Adam Whitney Savage is an American industrial design and special effects designer/fabricator, actor, educator, and television personality, known as one of two co-hosts of the Discovery Channel television series MythBusters and Unchained Reaction. His model work has appeared in major films, including Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and The Matrix Reloaded. He is a prominent member of the skeptic community. He lives in San Francisco with his twin sons and wife, Julia.
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UPDATE: I had a GREAT time today; thanks to everyone who participated. If I have time, I'll dip back in tonight and answer more questions, but for now I need to wrap it up. Last thoughts:
We're asking for your myth suggestions and suggestions for things to blow up for a MythBusters Reddit special. Read about it (and post your suggestions) here: https://www.reddit.com/r/mythbusters/comments/3cfn7r/suggest_a_myth_or_item_to_blow_up_for_the/
The new season of MythBusters starts on July 18! Sneak peek here: http://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/mythbusters/videos/summer-season-sneak-peek/
If you're at Comic Con this week, I hope to see you there! And if you're not, I'll keep you up to date on social as much as I can.
Next AMA I promise to sort by "top" occasionally.
Thanks again for all your questions!
Hi, reddit. It's Adam Savage -- special effects artist, maker, sculptor, public speaker, movie prop collector, writer, father, husband, and redditor -- again.
My Proof: https://twitter.com/donttrythis/status/618446689569894401
After last weekend's events, I know a lot of you were wondering if this AMA would still happen. I decided to go through with it as scheduled, though, after we discussed it with the AMA mods and after seeing some of your Tweets and posts. So here I am! I look forward to your questions! (I think!)
how successful was the "reboot"? Is discovery happy? Are you happy? What will the future of mythbusters look like?
I'm very happy with the reboot. I love the show we're making now more than ever. BTW we have new episodes starting to air on July 18 at 9pm.
a few years ago, you and Jamie were on a local radio station in Los Angeles.....KROQ.
You had callers call in and pitch ideas to you both, but you warned them, and told them that you LIKELY have already heard everything.
Someone called in and said that when he was driving tanker trucks...he was told that if he was not careful, the nozzel at the back of the tanker truck could ignite and turn the tanker truck into a sort of ROCKET.
Both you and Jamie paused for a moment...and then you said something like "That....is going on a short list...that is amazing"
Did anything ever come from that?
No, but that's really good. Thanks. It's going on the possible list! Also, we're taking myth and stuff-to-blow-up suggestions here: https://www.reddit.com/r/mythbusters/comments/3cfn7r/suggest_a_myth_or_item_to_blow_up_for_the/
Will you please make a cameo on the Slow Mo Guys channel? As a fan of Myth Busters and Rooster Teeth, I would love to see this happen!
Yes! We've been talking to the Slo Mo Guys ....
Is Jamie's personality on the show all an act? Or is he really that dry in real life? And what is it with that guy when he has a helmet on?!
If anything, Jamie is drier in real life.
Have you ever ran into someone who was cosplaying as you at a con? I love your work on mythbusters, and watch your videos on Tested, my fave are the one day build videos.
Yes I have. That's weird.
hi adam - what was one myth that you were sure deep down in your heart was true but that you had to admit was false after you guys put it to the test?
Killer Cable snap. Absolutely sure it was a thing until we started testing. Shocked at the result but I stand behind it 100%
I normally miss when these are happening so I'm glad I caught this one.
Is there any myth you've heard that you would never want to try to bust?
Well, there are a lot of "mythbusters after dark" myths that we'll never go near but are fun to think about. Don't ask me for which ones. Use your imagination and rule 34.
What maker skill do you lack and most covet? And whose skill do you most admire?
Tig welding aluminum
Are you both time traveling archaeologist trying to understand pop-culture who somehow broke their device to travel through time and are stuck in the present trying to gather the materials to complete your device?
Does Jamie have a special document saying he is protected from seal hunting?
Which con will you be going to next?
