the top rec from wirecutter.com (one of my favorite all time sites)
I recently moved from a razor to an electric razor. I am too lazy to go see what brand I bought, but it's the top rec from wirecutter.com (one of my favorite all time sites)
Full disclosure, Brian Lam is a friend (so it's a friend plug ok?)
Have you ever studied Goethe, Adam? I've always been curious about this, after watching some of your better videos on Tested.
Goethe was an 18th century German polymath, born in Frankfurt in 1749. He died in the small city of Weimar in 1832, after having lived through the Seven Years War, the American and French Revolutions and the Napoleonic Wars. When he was born Germany was still a Feudal confederation of minor aristocratic duchies and independent city states. When he died the first railways and telegraph wires were being laid.
Goethe himself, from 1775 until his death, was the political administrator of a small little state called Weimar-Saxe, situated in the center of what is only today called Germany. The diverse nature of Goethe's interests and occupations during this period represents one of the most profound manifestations of Humanism in the history of ideas.
Goethe, during this time,
Not only that, but in his leisure he also found time to write one of the most sophisticated bodies of work in the history of literature, one that includes classics like Tasso, Egmont, Wilhelm Meister, and Elective Affinities.
The volume of primary sources about his life, written both by Goethe and those who knew him, makes him probably one of the most well recorded individuals in the history of humanity. I own a volume of letters written about him by those who met him, and it contains letters written by Schiller, Madame de Staël, Talleyrand, Beethoven, Felix Mendelssohn and William Thackeray, among others. He met Napoleon, saw Mozart preform as a child, and was witness to both the Siege of Mainz and the eruption of Vesuvius.
Goethe knew more than 7 languages. He was a passionate, and accomplished collector of both art and scientific specimens and experiments. Among his immediate contemporaries and associates were the world famous naturalist and explorer, Alexander von Humboldt, who greatly inspired Darwin, one of the earliest practitioners of what is today called Theoretical Physics, Friedrich Schelling, the founder of modern Anthropology, Gottfried Herder, not to mention Schiller. Since Goethe's death (and life even) figures from Thomas Carlyle, to Nietzsche, to Freud have obsessed over him, both the beauty of his art, as well as the complexities of his development as a human being and what it meant for the history of Mankind as a whole.
Now, I ask if you've ever read him because of how you remind me of him, how Goethean your approach to seeing things is. You share with him a great zeal for collecting, and you have a similar mania for ensuring that your collection is ordered and complete. You also are very aesthetically minded and oriented, you appreciate at once the beauty of both beautiful works of art, as well as, 'beautiful' scientific proofs and engineering solutions. In fact I think I once saw you talking about the necessary relationship between art and science in a video of a talk you gave.
You also have the same tendency to abstract and generalize your own problem solving algorithm. You speak at great lengths about the general way in which you approach your own collecting and building of things, and once you arrive at this principle, you then apply it to everything else that you do and immediately recognize the implications it has for your whole understanding of the world and your own place in it.
Goethe did something similar, in his books. His worldview was extremely dynamical, not only were we machines who were affected and compelled by the world around us, but we were also actors within it who compelled it to change and grow. The give and take of this relationship continued on throughout human history until, like evolution, it reached a complex, dynamic, and every changing harmony.
You can see this readily in his Italian Journey, a book he wrote about his travels through Italy. In it you see his great mind work over, in a way that is at once both scientific, and artistic, the world which he finds himself surrounded by. And you see him shape his own understanding of his environment as if it were a painting and he was Rembrandt. He patiently and cheerfully observes the climate and weather, the geology and topography of the landscape, the various and diverse kinds of plants that grow there, and he connects these things together with the greatest taste and artistry to form a vivid and holistic mental painting of the world. And at the same time, he studies the fine art and architecture of Italy. The greatness of the work is the connection that Goethe makes between these two things, and how he applies what he learns while he's studying to be a painter, to the way in which he scientifically conceptualizes the external universe.
