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View Full Version : Equinox egg-balancing - how widespread?



grant hutchison
2005-Aug-10, 11:21 PM
I'm intrigued by the story in Phil Plait's book about equinoctial egg-balancing, a phenomenon he says takes place "across the United States and around the world".
I'm a Scot, and I'd never heard of it until I read Bad Astronomy. I was amazed and amused to read that this bit of nonsense can actually end up as an item on the TV news - I've certainly never seen it in the UK.
And a (small!) survey of friends and colleagues from various European countries doesn't turn up anyone who has heard of the practice.
So I thought I might extend the survey here.
Anyone care to let me know which country they're from and if egg-balancing is a regular feature of March 21 in their part of the world?

Grant Hutchison

DoktorGreg
2005-Aug-11, 12:17 AM
On edit, whoops post before reading is bad....

Yes...

In Other news Americans also believe the toilet bowl water spins the other direction south of the equator...

We teach creationism in schools...

And a significant number still think Saddam had WMD's...

gopher65
2005-Aug-11, 01:41 AM
Until I read these boards I had never heard of the Egg thing. But just recently I have run into several people who believe it passionately. I was unable to disuade them, even with my uncanny egg balancing skill :D (my single talent. My very first egg *sniff*(dabs eyes) took 45 seconds, and it almost always takes less than a minute).

harlequin
2005-Aug-11, 03:13 AM
I first heard of this urban myth from an CNN report in the 1980s that uncritically repeated the claim.

die Nullte
2005-Aug-11, 05:28 AM
But just recently I have run into several people who believe it passionately.

So do how do they explain what they think is happening?

JohnW
2005-Aug-11, 03:09 PM
I'm intrigued by the story in Phil Plait's book about equinoctial egg-balancing, a phenomenon he says takes place "across the United States and around the world".
I'm a Scot, and I'd never heard of it until I read Bad Astronomy. I was amazed and amused to read that this bit of nonsense can actually end up as an item on the TV news - I've certainly never seen it in the UK.
And a (small!) survey of friends and colleagues from various European countries doesn't turn up anyone who has heard of the practice.
So I thought I might extend the survey here.
Anyone care to let me know which country they're from and if egg-balancing is a regular feature of March 21 in their part of the world?

Grant Hutchison
I grew up in England. I'd never heard of the egg thing until I moved to the US in 1993. It would be interesting to know whether it exists in other countries. I've also wondered when it started - the "explanation" includes a lot of semi-digested science, but did this get pinned onto an existing tradition?

I wouldn't be surprised if this all has its origins in an old Elbonian fertility festival.

2005-Aug-11, 03:23 PM
On edit, whoops post before reading is bad....

Yes...

In Other news Americans also believe the toilet bowl water spins the other direction south of the equator...

We teach creationism in schools...

And a significant number still think Saddam had WMD's...

I recently read a travel brochure for an Australian tour which said "and yes, the water does swirl the opposite way here down under". I wish I had kept a note of the URL.

Saluki
2005-Aug-11, 03:30 PM
Just curious as to what Doctor Greg thinks was used to gas the Kurds.

ElWampa
2005-Aug-11, 04:53 PM
Just curious as to what Doctor Greg thinks was used to gas the Kurds.


Girl farts, what else? :lol:

Trivial Pursuit
2005-Aug-11, 07:28 PM
Sadly, in elementry school we were "taught" about the egg "phenomenon". Who says public school isn't a success?

DoktorGreg
2005-Aug-11, 07:53 PM
Just curious as to what Doctor Greg thinks was used to gas the Kurds.

That is an excellent question. Because the issue is not raised in Saddams fake war crimes trial. The only thing he has been charged with so far is killing about 100 insurgents in the failed coup after Bush War 1.

Where are those mass graves anyhow?

Given the sheer size and quantity of the lies we have been told about Iraq, it is really easy for me to dismiss this as yet another lie from this administration along with their Saudi benifactors.

So indeed, where are the WMD's that saddam used on the Kurds?

Checking my recent history on this issue, I see the most recent Bushian excuse for this war is "We have to stabilize Iraq so that the mid-east is stabilized"

Oops I did it again....

Saluki
2005-Aug-11, 08:24 PM
Just curious as to what Doctor Greg thinks was used to gas the Kurds.

That is an excellent question. Because the issue is not raised in Saddams fake war crimes trial. The only thing he has been charged with so far is killing about 100 insurgents in the failed coup after Bush War 1.

