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President Obama To Appear On Mythbusters 795 795

Muondecay writes "President Obama will be featured in the December 8th MythBusters episode, 'Archimedes Solar Ray,' during which he will challenge Adam and Jamie to revisit an ancient and somewhat controversial myth: Did Greek scientist and polymath Archimedes set fire to an invading Roman fleet using only mirrors and the reflected rays of the sun during the Siege of Syracuse? This is part of a White House effort to highlight the importance of science education."
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President Obama To Appear On Mythbusters

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  • by Manip (656104) on Monday October 18, 2010 @02:43PM (#33936178)
    They're doing Archimedes solar ray AGAIN? Aren't we up to three already (the original myth and two revisits)? Obviously I think it is fun that Obama will be on the show but frankly aside from that I really don't want to see that same tired Myth for a third time...
  • Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by orphiuchus (1146483) on Monday October 18, 2010 @02:48PM (#33936260)
    I don't really have a problem with the president appearing on random TV shows a few times during their term, but I would really like Obama to spend less time being cool and more time fixing shit.
  • by Pojut (1027544) on Monday October 18, 2010 @02:49PM (#33936286) Homepage

    My favorite part was how people were (rightly) criticizing him for being such a media whore, when the conservative savior of 2008 Sarah Palin has a freakin' TV show [discovery.com].

  • by master0ne (655374) <emberingdeadN05P4M&gmail,com> on Monday October 18, 2010 @02:50PM (#33936306)

    I think this is more of a "media event" to promote sciences and education more than trying to prove anything. When the goverment wants to prove something, they dont turn to Adam and Jamie, they hire scietists with billion dollar budgets and secret labs. This is more just the president trying to get more kids involved in science/history etc.... i doubt he even thinks their orignal conclusion was wrong, just wanted a intresting "Myth" for the duo to revisit that might turn a few heads. Take this for what it is.... a attempt to revive education in the american youth.

  • by synthesizerpatel (1210598) on Monday October 18, 2010 @02:51PM (#33936312)

    Even though the false-birther myth has been reiterated time and time again by conspiracy theorists and infortainment 'pundits', and that it's been proven false time and time again by reliable news media. It'd be nice if we could just cut/paste the URL to the mythbuster segment to anyone who might still be laboring under the false pretense..

    Although, come to think of it, I suspect that the people who still believe this myth probably don't use the internet much.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Monday October 18, 2010 @02:51PM (#33936330)

    And she is unable to mention one magazine she reads. How they could be proud of such a moron I will never understand.

  • by BobMcD (601576) on Monday October 18, 2010 @02:54PM (#33936370)

    They're doing Archimedes solar ray AGAIN? Aren't we up to three already (the original myth and two revisits)? Obviously I think it is fun that Obama will be on the show but frankly aside from that I really don't want to see that same tired Myth for a third time...

    Yeah, the whole event screams 'PR stunt' more than anything else. I hope it doesn't spell the beginning of the end for Mythbusters, but this feels like a really weak excuse to have the President on TV, and it damages the integrity of both bodies. Mythbusters is clearly, undeniably now more 'show' than 'science', and that's too bad, and the Pres has clearly never watched the program...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 18, 2010 @02:59PM (#33936488)

    "This is part of a White House effort to highlight the importance of science education."

    How is Myth busters in any way useful for promoting science education?

    Perhaps we should start learning to drive by watching Top Gear.

  • Wanted: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CaptSlaq (1491233) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:00PM (#33936502)
    -1 (flamebait) rating for articles.
  • by jdgeorge (18767) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:01PM (#33936536)

    I think you missed the intended sarcasm of the OP.

  • by operagost (62405) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:05PM (#33936608) Homepage Journal

    Hypothesis: The Constitution gives Congress the power to impose mandatory health care insurance on every citizen.
    Experiment: Read the Constitution.
    Observations: Health care is not mentioned anywhere. "General welfare" is, but since bills of attainder and confiscation of life, liberty or property without due process of law are prohibited-- and the health care bill causes summary fines to be levied against those who do not wish to buy health insurance-- this vaguely stated power is negated.
    Conclusion: The health care bill is unconstitutional.
    Notes: The GOP proposed a similar bill in 1994 to combat the radical "Hillarycare". It was a really dumb idea when they proposed it, too.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CannonballHead (842625) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:06PM (#33936630)

    How to be a good supporter of your candidate:

    When a president you like is in office and doesn't do "enough," you claim that the President doesn't really have a lot of power and is more of a figurehead, like royalty.

