If there’s an ancillary lesson to be learned from any given episode of NONE OF THE ABOVE, it’s that host Tim Shaw has expensive things that he’s willing to destroy all for the sake of science. He won’t give them to you, the viewer at home, nor will he give them to his volunteers. He might joke about awarding a Radical RXC sports coupe to a ten year old, but c’mon — it ain’t happening, kid.
Case in point:
But that’s just the start. Let’s examine this weeks wanton acts of destruction, shall we? Also, I’m going to quiz you, the readers. Those are the rules.
The 10pm episode – “Powers of Attraction” – derives its title from magnets, not facial symmetry or Drakkar Noir. Tim, of course, uses his magnet to destroy a nice lunch and a so-so chandelier.
For his grand finale, Tim decides to crash a bunch of cars. These cars include his classic Ford Ranchero, a late-model Cadillac, and a Radical RXC. The purpose of this experiment is to discover which sort of tires – brand new, half-worn, or racing – show the best traction on a wet road.
The answer turns out to be the half-worn tires. Modern tires actually create more channels to disperse water as the treads wear down. This throws the water from the asphalt and allows a better grip where the rubber meets the road. So next time you don’t hydroplane, thank the Michelin Man…
Or you could thank rubber. Rubber rules. It comes from trees in the form of latex with an incredible elasticity and waterproofiness built in. But do you know HOW rubber is harvested? Bet you never thought about that, did you? Is it:
A) Boiled out from the leaves
B) Drawn out by making incisions in the tree
C) Boiled out from the fiber of the tree
D) Collected from the roots
You know what they say: if you wanna make some rubber, you gotta cut some trees. The answer is B) Drawn out by making incisions in the tree. From these incisions, the sticky latex seeps out and can be harvested. Those of you in New England will recognize this process as “tapping” – similar to your yummy maple trees.
Moving right along, at 10:30pm we get “Deep Heat,” which is less suggestive than it sounds. The heat we’re talking about here is over 4000°F thanks to a thermite reaction. The depth is which material – if any – can withstand the thermite’s scorching temps. Turns out the answer is good old sand, although Tim does destroy a car door just to prove his point.
But why does thermite burn so intensely at such a high temperature? Does it:
A) Contain high amounts of oxygen
B) Contain high amounts of hydrogen
C) Contain trace amounts of alcohol
D) None of the above (HAH)
In addition to other attributes, one of the keys to thermite is that it A) Contains high amounts of oxygen. Oxides are half of the battle and provide a constant source of fuel for the high burning substance. This also means you can’t smother a thermite reaction, so put your fire blanket away.
The penultimate experiment (i.e. act of luxurious destruction) Tim pulls this week is vaporizing a diamond.
Just going to let that breathe…
Now, I’m sorry, did you have a tough time coughing up mad wads of cash for your partner’s engagement doohickey? Well, Tim Shaw is just turning diamonds into carbon dioxide over here. Yeah, the same gas that’s in your soda.
We often hear about diamond being the hardest material on earth, which is true, but its toughness (resistance to fracture) is only fair to good. Plus, when you superheat something and dunk it in liquid oxygen, well even a diamond will burn in that.
So with all this diamond waste happening right before our very eyes, which of the following is of actual use for diamonds?
A) Soles of tap shoes
B) Armor plates in flak jackets
C) Speaker domes
D) TV screens
The answer is… C) Speaker domes! Speaker domes? Let me check on that. Yeah. Speaker domes! (I thought for sure it was tap shoes.) A diamond’s hardness will allow it to vibrate for a long long time without warping, promoting clear sound for audiophiles who are willing to shell out the dough.
No word yet if diamond speakers are an acceptable engagement gift, so proceed with caution, guy who is looking for an excuse to get a new surround sound system.
CALCULATE YOUR SCORE!
0 Correct – crushed beneath a chandelier
1 Correct – hanging on by a twisted strand of toilet paper
2 Correct – congrats, you’ve won a set of half-worn tires!
3 Correct – diamonds for you! Fair warning, keep them away from unscripted television presenters roving around the southwestern US
Don’t miss new episodes of None of the Above Mondays at 10pm and 10:30pm on the National Geographic Channel.