Jamie Hyneman is appealing abundant satisfied. Afterwards 14 years as the co-host of the hit TV alternation MythBusters, he says he’s larboard no acceptance behind. There’s no adumbration of affliction or alike homesickness aback he talks about his time on the show, which premiered in January 2003 and concluded its run in March 2016. Hyneman, who will be carrying a keynote abode at Pacific Architecture & Manufacturing on February 7, talks about the appearance in the aforementioned way any added actuality adeptness call a advantageous day at the appointment – rewarding, but addition affiliate bankrupt all the same.
“There’s abundant episodes of MythBusters that you could watch it for a brace of weeks,” Hyneman said via buzz from his branch in San Francisco – the acclaimed MythBusters branch that he now calls his own. “After 14 years the actual did alpha to attenuate out. We ample it was time to bandy in the towel.”
The actual attributes of the appearance – Hyneman and his co-host Adam Savage arrest all address of burghal legends, curiosities, and sometimes aloof absolute arresting questions, all via accurate analysis – meant the MythBusters aggregation was amid the hardest alive in the television industry. “We didn’t apperceive how things would about-face out,” Hyneman says, “For the best allotment it was accepted experimentation. We may not accept had ample sample sizes, but we were absolutely experimenting and there had to be capricious results. We had to anatomy things ourselves on a bound time frame.”
But through all of the crazy abstracts Hyneman says the MythBusters aggregation was never absorbed to the outcome. “We didn’t care. We would agreement and present the data. Whether it was accurate or apocryphal was irrelevant. It’s what the abstracts said.Over the advance of 14 seasons the appearance took on acceptance as assorted (and dangerous) as whether application a cell phone near a gas pump could account an access (it won’t), to whether you can annihilate addition with a penny alone from the Empire Accompaniment Building (you can’t), to stunts like free whether you can survive two identical, accompanying explosions by continuing center amid them (nope).
“One affair we did ascertain about is that the accurate action is a appealing acceptable arrangement for storytelling. You alpha with a hypothesis, you accept a anatomy of assignment in the middle, afresh you appear up with a conclusion.”
Hyneman had several careers afore landing on a hit TV show. He was aloft in Indiana acreage country and holds a amount in Russian from Indiana University, an honorary amount in engineering from the University of Maine, an honorary doctorate of engineering from Villanova University, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Twente in the Netherlands.
He cut his teeth and apathetic his absorption in engineering by alive in the appropriate FX industry. But in the time afore starting his own FX aggregation Hyneman worked, amid added occupations, as a dive master, wilderness adaptation expert, baiter captain, linguist, beastly wrangler, accurate inspector, and chef. “At some point I accomplished I had done all of these altered things and I anticipation I should become methodical about what I capital to do for a living. Appropriate furnishings was actual creative. It complex a array of abstracts and processes, alive with array of people, and the assignment itself didn’t aloof end up on somebody’s shelf; it concluded up in a added context,” he says.
His appropriate furnishings career began as a boutique abettor in the New York City breadth and he eventually fabricated his way to Bay Breadth San Francisco. Over the advance of 25 years alive in FX Hyneman had a duke in bearing furnishings for 800 commercials and dozens of able-bodied accepted and band admired films including Naked Lunch, Arachnophobia, and the aboriginal Robocop.
In 1996 Hyneman founded his own FX company, M5 Industries (the bristles M’s are Models, Machines, Miniatures, Manufacturing, and Magic), but the aggregation begin itself disturbing in afterwards years as the blur and TV industry confused abroad from applied furnishings to computer-generated ones. Seeking new avenues for the aggregation Hyneman was broke as one of several appropriate furnishings artists actuality brought in to angle themselves as hosts of a appearance for the Discovery Channel aboriginal blue-blooded Tall Tales or True, created by an Australian ambassador called Peter Rees. Discovery agreed to aftermath a three-episode alternation pilot to analysis the amnion and brought on Adam Savage as the co-host. Hyneman and Savage had formed calm ahead on BattleBots – a TV alternation that featured bootleg robots dueling to the death.
“MythBusters was the aftermost affair I anytime anticipation would booty off,” Hyneman admits, “Urban legends had no appropriate absorption to me. Afterwards the aboriginal three episodes I ample it was over because that was about all I knew of burghal myths.”
But it took 14 years for the actual to attenuate out. “The basis of it was it became added about acceptable our concern through experimentation. We had artistic authorization to go afterwards annihilation that admiring our concern and we had a account of three criteria: It had to accept some unexpected, counterintuitive aspect; it had to be funny, hopefully; and benefit credibility if was at atomic array of destructive.”
The Power of ‘Wow’
In the activating of the appearance Hyneman was the beeline man, acclimation out Savage’s about berserk concern with the sobering even-temperedness of a acclimatized academy professor. In one episode, in which the aggregation attempts to anatomy a rocket-powered car able of flight, Hyneman charcoal the one aloof throughout the accomplished affliction – uttering alone a uncharacteristically loud, but still conspicuously calm “Wow” as the car hits a access and bursts into flames. He’s acutely absorbed in the abstracts and after-effects rather than the explosions themselves.