Where are those mass graves anyhow?

Given the sheer size and quantity of the lies we have been told about Iraq, it is really easy for me to dismiss this as yet another lie from this administration along with their Saudi benifactors.

So indeed, where are the WMD's that saddam used on the Kurds?

Checking my recent history on this issue, I see the most recent Bushian excuse for this war is "We have to stabilize Iraq so that the mid-east is stabilized"

Oops I did it again....

Wow. So much for rational discourse.

JohnW
2005-Aug-11, 08:39 PM
Wow. So much for rational discourse.
And so much for staying on topic. Could you both take this elsewhere?

grant hutchison
2005-Aug-11, 09:10 PM
And so much for staying on topic. Could you both take this elsewhere?Yes. Please. You've already greatly reduced the chance of any more on-topic posts, but I would prefer not to have the thread locked.

Grant Hutchison

Duane
2005-Aug-12, 12:26 AM
I'm from Canada, and this whole thing was a big topic in the news here two or three years ago. As usual, the media played it up like it was some fantastic event, and a number of my friends believed it.

They were quite disappointed when I managed to balance 6 eggs in a row 3 days before. The skeptics of the group used the arguement that we were so close to the equinox that it still worked, so I made a bet I could do it again in 3 months.

Paid for the bulk of my Spetember long weekend!! :lol:

The Bad Astronomer
2005-Aug-12, 08:47 PM
Stay on topic. Now.

More talk about WMDs will lead to bannings with extreme prejudice.

Got it?

The Bad Astronomer
2005-Aug-12, 08:48 PM
The history of the egg standing legend is traceable. There is a website attached to this bulletin board (http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/misc/egg_history.html).

R.A.F.
2005-Aug-12, 09:28 PM
Speaking of keeping "on topic"...look what I found on our kitchen counter...

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y2/raflaf/100_3364Small.jpg

grant hutchison
2005-Aug-12, 09:56 PM
The history of the egg standing legend is traceable. There is a website attached to this bulletin board (http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/misc/egg_history.html).Thank you, yes, I already read that with great interest. :) It was the story's subsequent progress (if any) outside the US that was intriguing me. So far it seems that it has made it as far as Canada.
I'd be interested to hear positive or negative reports from other places.

Grant Hutchison

hhEb09'1
2005-Aug-12, 10:22 PM
The history of the egg standing legend is traceable. There is a website attached to this bulletin board (http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/misc/egg_history.html).When I first heard about it, it was from a clipping that a friend's mother had sent on--I believe it was her home town paper (the Des Moines Register?), in about 1974-75. The article had a photograph, and interviewed some people who claimed it was an tradition in some eastern european nation, I think. But I believe Martin Gardner! :)

NASA Fan
2005-Sep-06, 06:21 AM
I am from Denmark, and I had never heard of it until this bulletin board.

I have yet to manage to balance an egg--I need more patience, and to try more than once for 5 minutes.

ausduck1
2005-Sep-06, 11:43 AM
I recently read a travel brochure for an Australian tour which said "and yes, the water does swirl the opposite way here down under". I wish I had kept a note of the URL.

I wish you had kept that URL too!
I've never noticed water swirling 'the opposite way' in any of the places in Australia I've lived or visited, and I've never noticed any hardware attached to the plumbing that prevents it (from swirling the opposite way). But my friends kids had a great time overseas testing the veracity of the 'water swirling the other way' theory. Great way to keep kids occupied in small hotel rooms *grin*
And sorry BA, but I'd never heard about the egg-equinox thingy either until I discovered the BA site and book.

mickal555
2005-Sep-06, 12:44 PM
I've never noticed water spinning at all in our toilets- the water jets around the sides in a thin sheet before meeting in the middle and scewing back into the water like a wave with a tube(but without a tube).

ausduck1
2005-Sep-06, 01:15 PM
I've never noticed water spinning at all in our toilets- the water jets around the sides in a thin sheet before meeting in the middle and scewing back into the water like a wave with a tube(but without a tube).
You have water in your toilets?? *grin* We're in drought mode here - no, you don't want to know *bigger grin*
The newer toilets don't use as much of the H2O, and have more efficient flush patterns (so the plumbers tell me - we're renovating) but kids don't know that and hey, if it keeps them occupied!

worzel
2005-Sep-06, 01:46 PM
Never heard of the egg thing until I saw it on BA. But both here and in New Zealand the water down the plughole myth is very common.

cinder
2005-Sep-06, 05:20 PM
I never heard of the egg thing until I read the book. Oddly enough, my wife (who is from the same town as I am and even went to the same schools) has heard of it.

