Adam Savage is one of the co-hosts of the award winning, and soon to end, show Mythbusters. Obviously safety is a big deal with the entire crew on the show so we asked him what experiment did they contemplate but back out of because it was too dangerous.
Savage told the audience at Intel Focus 15 that he and co-host Jamie Hyneman have a simple rule when it comes to the experiments they perform on the show. If either one of them thinks the experiment is too dangerous, they don’t do it.
What was too dangerous?
Liquid oxygen is one of the most combustible and dangerous substances on the planet. As Savage put it - if you want to blow stuff up, all you need is some liquid oxygen and some stuff!
Hyneman and Savage wanted to conduct an experiment with liquid oxygen in a remote desert location. However, when they weighed up all of the things, no matter how remote, that could go wrong, they decided to back out.
One concern was around the evaporation of the liquid oxygen. If it coalesced into a cloud and floated to a highway car engines that sucked in this highly concentrated oxygen could experience sudden surges in their engines or worse.
So, how do you evaluate risk? For the Mythbusters team it is literally a matter of life or death. But for many of us, the consequences of not getting something right at home or work is probably less severe.
However, Savage’s approach of having to be convinced of safety by his partner means there's a sanity check performed for every experiment.
This is a good approach for us at work. When doing something new, it’s worth considering everything that can go wrong and putting in place all the steps needed to enable that new venture.
Anthony Caruana attended Intel FOCUS 15 in Las Vegas as a guest of Intel Australia