- A viral tweet claimed NASA said February 10 would be the only day a broom could stand up on its own because of “the gravitational pull.”
- Internet users, celebrities, and influencers posted photos and videos of themselves testing out the theory.
- But the trick can actually be done any day and is a gimmick that usually appears around this time of year.
#BroomChallenge Sweeps the Internet
By now you’ve probably seen people all over the internet posting pictures and videos showing their brooms standing up all on their own.
That’s because one viral tweet shared Monday suggested NASA said it was the only day a broom could do this “because of the gravitational pull.”
Though there isn’t actually any information from NASA that supports this, the internet ran with it anyway. Thousands of people took to social media to post themselves trying to trick, thrusting #BroomChallenge and other related terms onto Twitter’s trending page.
She just made me mad😂😂😂😂 Twitter this better not work tomorrow 🤣 pic.twitter.com/5tfo91BwSE— THRILLA🅿️ (@YaBoiThrilla) February 10, 2020
Celebrities like Paula Abdul, Future, DJ Khaled and tons of others joined in on the fun with posts of their own. Even social media stars like Colleen Ballinger, Austin McBroom, and LaurDIY tested the theory out.
The trend eventually morphed into more than just brooms, with people posting videos of everything from Roombas to chicken wings standing upright.
The trend even got so annoying that people like Chrissy Teigen pointed out how dumb it was, though she later backtracked after seeing how much joy it brought people.
Well, we hate to break it to you but the truth is, you can make your broom stand up on its own any day of the year. And it has nothing to do with the earth’s gravitational pull on a particular day, planetary alignments, or a full moon, despite what other internet users might tell you.
It’s actually just the work of balance. The center of gravity is low in a broom and rests directly over the bristles. So if you can get the bristles positioned right (like a tripod), your broom will stand upright any time of the year.
However, the success of this challenge is also based on the kind of broom you have. If it wasn’t already obvious, flat bottomed brooms are more likely to stand upright. So if this challenge didn’t work for you, you might just have a broom that isn’t shaped best for this. But still, the failed attempts that were shared across the internet made for some pretty hilarious posts as well.
And if this whole trend seems familiar to you, that’s because it’s not exactly new. This gimmick pops up often – almost every year around the spring equinox, which won’t occur until March 19 this year.
It actually spread among Twitter users in Mexico and Brazil earlier this month, according to BBC. The fact-checking site Snopes even noted that the same challenge appeared in February 2012 and also exists in another form known as the balancing egg trick.
There’s even a YouTube clip from that year of a CNN meteorologist debunking the broom myth.
Dr. Becky Smethurst, an astrophysicist from the University of Oxford, told BBC she could not believe the misinformation being spread online. “Broom balancing itself is not that impressive. It’s a good party trick. The broom is wide at the bottom and at the right angle can be balanced,” she said.
“We feel the same gravitational pull at all times of the year, so no matter whether it’s the spring equinox or not, the way the Earth is tilted would never be the cause of ordinary objects just balancing.”
Smethurst also said the spread of the false theory was actually surprising. “When I saw this today on social media and couldn’t believe what I was seeing in terms of the misinformation that was spreading. It highlights the importance of social media verification and using trusted sources from the scientific community.”
But LA-based meteorologist Cory Smith found the trend humorous and felt it provided an opportunity to talk about science.
Smith told BBC, “While it is discouraging to see people believe a false premise for something like this, it still makes for a fun and easy social media challenge and a nice little experiment to talk about physics and the centre of gravity.”
Eventually, even NASA tweeted about the challenge, showing people that basic physics works every day of the year.
So don’t be surprised if you see another appearance of the #BroomChallenge in the near future, and if you do, at least now you know not to be fooled.
See what others are saying: (CNN) (The Daily Dot) (BBC)
Schools Across the U.S. Cancel Classes Friday Over Unverified TikTok Threat
Officials in multiple states said they haven’t found any credible threats but are taking additional precautions out of an abundance of safety.
Schools in no fewer than 10 states either canceled classes or increased their police presence on Friday after a series of TikToks warned of imminent shooting and bombs threats.
Despite that, officials said they found little evidence to suggest the threats are credible. It’s possible no real threat was actually ever made as it’s unclear if the supposed threats originated on TikTok, another social media platform, or elsewhere.
“We handle even rumored threats with utmost seriousness, which is why we’re working with law enforcement to look into warnings about potential violence at schools even though we have not found evidence of such threats originating or spreading via TikTok,” TikTok’s Communications team tweeted Thursday afternoon.
Still, given the uptick of school shootings in the U.S. in recent years, many school districts across the country decided to respond to the rumors. According to The Verge, some districts in California, Minnesota, Missouri, and Texas shut down Friday.
“Based on law enforcement interviews, Little Falls Community Schools was specifically identified in a TikTok post related to this threat,” one school district in Minnesota said in a letter Thursday. “In conversations with local law enforcement, the origins of this threat remain unknown. Therefore, school throughout the district is canceled tomorrow, Friday, December 17.”
