DEFCON Conference 17. My failures. Part 2

Original author: Adam Savage, co-author of The Legendaries
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DEFCON Conference 17. My failures. Part 1

Question: can you tell us about a legend that you will never debunk?

Adam Savage: I think there are several such legends. If you saw our programs, you noticed that we try not to do boring things such as comparing hangers with a high-quality audio cable. I don’t think this episode is worth showing. I just want to say that at one time we explored a myth associated with a lot of liquid oxygen. Destroyers of legends work with different explosives, but nothing scares me more than combustible gases. But these gases are sheer nonsense compared to liquid oxygen. This is really a terrible thing, and when we began to study the materials associated with it, we read that experiments with this substance are absolutely unpredictable.

This is really a terrible thing, and we simply abandoned this story because it was associated with a large amount of liquid oxygen, and security required us to experiment with it at too great a distance, which we could not afford.

Question: Can you tell us about the most grandiose failure of the "Destroyers of Legends"?

Adam Savage: I will say right away - we had 22 thousand failures. Recently, there was a case when Jamie left the emergency brake on the car that was supposed to go. It really looked very funny - Jamie is alone on the top of the hill, behind him are cameras that are supposed to shoot what is happening. It was very interesting to see how Jamie's eyes watching the car go round like coins, and he says, “Oh shit!” Yes, we had 22 thousand failures. We had a story when our dummy Baster, or the Destroyer, acting as a paratrooper, falls out of a bomber during an explosion and falls on the glass roof of the railway station, and as if a blast wave softens its fall, in short, complete garbage.

We had a balloon that was supposed to hold Baster 450 feet above the glass roof of the fake station we made. That morning the wind blew in the wrong direction, and besides, we had to figure out how to quickly free Baster. The fact is that 4 years ago in California there was a terrible heat - 118 ° F in the shade, and we had to finish shooting by 10 or 11 o’clock in the afternoon, as firefighters could force us to stop working at any time due to very high danger fires.

Therefore, we started working at 3 a.m., illuminating the filming spot with car headlights, and worked until dawn. And then the moment came when the "destroyer" had to be released along with the balloon so that it soared up. But I did not think of a “transition point" in this launch system. I had a piece of cable, which I had to cut, while 5 people held a balloon with the Buster tied to it using lead cables. I cut the holding cable, and the ball rushed up with such force that people could not hold it. Our Destroyer began to float into the distance into the sky, everyone began to chase him, in general, nothing came of it.

The worst part was that it was Friday, and we had to finish shooting before the weekend, otherwise we would have to work out the whole weekend at 118 ° F. Therefore, the next day we returned at 3 in the morning and started all over again. It was the worst failure of my life. I consoled myself only with the fact that failures of this magnitude do not happen too often, but they still have to be reckoned with.

Question: First, I want to make a small remark that talking about failures is really beneficial. My question is about the Apollo mission, it was a wonderful episode, I’m just wondering if you are going to make an addition to it, I even shared this video with my colleagues to prove that we really were on the Moon.

Adam Savage: we also like this episode, we sent it as an example of our best work last year to the Emmy Television Award Committee, and it was one of the reasons why our show received the Emmy Award for the first time this year. When preparing the story about Apollo, we gathered a lot of material about landing on the moon, dozens of hours, from which we chose what we liked best and which would be interesting to all viewers. But, unfortunately, this did not convince those who do not want to be convinced, because everywhere they see conspiracy theory.

Question: Adam, purely hypothetically, if we are attacked by zombies, can I live in your basement, somewhere in the corner?

Adam Savage: not sure I will let you in! By the way, if we are attacked by zombies, the lawnmower will become my favorite weapon, but this is only because I really love Peter Jackson’s film “The Living Carrion”.

Question: You are a very interesting person, Mr. Savage! I want to ask you if you work for the government in such an area as providing a manned mission to Mars, or something similar? Society wants to know about it!

Adam Savage: no, I do not help the government in any fake projects. I do not think that they would turn to us for help, as they have more qualified people in order to do such things.