    When a president you dislike is in office and doesn't do "enough," you claim that the President should be doing more.

    When a president you like is out of office, you blame everything that went wrong in his term on Congress.

    When a president you dislike is out of office, you blame everything that went wrong in his term on him.

    When a president you like is in office and something bad is happening (e.g., the economy), you blame it on the previous administration, because economic problems take a while to develop.

    When a president you dislike is in office and something bad is happening (e.g., the economy), you blame it on the current President or the previous Congress.

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:08PM (#33936670) Journal

    Say this battle happened. How do we know for certain? Because X number of people wrote about it or wrote about people having told them about it or having being told about people who heard it from others. If X is large enough, we accept it as fact. If not, well then it becomes myth or religion.

    Now, imagine a battle. Ships are going to attack an harbor. Ships ain't easily destroyed by the weapons of the age and worse, if you can hit them, they can hit you. They might be unable to hide, but neither can you, you are on the walls of the defences and the enemy knows this.

    So, how can you protect your archers from their archers? Blinding light? Pose them beside mirrors and the enemy can't see them. Simple trick if you think about it. With this blinding light, you can fire countless arrows, even heavy slow ones like fire-arrows and aim at ease.

    How would such a tactic, written down by someone who didn't understand and heard it from someone else be recorded?

    The mighty ships sailed at the harbour and a blinding light erupted from the walls and one by one the mighty ships were set on fire and sunk.

    Death ray is born. Nothing more then smoke and mirrors.

    THAT is what disappoints me about the Myth Busters. They far to often examine only part of a myth or add their own elements, the worsed of it being "well we two couldn't do it, so no-one could". Well, I doubt the myth busters could put a man on the moon. So the moon landings are a myth?

    Take the pycrete "myth". Why the paper substitution? THAT is not what the myth is about. And I still don't know how such a ship could have set sail. After all I presumed WW2 admirals were smart enough to ask "won't it melt". So why wouldn't it have melted?

    Or the Jaws myth. "We are going to examine wether a very large movie monster can ram a ship, but we are going to use a smaller shark because sharks ain't that large in real life..." No shit sherlock. And sharks also don't ram ships in real life.

    What next, I am going to test if my cat likes tuna by feeding it dog shit. If it doesn't like that that proofs it doesn't like tuna?

    As for the movie myths. Can a pen explode, kill a room of baddies but leave the hero intact... NO. If you think James Bond has myths, you REALLY need to get out more.

    The program was okay but has rapidly gone in the general direction of Discovery. Here is a hint. Gay fat guys building bling-bling bikes is NOT science. Mind you, they can go lower. Cakes? Tatoo shops? Why not just relabel it Oprahs Channel and be done with it.

    So cool, they are once again going to proof a couple of overweight Americans can't build something that is highly unlike to have ever existed and if it did, not have been able to destroy and entire fleet before the soldiers landed (or swam ashore) and destroyed it. That is supposed to encourage Americans back to science? Fat chance.

    We know what Americans think about science. We can see it in the nose-dive the science content on Myth-busters has taken. Unless it goes boom, not intrested. Note the increasing lack of myths that do not go boom.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:09PM (#33936676)

    And she is unable to mention one magazine she reads. How they could be proud of such a moron I will never understand.

    Half the population is on the left-hand side of the bell curve. She may seem unsophisticated to (us) "elite" college types, but plenty of people want their elected officials to be folksy types who they could see having a beer with and being your neighbour.

    Being a brainiac is one possible criteria for being in considered suitable for office; some people would sacrifice that a bit for someone who has a bit of empathy/sympathy for the life they have to live, and who they can better related to. (Of course it's possible to simply make it appear you're a "folksy type", but that's another story.)

  • by Joce640k (829181) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:09PM (#33936686) Homepage

    About half the episodes of Mythbusters have either some sort of epic science fail in the experiment or are so obviously busted that they might as well not bother testing them (but they do anyway).

    We still watch them though.

    Obligatory XKCD: http://www.xkcd.com/397/ [xkcd.com]

  • by monoqlith (610041) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:10PM (#33936698)

    Did Greek scientist and polymath Archimedes set fire to an invading Roman fleet using only mirrors and the reflected rays of the sun during the Siege of Syracuse?

    No.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:10PM (#33936700)

    I'd rather Jesse had become Kari's permanent replacement.

  • by Pojut (1027544) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:12PM (#33936732) Homepage

    She isn't holding public office

    Remind me again why that is? Didn't she just walk away from her responsibilities or something...?

