My MacGyver Interview

I would just like to share this video (and then some comments).  This is from CBS KPIX channel 5 in San Fransisco.

OK, now for some comments:

  • I was contacted a while ago by Sharon Chin from KPIX.  She was interested in doing a story on the science of MacGyver.  Actually, I’m not 100 percent sure how she knew I was the science advisor (actually, I’m the technical consultant)—I guess that’s why she’s a journalist.
  • We picked a day for Sharon and a camera person to come visit me at Southeastern—we ended up with Halloween.  That’s just the day that worked.
  • They arrived around 9:00 AM and we first recorded an interview.  After that, we went through probably 5 MacGyver builds.  It was tough recording all that stuff.  We had to do it multiple times to get the camera angles correct.
  • After that, they visited my PHYS 142 class (you know, the one that’s on the chopping blocks).  They interviewed a student and then watched some of the class.
  • Overall, things went great—but I was super tired afterwards.
  • Super grateful to Sharon and KPIX for doing this episode.  It’s great to get some more publicity.
  • Oh, one thing I try to make clear in the interview—I’m not responsible for all the hacks.  Credit goes to the awesome MacGyver writers.  They come up with some great stuff.
  • Oh, double credit also to the editor for this video.  They must have had about 5 hours worth of video to get 3 minutes of air time.  Impressive.  I wouldn’t want to do that.
  • The end.
  • I don’t need this last bullet—but it’s here anyway.

Fake or Not: Physics analysis of “Extreme way to shop for groceries”

Here is the video in question:

Looks too incredible to be real for me. That is when I start to question things. Is this fake or not? To answer this, I took a clip that showed a person launching a grocery item over the isle. This was a good shot to look at because it was *mostly* perpendicular to the camera view. I then used [Tracker video analysis (free) tool](http://www.cabrillo.edu/~dbrown/tracker/) to get x-y-time data for the flying projectile grocery. The scale was difficult, so I just guessed that the guy on the left was 5 foot 10 inches. Here is the vertical position data for two tosses.

![grocery](http://blog.dotphys.net/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/grocery.jpg)

A few things to notice:
– The plots are mostly parabolic. This is what you would expect from a real toss (air resistance would be small)
– The two tosses have essentially the same acceleration.
– The acceleration of these two tosses is in the ball park of -9.8 m/s2. Yes, they are not right on, but I totally guessed on the scale of the video.

So, from this, I think that shot is real. It is still incredible. Maybe they did this for like two hours to get it right. Maybe they just got lucky. Maybe they used the force and the force is strong in their family.

I was going to add an analysis of how off they could be on their throws and still make the “basket”, but I got lazy. Sorry. Maybe I will add that later.