After reading that chapter I attempted to balance an egg for a couple of minutes and then gave up. Maybe I'll try it again come spring time. ;)

Robert Andersson
2005-Sep-06, 05:45 PM
For what it's worth, I'm from Sweden (lived in a handfull parts of it), and had never heard of the egg untill I started reading the BA's site.

grant hutchison
2005-Sep-06, 06:40 PM
Thanks folks!
A nice flurry of activity now the boards have merged. I'm getting a definite sense that this is little-known outside North America.

Grant Hutchison

sci_tchr
2005-Sep-06, 08:06 PM
Kids routinely think toilet bowl water swirls in the opposite direction south of the equator. Heck, there are a fair number of science teachers that don't know better!

Jeff

PS. In reference to an earlier foot note on this thread -- Saddam was a WMD!

mjparme
2005-Sep-08, 05:47 PM
I have lived in Colorado, Missouri, Hawaii, and now Nebraska and I have never heard of the egg-balancing myth until I read about it on Bad Astronomy.

Maksutov
2005-Sep-09, 07:32 AM
I first heard about this from some of my New Age friends in Connecticut c. 1973-4, usually in the context of how we all needed to be aligned to the infinite energy of the cosmos. The eggs on the equinox were employed as an example of how harmony and balance could be achieved by inanimate objects. Animate objects were said to have a much sterner task ahead of them to achieve similar balance within themselves and vis--vis the Universe.

I didn't give this stuff much thought, except occasionally when I was spreading fertilizer in the garden in my backyard.

Gryfin210
2005-Sep-12, 07:29 PM
I remember when I was 5 or so my older sister trying to do this in March, and it wasn't until many years later that I learned better. We also have a number of relatives throughout Europe who were undoubtedly told about this by her, so I figure somebody out there has heard about it. (I should also mention that my grandmother's cure for hiccups is to concentrate on the image of three bald men. Yes you read correctly. bottomline, I wouldn't trust everything my relatives believe).

worzel
2005-Sep-12, 10:06 PM
(I should also mention that my grandmother's cure for hiccups is to concentrate on the image of three bald men. Yes you read correctly. bottomline, I wouldn't trust everything my relatives believe).
I'm not sure if I'm just a victim of urban myth and lack of critical thinking here, but I find that intense concentration on anything tends to help get rid of the hiccups (like drinking out of the wrong side of a glass, holding your breath etc.)

mickal555
2005-Sep-13, 07:56 AM
http://www.frogstar.com/hiccup/index.asp

sarongsong
2005-Sep-23, 12:27 AM
Well, well, well---as I began reading the morning local newspaper's story, Fall's start balances day and night (http://nctimes.com/articles/2005/09/22/news/top_stories/92105190956.txt), by Philip Ireland:
For a few hours this afternoon, some say, it will be possible to stand an egg on end...I couldn't wait to see where this was going...well, sure enough:
...But, in fact, it's bunk, according to national egg-standing expert Phil Plait, publisher of www.badastronomy.com...Impressed, I called the reporter to ask how he came up with the BA. He said by contacting Rica French, astronomy instructor at our local junior college. He also mentioned he was quite taken with the BA's writing style. Yahoo!

hhEb09'1
2005-Sep-23, 07:32 PM
national egg-standing expert Phil Plaithmmm... maybe that should be international egg-standing expert

HenrikOlsen
2005-Sep-28, 01:06 PM
Wouldn't that need a reference to a non-US article referencing him?

Candy
2005-Sep-28, 07:01 PM
Wouldn't that need a reference to a non-US article referencing him?
You do know hhEb09'1 will respond with a cleaner statement? :)

hhEb09'1
2005-Sep-28, 07:46 PM
Cleaner? Moi?
Wouldn't that need a reference to a non-US article referencing him?I submit the above posts from ausduck1 (Australia), worzel (London), and Robert Andersson (Sweden), all of which attest that they never heard about the egg balancing thing until they read the BA's book. :)

Candy
2005-Sep-28, 07:54 PM
Cleaner? Moi?I submit the above posts from ausduck1 (Australia), worzel (London), and Robert Andersson (Sweden), all of which attest that they never heard about the egg balancing thing until they read the BA's book. :)

LOL, I meant to say clever. Dang it. And see, you did have a clever answer. :)