Question: I have two questions about failures: one for you and one for me. Are you going to remake your “Maltese Falcon” to the appropriate size and the second - as a big fan of your show, I would really like to have a replica of the legend breaker plate, how do you do it?

Adam Savage: We made it with a plasma cutter in about 30 minutes, just by drawing and cutting out the letters. About 3 years ago, one of the producers took our tablet with him, and I had to do it again, and the original tablet was made for the first time by Jamie. We just cut the letters with a cutter and put them together.

Question: I do not have a plasma torch, so could you please make one plate for me?

Adam Savage: I want to note that it will be too expensive! Now for the Maltese Falcon. At the beginning of this year, I spent a lot of time getting to know the real statuette of the Maltese Falcon, and I had the opportunity to take several hundred photographs. I got this opportunity at the last moment, so I did not have roulette with me, and to determine the size, I put a dollar bill next to it. I got a bunch of reference material, so I’ll try to recreate the figurine in real time as soon as I have a free weekend. But I do not know when it will be, because it is an incessant saga.

Question: Hi, I’m Syntax, the host of Defcon Geo Challenge, who sent you an e-mail with an invitation to speak at this conference. I want to thank you for coming here and for the prizes that we have been given.

Adam Savage: did you like the prizes I picked for you?

Question: Yes, we received prizes, one of them is shown on a display window in the conference hall, he attracted a lot of attention, so I would like to thank you for the visit and for the prizes that you provided for our event.

Adam Savage: by the way, my first question in the reply letter was this - of course, I will give you some of our prizes, but for this you will allow me to speak at Defcon?

Question: I noticed that often there is a difference between how you confirm or destroy the myth, and sometimes you confirm or refute that which is based on the "spirit" of the myth, and sometimes that which is based on the "letter" of the myth. Is there a reason for this difference?

Adam Savage: There is no difference in how we feel this legend. Often, when we finish researching a myth, we - I, Jamie and the producer - have three different opinions, what to call it. We even send a draft to the editor, who sometimes answers: “I don’t think you destroyed this myth at all!” And we say: “He is right! Let's consider this myth believable! ” It’s like a scientific interpretation, allowing various interpretations, “we play as we feel,” and if we did everything wrong, then we return and review the whole concept, this is a favorite part of my work.

Question: Obviously, the rocket car was one of your first legends, and you tried to work on it again, because you were not satisfied with the results of your research. Are you planning to give this legend another chance, because it would be just fantastic?

Adam Savage: I’ll tell you that rocket car 3.0 is on our list of future research. And although we built a ramp for it in total for two days, it cost us 5 thousand dollars. The legend of the rocket car became one of the most expensive episodes that we have ever shot, it cost us somewhere around 100 thousand dollars, since it was necessary to deliver this whole gang to the desert and shoot everything. The two guys who built the rocket car, or rather, it was the whole company we talked to on the show, asked to rename them from “rocket creators” to “rocket specialists,” they kindly offered us two rocket cars for free. I said that a rocket car cost 10 thousand dollars, but in reality each of these missiles cost 10 thousand dollars, so that “rocket power” alone cost $ 20,000. I think

Presenter: as they say, three from one match!

Question: I remember the episode "Destroyers of Legends" in which your assistants built a "Baghdad battery" and you were shocked. Were you really shocked or just portrayed this on camera?

Adam Savage: no, no, I was really terribly angry and my whole team was also very angry. My wife saw this episode about six months later, but that day when I returned home and told her about it, she was also very angry. The initiator of this "prank" was Carey, not our producer, and when my wife watched this episode, she noticed that on the TV screen everything didn’t look as bad as I told her about it, having come home after the shooting. I replied that in reality my group refused to film me for those 10 minutes while I was calm. Because I was furious when I got a 100 thousand volt shock, and although it lasted only 2 milliseconds, the current passed right through the center of my heart. This incident triggered a kind of unspoken agreement regarding the Day of Taunts and Jokes in the team of "Legend Destroyers", particularly between me and Jamie. Because when it comes to practical jokes, we behave like two nuclear powers, like, if I hit you with an electric shock, I’ll return home, which will be full of water. This is like a retaliation concept. You know, Jamie fights without rules, so I do not want to participate in this.

