A version of Mythbusters in which the whole episode is two guys writing
equations on a whiteboard. The myth is busted or confirmed using only
calculations.

Sadly this is an horrible idea. The only people who actually believe in maths are people who can do them and thus are able to "bust a myth" themselves. The rest just stare vacantly at the figures-wielder as would freshly poleaxed cows.

I went to a drive-thru for a coffee the other day. The coffee was $1.23. I handed the attendant $2.28 . After 3 tries at returning change, including one where she gave me too much, I just said "Trust me, give me $1.05" a whole bunch of times 'til she did.

Distributed content on commercial channels needs to appeal to the largest audience possible, so ad revenues can be maximised. Sadly, (the constant drivel on sharks, nazis and backyard battle tanks being a case in point) this says more about the audience than the creators of the content.

This may pop up as a youtube idea. Independent content creators targeting a specific audience not regulated by geography or content distribution packages. Edutainment is a large market in itself, just not very popular within a normal population.

//I gave her a 2dollar coin, a 25c coin and 3x 1c coins.//

ah, missed that possibility. We have 20c coins, not 25c coins. I'm guessing most customers in your position would have just given $2.25 and expected $1 change (although I'm not American so could be wrong).

I was in the US last year and I found the currency baffling - the size of coin not proportional to its value, sales tax, tips etc.

We (ie Australians) got rid of 1c and 2c coins more than a decade ago. There's also talk of getting rid of 5c coins as well.

I pay for things like [flyingtoaster] does. The purpose is usually to avoid creating more change. On the currency sizes issue, Canada really needs to make nickles not at all like quarters.

I have wanted to see a re-do of the ninja
walking on water. I
suspect they failed to understand the physics
of the concept just
as I have failed to get the olympic pool
reference.

Thust!, not bouyancy!

And for the one trying to rip the Canadians
about how good our
money used to be ....
a large part of my silver hails from Canada.
And Mexico. Their early 20th century
Coins are beautiful.
Perhaps, ask if their coins went .999 Nickle
for several decades,
unlike ours.

The "olympic swimming pool" reference refers to the mass-media habit of trading off measurements in silly things like inches, yards, pounds, tonnes, etc. for more relatable ones:
"weighs as much as 3 Jumbo Jets"
"as much water as 45 Olympic-sized swimming pools" "produces more hot air than 14 days of a fully quoromed Parliament" etc.

What kind of mathematicians would wager upon their conclusions? If a mathematician was not certain of the accuracy of his calculations, he should not be taking part in a TV show.

Perhaps the show should pit a mathematician, engineer or other theorist against an experimenter. Preferably the experimenter would be one who really has a good feeling about the outcome, or believes in it. Each side would put their argument to a team of accountants and statisticians, who could then place wagers.

I'd like to see the proponents of the 'fuel from electrolysis' systems pitted against an engineer.

//What kind of mathematicians would wager upon their conclusions? If a mathematician was not certain of the accuracy of his calculations, he should not be taking part in a TV show.//

It's not just about the calculations - it's also knowing which variables are important.

//test the math in a demonstrable fashion// I think that's an important point. The main point for this show might be to apply math to things that are difficult to create on stage as a stunt.

For example: astronomical stuff (solar flares, gamma-ray bursts, orbital slingshots); geological stuff (tectonic motion, crustal folding, formation of marble); biological stuff (evolution, immunity, krill populations) - things that don't happen on the same time-scale as a human attention span, but that can be mathematically modelled, and then the model tested and confirmed or "busted" against observation.

This type of show could be good for showing people why you can't "trisect any angle" using only compass and straight-edge. Or why you can't "square the circle" also using only compass and straight-edge. And similar stuff.

However, math will only lead you to the logical consequences of the assumptions you started with. Only experimentation can prove whether or not those assumptions are true. For example, if you assume that when you strike an object with a hammer, the force of impact is INSTANTLY transmitted throughout the body of the object, then what you will end up with is Standard Newtonian Mechanics. Yet we know full well that that assumption is invalid!

[Loris], [Vernon] For the reasons you gave, I think
[21_Quest]'s hybrid concept
may be better than the idea as originally proposed. [lurch]
It's a matter of taste, but I think the
show would be more amusing if it applied math to things
that *are* feasible to create on stage as a stunt.

If the predictions are confirmed, the audience gains
respect for (and perhaps a little understanding of)
mathematics. If the experiment refutes
the computation, there would be a denoument, in which
the equations are revisited and the faulty assumption
identified. In that case the audience learns a subtler
lesson.

[Twizz], perhaps I should have said, "the original form of Newtonian Mechanics", before stuff like Hook's Spring Constant got added to it. Because your basic equation F=(m)(a) doesn't say anything about the time it takes for an externally applied force to affect the entirety of a mass. All it says is that the whole mass accelerates in response to the force (instantly).

///test the math in a demonstrable fashion// I think that's an important point. The main point for this show might be to apply math to things that are difficult to create on stage as a stunt./

Difficult but not impossible. This would be a rarified audience to be sure. Maybe the same crew that watch that wild-haired chemistry professor from University of Nottingham.

I like the idea of teams. Junkyard wars is great but it seems mostly empirics: people wiggle it until it fits. Teams should do the math in advance and then people with bad math can undergo correction and try again.

But look what time it is! 5 years gone by. Maybe this exists now?

Wow, never knew that existed. With costs of production
falling, and broadcast platforms multiplying... programming
will become progressively niche. Just a matter of time
before Alan's "Youth hosteling with Chris Eubank" is green
lit.

//Much needless experimentation could be avoided by
appropriate calculations//

Afraid not [csea 2011], as [Loris 2011] said

//It's not just about the calculations - it's also knowing
which variables are important//

Which is why your idea [mouse 2011] would have to
be paired with a traditional mythbuster in the 2nd half of
the show to prove the math guys got it right.

//The only people who actually believe in maths//

Everyone believes in math [Toaster 2011], it's just not
everyone believes anyone who says they can do stuff with it
actually knows what they're talking about, see above, it's
not the math people don't trust it's that people using the
math know all the variables on any chosen random subject.

Two hosts of course, one of them being the cut up
math wiz, and one being the doubting
experimenter...

The math skeptics of course would state that he just
put up some squiggles on a chalkboard and came
up with the right answer after the experimenter
finished.

Actually producing it that way, at least until you got
caught by someone who understands basic college
math, could be less expensive as finding an
outgoing charismatic lead without requisite math
skills would be much cheaper than, say, hiring
Maxwell or I suspect even Sturton.