- 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)
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.
Twitch Blames Server Configuration Error for Hack, Says There’s No Indication That Login Info Leaked
The platform also said full credit card numbers were not reaped by hackers, as that data is stored externally.
Login and Credit Card Info Secure
Twitch released a security update late Wednesday claiming it had seen “no indication” that users’ login credentials were stolen by hackers who leaked the entire platform’s source code earlier in the day.
“Full credit card numbers are not stored by Twitch, so full credit card numbers were not exposed,” the company added in its announcement.
The leaked data, uploaded to 4chan, includes code related to the platform’s security tools, as well as exact totals of how much it has individually paid every single streamer on the platform since August 2019.
Early Thursday, Twitch also announced that it has now reset all stream keys “out of an abundance of caution.” Streamers looking for their new keys can visit a dashboard set up by the platform, though users may need to manually update their software with the new key before being able to stream again depending on what kind of software they use.
As far as what led to the hackers being able to steal the data, Twitch blamed an error in a “server configuration change that was subsequently accessed by a malicious third party,” confirming that the leak was not the work of a current employee who used internal tools.
Will Users Go to Other Streaming Platforms?
While no major creators have said they are leaving Twitch for a different streaming platform because of the hack, many small users have either announced their intention to leave Twitch or have said they are considering such a move.
It’s unclear if the leak, coupled with other ongoing Twitch controversies, will ultimately lead to a significant user exodus, but there’s little doubt that other platforms are ready and willing to leverage this hack in the hopes of attracting new users.
At least one big-name streamer has already done as much, even if largely only presenting the idea as a playful jab rather than with serious intention.
“Pretty crazy day today,” YouTube’s Valkyrae said on a stream Wednesday while referencing a tweet she wrote earlier the day.
“YouTube is looking to sign more streamers,” that tweet reads.
“I mean, they are! … No shade to Twitch… Ah! Well…” Valkyrae said on stream before interrupting herself to note that she was not being paid by YouTube to make her comments.
The Entirety of Twitch Has Been Leaked Online, Including How Much Top Creators Earn
The data dump, which could be useful for some of Twitch’s biggest competitors, could signify one of the most encompassing platform leaks ever.
Massive Collection of Data Leaked
Twitch’s full source code was uploaded to 4chan Wednesday morning after it was obtained by hackers.
Among the 125 GB of stolen data is information revealing that Amazon, which owns Twitch, has at least partially developed plans for a cloud-based gaming library. That library, codenamed Vapor, would directly compete with the massively popular library known as Steam.
With Amazon being the all-encompassing giant that it is, it’s not too surprising that it would try to develop a Steam rival, but it’s eyecatching news nonetheless considering how much the release of Vapor could shake up the market.
The leaked data also showcased exactly how much Twitch has paid its creators, including the platform’s top accounts, such as the group CriticalRole, as well as steamers xQcOW, Tfue, Ludwig, Moistcr1tikal, Shroud, HasanAbi, Sykkuno, Pokimane, Ninja, and Amouranth.
These figures only represent payouts directly from Twitch. Each creator mentioned has made additional money through donations, sponsorships, and other off-platform ventures. Sill, the information could be massively useful for competitors like YouTube Gaming, which is shelling out big bucks to ink deals with creators.
Data related to Twitch’s internal security tools, as well as code related to software development kits and its use of Amazon Web Services, was also released with the hack. In fact, so much data was made public that it could constitute one of the most encompassing platform dumps ever.
Streamer CDawgVA, who has just under 500,000 subscribers on Twitch, tweeted about the severity of the data breach on Wednesday.
“I feel like calling what Twitch just experienced as “leak” is similar to me shitting myself in public and trying to call it a minor inconvenience,” he wrote. “It really doesn’t do the situation justice.”
Despite that, many of the platform’s top streamers have been quite casual about the situation.
“Hey, @twitch EXPLAIN?”xQc tweeted. Amouranth replied with a laughing emoji and the text, “This is our version of the Pandora papers.”
Meanwhile, Pokimane tweeted, “at least people can’t over-exaggerate me ‘making millions a month off my viewers’ anymore.”
Others, such as Moistcr1tikal and HasanAbi argued that their Twitch earning are already public information given that they can be easily determined with simple calculations.
Could More Data Come Out?
This may not be the end of the leak, which was labeled as “part one.” If true, there’s no reason to think that the leakers wouldn’t publish a part two.
For example, they don’t seem to be too fond of Twitch and said they hope this data dump “foster[s] more disruption and competition in the online video streaming space.”
They added that the platform is a “disgusting toxic cesspool” and included the hashtag #DoBetterTwitch, which has been used in recent weeks to drive boycotts against the platform as smaller creators protest the ease at which trolls can use bots to spam their chats with racist, sexist, and homophobic messages.
Still, this leak does appear to lack one notable set of data: password and address information of Twitch users.
That doesn’t necessarily mean the leakers don’t have it. It could just mean they are only currently interested in sharing Twitch’s big secrets.
Regardless, Twitch users and creators are being strongly urged to change their passwords as soon as possible and enable two-factor authentication.