You can stand a broom up any day, not just Feb. 10

By Beatrice Dupuy | Associated Press

A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue stories and visuals of the week. None of these are legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked them out. Here are the real facts:

CLAIM: NASA said Feb. 10 is the only day of the year that a broom can stand on its own.

In this screenshot from NASA’s Twitter account that was posted on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, astronaut Alvin Drew and scientist Sara Noble demonstrate that a broom will stand up any day of the year, debunking the myth that the physics behind the simple trick only works on Feb. 10. Associated Press

THE FACTS: NASA did not make that claim, but the U.S. space agency did take time Tuesday to address the false assertion as it spread widely on Twitter. Turns out, it’s just a balancing act and a broom can stand on its own on any day. Social media users began circulating the claim citing NASA on Monday along with videos and photos showing a variety of brooms being balanced. Some posts tied balancing brooms to gravitational pull and others said it was the tilt of the Earth. NASA spokeswoman Karen Northon told The Associated Press in an email that the posts, which circulated widely on Twitter and Facebook, proved the importance of checking with reliable sources before spreading information online. “This is another social media hoax that exemplifies how quickly pseudoscience and false claims can go viral,” she said. NASA knocked down the #BroomstickChallenge claim on its official Twitter account Tuesday, posting that “basic physics works every day of the year — not just Feb. 10.” The tweet featured a video of Astronaut Alvin Drew and scientist Sarah Noble making a broom stand on its own. “It’s just physics,” Drew said in the video uploaded to Twitter on Feb. 11. NASA Earth, a separate Twitter account, also addressed the claim, stating, “there’s no special gravity that only affects brooms.” The broom challenge myth has existed online for years. WIRED debunked the claim in 2012 with a story titled “Balancing brooms: it’s not about the planets.”

CLAIM: Newspaper report shows Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg was arrested as a teenager in 1998 for killing dogs.

THE FACTS: A fabricated newspaper article was created to make it appear that Buttigieg had been arrested as a teenager for killing dogs in the town where he later served as mayor. Social media posts with the false report about the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, circulated widely after the Feb. 7 New Hampshire debate. The false report was carried on what appeared to be a newspaper front page that had been folded in half. Only South Bend appeared in the title of the newspaper. The false article, dated August, 30, 1998, said that Buttigieg was arrested on suspicion of killing at least five dogs. Alan Achkar, executive editor of the South Bend Tribune, knocked down the false article on his Twitter account, …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


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