President Barack Obama is going to appear on the hit Discovery Channel series “Mythbusters” to redo a test of a story about how the Greek engineer Archimedes used mirrors to concentrate heat to burn down a Roman fleet at the Battle of Syracuse.
The Mythbusters had attempted to test this story before, unfortunately with not-so-spectacular results. The nature of President Obama’s participation in this retest, to air on Dec. 8, has yet to be revealed. The idea that a liberal President is suddenly interested in beam weapons, albeit from the ancient world, is somewhat intriguing.
It can be said that President Obama has engaged in some of his own mythbusting during the first two years of his administration. One could actually have an episode of “Mythbusters” in which Adam and Jamie as well as the team of Grant, Torrie, and Kari test Obama Myths. One can just imagine the following:
Adam: “A lot of the fans have been asking us to test the myth that the government spending hundreds of billions of dollars on projects will end an economic downturn and get the economy growing again.”
Jamie: “Wasn’t that tested during the Great Depression?”
Adam: “Yes it was. And it didn’t work all that well back then. But a lot of people want us to revisit the myth nevertheless.”
Jamie: “Then let’s get to it.”
Then, a little later:
Adam: “It turns out that no matter how much money the government spends, any gains in economic growth are illusionary and temporary. That’s because when the spending stops, the jobs go away and the national debt has just increased. However some of our fans suggest that the Great Depression was finally ended by World War II.”
Jamie: “Can we start a world war to test that?”
Adam: “Unfortunately, no. The insurance company says that it’s just too dangerous.”
Then Grant, Torrie, and Kari can test the myth that the government taking over health care will improve the delivery of health care and lower the costs. They can outfit “Buster” with sensors as the test patient.
In all seriousness, it is a fine thing that the President of the United States has taken an interest in a show that demonstrates science, math, and engineering in an entertaining way. Perhaps it will start a trend of using celebrity guests to help pump up ratings and generate buzz. Sarah Palin (who is about to host her own show about Alaska on The Learning Channel) could come on to test hunting myths. William Shatner could appear to test “Star Trek” myths (or maybe “Boston Legal” myths, such as the one in which Alan Shore always wins his cases no matter how obnoxious he behaves in a court room.) The Chilean miners could show up to demonstrate-of course-mining myths.
I intend to watch with great interest.
Source: Obama to Appear on “Mythbusters”, Michael D Shear, New York Times, October 18th, 2010