If you'd like to learn something about Goethe there are some very fine books about him. "Discovering the Mind" by Walter Kaufmann, "Conversations with Goethe" by Eckermann, "Lotte in Weimar" by Thomas Mann (which is a very intricate, and somewhat critical, historical novel), "The Disinherited Mind" by Erich Heller, "Culture and Society in Classical Weimar: 1775 to 1806" by W. H. Bruford, "A Study of Goethe" by Barker Fairley, and a great, recent (and still ongoing) biography by Nicholas Boyle called "Goethe: The Poet on the Age"
Holy shit! I am familiar with just the barest outline of Goethe, apparently. Thanks for the incredible post and the book recs! I'll get them and have a read!
Hey Adam, I really like your reproduction props that you make. Do you ever think you might make a reproduction movie car like a Mad Max Interceptor, Bluesmobile, or the MIB LTD?
If I could have any movie car, it'd be a spinner from Blade Runner. Keanu's car from John Wick is a close second.
When I watched Myth Busters, I always cringed anticipating an injury to occur on the show. What were some highlight injuries that the audience didn't get to see/know about?
I have at least 40 stitches that happened off camera.
I have at least 40 stitches that happened off camera.
Not at once. Usually 7 at a time. Weirdly most all of my stitches are either 7 or 14. they once tried to give me 5 stitches and I carefully explained they'd have to add two more.
I learned to love Still Untitled while up with my infant daughter in the middle of the night - it remains one of my favorite listens two years later!
Question: You recently fell in love with Hamilton. Any chance of a techie episode of Still Untitled about the show?
I'm seeing it later this month. You can expect that I'll talk about it. I can't shut up about it.
Whats your favorite yahoo question? Oh and please dont hate me but how did you get so cool? Waiting! What do you think of drugs?
I think it's time for some chips or something to satisfy your munchies.
Would you be interested in "testing" ludicrous mode on the Tesla Model S P90D? You know, for science.
Yes. Yes I would.
Noticed you mentioned juggling a few times in the Still Untitled podcasts. How skilled are you at juggling? Do you own any juggling equipment?
I have a bunch. I'm very mediocre. Here's a talk where I show the totality of my skill https://vimeo.com/130263736 (by the way, in this video, you can hear me get heckled: the hecklers were the FLYING KARAMAZOF BROTHERS. Best day ever)
How have you overcome your sleep apnea to achieve your level of energy and success throughout the years? Also, how severe is it and has it played a role in shaping you into the person you are today? I am currently suffering with the condition and find your success an inspiration.
I lost 30 pounds and my apnea went away. This works for a fair percentage of people. I was lucky. In the first few seasons I was nearly 200lbs. Now I'm right around 170.
Not a question, but I ran into you at a drone launch thing once. I was back stage taking photos for work and you walked by and I did a double take.
"Mr. Savage?" I asked, terrified that I was calling some other random guy with blonde facial hair and a nerdy t-shirt an awesome sounding name.
"Oh yeah, it's me!" You confirmed joyfully, and shook my hand. It was dang nice of you.
That sounds like me. I think I've only ever denied being me once.
Hey Adam, Joel Here from The Big Brain Theory. Remember us? The answer is No like most of America. We followed your Time slot in 2013 on Discovery. During filming they always told us that you guys were invited on the show as special guests but were too busy to come down and visit.
Was this true or were they just sparing our feelings? We all really wanted to meet you and I wanted to beg for a job on the build team.
Hi Joel! I do remember you! That answer was totally true. We shot MB full time. It was relentless.
From my six year old mega fan (who literally cried when he found out this would be the final season):
Do you get more joy from busting or confirming a myth?
Neither. I'm agnostic as to what the outcome will be.
is you're name really savage?
Yep. It's a good irish name.
Will you be having a panel at San Diego Comic Con again? Last year was an absolute blast with hero after hero walking on stage!
Yeah, I'm not sure how I'd top that. But yes. If they'll have me.