How has the imgur/reddit community treated you and what are your impressions of either?
Do you guys get random visits from fans time-to-time?
If so and if its allowed, may i drop by :D?
I have this replica western pistol (peacemaker design) thats made with metal and has working mechanism but i cant take it to cons for obvious reasons. Im thinkg of making a mold of it, making a lead core, and then casting a plastic remake, what do you think?
Which myth did you dislike the most?
Number 1 and 2 are collectively my favorite questions in a long time. The answer is 1. I can't say and 2. Yes.
My daughter and I absolutely adore your show, and we watch it together every day. She is completely ecstatic that today is her birthday and she gets to ask you a question!
"What is your favorite kind of cake? I'm having a science birthday and I want to have Adam cake!"
Carrot Cake!!! With that amazing cream cheese frosting. Also:
Hello, Mr. Savage. Big fan of yours growing up. Something I've always wanted to know; if you could pick one other person to co-host an episode of mythbusters with, who would it be?
If you could blow anything up, what would it be?
More water heaters of course.
I met you ever so briefly at Dragoncon in '08, in what could only be described as a rushed meet and greet fitting in as many people as possible. It was still awesome to say thank you and shake your hand.
What is the most memorable time you have had at a con?
Dressing up as No Face from Spirited away.
Do your kids go to Comicon with you, and do they dress up?
Yes they do, but no they don't dress up. Yet.
Adam, if you had unlimited funds and resources, what would you build?
I'm going to graduate soon with a bachelor's in physics and mechanical engineering. I just wanted to say thank you for showing me and countless others how incredibly awesome science can be. My favorite part of Mythbusters was always the critical thinking. When I was younger I had no idea how much power the human mind is capable of producing, and unlocking that potential is something I can never thank you enough for.
My question for you: What do you think will be a bigger factor shaping the next 20 to 50 years, nanotechnology or 3D printing?
3d printing. Because it's currently in a more mature phase. But don't go by my say-so. And thanks for your opening comment. We never intended to be inspirational or educational actually. The fact that we were is incredible. Best of luck out there once you have your degree! Congrats!
Now that RobotWars is back, do you plan to try and participate again?
I very much hope to play with the Battlebots folks. There are a lot of old friends of mine in that community. I'm psyched it's back on!!
My sons are HUGE fans of the show and would like to know how many things you've blown up over the years?
How did you manage to get Barack Obama on the show?
That guy is always hanging around on set. We figured let's put him in! Kidding, they reached out to us. Of course we were into it. They were fantastic to work with. Funny side note: after the press went out about the episode, the administration got shit for "wasting time" with a tv show. Our entire time with Obama, for filming all his parts of the ep, was 13 minutes, start to finish. Including taking pictures with Jamie and I and our crew.
What’s your favourite TV show?
Watching it again with my wife who hasn't seen it. we watched Boxcutter last night...
It's so much better the second time through!
Hey Adam! I once got into an argument with a friend of mine who said Mythbusters was very unscientific. It lasted over an hour and ended up being one of the most heated argument I've had in my adult life. What would you say to someone who says the show isn't scientific?
We are not doing science on this show. Science requires rigorous re-checking of results and many iterations to make sure ones results are free from bias. But we do demonstrate a scientific way of thinking: that is basing our results on the evidence before us. We also demonstrate that science is a deeply creative field, that is messy and full of wrong turns. Making this show has turned me into a scientist: it's fundamentally altered my way of thinking. So I defend the show as scientific. I like to say that we don't necessarily stand behind our results (because of the confines of concision and making a tv show etc) but we stand 100% behind our methodologies. If we turn out to have screwed up a methodology we will go back and re-test it. THAT is the most scientific thing we do: change our minds based on better evidence.
What's the one experiment that you've always wanted to do but haven't been able to due to production restrictions (OH&S, budget .etc)?
Well, going to the moon of course. And putting to bed once and for all that we'd already been there. We'd build our own rocket and keep a live video feed the entire time.