In fact, there is another thing that triggered the emergence of "Day of ridicule." This is something that I immediately fall asleep in a moving vehicle and at the same time snore very loudly, which simply makes Jamie crazy. Therefore, I go to the shooting separately, because earlier, as soon as I got into the crew’s bus, I fell asleep in the back seat and started to snore terribly. When Jamie could no longer endure, he poured a glass of water from a bottle and poured it on my pants in the crotch area. You know, in this place jeans are folded like a pocket, and he gradually poured water there and once even managed to pour a whole bottle while I was sleeping.

I was sleeping, but I had a very strange dream. Suddenly I woke up, and you know that when you wake up and something happens, often you absolutely know exactly what is happening. Therefore, as soon as I woke up, I immediately gave him a slap in the face and said: “Hey guy, do you really want to get there? Because in the house where I plan to spend several weeks, it will be fun for everyone except you! This will be my goal! ” After these words, Jamie became even more like a walrus and replied: “You are absolutely right, I will not do this anymore!”

Host: do you like to spend your time here in our society?

Adam Savage: really, really like it! I really like talking with engineers, I like talking with “geeks”, I often ask people who like to scream on TV, how often did you scream “idiot!” to me, watching our program? Know, I hear it!

Presenter: Do you want to visit us again next year?

Adam Savage: yes, I will come here around the same time!

Presenter: we have a good time, you have a good time, we have friends, you have friends ...

Adam Savage: I will try to bring you something new, but I'm not sure I can get Jamie here. He is a very antisocial type.

Host: Is Jamie anti-social? Can not be!

Adam Savage: OK, I promise to bring him here next year.

(noise in the hall)

Adam Savage: I don’t think he wants to come here after hearing such a reaction!

Host: to make him look like one of ours, he needs a red shirt, and he also needs to sleep at least occasionally in order to be able to work.

Adam Savage: he sleeps in a cryogenic chamber, so ...

Host: let me introduce you to the Diviant?

Divan Ollam: so Adam, a couple of times you blew everything up at my school in New Mexico, so now I just wanted to ask, in fact, I wanted to hear it from Carey and Grant - which explosion did you like the most?

Adam Savage: I will tell you a story about New Mexico, where we launched a rocket car. If you review this episode again, you will see a flash of light reflect in my eyes and a joyful smile appear on my face, but something incomprehensible happens to my mouth, because I actually drool. I drool right at the camera and try to cover myself, as if showing how great it was! Yes guys, review this episode, if only to say: “he drools!”

My favorite blast was not really a blast in the technical sense, it was a blast of a water heater. I hope you never begin to conduct such an experiment without proper preparation.

Presenter: I think that this is not worth repeating at home!

Adam Savage: with about 800 explosions, Jamie and I can tell you how pale and modest the explosions made with C4 or M4 explosives sound compared to the explosion of a water boiler. A couple of years ago we made a story about how a water boiler explodes and breaks through the roof of a building, but people began to write to us that they have two-story houses and the boiler is in the basement. So in October we are starting a new season with premieres of stories, among which there will be a story about a water heater in the basement of a two-story house that we built, so it will be very cool!

Question: usually in your television show there is a narrator who describes the work of the team, portraying Jamie as a thoughtful silent man, and you as a cheerful fool. Do you agree with this interpretation and do you have any conflicts with the narrator on this basis?

Adam Savage: This is a good question. For example, this show is being recorded in Australia. We wonder how we should shoot what the narrator should talk about, because with a rather low attitude to reality, we still shoot a reality television show. So we all figure out rough and pretty clearly imagine how it will look on the screen. We have very good relations with writers and producers who are preparing an abridged version of the story in Australia. I was always pleased with the way they write the script in which they sometimes beat our conflicts with Jamie, because we really often argue with him about the research methodology, and this is absolutely normal.