If you could get one authentic prop from any movie/show/etc completely free no matter size or cost. what would it be?
I'll take the MILLENIUM FALCON
Just one question, During the gummy bear rocket myth, it is said that that the rocket is "loaded and locked" how could you pass up "LOX and loaded"?
I would also like to add that it has been a pleasure to come home from where ever it is I have been, through troubled times and great, to have this weeks episode of Mythbusters to get me excited about education (a really hard thing to do!) and to give me the creative inspiration to go out something as exciting and fun in my life as I'm sure this show has been to you and many others. Farewell for now, but this I'm sure will not be the last adventure.
I wish I was that clever. Good line. Well done. Many of my puns were handed to me by my sound man Matt Jepson. He's the master of the pun.
Do you still own an Abarth? For someone who has is able to afford most mass production vehicles, why a Fiat? My guess is something exciting that's environmentally friendly?
I just got rid of the Abarth. Only because for various reasons we decided to chuck it (and another car) and get a new Prius. But I loved that Fiat! It's a fantastic car and I can't recommend it highly enough. It's a sports car that has super parking powers (in SF that's a big deal) and it sounds AWESOME. Only reason I don't still have it is I don't have enough parking.
Do you think one day builds are something you'll be doing more of now that mythbuster is over?
If you're still answering questions:
What resources would you point kids or teens towards in regards to "maker" things? I know MAKE magazine has books and the like aimed at kids. But I'm curious for "the Adam Savage™ Recommendation" list.
Thanks for doing the show. I appreciate what Jamie, the Build Team, and you have done over the years.
Make is the gold standard. It's a great time to be a kid maker.
How do you backup your computer?
I put it in reverse and look through the rear window.
Can I buy you a drink at the Lone Palm? It's my favorite bar in the city and you're my favorite dude.
Dude that was MY bar back in the day. I don't mean I owned it, but I closed it many times...
Was it you I walked past coming out of the parking garage next to Union Square in SF a few weekends ago?
You seemed to be with family or friends, so I didn't think it was appropriate to say anything at the time.
I was with my family!
I was with my family!
I meant that enthusiastically.
Hi Adam, I know you're a drone enthusiast, will you be testing the Phantom 4? Also, what is currently your favorite consumer drone on the market?
Tested has already had some time with it. it's here: http://www.tested.com/tech/564795-hands-djis-phantom-4-quadcopter-drone/
Adam, do you have a favorite style of beer?
I don't really drink. But when I did it was Sierra Nevada all the way.
Sorry about asking two questions but this is important. I just built a killer man cave in my basement but it isn't complete without a metal plaque that says "Busted". where can I get one?
Gotta make your own. I've seen fans make great ones out of cardboard and liquid nails and paint...
Hello Mr. Savage, you answered a question I asked in one of your previous AMAs, so I decided to follow ask you another. Would you like to host another TV Show or are you wanting to stay with the Tested Youtube Channel? Thank You :)
There will likely be other shows.
I'm going into college soon and was wondering: what courses and or major would get me to what you do in the way of special effects? ever since I learned of what the industry did I was interested i it, especially after watching countless episodes of Mythbusters and Tested. So... How would I achieve this goal of mine.
P.S. Not going to brown-nose too much here but, just going to let it be said that you are an idol of mine.
That is all... Thank you.
Learn how to work in 3d, and learn to animate.
how lost were you in your twenties? or did you kind of know where you were headed?
Very lost. Talked about this in the video part of the AMA. Some talent. No ambition. Weird. AND I didn't know how to work hard until I was around 24 or so. BOY did I not know how to work hard.
Hey Adam, what ever Happened to your Inventern?
Sean lives here in CA and I see him not infrequently! Awesome guy. We've done a couple projects together.
Why are Adams always so amazing and great?
I think you're looking in the mirror and talking out loud.
Have you ever seen what mystery lies under Jamie's beret?
