Friday, December 7, 2007

Mythbusters - Pirate Myths II

Around a year and a half ago Mythbusters did a pirate episode. It was pretty bad. Several of their myths are very questionable - waring eyepatches so preserve night sight, using rum as a cleaning agent, etc. A couple of weeks ago they did part 2. This one featured things from Pirates of the Caribbean plus burying someone in the sand. This one was much better.

I'm not sure how often someone was buried in the sand. A Blackbeard movie ended with the title character up to his neck in sand, waiting for the tide to cover him. Mythbusters proved that this would be fatal. You might be able to move a bit but the wet sand shifts and fills up any cavities.

The other two myths were using an upturned boat to walk underwater and the effectiveness of a cannon loaded with whatever junk was at hand.

I never thought that the scene with the upside down boat in PotC would work and Mythbusters proved this. They did stop short of making it work. This would have involved fastening anchors and other heavy weights to the boat until it was neutrally buoyant.

The final myth involved testing a cannon with various junk. In the movie the crew of the Interceptor was racing for shallow water and threw extra weight including cannon balls overboard. When it became obvious that they would be overtaken they loaded the cannons with whatever was left. While this gave them the satisfaction of fighting back, it was futile. Especially against undying pirates.

Mythbusters found that wood (a peg leg) and glass (a bottle of rum) were useless. Silverware didn't work at all but knives carefully packed in a canister were dangerous. A piece of chain was very effective. None of this should be a surprise.

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