  • by Pojut (1027544) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:14PM (#33936762) Homepage

    So let me get this straight. It's ok for her to do the TV show thing...because she abandoned her responsibility to the people that voted for her???

    I generally agree with much of what you post, Wyatt...but damn. Damn.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vlm (69642) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:14PM (#33936766)

    It's not like there's a lot he can actually DO.

    As commander in chief of the armed forces, he can force a couple million personnel to do certain things. They dance to his drum (just as I had to follow Army orders in the early 90s)

    He could theoretically order that the concentration camp in Guantanamo bay be closed, or order all the troops out of the mideast, or order Iran's nuke facilities to be destroyed, or order troops posted on the Mexico border, or ...

    Claiming the commander of the worlds largest, most expensive, and most powerful military is powerless is a wee bit ingenuous.

  • by Moridineas (213502) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:15PM (#33936790) Journal

    I wasn't 100% sure of that statement, thus both the "i think" and the "afaik." Again, FWIW a distant cousin of mine had a staffer job in the White House during 2-3 years of President Bush's second term and he said he had never seen the President without a jacket on in the oval office. Maybe he changed his rule, I don't know. Big surprise--there are exceptions to all rules. ;)

    Mostly though, I think you totally missed the point of my post. Different people have different standards regarding the Presidency. That one example may be demonstrably not always true (and again, as I clearly stated in the original post, I don't care one iota about whether the President wears a jacket or not) nonetheless it cited as a normative rule. President Obama (afaik) has never cited an adherence to that rule. He has different standards (or if yo want to be pedantic, different stated standards). So do people! Some people think President Obama shouldn't go on talk shows...some don't care. But pretty much everybody has standards for the president that are both different from their own standards and different than the standards applied to other politicians.

    Any way, in fairness to your single pictures of Presidents Reagan and Bush in the oval office without a jacket on, I will amend my statement to:

    "Reagan and I think Bush (for instance) _claimed to always_ wear formal clothes (suit jacket) in the oval office, afaik."

  • by AndrewNeo (979708) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:17PM (#33936818) Homepage

    Woah, woah, what's this "method" you're using to analyze this situation? It's no kind of science I've seen used on Mythbusters!

  • by Pojut (1027544) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:17PM (#33936826) Homepage

    The way I see it, I think more presidents should dress informally while in the Oval Office.

    I know I work much better if I'm comfortable. Wearing a penguin isn't my idea of comfort.

  • Re:Really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Surt (22457) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:18PM (#33936842) Homepage Journal

    Obviously, the military aspect is something he can do, and yet, somehow I imagine none of the things you've suggested would make the GP happy.

  • Re:Science? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MalleusEBHC (597600) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:21PM (#33936882)

    Obligatory xkcd [xkcd.com]

    There are a lot of other shows to complain about for their science instead of the one that gets it mostly (although far from perfectly) right.

  • by danlip (737336) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:22PM (#33936902)
  • by Moridineas (213502) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:26PM (#33936958) Journal

    I'd probably agree with that...never been a fan of dressing up either. I used to work at government office in DC and the contrast was always funny to me--some people dressed to the 9s every day, some people (ie me) had a jacket stuffed into a locker/closet somewhere if I had to put it on in an "emergency."

    Presidents really don't even spend that much time in the oval office the way I hear it. I actually might be in favor of anything that makes politicians do less work!

  • Re:Troll?! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Low Ranked Craig (1327799) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:28PM (#33937006)

    Thou shalt not in any way display even a hint of criticism of Obama lest ye be branded "troll"

    For all you douche bags on /. who mark posts as troll simply because you disagree with the point of view, no matter how thoughtfully or politely made, let me break it down for you in small words that you can all understand: Bush sucked, Obama sucks, he that came before Bush sucked and he or she that will come after Obama shall also suck. Pretty much everyone in congress sucks too. See, elections are a popularity contest and are founded on money, and mostly, complete bullshit. It is very difficult if not impossible to be well informed about candidates because the media selectively tells you what they want to.

    D !> R, R !> D, R == D == sucks, and if you truly believe otherwise, you've been had.

  • Re:Science? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Carik (205890) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:32PM (#33937096)

    Their science isn't always perfect, no. But their overall methodology is pretty decent.

    Step 1) Define the question.
    Step 2) Make a guess as to what will happen.
    Step 3) Design a test to confirm or deny your guess.
    Step 4) Try the test and see what happens.
    Step 5) If the producers have given you enough money, and your first test didn't work, repeat until you get an actual result.

    Sure, it's not perfect, but they do push the idea of forming a hypothesis and testing it, rather than just assuming that common wisdom is true. Which is, when you get right down to it, the essence of science.

