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Who ya gonna call…? MythBusters! :-)

How many times must the cannon balls fly?….” – Bob Dylan, “Blowin’ in the Wind

I have been working with kids in Dublin, California the last 3 days. Dublin is a really nice city, with really great adults and children, at a crossroad in the TriValley, just a few miles east of San Francisco Bay. A lot of the kids get to watch “MythBusters” in Middle School science classes, because… hey! Science is FUN!

Yesterday, however, the POWER of science got out of the hands of the MythBusters, and, IMHO (In My Humble Opinion), they did not prepare adequately for their experiment. In particular, they ignored one of the cardinal rules of target shooting – always consider what lies BEYOND your target!

The MythBuster guys (based in San Francisco) fired a cannon (yeah, they DO that kind of thing) :-) on the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department bomb disposal range in Dublin, California. The MythBuster guys have fired the cannon on that range many times before! Instead of passing through several barrels of water, a cinder block wall, and safely INTO a hill, the 6-inch-diameter steel cannonball went OVER a hill, richocheted around in a house on Cassata Place and out through an upstairs bedroom wall (inhabitants SLEPT through this!), across busy 6-lane Tassajara Road, off the roof tiles (shattering them) of a house across the street on Bellevue Circle, and through the passenger window of a beige Toyota Sienna minivan whose driver had just parked 5 minutes before. Fortunately, in this awful accident, NOBODY was killed or injured, and all damage was to PROPERTY.

You’ve got to ask yourself one question, “Do I feel lucky?” :-)

The cannonball traveled about 650 yards (595 meters), bounced in front of the first house, and then bounced at least once again after exiting through the upstairs master bedroom wall of the first house.

The MythBuster guys went around in person to apologize to all homeowners who sustained damage. They also announced that they will NOT be firing cannons around there ever again!

The good news, aside from the lack of injuries…? I showed the brief news video to three classes of fifth graders to explain to them the VALUE of knowing about science.

(Note added December 8, 2011: Today, I met the boy who was seated in the passenger seat of the minivan only minutes before the cannonball passed through. He seems like a nice kid. I am glad that he is still with us.)

-Bill at

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