In Gilroy, California, one high school that closed its doors Friday said it would reschedule final exams that were expected to take place the same day to January.
According to the Associated Press, several other districts in Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Montana, New York, and Pennsylvania stationed more police officers at their schools Friday.
Viral Misinformation or Legitimate Warnings?
As The Verge notes, “The reports of threats on TikTok may be self-perpetuating.”
For example, many of the videos online may have been created in response to initial warnings as more people hopped onto the trend. Amid school cancellations, videos have continued to sprout up — many awash with both rumors and factual information.
“I’m scared off my ass, what do I do???” one TikTok user said in a now-deleted video, according to People.
“The post is vague and not directed at a specific school, and is circulating around school districts across the country,” Chicago Public Schools said in a letter, though it did not identify any specific post. “Please do not re-share any suspicious or concerning posts on social media.”
According to Dr. Amy Klinger, the director of programs for the nonprofit Educator’s School Safety Network, “This is not 2021 phenomenon.”
Instead, she told The Today Show that her network has been tracking school shooting threats since 2013, and she noted that in recent years, they’ve become more prominent on social media.
“It’s not just somebody in a classroom of 15 people hearing someone make a threat,” she said. “It’s 15,000 people on social media, because it gets passed around and it becomes larger and larger and larger.”
Jake Paul Says He “Can’t Get Cancelled” as a Boxer
The controversial YouTuber opened up about what it has been like to go from online fame to professional boxing.
The New Yorker Profiles Jake Paul
YouTuber and boxer Jake Paul talked about his career switch, reputation, and cancel culture in a profile published Monday in The New Yorker.
While Paul rose to fame as the Internet’s troublemaker, he now spends most of his time in the ring. He told the outlet that one difference between YouTube and boxing is that his often controversial reputation lends better to his new career.
“One thing that is great about being a fighter is, like, you can’t get cancelled,” Paul said. The profile noted that the sport often rewards and even encourages some degree of bad behavior.
“I’m not a saint,” Paul later continued. “I’m also not a bad guy, but I can very easily play the role.”
Paul also said the other difference between his time online and his time in boxing is the level of work. While he says he trains hard, he confessed that there was something more challenging about making regular YouTube content.
“Being an influencer was almost harder than being a boxer,” he told The New Yorker. “You wake up in the morning and you’re, like, Damn, I have to create fifteen minutes of amazing content, and I have twelve hours of sunlight.”
Jake Paul Vs. Tommy Fury
The New Yorker profile came just after it was announced over the weekend Paul will be fighting boxer Tommy Fury in an 8-round cruiserweight fight on Showtime in December.
“It’s time to kiss ur last name and ur family’s boxing legacy goodbye,” Paul tweeted. “DEC 18th I’m changing this wankers name to Tommy Fumbles and celebrating with Tom Brady.”
Both Paul and Fury are undefeated, according to ESPN. Like Paul, Fury has found fame outside of the sport. He has become a reality TV star in the U.K. after appearing on the hit show “Love Island.”
See what others are saying: (The New Yorker) (Dexerto) (ESPN)
Hackers Hit Twitch Again, This Time Replacing Backgrounds With Image of Jeff Bezos
The hack appears to be a form of trolling, though it’s possible that the infiltrators were able to uncover a security flaw while reviewing Twitch’s newly-leaked source code.
Hackers targeted Twitch for a second time this week, but rather than leaking sensitive information, the infiltrators chose to deface the platform on Friday by swapping multiple background images with a photo of former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
According to those who saw the replaced images firsthand, the hack appears to have mostly — and possibly only — affected game directory headers. Though the incident appears to be nothing more than a surface-level prank, as Amazon owns Twitch, it could potentially signal greater security flaws.
For example, it’s possible the hackers could have used leaked internal security data from earlier this week to discover a network vulnerability and sneak into the platform.
The latest jab at the platforms came after Twitch assured its users it has seen “no indication” that their login credentials were stolen during the first hack. Still, concerns have remained regarding the potential for others to now spot cracks in Twitch’s security systems.
It’s also possible the Bezos hack resulted from what’s known as “cache poisoning,” which, in this case, would refer to a more limited form of hacking that allowed the infiltrators to manipulate similar images all at once. If true, the hackers likely would not have been able to access Twitch’s back end.
The photo changes only lasted several hours before being returned to their previous conditions.
First Twitch Hack
Despite suspicions and concerns, it’s unclear whether the Bezos hack is related to the major leak of Twitch’s internal data that was posted to 4chan on Wednesday.
That leak exposed Twitch’s full source code — including its security tools — as well as data on how much Twitch has individually paid every single streamer on the platform since August 2019.
It also revealed Amazon’s at least partially developed plans for a cloud-based gaming library, codenamed Vapor, which would directly compete with the massively popular library known as Steam.
Even though Twitch has said its login credentials appear to be secure, it announced Thursday that it has reset all stream keys “out of an abundance of caution.” Users are still being urged to change their passwords and update or implement two-factor authentication if they haven’t already.