When we just started making the program, one of the fans said that the whole show was on Jamie, and I only looked like his lively assistant. I have said it now in such a voice, because I have a biased attitude towards it. In fact, it is important how people perceive our show, because its fundamental idea is what we do on the basis of absolute partnership in every sense of the word. The main thing is that this is the most professional partnership that I have ever had, and I have the deepest respect for this guy who really drives me crazy.

People do not know what is happening in the background of the show and how all this is given to us, they see only the final result. One day, Jamie caught a severe cold when we shot an episode about ninja walking on the water. We shot the whole entourage without him so that when he recovered we could insert an episode with his participation and use it to the maximum, because the idea of ​​this plot completely belonged to him. Sometimes it happens that it comes out on camera as my idea, although in reality it belonged to Jamie, or vice versa, it is a very ambiguous process.

Question: Thank you very much for coming here, we had a wonderful conversation! My question consists of 2 related parts. First: do you have any own beliefs and your own belief in the impossibility of what is happening when you destroy or confirm legends, like this: “I know that it will be X, Y, Z, because I believe that it should be X, Y , Z "? Has it happened to you that the result of research forced you to renounce your own philosophical views or beliefs, and how did this affect you?

Adam Savage: This is a great couple of questions! We are often asked if we prefer to destroy myths more than confirm them. I mean, starting to work with some kind of legend, we really act as agnostics. We can say that we were constantly mistaken, relying on our own intuition, which told us what should happen. We even have the definition of “dirty car versus clean car” for a case that did not fully justify our forecasts. And this is pretty fun.

A few years ago, we filmed an episode called The Slashed Killer Cable. Every fisherman in the world believes that if you pull the fixed braided cable tightly, it will break off and begin to whip around, chopping everything into pieces. As I said, there is no fisherman in the world who would not believe that with a break such a cable cuts off people’s legs, arms and so on.

Therefore, we created a beautiful experimental process developed by Jamie in order to find out how you can get such a whip in a specific direction by wrapping it around a column screwed to the floor. We shot a story in an abandoned building at a naval base, taking for experiment various steel cables with a diameter of a quarter to three quarters of an inch, planning to stretch them to 80% of tensile strength and then chopped off with a pneumatic cutter. We had several pork carcasses located “on the line of fire”, and starting the experiment in the morning, we would be sure that by lunch we would get a whole bunch of chopped pork steaks.

We expected to enjoy beautiful high-speed footage of the killer cable, but when we saw a dent in the fourth pig carcass, that is, the cable did not even cut through the skin. I was completely sure that our technological process was impeccable and the reason for the failure is that we use 80% of the ultimate tension, and not 90 or more percent, to approach the effect of dissection of the flesh.

I called our main researcher, Linda Volkovich, and asked if we had contact with at least one person to whom the cable was cut off, I would immediately send a plane for him.

Because the cables that we use behave like laser beams, they don’t whip at all, they just unwind, they move hard. Probably, they are able to knock a person down, but certainly not chop him into pieces!

That day, we ended up refuting this legend, and I do not consider it a disadvantage that we were completely wrong. This is very exciting - your intuition and the development of a process to find out how everything really happens is the process of realizing that most of the time you were mistaken about a question. I think that in fact, we would not have done a scientific and educational show for our money, because if we decided on this, we would have failed. But I think that we give people the opportunity to understand how science works, to show them that this is a rather dirty activity. I think it is very important that people understand that science is not scientists in white coats who proudly say in their sterile laboratory: “My experiment was successful!” or "My experiment gave unique data!",

Question: Now that you have met our community, are you going to destroy some myths related to computers?

Adam Savage: This is an area of ​​research where it is difficult to make any discoveries. In fact, in the very first season we wanted to buy two computers, bind them to the same Internet account, click on the button “Do not send me spam!” and see what happens. But the complexity of such research lies in the fact that almost invisible processes occur in computers, so it’s quite difficult to make a spectacular story. However, what I saw here suggests that someday we will work on the topic of debunking computer myths.

Host: Well, Adam, it's time to say goodbye!

Adam Savage: do I still have some time? I want to thank you guys for the warm welcome, it was a great honor for me to speak at Defcon, you are an amazing audience, accept my bow!

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