the Mythbusters telephone book experiment

In an episode airing this week, the Mythbusters will perform several experiments using phone books.
During one of his afternoons off (Senioritis) Middle and I decided to duplicate one of the phone book feats - for our amusement and yours.
As I canceled the delivery of phone books to our home some time ago we were forced to use two large professional camera catalogues for our challenge.

Each catalogue contained the same number of pages - over a thousand.


We lined the books up on a table carefully wove them together page by page.


See? I fold one page down and then Middle folds one page down. I don't think I'm doing a very good job of describing how we did this.


We continued until we had one big interwoven book with a spine on the left and a spine on the right. I hope you are still with me...

two books

Here's what it looked like when it was done. Middle is holding one spine, the pages of both books are completely intertwined and the spine of the second book is hanging toward the floor.
AND THEN the amazement happens.
The two books, in this combination CANNOT BE PULLED APART.


You can try anything, (The Mythbusters eventually used two military tanks) but the two books will NOT separate.


It. Cannot. Be. Done.


We had a great time trying.

If you are interested in seeing the experiment on Mythbusters, check your television listing for the Phone Book Friction episode.


Dani said…
I'm glad to see it wasn't only MY house that needed to test this out. :)
KPB said…
I hate mythbusters. I find them deeply deeply irritating.

I think it's the combination of the beret and a moustache.

Of course all the men in this house love it.

And I'm also choosing not to dwell on just how long it would have taken you guys to interweave every single page. I do salute your collective dedication to a cause.
Anonymous said…
The Bird family must be the most fun family ever. Is there ever a dull moment Tuvalu?
Ali said…
I have the bizarrest urge to run downstairs and try this out.

Because I really have an hour to spend intertwining pages. hahahahaha.
smalltownme said…
I'm guessing this is one of those things I don't understand because I didn't take high school Physics!
Anonymous said…
I thought this was gonna be about ripping a phone book in half. I don't exactly remember how (it was the drug-addled 70s) but I ripped a phone book in half once. It really wasn't too difficult. If I could remember how I could have impressed the heck out of my kids.

Oh, well.
Anonymous said…
These posts (this and the Ongoing) are some of my favorites.
Anonymous said…
Intertwined books stuck together, unable to be separated?

You say it cannot be done...

But you have yet to witness the brute strength I'm capable of harnessing.

I say:

Joke said…
The thing that has me curious is...what myth, exactly, was busted by this?

(You people are madcap hedonists, I can tell.)

jordi said…
I want to live in your house! Maybe if I did I would get off my butt and make/do thing beyond bathroom rugs...
I also want to know WHY it works, but you could explain it and my rudimentary knowledge of physics would not allow it to pierce my brain. I have a similar relationship with statistics.
Anonymous said…
I, too, wonder just how long this took. It certainly was for a worthy cause, though. I have never seen this mythbusters show. Hmmm/
Anonymous said…
Who thinks of this stuff? Wow.

Anonymous said…
The things I learn from teh Bird family...
alice c said…
I discuss this with MasterM:

MasterM 'But WHY did they do that?'

Me 'It was like a science experiment'

MasterM (shocked voice)
'Didn't they believe MythBusters?'

You can see how trusting he is.
Anonymous said…
I've got to go check with Eurolush to see if she's serious.
Pretty Things said…
We saw that one last night! I asked my husband, who got the job of weaving the pages? I can't believe you had the patience!
My youngest son got to attend a Geek Conference where they did a presentation and got their autographs for me. They are in a place of honor on the fridge.
Pretty please, can I come live at your house and learn how to be a fun and cool mom?
Seriously, I hope I can inspire such fun with my little man.
Anonymous said…
The boys over here are convinced that being a Mythbuster is one of the coolest jobs ever.

It's comforting to know that being one is an excellent and entertaining hobby as well.

Mary said…
Until I read this I had totally forgotten about making Christmas trees by folding pages of old telephone books and spray painting the end result.

It took ages.

That's a good memory.
Sarah said…
Thanks for your posts demonstrating cool, highly memorable things to do with bigger kids.

Thanks for your other posts, too.

No suckup - you're awesome.
Kristin said…
We did it as well! My younger son LOVES Mythbusters (and is planning his future employment around them)... my lord, it took FOREVER to interlace all those pages... and we used the smaller local yellow pages!