Is it true that you and Jamie don't get along that well?
It's true. That guy drives me nuts. (but I drive him nuts too!)
What would you say are the most important skills to learn for model and prop making? What would old Adam tell yourself at a younger age that would have helped out the most?
One should learn that sewing, carpentry and welding are all actually the same skill: joining planar forms under unique sets of rules. That was a sea-change for me.
Just wanted to say, I'm a huge fan of Tested, and I deeply appreciate the level of detail you guys showcase on the channel.
And I love seeing your toys ;)
Question: With current education standards, do you believe that there are gaping holes where kids are missing out on creative experiences? Making, building, etc.
What would you like to see implemented in to our education systems? (Not just in the Bay Area, but in low income communities)
More shop. More theater. More band. More makersheds. More hackerlabs. More programming. Less standardized testing.
Is there still a place to submit myth ideas online? The only place I could find looks like it was last updated in 2012.
Hope this gets to you because my myth would be
What would happen if a human swam out into the bellagio fountains and was on top of one of the Jets of water. Would he fly up with the water and die? Would the water cut right through him creating a giant hole? Or would he escape unharmed?
Edit : found the thread in /r/mythbusters to submit and submitted this.
That is a great question. I think death would be the result but I doubt they'd let us drag crash test dummies through their fountain. But I know the guys that designed and built it... Hmm.
Thanks for coming by Adam! Always great to see you do an AMA on here!
I've been a fan for as long as I can remember and just love watching the show. I also love watching you guys do all those cool things on the Tested YouTube channel.
So, my question to you is: What character would you most like to dress up as at Comic Con, but feel like the costume would be too far fetched to make? Or is nothing too far fetched for you?
Also, got any hints are what your costume will be this year?
I have three costumes this year. No hints just yet. But soon. Very excited. Some new and exciting changes to adamincognito this year!
Adam, as a young man starting out in the world (going to college next year), I have a huge love of building things, testing, and a passion for anything DIY. When you were starting out, how did you fund your projects or get materials for what you need?
I've loved Mythbusters for a long time, and I remember watching a speech you gave at a maker fair once on youtube. Thank you!
I would often offer to build stuff for the cost of materials as long as I could keep the prop or thing that I made when it was done being used. This is a great deal for student films and theater and I gathered many shop supplies this way.
Hi Adam. Thanks for the AMA.
My question: Which tool can you absolutely not do without?
Hi Adam! Great fan of the show.
How's you relationship with the rest of the Mythbusters? Were you guys friends? If so, are you still?
Edit: By Mythbusters I meant Build team. Grant, Tori, and Kari.
We are! I expect to see Grant and Tory at Comic Con! I love those guys.
Did you get a bit starstruck during the Breaking Bad special with Vince and Aaron on set?
Totes. But Vince puts everyone at ease. So does Aaron. They're both crazy nice in person. I have no idea how Vince can think of such dark shit and be such a sweet person.
Hey Adam! As another SF Bay Area resident, just wanted to say I love seeing you guys roam all over the bay! Is there any SF Bay Area location you'd like to visit for the show that you haven't yet?
The Golden Gate bridge. Costs a fortune to film there. Sadly.
How do you feel about programs like FIRST and Vex? Do you think they're eventually going to be successful in the cultural revolution they're trying to reach?
I hope so. They're both awesome. Dean Kamen is one of my heroes.
Hello Mr. Savage, my question to you is: where does one begin when wanting to dive into the world of special effects?
Get good at animating. Great animators are HARD to find.
Is it true that Jamie is stronger than an orangutan?
Yes, he'll tear your arms right off your body. Be careful.
I have a myth question: What would happen (Besides total destruction) if a hole was cut straight through exact center of the earth, and barring anything else (Death, the earth collapsing in, etc.) if a person jumped, would the fall one way then the other as gravity reversed polarity?
I so want to do this. I have no idea.
