Yesterday Mythbusters shot a cannonball into someone's home, and no they weren't trying to bust the myth of "shooting a cannonball into someone's home." So how exactly does this affect the "do not try this at home" warnings at the beginning of each episode? And sure, cue the inevitable jokes about myth-busting Murphy's Law. But about that cannonball and about those homes--the Discovery Channel staple, known for testing out the ridiculous ways you could get electrocuted (lightning, electric eel, etc.) or figuring out how to make a homemade death ray, was attempting to shoot a homemade cannonball through barrels of water and a cinder-block wall, at the safe-sounding Alameda County Sheriff's bomb disposal range in California, reports KTVU and the San Francisco Chronicle. The lesson in inertia then apparently took a turn for the worse, when the cannonball careened down a hillside into the town of Dublin. The Chronicle explains:
The cantaloupe-sized cannonball missed the water, tore through a cinder-block wall, skipped off a hillside and flew some 700 yards east, right into the Tassajara Creek neighborhood, where children were returning home from school at 4:15 p.m., authorities said.
There, the 6-inch projectile bounced in front of a home on quiet Cassata Place, ripped through the front door, raced up the stairs and blasted through a bedroom, where a man, woman and child slept through it all - only awakening because of plaster dust.
The ball wasn't done bouncing.
It exited the house, leaving a perfectly round hole in the stucco, crossed six-lane Tassajara Road, took out several tiles from the roof of a home on Bellevue Circle and finally slammed into the Gill family's beige Toyota Sienna minivan in a driveway on Springvale Drive.
The accident does seem a lot worse when you're dealing with a home on "quiet Cassata Place" (No, not Quiet Cassata Place!!) and the glam, cul-de-sac-sounding "Bellevue Circle". The Kansas City Star noted a spokesman who said that producers have used the cannon over 50 times without an incident, but added that he didn't know the size, weight or speed of the cannonball--which are the types of facts that you'd expect to see in a typical Mythbusters episode (speed, velocity, voltage--are all integral parts of the show's lexicon). The show has previously done a segment calculating the power of a cannon before. "They're very sorry that this happened. And they have safety measures that are in place," said a consultant for the show. "They did have a misfire. And they have insurance for these kinds of things."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.