Mythbusters

My family and I love this show. I think it’s great for kids as a demonstration of the scientific method in action. And the crew look they’re always having a great time, especially when blowing things up.
Some of my favorites include the duct tape episodes (they even built a boat out of it) and the one where they (sadly!) proved that Captain Kirk could not have built a bamboo cannon to defeat his Gorn Opponent in the “Arena” episode. Star Trek and black powder—what’s not to love?

Here’s a period weaponry myth that I ran across in reading LIFE IN WELLINGTON’S ARMY by Antony Brett-James. I would love to see this one tested.

Biscuits appear to have arrived in one of three states: hard, jaw-breaking and alive with maggots, as Napier indicates forcibly enough, or crushed to crumbs and mouldered to dust, or sometimes good but old. One day in November 1813 each man in the 43rd Light Infantry secured a biscuit of American make: nearly an inch thick, they were so hard as to require the stamp of an iron heel or some such hammer to break them. These American biscuits were even thick enough to save a man’s life. During the march to La Petite Rhune a fortnight before Christmas 1813 the officers of that regiment ate some for breakfast at two o’clock in the morning, when Lieutenant Wyndham Madden remarked that their thickness would turn a bullet aside, at the same time stuffing one into the breast of his jacket. ‘Never was prediction more completely verified,’ wrote a brother subaltern, ‘for early in the day the biscuit was shattered to pieces, turning the direction of the bullet from as gallant and true a heart as ever beat under a British uniform.’

Mythbusters has boards on www.discovery.com where one can submit new myths. In the historical myths section, I found someone has posted something similar related to the American Civil War, so I added this Napoleonic bit to that thread. It would be fun to see this one tested!

Do any of you enjoy Mythbusters? Have any favorite episodes? Any myths, Regency related or otherwise, that you’d like to see them try to bust?

Elena

About Elena Greene

Elena Greene grew up reading anything she could lay her hands on, including her mother's Georgette Heyer novels. She also enjoyed writing but decided to pursue a more practical career in software engineering. Fate intervened when she was sent on a three year international assignment to England, where she was inspired to start writing romances set in the Regency. Her books have won the National Readers' Choice Award, the Desert Rose Golden Quill and the Colorado Romance Writers' Award of Excellence. Her Super Regency, LADY DEARING'S MASQUERADE, won RT Book Club's award for Best Regency Romance of 2005 and made the Kindle Top 100 list in 2011. When not writing, Elena enjoys swimming, cooking, meditation, playing the piano, volunteer work and craft projects. She lives in upstate New York with her two daughters and more yarn, wire and beads than she would like to admit.
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4 Responses to Mythbusters

  1. I LOVE Myhtbusters!! Thanks for the great post, Elena 🙂

  2. Diane Gaston says:

    What a great idea for mythbusters, Elena! I love to see the myths tested. I wonder if there are any other Regency myths to test?

  3. librarypat says:

    We love Mythbusters. I can’t offhand think of a favorite episode. I like the mini science lessons they have added this season.
    I made Hardtack for a kids program at the library. It is truly hard stuff. It was generally soaked to be eaten. I’m not sure it wouldn’t stop a bullet, at least a small caliber one.

  4. Elena Greene says:

    The only other Regency myth I can think of off the top of my head is about whether ladies really damped their petticoats to make them cling. I remember this being debated on a writers’ loop.

    But of course ladies could have done that, so unless the Mythbusters build a time machine it would just be listed as “plausible.” 🙂

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