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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, November 12, 2017 1:00 am

Show's new hosts ready to put myths to test

George Dickie | Zap2it

Nearly two years after it left the air, “MythBusters” returns on a new network with new hosts and new experiments – but with the same explosions, crashes and science lessons its fans have come to love.

Premiering Wednesday on Science Channel, the new “MythBusters” introduces its hosts: Brian Louden, a Texas native with a degree in biology and a background in everything from building and energy to emergency medicine; and Jon Lung, a New Yorker trained as an engineer and a product designer. Both love science and math and neither missed an episode of the original series when it ran on Discovery Channel from 2003-16.

In fact, Lung recalls a “we're not worthy” moment when original co-host Adam Savage walked into an orientation meeting at the beginning of the search process for the new hosts.

“We're like starstruck,” he says. “I mean, this guy's been our idol for literally 14 years and his advice is probably what got me and Brian through the searches, basically, 'Hey, you guys are about to go through a remarkable journey and regardless of how it ends, you should just be who you are and have fun. Because, one, the audience can tell and, two, it's probably like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.' And I've been taking that advice to heart, I mean, even until now.”

In Wednesday's opener, one of the myths Louden and Lung explore is whether a deploying airbag can be lethal to front-seat passengers if their feet are on the dashboard during a front-end collision. For this, the duo employ what is called a “SynDaver,” basically a synthetic human cadaver that has simulated skin, bones, muscle, tissue, veins and internal organs and is used in crash tests to more accurately gauge the damage a real human body could sustain. The most sophisticated models breathe and have pumping blood. The two Louden and Lung used cost about $75,000 each.

Without giving away spoilers, the results of this experiment are graphic. But having these eerily realistic faux humans sitting around their Southern California workshop proved a little jarring – and creepy – for the hosts.

“Creepy in how scientifically accurate they are,” Lung says. “But yeah, sometimes if you turn a corner and you see one of them laying there, it will spook you.”

“They get left out to be washed before being put away sometimes,” Louden adds, “and you'll come into the office in the morning and just sitting in a kiddie pool will be that SynDaver with its sort of blank stare looking at you. ... It's kind of a normal day at work here, though.”