Hi Adam, first off, thanks for doing an AMA, you and Mythbusters is probably one of the main reasons I got into robotics and engineering.
As for my question, what is the hardest thing you've ever done on the show that was either dangerous or difficult?
Making that water pump from the scuba diver getting sucked into a firefighting helicopter... I didn't know at the time that I could do that...
One thing I always wondered while watching mythbusters. Was there ever a reason you only ever wore all black?
My whole life I've always worn all black, actually.
Greetings, Adam! What is your favorite child-friendly Movie and TV show (besides MythBusters)?
All the Miyazaki films. Seriously. Everyone should watch them. Spirited Away is on my top 10
Hi Adam! Great fan here.
How good was the response on the tested.com build videos?
I find them awesome, hope to see more of them.
Also: how frequently are you on Imgur?
TY a lot and keep making!
We get tons of awesome love for the tested.com vids. I LOVE doing them. Norm and Will and Joey are the awesome. We have many amazing plans for the future.
When you were young, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
Does Tory still feel bad about shocking you?
Yes he does. Seriously. Tory is the nicest guy in the world (seriously) and feels terrible to this day. Wasn't his call. He and the team were forced into it by someone no longer associated with the show.
Thanks for both Mythbusters and Tested. You guys got me back into "reading" again with recommending "The Martian". And I'm listening to "Seveneves" right now while building stuff! You are a great inspiration and have been a big part in making me realise how much I love creating physical things (I'm a programmer by trade).
I'm from the EU, and as the rest of the world we use the SI-system of measurement where everything is based on 10.
With the imperial system instead there are a lot of 3/4", 12/16" and such, which is a total mind bender at least for me. Do you think this creates a more intuitive sense of division when being forced to use such measurements, or is it just a set of mnemonics that makes you understand it all?
I'm sad that the US is still not on the Metric system. But SEVENEVES!! Isn't it great!?
I loved it and devoured it in one weekend. We're going to do a podcast on it as soon as Norm reads it.
Hey Adam! Thank you doing this AMA. I was just wondering what is the memorable time you've met a fan on the street?
Having my childhood crush Marilu Henner wait on line with her awesome science-obsessed son to get my autograph.
Hey Adam, what Is your hands-down, of-all-time favorite edc knife? And what is Jamie's favorite edc knife?
Leatherman Charge. and my Lone Wolf D2 by Bill Harsey
Why isn't Mythbusters on Netflix anymore, and when it is, why are the seasons "collections" and not chronological?
We're on Hulu now. And I don't know the answer to your question: those decisions are made by others.
Hey Adam. So we know Jamie is a walrus, what animal are you?
I'm a fox.
What is your favorite sandwich?
The Tuna Nicoise from BiRite in the Mission. And the chicken sandwich from Mijita at the Ferry Building. Both in San Francisco
What are you most looking forward to at ComicCon this year? Been a huge Mythbusters fan since episode 1 BTW :)
I have many parts that I love. My party will be EPIC this year.
Dear wonderful co-host of Mythbusters,
Could you please buy the rights to Junkyard Wars and bring it back, as a host/producer? I'm kind of surprised Netflix hasn't tried getting the rights and rebooting it.
Thank you. ^And ^^I ^^^envy ^^^^you.
That's a great idea. I loved the original.
Any chance of guest hosting on BattleBots if they have a Season 2?
I hope to participate in some way.
I loved your commentary track for Brazil! Any plans for another one?
(Also I know a tested member sent in a Gundam model kit after the video of you and norm painting the Cosmonaut kits. I hope you get a chance to paint it! Your take on a giant mech would be awesome)
Yes. IT's hard to find time but we have plans for many other unauthorized commentaries.
Best experience in the show so far?
Coming up in the next season. Can't say just yet but it was flying in a very unique aircraft.
Did you ever test the giant flying Frisbee myth? Whether it's possible to scale a Frisbee to the size of a spaceship?
Not yet. But I love that idea. That a frisbee is a size-independant device.