The world can't handle it.
What was it like working for ILM?
Heavenly. Love all of those guys.
Dear adam, i hope im not to late, but, do you think buster should get a twin and both of them should get a surgical procedure to replace their hands with rubber ducks (yes those rubber ducks) and box? Beacuse i do
Hey hey, It's the Mythbusters! You guys have been a pretty awesome part of my life up until now, and I think that it's pretty ironic that Mythbusters, the show that made me want to become an adult so I could get jobs doing cool things like you guys, is going away six days before I turn 18.
Anyways, when you were a wee young lad, what did you think you were going to do when you were an adult, and has that dream been fulfilled?
First job I wanted: design for Lego. Second career I wanted: work on Star Wars.
Roughly what percentage of Mythbusters is really just an excuse to blow shit up?
My exchange with college security: "If I jimmy this and get your keys out, it might set off the car alarm, and you'll have to drive somewhere to get it turned off."
Me: "Ok. I have no spare set, so that'll work." Security: "But your alarm will sound for the entire time you drive somewhere?!"
Me: "Ok. I have no other choice, so that'll have to do."
Security: "But your alarm won't turn off til the place turns it off, so I'm not gonna try."
That's when you ask him for the slim jim.
What is your favorite game type to play when you shoot pool?
I like 8-ball and straight pool.
Hi Adam! Hope I'm not too late to the party here, just went through most of the questions and was surprised no one asked you anything about quadcopters. I've seen you flying your DJI inspire quite a bit and understand you are more about the camera angle possibilities, but do you have much experience with mini quads and FPV goggles? What's your thoughts on where this burgeoning Sport is going?
I can't deal with the full fpv experience. Too constricting. I use a half FPV system with a camera eyepiece mounted to my chest. We covered it on Tested.com
Who are you voting for this presidential election?
Aw jeez, I always get to these way too late. Well, here's hoping you notice.
I ordered a 3D printed replica kit of the Blade Runner Gun off the RPF about a year ago, and finished putting it together a few months ago. Well I saw in the order thread that you had bought one on the site, I was wondering how well it was coming along for you? Have you put it together? If so, how does it compare to the Tomenosuke or your own custom build, or even the Hero prop? I'm a huge fan of the gun too, so it's pretty neat to have a link back to the internet's local expert on Rick Deckard Sidearms, even if it is minuscule.
I haven't put my 3d printed blaster together yet. Send a pic of yours!
Adam, I'm pretty certain I saw you wipe-out riding a one wheeled contraption a few weeks ago at 17th and Valencia, and I have got to say I have never seen anyone fall so casually - your years of falling experience really shone through, and I almost clapped - but didn't want to bring attention to you.
So now I'm mentioning it on a public forum.
My question is: I often shop at Center Hardware on Mariposa, and the guys there won't stop talking about the fact that you guys used to come in to buy hardware all the time before Carrie and Grant (I think) took over hardware store runs - what's the most ridiculous thing you had to buy there, and what was it for?
I was so hoping nobody saw that. But I'm glad I appeared to have some control over the situation. I still go there frequently! I don't know about weird. Weirdest thing I ever tried to source in the early days was a glass stomach.
I've always wondered about celebrities that have reddit accounts. Do you generally browse on your publicly known username, or do you have a 2nd account that you use that is private?
Just remember, when a stripper tells you her "real" name, that's also a fake name.
I could be wrong, but aren't we about two years overdue for the R2-D2 Tested video promised in the C3-P0 one?
I just watched the Adam Incognito with Chris Hadfield. What was it like meeting him? It seemed like you hit it off quite well. what were his thoughts on your handy work? What has been your favorite Adam Incognito so far?
Chris is the best. He's a good friend and an amazing guy to be around. We actually were at TED together and had valentines dinner together. So we're valentines.
Why does discovery channel suck ass balls now?
Late to the party, already drunk.
I aced a public speaking class thanks to a speech you gave at Makerfaire in 2013, so thank you for that.
