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Bad Egg

[From Spring, 1997]
The coming of the Vernal Equinox (VE) recently has seen an upsurge in the idea that you can stand or spin an egg on end on the day of the VE. My Bad Astronomy page about this received a lot of hits from folks searching the web for information about this little urban legend. Not surprisingly, I got a lot of email too. One Bad Reader in particular sent a copy to her local TV station when she heard that they were going to try to balance an egg. She never got a reply from them, but she did remind me that I wanted to call local TV stations as well.

I called NBC and left a message, but got no reply (maybe they read my review of "Asteroid" and were miffed ;-) ). The CBS meteorologist was aware of the legend, and said they weren't planning on doing anything. The ABC meteorologist, Jeff Gilbert, had not heard of this legend and decided to put it to the test.

On March 20th, he gave eggs to the two news anchors and to the sportscaster. Mr. Gilbert and the sportscaster were able to stand the eggs up, but the anchors could not. He then went to on to say that the reason you can stand an egg up is not because of the VE, but because the eggs have little bumps on them that make some easier to stand than others. Then he mentioned my name, giving me a few fleeting moments of fame.

I also received email from Brady Smith, who is the Staff Meteorologist at WIS-TV (NBC-Channel 10) in Columbia, SC. He told me his staff would try the same thing. He hasn't emailed me back yet, but I'll repeat here what he found when I hear back from him!

Now, I have received some email from people that tried to stand eggs up and had it work. One person even said that he has done it for years, and the eggs always fall down a day later! So I put it you, loyal Bad Readers: go out and get a carton of eggs (sorry, I won't reimburse you :-) and try to stand them up. Wait a few days, and try again. Be careful! Use the same eggs, on the same surface. See if you can stand them up this week, and see if the same ones will stand up next week.

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©2008 Phil Plait. All Rights Reserved.

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