    (That said, they have been slipping the last few seasons... they've fallen a little to much into "We have lots of money, we can just add dynamite!" territory, and a little too little into "Hey, let's show the math to explain this weird thing we just found.")

  • by BobMcD (601576) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:37PM (#33937182)

    Tea isn't mentioned anywhere, either. OMG, the Tea Party is unconstitutional!

    And if the Tea Party were a function of the government, you'd be absolutely right to point that out.

  • She isn't a sitting government official, so why the fark can't she have a TV show?
       

        I'm sure some others can flesh out this list a bit more, but here's a start.

        1) Because she's an idiot.

        2) Because she's already made implications that she intends to run for President in 2012, therefore making her a political candidate.

        3) Because she's an idiot.

        4) Because unless slated as a fictional show, it should include something resembling fact. She doesn't have a firm grasp of the difference.

        5) Because she's an idiot.

        6) Because if you hire someone to do a show, the production company should have some expectation that she'll actually (ummm) work through the contract. Her work history isn't exactly perfect.

              6a) She did serve 6 years as mayor of Wasilla, AK. Population of 10,000. I've been there. It's not like you're going to jump ship and go work somewhere else. She could stand at the edge of town and keep the Russians out, I guess. She did it before. :)

              6b) She did serve about 2.5 years as governor, but spent part of that on leave during an investigation of abuse of power and ethics violations, and another large part of that campaigning. If I were to spend a year away from a job, to try to get a different job, that should raise concerns with future employers. When that fell through, she quit the first job anyways.

              6c) She's an idiot.

  • Re:Incidentally (Score:5, Insightful)

    by schon (31600) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:41PM (#33937244)

    Why is math education important in public schools?

    The vast majority of students will not be mathematicians or accountants, and will not have any opportunity to reinforce the information they learn, and hence will forget it all by the time they are 20.

    --OR--

    Why is english education important in public schools?

    The vast majority of students will not be writers, and will not have any opportunity to reinforce the information they learn, and hence will forget it all by the time they are 20.

    --OR--

    Why is history education important in public schools?

    The vast majority of students will not be historians, and will not have any opportunity to reinforce the information they learn, and hence will forget it all by the time they are 20.

    --OR--

    Why is physical education important in public schools?

    The vast majority of students will not be althletes, and will not have any opportunity to reinforce the information they learn, and hence will forget it all by the time they are 20.

    You can apply this argument to pretty much every school subject - so your question is really "why do we send children to school"?

  • Re:Troll?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lgw (121541) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:44PM (#33937296) Journal

    Insightfully and concisely put. The amazing thing is that this system still works better than anything else humanity has tried. Scary, really.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:51PM (#33937452)

    and more time fixing shit.

    This. Right here. This is the problem. Everyone sitting around waiting for Uncle Sam/Samantha to "fix" things.

    Yeah, good luck with that.

  • by toadlife (301863) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:58PM (#33937552) Journal

    Obama did no actual work for any of that...he doesn't apepar to have learned anything beyond gaming the system

    And you would know this because? Are you a lawyer? Did you graduate from Columbia or Harvard? Were you editor of the Harvard law review?

  • by Galaga88 (148206) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:59PM (#33937562)

    Really? Because I'm pretty sure they follow a fair approximation of the scientific method.

    1. Define the question (Can you destroy ships using an Archimedes style death-ray?)
    2. Gather information and resources (They look up how he theoretically did it.)
    3. Form hypothesis (Reflective shields using ancient construction materials are (in)sufficient to focus light to function as a death ray.)
    4. Perform experiment and collect data (They build a giant death ray and try to burn up a ship.)
    5. Analyze data (Did the ship burn? Which parts burned? Which parts didn't? Did the mirrors act as expected?)
    6. Interpret data and draw conclusions that serve as a starting point for a new hypothesis (The heat simply built up too slowly to set the ship on fire effectively. Smaller scale reproductions showed that further tests could be warranted.)
    7. Publish results (Tune into Discovery HD next week at xxx o'clock.)
    8. Retest (Their second and third goes at the myth.)

    Looks like a textbook example of the scientific method to me.

  • by Freultwah (739055) on Monday October 18, 2010 @04:00PM (#33937586) Homepage
    So if confiscation of life, liberty and property is unconstitutional, it denies Congress authority to pass unrelated laws. Also, taxing and prisons should be abolished. Did I get it right? Or did you say "due process" and by doing so, negated your argument quite elegantly? Oh, well.
  • Re:Science? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@gYEATSmail.com minus poet> on Monday October 18, 2010 @04:03PM (#33937640) Homepage

    Their science isn't always perfect, no.

