Recently the internet went a bit crazy over understanding the truth about the Charlie Charlie challenge. Built as a trick the challenge involves taking two pencils and balancing one on top of the other. People nearby then ask the pencils questions and supposedly it spins and points to either a yes or a no.
This trick is flawed in many ways, how would the pencils know if they were pointing to a yes or a no? the big question is obviously how do they move? That is the point of the thing, it’s designed to look so impossible that science can’t explain it, but that didn’t stop some people from foolishly trying.
Some media outlets jumped on the case of the Charlie Charlie challenge and decided that the pencils movement was actually down to gravity. It could have been exerting more force on the heavier, bigger rubber end of the pencil, and less on the lighter tip, hence it moves from one side to the other. This theory is absolutely not true.
In order for the pencils to have balanced in the first place, it must have reached something called mechanical equilibrium, which is where the total sum of all the forces acting on a single object equal zero. When the mass of an object is distributed evenly, all forces are equal, this has to be the case for the pencil to balance therefore gravity cannot have exerted itself more on one side or the other.
The actual key to the trick? Bend down an blow on the pencil as you speak. The only way a pencil in mechanical equilibrium can move is if a force is exerted on it to put the others out of balance, so once again we have newton to thank for debunking silly internet theories.