Green Room

Video: The freaky triple deaky moving Egyptian statue

posted at 3:16 pm on June 25, 2013 by

Via Ace. I saw this earlier this morning at the BBC, and then again at NBC. It’s a media phenomenon. And maybe the stupidest thing ever.

Any theories on why a knickknack on a shelf might move slightly only when people are walking around near it during the daytime? It didn’t used to, and then one day it did. Could it be the curse of the mummy’s ghost? Or could it be that something structural in the case or the shelf itself has shifted ever so slightly over time? Hmmm.

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Global warming, of course.

faraway on June 25, 2013 at 3:23 PM

Maybe it’s ashamed of what England has become?

Rocks on June 25, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Maybe the base of that statue only isn’t perfectly flat and the vibrations of people walking cause it to move slightly.

If not, I’m going with freaky deaky ghost activity.

mrsmwp on June 25, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Maybe the vibrations from all those passers-by?

rbj on June 25, 2013 at 3:26 PM

I think it only moves during the day when people are around, so I’m going with vibrations from people walking, maybe aided by something expanding from heat from sunlight. I also think the Statue should be renamed “Chris Mathews” because it only moves left.

trubble on June 25, 2013 at 3:27 PM

Vibration from the train foot traffic (see: My Cousin Vinny).

pain train on June 25, 2013 at 3:28 PM

Ace has the Good News. The Bad News: It’s in the UK and it will take its sweet time coming here.

BigGator5 on June 25, 2013 at 3:33 PM

i guess it’s due to certain vibrations (the NBC article mentioned that) and that whole explanation makes sense to me except for the fact that this has never happened before and all of a sudden, it’s happening. what changed?

Sachiko on June 25, 2013 at 3:34 PM

Yeah, it’s that movie with Ben Stiller.

Oil Can on June 25, 2013 at 3:35 PM

Any theories on why a knickknack on a shelf might move slightly only when people are walking around near it during the daytime?

Because if it moved when no one is around, nobody would see it.

mrt721 on June 25, 2013 at 3:36 PM

I also think the Statue should be renamed “Chris Mathews” because it only moves left.

trubble on June 25, 2013 at 3:27 PM

Hahaha

Or the “anti-Zoolander.” :)

Spannerhead on June 25, 2013 at 3:39 PM

Sure – floorboards. Step on the floorboard, it nudges the shelf a bit, and the statue moves a bit. Over the course of a day, it sort of walks around in a circle. My guess that is the base of the statue isn’t perfectly flat, either.

hawksruleva on June 25, 2013 at 3:46 PM

You’re right AP it is the stupidest thing ever.

tommer74 on June 25, 2013 at 3:46 PM

Maybe the dude just wanted to look around.

BKeyser on June 25, 2013 at 4:08 PM

When bored people consume too much drugs…

nobar on June 25, 2013 at 4:12 PM

Yeah it’s a real mystery alright.

Museum attendance suffering this year?

mudskipper on June 25, 2013 at 4:15 PM

Occams Razor, guys.

Its alive.

BobMbx on June 25, 2013 at 4:17 PM

Or could it be that something structural in the case or the shelf itself has shifted ever so slightly over time?

I miss the old days when AP had more innocence about these strange thingies :(

I also think the Statue should be renamed “Chris Mathews” because it only moves left.

trubble on June 25, 2013 at 3:27 PM

I’m going with renaming that statue Jay Carney…as both can spin inexplicably.

JetBoy on June 25, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Hmmm, my comment never appeared. Let’s try again (sorry if the following comment turns out to be a double post).

Zombie on June 25, 2013 at 4:33 PM

…it is the stupidest thing ever.

tommer74

Actually, there’s an important aspect of this that no one’s talking about. If they can rigously PROVE that the statue is spinning due to differential vibrations (or whatever the term is they’re claiming) then it will go a long way toward disproving the hypothesis behind a very intriguing mechanical device that has been bedeviling engineers for years.

A guy named Robert Cook a few decades ago invented what he eventually called an “inertial propulsion engine” that basically is a device that converts rotational energy into directional inertial energy. This is (supposedly) achieved using a series of connected spinning arms/blades which exchange a weight with every rotation, leading essentially to a spinning top that is always off-balance. What’s amazing is that he has attached this intriguingly designed “off-center spinning top” to a freely mobile platform and — lo and behold — the platform slowly oonches across the floor.

These “successful” experiments have emboldened Cook’s defenders into saying that the principle behind the engine is proven, and that with professional-level engineering (Cook is a home hobbyist) the “engine” can be made into a revolutionary new kind of propulsion system, particularly for large ships and (eventually) spacecraft.

Detractors, however, have “done the math” and insist that the principle behind this kind of “energy conversion” — from rotational to linear — is physically impossible, and that over a single full cycle the “lopsidedness” of the spinning arms will always even out in all directions, and that it can’t be “pointed” in a direction because overall it will just go nowhere or just scoot around in little circles.

