Kari Byron, Mythbuster


Cool Tools Show 122: Kari Byron

Our guest this week is Kari Byron. Kari is best known for her role as a host on Discovery’s flagship show Mythbusters. Since then she has gone on to host and produce shows spanning several networks from White Rabbit Project on Netflix to Thrill Factor on Travel Channel to Positive Energy on Nat Geo. She just released her new book Crash Test Girl: An Unlikely Experiment in Using the Scientific Method to Answer Life’s Toughest Questions.

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Show notes:

Leatherman Skeletool ($85)
“I feel like the Skeletool, because it is so lightweight and small, I can carry it easily, and I can also clip it on the top of my leather boots, which is also really an easy way to carry it. … You’ve got your basics. You’ve got a sharp knife. You have got the players. You’ve got a screwdriver. For me, it’s having to not go find a tool if it’s just right there on my belt, or my boot.”

Electric matches ($11)
“So I am an artist. That’s how I got into Mythbusters in the first place, is I wanted to do special effects and I started to work for Jamie Hyneman. I’ve learned a lot through being on Mythbusters. One is the uses of explosives, or ignitions. The electric match is something that you can buy on eBay. I’m pretty sure it’s legal, because they sent it to me, but you can get them on eBay. I think they’re mainly for fireworks, so that you can light fireworks at a distance. I think possibly reenactors use them for cannons and such. But what I use them for is I attach this long wire that has a small charge at the end, I attach the wire end to some stereo cable. I go to a safe distance, and then I touch it to a drill battery, and I can ignite small amounts of black powder to create pieces of artwork. The detritus left over from the black powder, which it leaves smoke marks, and burnt paper, and black markings, I can use to make things that look like planets. Or if smash clay into a picture, and blow up black powder above it, I can scrape off the place and have a negative space to create some sort of artwork.”

Dremel Cordless Rotary Tool ($79)
“The Dremel tool, which is just a rotary machine that has attachments that allow you handheld to grind, or sand, or cut. I find it’s useful for so many different things, for creating things, for destroying things. In college I did entire sculptures out of wood using the sanding heads at the end of the Dremel. I’ve used it to dislodge screws where the heads have broken off, and I was in a bind, and used the cutting tool to make a new area that I could throw a screwdriver into. I find it extremely useful, and it’s something that I have in my house.”

My Talking Pet app
“A while ago a friend of mine introduced me to this app called My Talking Pet, where you take a photograph, and then you can alter the photograph so a mouth opens and closes to your voice, so you can make your dog say things to you. If you have, say, nag your husband or something, it’s a lot nicer coming from the family pet, and it’s also hilarious, so maybe it won’t be taken quite as deeply. But I also found with that app, which is that you can apply it to your human friends as well. So some of my cohosts, like Tory, I’ve been able to make him say weird things and send it out on Twitter, whatever. I find it to be a really fun application for those moments when you’re a little bored.”

Also mentioned:

Crash Test Girl: An Unlikely Experiment in Using the Scientific Method to Answer Life’s Toughest Questions


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