    Not always perfect? Half the time is isn't even there, and of the balance 'science' is just a fig leaf to give them an excuse to blow stuff up or burn it down. Or, in other words, if Mythbusters is a science show - Julia Child is a woodworking show.
     

    But their overall methodology is pretty decent.

    On the odd occasions they actually do use some kind of half-ass pseudo scientific methodology, sure it's "pretty decent" - once you lower you standards far enough. The rest of the time, it's utter crap designed to give them an excuse to blow stuff up or burn it down.
     
    Now, blowing stuff up or burning it down gratuitously is cool and all, but it isn't science. It's not even close.

  • by drakaan (688386) on Monday October 18, 2010 @04:11PM (#33937782) Homepage Journal

    I don't know if it's possible to burn nearly 10 years of positive karma in one post, but this appears to be the thread to attempt it on, so here goes...

    I have never before seen such a complete orgasmic crap-fest of bashing a single person in one place as I have with Palin in this comment thread.

    I get that people believe she is stupid (arguable). I get that people loathe her because she's conservative (fine). I get that people believe that not being fully-credentialed with a degree means that you have no intelligence (patently untrue).

    What I don't get is how this circle-jerk of "dude, I hate her TOO!" is not as evidently moronic to the people participating in it as it should be.

    Don't like stupid people? Cool...fine. Think Palin's stupid? Okie-dokie. Feel the need to be the 12,000th slashdotter to note her perceived ignorance in the same frigging thread? You fail it.

    Let me be clear, I don't expect people to rally around me, here, but I caught myself saying "seriously?" so many times while looking for actual discussion of the president appearing on Mythbusters that I had to share my irritation.

    As a side-note, "Flamebait" is the appropriate down-mod for a statement that you feel will draw a largely negative response because of its content. "Troll" is for when someone says something unkind or untrue in order to drum up a disagreement.

  • Re:Really? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Monday October 18, 2010 @04:18PM (#33937928) Journal

    I would really like Obama to spend less time being cool and more time fixing [problems].

    Unlike many of his detractors, he believes that science and technology are the key ways to grow the economy instead of only relying on tax-cuts for the wealthy.

    I'm also hoping he gets some digs in about the sun and John Boehner's "tan".
         

  • Re:Troll?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hedwards (940851) on Monday October 18, 2010 @04:29PM (#33938112)
    Really? At least under Obama things are moving in the right direction. The economy is picking up, albeit slowly, we're retreating from wars that shouldn't have been started in the first place, civil rights are for the most part being restored and there's been actual focus on real world problems.

    Sure he's not perfect, but at least he's trying to get it right. He'd be doing a lot better at this point if the Republicans were actually trying to contribute rather than find ridiculous excuses to shoot down every possible piece of legislation.
  • by BobMcD (601576) on Monday October 18, 2010 @04:30PM (#33938146)

    I would love it if the Tea Party kept themselves out of government.

    I have no doubt you, and many others, would. This is tragic, though. You could, as an alternative, take an interest in what their issues are and see if there is any progress to be made. Instead you ridicule, because that's easy. Partisanship makes people do some really stupid things, doesn't it?

    More seriously, the Constitution specifies an Army and a Navy. By the same logic used above, does that make the Air Force unconstitutional?

    I don't know, maybe. If so, is there any particular way in which things would be worse if the Air Force was merely part of the Army? Probably not.

    See how easy constitutionality can be?

    Now you try!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 18, 2010 @04:44PM (#33938372)

    Uh, references for that?

  • Re:Troll?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Moridineas (213502) on Monday October 18, 2010 @04:51PM (#33938484) Journal

    The economy is picking up, albeit slowly

    I think this is hard to argue. That is, you can make a very strong argument either way. We'll know in a couple of years, but for now, who knows.

    we're retreating from wars that shouldn't have been started in the first place,

    By "wars" I assume you mean singular Iraq? Because we're certainly still engaged in Afghanistan, and those are the only two places that we went into under President Bush (right?). A family friend has hit by an IED in the last week or two...alive but his face was virtually blown off apparently. I think something like 17 dead in the last two days? That's not much of a retreat.

    civil rights are for the most part being restored

    ?

    there's been actual focus on real world problems

    Because terrorism isn't a real world problem? I may not like many of Bush's actions post-9/11, but as someone who worked in Intel in the mid-2000s, a lot of very necessary changes were made. Look at it this way--numerous European (and other) countries have been hit since 9/11. Nothing so spectacular as 9/11 of course but hit nonetheless. We haven't. IMHO, that ain't peanuts.