For an actual question, though, there's a lot of stuff I would love to make, but have not the ability, finances, time, or the space to make it happen. Has there ever been a project you've desperately wanted to make, but haven't been able to due to constraints like these? Are there any projects you have on a perpetual back burner until you can make time to do them?
I always have about 2 dozen projects on the back burner. Some long term, some that just need a few hours to get done. I have project ADD sometimes.
Hi Adam, would you ever come over to my house for dinner? Thanks for hosting Tested; I love watching your one-day builds!
Where do you get LDF? I can't seem to find it at Home Depot or Lowes. They only seem to carry MDF.
I'm not sure where we buy it now. PALS used to sell it but they're no longer in business I think. It's called truepan. High end lumber places carry it.
Real quick i just wanted to say thank you. You are one of the most inspiring speakers i have ever heard. I started listening to your podcast (Still Untitled:The Adam Savage Project for those who dont know) and i have never been so motivated to make stuff. So much so that i got a 3D printer and am considering changing career paths. So thank you for helping people learn to love making and science.
My question: are you going to continue to do live shows like Mythbusters live? Where should we look for these shows to be announced?
I will tour again, in 2017. Not with Jamie, but I'm currently writing a very cool, large auditorium touring show that will be SPECTACULAR. For more details you'll just have to wait.
How did you decide who was going to be the "butt model" on the "getting sucked into an airplane toilet" episode? Seems like you just picked the cute girl to have a cute butt.
That was Jamie's call.
What's your favorite cookie?
It is really really hard to beat this cookie: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/115264071683485820/
They sell them at Jump Start near my house and it's been one of my fave cookies for 20 years. Seriously. It's insanely good. Just happens to be vegan. You wouldn't notice otherwise.
Ahoy there, Adam! Question: did you play with Lego as a kid? What do you think of Lego as a building medium? I'm a huge fan of Lego but have only recently got back into it since abandoning it in childhood.
Best toy ever.
Are you related to Vandal savage ?
Hi, Adam! I know I'm late, and I hope I didn't miss you! First, I just wanted to say that there were three TV shows I watched as a child/teenager that changed my life and got me interested in science and they were: Cosmos w/Carl Sagan, Bill Nye the Science Guy, and Mythbusters!
I have loved Mythbusters since day one, and I'm so sad to see it coming to a close. But I know that all good things must come to an end at some point, so thank you for all the years of awesome work! My husband and I are going to buy the box set of all Mythbusters seasons whenever that comes out so we can show them to our son! He turns 3 next month, and he already loves rockets and airplanes, and he loved your gummy bear rocket fuel episode =)
My question is: how awesome was that U-2 ride?!
Insanely awesome. The whole team of incredible men and women at Beale AFB was so welcoming and professional. I loved that ride.
Hi! I hope it's not too late. I just wanted to say we watch mythbustes in our physics class and we love it! So, I have 2 questions. First, is a toast sandwich (bread over toast over bread) a sandwich or just stacked bread. Second, if you cut a sandwich in half, is it 2 smaller sandwiches or are they still considered 1 sandwich?
I'd also like to say you're a huge inspiration to me. You got me interested in physics and explosions, and now I am looking into doing both in my future, by trying to be an aerospace engineer. Thank you so much!
But presently you like annoying your physics teacher. Admit it, you do don't you.
A toast sandwich is a sandwich. Cutting a sandwich in half makes two half-sandwiches.
Unless of course you cut the crusts off, then cutting them in half makes tea sandwiches.
Mr. Savage, what happened after your post on /r/TIFU? Did you get those guys another drone?
Okay kidlets. I've been at this for awhile now and I think it's time to pack it in. Thanks for all the awesome questions and comments and I'm glad and grateful and humbled to the comments about what Mythbusters has meant to you. I'm fundamentally changed by making that show and I'm glad it's had some positive effect. My best to everyone and I'll see you lurking around here somewhere...