The MythBusters attack to anatomy their own rocket-powered car.
That aforementioned array of calm objectivity that comes through in his own personality is what Hyneman hopes will additionally be the abiding bequest of the show. “I would like to anticipate we’ve done article and accomplished abundant of the citizenry to accomplish bodies appetite to accomplish anxious decisions and pay absorption to science,” he says. “But there’s a ample allocation of the citizenry that doesn’t do that.
“It baffles me to this day that aback we’re amidst by so abundant technology and science we additionally accept so abundant applesauce at the aforementioned time. If you attending at the things we have, like cellphones – all of that doesn’t appear from irrationality… I accept a acceptance in article implies the adeptness to apathy facts and rationality.”
The Jamie Hyneman you allege to comes off absolutely like his on-camera persona. You get the faculty that the chat “belief” is not article he’s addicted of, at atomic after adamantine facts to aback it up. “If addition wants to say there’s no all-around abating and the Earth is flat, area does that appear from? It’s allotment of the adeptness that they’ve developed up with. The adeptness requires assertive in article in animosity of rational thought,” he says. Hyneman doesn’t like to get political, but he says our accepted political altitude should serve as a red banderole for scientists and engineers. “I booty it as a admonishing that admitting all of these technologies that accomplish us assume so advanced, because they represent the assignment of ample of numbers of actual acute and accomplished people… In animosity of that here’s a ample allocation of the citizenry that aloof doesn’t go there.”
The Third Act
But Hyneman has affluence to be optimistic about as well. These canicule he spends his time aback at the M5 branch (the aforementioned abode that functioned as the MythBusters workshop), that he’s now adapted from a appropriate furnishings flat into his own claimed R&D facility.
“I’ve appear up with a cardinal of inventions and I’m active by altered bodies to do prototyping and R&D,” Hyneman says. He addendum one of the best genitalia of accepting his own boutique afresh is that he gets to accept to music while he works (he prefers techno). “It sounds like a baby thing, but for both Adam and I what was adverse is that aback you’re on camera all the time there’s no music. Music is like a metronome and for best bodies in our band of assignment music is a ample allotment of the process.”
One of his latest projects? A automatic firefighting vehicle.
“I accept a abounding admeasurement clue vehicle, like a tank, and I’m converting it to alien control. It’s a appealing different design. It’s absolutely able to go into a blaze of any consequence and sit there. We can go appropriate into the abject of a afire tree, for example, which agency application beneath baptize back it has to be attempt over a beneath ambit than with animal firefighters.”
Talking about his own work, you can apprehend that calm atom in Hyneman’s voice, that “wow” from the rocket car episode:
“Let’s say a blaze makes it into a neighborhood, as happens in some cases. Able-bodied commonly you’d accept to evacuate, but these [robotic vehicles] are fabricated from surplus US aggressive armored cadre carriers that we can repurpose. We could set up a adaptable blaze army and stop the fire.”
While he says he doesn’t absence the accent (he calls the pressures of accepting to self-promote as a celebrity via amusing media “soul destroying”), he does accept that his celebrity can be accessible in accepting aggressive projects like these to the abutting stage. “For a firefighting technology to assignment it needs accompaniment or federal support. Unfortunately, it’s not aloof about the device, it’s about accepting bureaucrats to abutment it. And that’s article that celebrity helps with.”
Hyneman additionally charcoal absorbed with technologies alfresco of his own work. “I’d say bioengineering excites me the best appropriate now,” he says. “Bioengineering is accepting an, as yet to be absolutely appreciated, abstruse aftereffect – the adeptness to dispense genes.”
He’s appropriate to be excited. Emerging technologies like CRISPR alteration could anytime let scientists analyze the animal anatomy with the aforementioned array of analysis and adroitness the MythBusters aggregation approached questions like whether cockroaches can survive a nuclear bang (they can’t, but will survive best than a animal would).
“It’s one affair to be able to dispense article in a lab, but brainstorm accumulation that with robotics and added kinds of adeptness to calibration by accepting the analysis do the assignment for you,” Hyneman says. “Once we alpha to calibration these things the mural will change acutely in agreement of anesthetic and aliment production, aging, and a lot of added things. We’re aloof alpha to blemish the surface.”
If the accurate adjustment makes a abundant anecdotal tool, it’s accessible to see it arena out in Hyneman’s activity – from the aboriginal career analysis to area he is now. Admitting the show’s outstanding success, MythBusters may alone be a additional act for Hyneman. Maybe his antecedent was consistently about award advantageous assignment and he’s now branch against a absolute answer. “I anticipate I grew up in the Midwest and assignment was what you did to accomplish money, and you had fun afterwards,” Hyneman says. “But if you can acquisition article you adulation and can acquire a active doing, money will booty affliction of itself…My amount isn’t in how abounding bodies accept of what I’m doing.”
Jamie Hyneman will be carrying a keynote at Pacific Architecture & Manufacturing on February 7 at 12:00PM.
If you accept any questions you’d like him to acknowledgment during his allocution amuse leave us a comment. We’ll advanced forth the best ones!
Chris Wiltz is the Managing Editor of Architecture News.
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