    Secondly, the obvious answer from polls is, most people don't like Obama's solutions.

    Sure he's not perfect, but at least he's trying to get it right. He'd be doing a lot better at this point if the Republicans were actually trying to contribute rather than find ridiculous excuses to shoot down every possible piece of legislation.

    Right. No need to be such a party loyalist. You're either with us or against us? Republicans are against Democrat bills and they're the bad guys. Ok.

  • by demonbug (309515) on Monday October 18, 2010 @04:54PM (#33938520) Journal

    So, how can you protect your archers from their archers? Blinding light? Pose them beside mirrors and the enemy can't see them. Simple trick if you think about it. With this blinding light, you can fire countless arrows, even heavy slow ones like fire-arrows and aim at ease.

    How would such a tactic, written down by someone who didn't understand and heard it from someone else be recorded?

    The mighty ships sailed at the harbour and a blinding light erupted from the walls and one by one the mighty ships were set on fire and sunk.

    Death ray is born. Nothing more then smoke and mirrors.

    THAT is what disappoints me about the Myth Busters. They far to often examine only part of a myth or add their own elements, the worsed of it being "well we two couldn't do it, so no-one could". Well, I doubt the myth busters could put a man on the moon. So the moon landings are a myth?

    I agree that Mythbusters often doesn't exhaustively test myths, but that generally isn't realistic. You have to set some boundaries and often make some assumptions in order to come up with a testable hypothesis.

    Take your hypothetical interpretation of the Death Ray myth - if you are going to start coming up with hypothetical ways that the myth may have come into being, then there is simply no way to test them all. Maybe it was a sunny day, and light was reflecting off the shields of the city's defenders. In a completely unrelated event, someone in one of the ships dropped an oil lamp and started a fire. If the ships were closely grouped, and it was a windy day, numerous ships could be consumed in such a fire; some dude watching interpreted the fire as the result of the reflected light, and recorded it as such. Is it possible? Absolutely. But that isn't what the myth says. And there are innumerable other potential explanations, none of which really have any bearing on what they are doing.

    They are testing the myth, not (usually) what potential events may have caused the event that gave birth to the myth. In this case, the myth is that Archimedes developed a weapon using focused light to start fires on attacking ships. That is all they were testing - not trying to figure out what might have happened, but trying to determine whether the myth, as recorded, is plausible. In order to do that, they have to make some assumptions to narrow the test - try to stick to materials that would have been available at the time, etc.

    Now, I often take issue with their test methods and interpretations, but on the whole I think they do a reasonable job of taking a myth, defining what aspect of the myth it is that they are testing, and then devising different tests and quantifying the results. It is a fair balance of entertainment and genuine testing to find out neat stuff; while I (and probably most Slashdot readers) would like them to be a little more rigorous and at least acknowledge shortcomings in their tests, it would be very easy to get bogged down in details ("rigor" in the oblig. xkcd) and then instead of Mythbusters you would have the Televised Transactions of the American Society of Materials Engineering, Physics, and History, and all of five people would still be interested in watching.

  • by Coren22 (1625475) on Monday October 18, 2010 @05:03PM (#33938670) Journal

    We in the US do not have a 2 party system. When you believe we do, you are falling for the D/R propaganda. There were many choices on the ballot, and in case you missed them, you can Google for the list of candidates. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election,_2008 [wikipedia.org]

    In the 2008 election, there were 6 parties.

  • by Bananenrepublik (49759) on Monday October 18, 2010 @05:08PM (#33938756)

    I've never understood the Palin hatedom. She seems fairly representative of the mainstream of the American right - do people really hate their neighbors so much?

    Two points:

    • most people don't like to be reminded how stupid their peers really are
    • most people have neighbors that understand that they are not suited for the office of POTUS
  • Re:Troll?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Low Ranked Craig (1327799) on Monday October 18, 2010 @05:09PM (#33938772)

    Spoken like someone who gets their news from CNN and Comedy Central. The real issues haven't changed under Obama. Gitmo? check, wiretaps? check, coming out against a lawsuit against a Bush AG? check, poor fiscal policies? checkerino.

    It's exceptionally easy to take the party line on this. For example, that Obama inherited Bushes' economy and that the wars started under Bush were the primary economic problems. Unfortunately that's not the whole, or even half the story. Speaking of economics, you should read Times list of the 25 people responsible. It's a very objective view of what happened, and guess what? The Democrats were at fault just as much as the Republicans, of course if you listen to Jon Stewart it was all Bushes fault, and if you listen to Limbaugh it was all Clinton's fault. I can't paste into the comments go just google "Time 25 people financial crisis".

