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Tik-Tok: Trends with a real purpose?

Now before you cringe and scroll past this article, just hear me out! Tik Tok is an increasingly influential platform for the younger part of Gen Z so there may actually be something to learn here. I agree that there have been so many questionable trends over these past few years. Some of which have made us rethink the benefits of social media. But there have also been some really cool and informational Tik-Toks that cause curiosity as well.


The centre of gravity challenge has been trending for a few weeks now. You can watch this Tik-Tok here. [1] As you can see, apparently men and women have different centres of gravity which causes men to fall flat on their face when they try to get up while women usually have better balance. So is this really true?


Youtube.com. 2021. Guys have different center of gravity than girls and can't do this. [online]

Some studies have found that women have a centre of gravity that is 8 to 15% lower than a man’s. This is because women generally have a wider, curvier hip structure to support pregnancy. This makes sense as a significant portion of the weight is in that region for a female body, compared to a male body which tends to have a more even weight distribution. So when doing this challenge, women can support their weight using the lower areas of their body - their hips and knees - where the centre of gravity is. However, men find it harder to balance as their higher centre of gravity causes them to topple over and fall when they do this challenge. [2]


Of course, this also varies between individuals depending on their body structure. Another factor of this challenge that was pointed out was that people who were able to maintain balance tend to lean back with their weight before they get up. Therefore, the validity of the previous explanation is questionable. We, physicists, know that to obtain better results, an experiment needs to be conducted where we can observe the side view to make sure everyone has the same position before removing their elbows. [3]



Another recent trend is supposedly a “magic” trick where you cover a water bottle with a paper towel, remove the excess and turn it upside down. The water will not spill out. Although this might be mind-blowing for tik-tokers, we physicists know that there are very simple physics principles at play here. [4]


When the bottle is turned upside down the air pressure inside and outside the bottle are equal, to begin with. Some of the water from inside escapes, leaving some empty volume. The air inside the bottle will expand to fill up the volume available to it and therefore the air pressure inside will be slightly lower than the outside air pressure. Therefore, the paper will stick to the bottle opening with enough force exerted on it to be able to hold the water in. [5]

Team, G., 2021. AIR PRESSURE GLOG: air pressure glog | Glogster EDU - Interactive multimedia posters. [online] Edu.glogster.com.

So far, Tik Tok is not all that bad. Although the science content on the app is not up to our standard, one can not deny that it is still hilarious to watch people fall flat on their faces.


Aside: The author of this piece may or may not have gotten distracted by other Tik Tok videos during the research stage for this article. We shall not talk about that any further.

- Thanvi G

References:

  1. Youtube.com. 2021. Guys have different center of gravity than girls and can't do this. [online] Available at: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuuogLWXxxE&t=60s>

  2. Miller, K., 2021. The Science Behind That "Center of Gravity" Challenge That's All Over TikTok. [online] Shape. Available at: <https://www.shape.com/fitness/trends/center-of-gravity-challenge-tiktok>

  3. Joshi, S., 2021. Here's Why Women Are Better Than Men At Trending TikTok Center of Gravity Challenge. [online] Vice.com. Available at: <https://www.vice.com/en/article/qjp5gd/this-is-why-men-cant-seem-to-ace-the-viral-tiktok-centre-of-gravity-challenge>

  4. Youtube.com. 2021. Toilet paper stopper (bottle tricks). [online] Available at: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FF_VifERGMw>

  5. The Lab. 2021. Floating Water | Science Experiment. [online] Available at: <https://www.stevespanglerscience.com/lab/experiments/floating-water-mystery/#:~:text=When%20you%20first%20turn%20the,pulls%20down%20on%20the%20water.>

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What's up with Jeremy?

Greetings from our at-home workspaces! Hope everyone is being productive and staying safe during this second online uni phase. To introduce ourselves, we are Thanvi and Yajnesh, the new Co-editors for