# Explain Physics – use diagrams and arrows

I have already indirectly talked about this before, but I see it more and more. Say you have a show. It has to be more than entertaining, it has to educational. How do you make things educational? Describe the physics behind the concepts – right? Fine. How do you explain stuff? It’s simple. Just make some diagrams with arrows. Be sure to use words like “force”, “velocity”, “acceleration”. You know, physicsy words. Everything will be fine.

Everything will not be fine. First, I love MythBusters. They are awesome. I know they are not scientists, and that is maybe why I like them. They give me great blogging material. But here, they made error. I don’t want to talk about the physics of the error, I want to talk about why. Why even include these diagrams? Here are two pictures from the slipping on a banana peel episode.

Here is the point. If you are going to explain it, do it correctly. Otherwise don’t do anything. Maybe you can come up with a better idea that the MythBusters could use. (note – I put black on the pictures to cover up the reflection of the lamp I forgot to turn off)

Here is one more diagram from another show that I will not name. In this picture, some show is trying to describe how things get knocked over in a collision.

That one doesn’t have any arrows! How can you learn science without arrows. I will leave you one more picture explaining force and collisions.

Ah…double ended arrows! Now I understand conservation of momentum.

1. #1 Trey Nolen
April 24, 2009

But we NEED arrows. I wouldn’t even be able to get to work without them. If it weren’t for arrows, I might enter the parking lot through the EXIT! Without my arrows, it would be mass hysteria, cats and dogs living together, end of days.

2. #2 Uncle Al
April 24, 2009

To criticize is to volunteer. Go the to Discovery Channel blogsite, post your correction. “MythBusters” is gracious and caring. OTOH, I kinda suspect they are running out of explosions. Though their ANFO is absolutely first rate (note absence of an orange cloud post-detonation), it is time for quality to abet quantity: shaped charges and explosively formed penetrators. A seven-pound copper slug traveling at Mach 6 has all sorts of downrange and straight up possibilities.

3. #3 Rhett
April 24, 2009

I would love to volunteer.

Dear MythBusters:

Please email me. I will give you good suggestions about force diagrams.