    I also love you sentiment that the republicans should go along and not block things, even when it is becoming apparent that currently the majority of people want to stop a lot of the things that are currently happening. Just go to any major polling site and read the pols... I suppose that if a Democratic congress were blocking a Republican President you'd suggest that they were simply acting on principal?

    I stand by my original statement: they all suck, and that includes Obama

  • by BoberFett (127537) on Monday October 18, 2010 @05:12PM (#33938816)

    Ah yes, the Commerce Clause. The small phrase in a document outlining the duties and limits of the federal government, which then gives the federal government unlimited power and duties.

    If the Commerce Clause was intended as interpreted nowadays, why even bother with the Constitution? Just crown a king and be done with it.

  • Re:Really? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Monday October 18, 2010 @05:16PM (#33938878) Journal

    That's rather obtuse of you. Nobody says that he can't close the camp. The issue is now that the camp is theoretically closed, what happens to the people who are currently there. He doesn't have the power to actually fix that

    There's no issue there. We have a civilian justice system. Try them or let them go. He's just too big of a pussy to do the right thing.

  • Re:Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Grishnakh (216268) on Monday October 18, 2010 @06:08PM (#33939520)

    Yeah, I've heard people make that claim too. It's pretty ridiculous.

    The President and the Democrats in Congress are not Marxists, though sometimes they bring up some Marxist ideas to appease their voting base, but then they never actually do any of them.

    Instead, the President of Congressional Democrats are *corporatists*. We can see that in their actions, such as the healthcare "reform" which was nothing but a massive give-away to Big Insurance companies, as well as the giant, no-strings-attached bail-outs for mismanaged corporations.

    How does this make them different from the Republicans? It doesn't. They're all the same. The only thing different between them is what kind of extremist stuff they say to get the dumb voters riled up. For the Democrats, it's Socialist/liberal stuff like "a chicken in every pot", "wealth redistribution", etc., while for Republicans it's "homosexuals should all be put in concentration camps and exterminated." Then, when they get elected, they pay no attention to what they told the voters before, and just continue giving hand-outs to their buddies at giant corporations.

  • Re:Troll?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dare nMc (468959) on Monday October 18, 2010 @06:41PM (#33939928)

    The real issues haven't changed under Obama

    I would agree with that, except they were all scaled down. Pretty much all of those issues existed before Bush, and have all been returned to pre-Bush levels. (IE GP is still correct on all of them)

    currently the majority of people want to stop a lot of the things that are currently happening.

    yes but the reason is generally because they have only heard put of the truth. I think it you break down most of the unpopular changes to what they really, are a majority of people support the changes.
    Basically the republican admin did a much better PR job of convincing us that bills like "the patriot bill" were good, the democrats haven't sold their changes into the media. That is mostly Obama's fault. Also I do expect the Republican's to propose at least one meaningful piece of legislation; because it is always possible to find a fault, everything useful has some down side or a possible negative side affect. Until republicans propose something with fewer down sides, they have done nothing but create noise. By saying over and over "just start over", 6 months into the process, without ever doing anything wasn't going to help. I think very few people who have honestly looked at things like the Health-care bill believe it is going to drive costs up faster than they were going to go up without the bill... Sure it will drive costs up, you can't honestly deny that claim, but it will still cost less than the republicans plan of doing nothing but talking about it.

  • by turkeyfish (950384) on Monday October 18, 2010 @07:39PM (#33940596)

    "but this feels like a really weak excuse to have the President on TV"

    Your attitude precisely expresses why America is faltering and why other societies are moving into the lead in so many areas of science and technology. Rather than recognizing the importance of any and all efforts to promote science and technology as interesting to kids and our citizenry in its own right, you would rather see the president fail and his appearance in support of such an effort become a political football.

    What is truly sad is that the average American kid's education in math and science has fallen so far, that it now takes the President going on an entertainment-based "science" program to even get their interest. Its gotten to the point that one no longer knows which is falling faster in America, its standing in math and science education, its standard of living, or life expectancy, all of which are highly correlated.

    I don't know if you have children, but frankly I feel sorry for them if you do. I also feel sorry for the countless other American kids who will grow up in a world where the finest universities will no longer be in the US, where the level of innumeracy and even simple knowledge of basic scientific concepts, such as what constitutes a theory, are beyond the vast majority to comprehend and who foolishly think that their lives won't be affected by the consequences and thus don't bother to promote it, want to pay taxes to support it, nor have the sense to encourage it at every opportunity.