But the experiments have shown that it does go in a direction. How to explain?

Well, the detractors say that what we are witnessing is merely the “broken washing machine effect” in which a dysfunctional lopsided off-axle washing machine, when spinning at full speed, can sometimes tend to oonch across your basement floor — something that many people are familiar with.

The explanation for why this happens is the SAME proposed explanation of why the Egyptian statue spins in a circle — that the base of the washing machine/statue is uneven and vibrations cause the feet to scrape on the ground in an irregular way that caused one foot/side/edge to experiment more friction or stiction than the other, which can thereby convert random vibrational noise into directional movement.

Problem is, I’m not sure this principle has ever been fully explored or demonstrated rigorously — who wants to get a PhD in “The Broken Washing Machine Effect”?

Thus, if it can be conclusively demonstrated that this is what is causing the statue to spin, it can be cited as evidence further debunking the Cook Inertial Propulsion engine. But if it can’t — well, then hope still lingers that this weird device will eventually become as revolutionary as the jet engine.

Zombie on June 25, 2013 at 4:35 PM

type fix: …experiment more friction = …experience more friction

Zombie on June 25, 2013 at 4:52 PM

It’s a hoax.

Poor allahpundit, he so wants to believe. :)

Blake on June 25, 2013 at 5:35 PM

It was obviously turning in order to get a better look at something.

The Rogue Tomato on June 25, 2013 at 5:51 PM

Demon having fun messing with folks…

Logus on June 25, 2013 at 6:28 PM

Freaky maybe, but not worth even a single deaky.

James on June 25, 2013 at 6:36 PM

One of the explanations provided is the movement was due to the visitors walking by and the subsequent vibrations are what is causing the statue to move.

However if you notice the statue once facing backwards from where it started (turning 180 degrees) stops moving even after several days of visitors passing by.

Perhaps the statue is Muslim and is trying to face East for prayers?

Liberty or Death on June 25, 2013 at 6:38 PM

Old museum floorboards bending and rebounding under peoples feet. Flat statue base on glass shelf. Add a milligram of round particles that become bearings and voila! Museum income rises over the mystery and before you know it, the Muslims on staff have that foot washing basin that they have been grievancing about for years.

BL@KBIRD on June 25, 2013 at 6:43 PM

I’m stumped, the will of Allah?

abobo on June 25, 2013 at 7:14 PM

Just wanted a better look at that naked Nefertiti over in the corner…

coldwarrior on June 25, 2013 at 8:04 PM

Or maybe we need to draw together and start chanting…

“Imhotep. Imhotep. Imhotep.” (Or whatever they were chanting in The Mummy.)

coldwarrior on June 25, 2013 at 8:06 PM

“for every season, turn turn turn…”

Ugly on June 25, 2013 at 8:41 PM

Whatever you do, don’t move it to a different shelf and see what happens.

TexasDan on June 25, 2013 at 9:52 PM

Also also, Marco Rubio metaphor of the day.

TexasDan on June 25, 2013 at 9:53 PM

vibration from the floor d/t traffic. incongruency between the bottom of the statue and glass surface.

too easy to test.

ted c on June 25, 2013 at 9:57 PM

Just wanted a better look at that naked Nefertiti over in the corner…

coldwarrior on June 25, 2013 at 8:04 PM

heh!

ted c on June 25, 2013 at 9:57 PM

The other statues don’t move?

whatcat on June 25, 2013 at 10:10 PM

A commenter on the UK Daily Mail (an engineer) already had this nailed. From what I remember, he said the statue has a slight high spot on the base and the shelf a slight tilt. Under vibration the statue rotates until the high spot is ‘down hill’ then stops. What’s causing the vibration is not foot traffic but a fluoro tube ballast beginning to buzz (vibrate) as it fails (the statue only rotates during the time the cabinet lights are on). The museum (which has/had the largest single collection of mummies outside Egypt) is an old beauty – I loved going there as a kid – but it probably needs all the publicity it can get in the XBox age and the UK press are brainless enough to play along.

The Thin Man Returns on June 25, 2013 at 11:11 PM

Aliens. Aliens showing off from light years away. Come on folks, it’s always the aliens.

hawkdriver on June 25, 2013 at 11:34 PM

I blame Bush.

Red Cloud on June 26, 2013 at 9:08 AM

Pretty cool.

But not quite as cool as the time I was present at an undersea, unexplained mass sponge migration.

JimLennon on June 26, 2013 at 11:40 AM

The statue is dancing very, very slowly. As someone at AoSHQ said, it’s the funk of 40,000 4,000 years….

apostic on June 26, 2013 at 12:32 PM

Ra rays

DarkCurrent on June 26, 2013 at 12:40 PM