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Mythbusting

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One of my favorite shows for a few years was the show “Mythbuster’s”

But over the years, I began to notice a trend and began to lose interest.

One episode in particular was about a modern day myth where it’s been said that if someone drops a penny off the top of the empire state building, then it can obtain such velocity to kill a person on the street below.

Now the Mythbuster’s – in traditional myth busting style – break out with the ballistic gel, and use it to coat a pig skull, and their test of the myth was – once they did the mathematical calculations, if they ejected a penny from point blank range at a certain speed, then if it broke the skull – this would be determined to be an instant fatality.

Sounded reasonable.

But as I looked at the experiment. It just wasn’t reflective of real life to me.

I’d been hit by things that were thrown at me at the mall before from only 20 feet above me when I was growing up – life as a nerd, and while it may not have a high velocity, it hurt like a mother fucker.

So while a penny may have a certain expected velocity.

This ‘closed test’ just lacked realism.

One would think a realistic test would be to go to a tall building and drop pennies on the target until they landed on the target and THEN bust the myth accordingly.

There’s so many things that aren’t taken into account in a closed system test like they did.

For instance, there’s a well documented effect for larger buildings that a vacuum is created on the sides of larger buildings based on winds. A vacuum could cause massive acceleration and greatly increase the speed of something called terminal velocity to increase the velocity of that penny beyond anything they might get from a textbook because of a complete loss of friction.

That’s one possibility.

Another possibility is – another well documented effect called wind sheer, where taller buildings tend to exhibit effects which increase wind speeds around buildings. This was something I witnessed as a private pilot around tall mountains where I LOST nearly a mile in altitude within 30 seconds one time – fearing I was going to get smashed into the mountains – and there was NO stress to my plane or any change in apparent wind speed as this was happening, just my stomach saying “Here we go down REAL fast!” and visual references to validate it.

These things weren’t considered before they summarily busted it. So in theory, with my increased velocity, that penny can quite literally increase in velocity to 300, 400 miles per hour – EASILY causing damage to someone’s skull through WELL documented effects.

You have air pockets that form. Turbulence that forms. All these weird atmospheric conditions which are perfectly normal – can all cause all kinds of unexpected behavior on that there penny.

And maybe there’s things about the world that these text books didn’t quite capture.

I suppose you could say. Once I saw this episode where they completely destroyed the myth – calling it ‘myth busted’ based on a closed system test inside a room with a penny ejected at a certain velocity, without any external interference, I came to question the entire series.

So I started re-watching other episodes.Things I’d previously agreed with.

I realized. Wow. I felt like I had been naive.

This show I had loved for years was suddenly demonstrating to me a remarked lack of real world applicability, consistently, and as I rewatched episodes and found myself scratching my head saying “how the hell did I miss this before?” as they subtly replaced real world applicability with a dependency on mathematics and physics which I quite often didn’t fully understand at the time I saw it.

It was bizarre. Like I’d been hypnotized and didn’t know it as I relied on their calculations which made it possible for them to replace real world testing with closed texting which had subtly shifted from real world applicability.

It’s like this – if you have a horse race – the odds to the race and the likelihood of the horses matching those odds are remote, by design. But if you’ve ever dug into the odds and the probability it takes to create the odds on a seemingly simple horse race, alone, you’ll find a nightmare in possibilities that can quickly make determining the placement of those horses almost impossible to ascertain.

For instance, as I learned trying to figure out odds one time – a rider can have been drinking the night before, or underslept, or be/she could be on fire that day – and riders contribute in unimaginable ways to the success of that horse winning a race.

Now add into that horse ownership, grooming, weather conditions, track conditions, competition, and you have yourself a complex mathematical relationship underlying that race that seemingly defies imagination.

So in a closed test. The Mythbusters had willy nilly tried saying something wasn’t possible because of their simplistic tests which eliminated every variable except for those they found most important.

In a simulation. I can see the logic behind their observation.

But reality isn’t that simplistic a simulation the last I checked.

This isn’t to say it’s not a simulation. Which I do feel it is. I just believe it’s immensely more complex than their simplistic test attempted to demonstrate the invalidity of a long fabled myth.

You could say this acted as my spark.

From there. Combined with a number of other conflicting beliefs – I begun to investigate the world.

And I started to have fun with it.

But instead of myth busting, I’d seen the mistakes they made that I know I myself had made.

So I began doing just the opposite.

I began asking – HOW can that be made possible?

So one day. Doctor Who – a time traveling show is on television. The Doctor’s taken Rose Tyler, one of our favorite companions, to the end of Earth. Earth is mere hours away from being decimated by the sun going supernova some 2 billion years in the future – and a shielded observation platform has been moved to within range of the Earth to observe and document the event. Only the most important from across the universe are invited to the event.

As Rose looks at the dying planet Earth and the Doctor explains that the few remaining inhabitants that actually lasted this long and the rest of life has been safely moved off the planet, she gets remorseful.

“I suppose it’s just hitting me. My mom. She’s been dead for a few billion years,” she says.

The Doctor, understanding the human mind and frailty of psyche, asks Rose for her cell phone, to which she reluctantly hands over. “There” he says, and a moment later – he hands it back to her.

“Mum,” she says in her delightfully British accent with tears in her eyes, “Are you ok?”

“Never better, Rose, is everything ok?,” her mom responds.

A tear streaks down Rose’s eye as she stammers out. “I was. Just thinking of you. I’m glad you’re ok, I just wanted to check in on you.”

She exchanges a few more words and hangs up.

“How did you do that? My mom. She’s dead. I can see that planet. There’s no one alive on it. How is that possible?”

The Doctor looks at her and says something along the lines of “Timey Whimey,”

Now for years. I’d actually pondered. How could that have happened?

How could someone in a time machine carry on a conversation with someone 2 billion years in the past?

The answer’s surprisingly easy.

Every possibility that can happen in any point in space and time is available to me at any moment in time.

In energy. It’s possible to access those possibilities through the technology we create. So whether it’s seeing the stage of a Hollywood product from the past, or it’s seeing the distant future and a man who’s leveraging the same technological awareness to help her communicate with the modern day.

Energy’s timeless.

Einstein tried saying as much with his equation of E=MC^2, where I THINK he knew that eventually some humans would begin to understand that a constant is a function of belief and that light’s speed and time itself was actually a malleable part of that equation, as much as the other variables.

Apply the same functions and mentality to radio waves. To television signals. To anything that has a wave form to it, and you can witness any point in history – past, present and future – through these waves.

The Doctor knew this. And for him, this simple recalculation let him reprogram a phone to dial 2 billion years in the past.

For me. Mythbusting. Once I saw a Terminator world in the Mojave Desert which others called a hallucination. That was my pivotal life defining moment. I lost friends, temporarily, to find meaning to this thing called life.

I wasn’t convinced I deserve a fantasy life, I wasn’t convinced I deserved the women of my dreams, and I wasn’t convinced that things like time travel and wealth were all within my reach and were even available.

Not only do I know differently now.

I have no doubt about it.

And that it’s available to anyone who wants it.

Dearest Doctor. I believe you’re real.

And I have no doubt you’re traveling throughout time as easily as I can walk to the grocery store.

And one day I’d like to shake your hand and thank you for changing my life through your stories.

For me. It’s crazy believing this isn’t possible.


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