    My own sense is that if the President does go on the show and this leads to just one kid growing up to make an important scientific discovery, it will be a far greater accomplishment than anything republicans have done in the past 20 years combined. However, that is just my own opinion and I'll let other scientists stand up and defend all the great work republicans are doing on behalf of science.

  • Re:Really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by magus_melchior (262681) on Monday October 18, 2010 @07:55PM (#33940740) Journal

    Wrong. The issue of prisoner abuse ("torture" to most folks, "enhanced interrogation" to certain folks) will surely compel a judge to set the detainee free. The reason Obama/Holder don't want to touch them with a 20-mile pole is because then they'd have a bunch of people they can't legally detain but no country in their right minds want to accept, and meanwhile the Republican ninnies in Congress will scare all the white folk about the terrorists on the loose and how Obama is their leader. Believe me, you do NOT want to be in the President's shoes.

    Mind you, I'm in agreement that suspected terrorists must be tried in a court of law-- it's what we've been doing to suspected terrorists up until the neocons in the Bush White House figured that it would be just fine and dandy to haul off brown-skinned Semites to secret prisons regardless of whether they committed acts of terror, and do things to them that were done to US soldiers in WW2 and Vietnam by militarist scumbags who couldn't give a rat's ass about the Geneva Conventions.

  • by mr100percent (57156) on Monday October 18, 2010 @07:55PM (#33940750) Homepage Journal

    You oughta see the converse: right-wingers saying how Bush was ordained by God to be in the White House; how he beat all the odds in the first and second elections and pulled it all off because of prayer

  • by jbeach (852844) on Monday October 18, 2010 @07:59PM (#33940780) Homepage Journal
    I'm not being biased at all. If you look up in the thread, I'm responding to a comment (now marked as troll) that said Obama and Sarah Palin were equally smart. Which, whatever you think of either of their policies or platforms, is absolutely ridiculous.

    I mean, even putting the degrees aside as evidence. Obama can go before an entire roomful of the best politicians in America who are arrayed against them, live, with no prepared questions, and defeat them in debate. Palin can't even handle unscripted softball questions from Katie freakin' Couric. That legendary "What newspapers do you read?" question was a **gift**, and Palin still freaked and blew it.

    Conservatives don't want to think Sarah Palin is dumb. But she is. Sorry.
  • by turkeyfish (950384) on Monday October 18, 2010 @08:35PM (#33941146)

    Its because many, for very good reason, see the possibility of her becoming President of the United States as potentially catastrophic for our nation, given her lack of education, insufficient knowledge, or adequate intelligence to be anywhere within a zillion miles of the presidency, not to mention her incredibly divisive politics where she goes around the country to proclaim how happy to be "in the pro-American part of the country" as she did in a recent speech in North Carolina.

    If you can't see that, presumably you are stupid enough to be one of her supporters.

  • Re:Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Eskarel (565631) on Monday October 18, 2010 @11:04PM (#33942182)

    Not exactly accurate, though obviously some people do do this.

    The nature of the current political system in the US is that, for the most part, the president provides a strategic direction for the country and congress either follows that strategic direction or doesn't. When a president provides a strategic direction which and congress goes along with it, it is fair to give credit or blame the president. When the president provides a strategic direction and congress does not follow it or mutates it into a monstrosity) then it is fair that congress gets the blame or credit.

    Specifically, Bush wanted to get us into two pointless wars which diminished US national security, cost thousands of lives and billions of dollars, enact legislation which would destroy civil liberties, and open a torture camp in Cuba, all of which congress let him do.

    Obama on the other hand has been dealing with a bunch of congress critters who have been only out for their own skin and generally shooting down or warping everything he's tried to do. This has been so excessive that incumbents on both sides are in serious jeopardy this November.

  • Re:Really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Grishnakh (216268) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @01:35AM (#33942972)

    I disagree. Yes, there's a few exceptions in each party, but for the most part, each party is filled with either nutjobs or utterly corrupt people. It's like lawyers: the bad apples ruin it for the other 1%.

    Seriously, if most politicians were decent, we wouldn't be having all these problems.

    And it's not just the hardcore religious Republicans that want to criminalize homosexuality, it's most of their voters too. You can see that just reading blogs and comments on webboards.

Gosh that takes me back... or is it forward? That's the trouble with time travel, you never can tell." -- Doctor Who, "Androids of Tara"

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