Thursday, July 20, 2006


Note to NEWSGNOME readers: this is a rather long post. But it is really very funny to me. I've posted a story that has to be tongue-in-cheek I'm sure. I then responded in an email. I'm curious how many questions it might bring up in your mind. NG

By the way, we missed Jump Day....Sorry!


Artist claims giant jump could save the planet

(7/18/06) - Hans Peter Niesward, from the Department of Gravitationsphysik at the ISA in Munich, says we can stop global warming in one fell swoop -- or, more accurately, in one big jump.
The slightly disheveled professor states his case on, an Internet site created to recruit 600,000,000 people to jump simultaneously on July 20 at 11:39:13 GMT in an effort to shift Earth's position.

Niesward claims that on this day "Earth occupies one of the most fragile positions in its orbits for the last 100 years." According to the site, the shift in orbit will "stop global warming, extend daytime hours and create a more homogeneous climate."

The Man Who Wasn't There

Niesward's theory has at least one major flaw: Niesward doesn't really exist. He is a character created by Torsten Lauschmann, a German-born artist living in Scotland. Lauschmann -- a live performer, filmmaker, DJ and photographer -- may be best known for his work "Misshapen Pearl," described as a "phenomenological investigation of the streetlamp's function in our consumer society."

Lauschmann's multimedia approach has allowed him to explore a wide variety of subjects, including butterflies, paparazzi photos and, now, a flash-mob experiment.

In 2005, Lauschmann encouraged scientists and bloggers from around the world to discuss World Jump Day.

"He thought it would just circulate among friends, but it quickly seemed to morph. Within weeks it was global -- people in Australia were talking about it on the radio," said Neil Mulholland, a reader in contemporary art theory at Edinburgh College of Art. "The more it was discussed, the more people joined the site, and it crashed several times."

The site now claims to have just under 600 million jumpers registered for the cause. But will people jump out of environmental activism or a commitment to the bizarre? Is the jump as important as the buzz it's created?

The Anti-Jumpers

Members of the online environmental site have been debating not only the physical possibility of the jump's promise but the morality of its outcome.

Some believe it's risky to alter Earth's orbit, while others fear the jump will make the Gregorian calendar obsolete because of the length of Earth's new orbit. Others doubt the ability of the world's population to synchronize an event like this.

The folks at have constructed an anti-World Jump Day manifesto, complete with equations drawn up to dispute the validity of Niesward's -- or Lauschmann's -- theories.

Supposedly based on "seismographic recordings ranging from impacts of comets to the simultaneous movement of the audience at the 2002 World Cup Final," the site uses graphs, bell curves and diagrams to support its hypothesis and directs the user to several prestigious science and environmental sites, none of which mention World Jump Day or support any of its assertions.

One word of caution: The site tells those of us living in the eastern part of the United States to jump at 6:39:13 because we are five hours behind GMT, but that is not true in July. Because of daylight savings time, Lauschmann has a part of the United States jumping an hour early.


Slow News Day

to news.director
"Artist claims giant jump could save the planet"

It must have been the slowest news day in the history of to
run this story because I'm pretty sure we've already passed April 1st.

In truth, this is really the funniest story I've read in a long time.
The lengths to which you can take Niesward's theory (Lauschman) are
endless. However, it does unequivocally prove that "global warming"
has fried the brains of more people than I care to imagine. I'm
confident that there are thousands of GWers out there who believe
every word.

Now, since we're having some fun with this story, 70 percent of the
earth is water and therefore does not provide a jumping surface. On
the critical day and time in question, is there a land mass that will
be exactly opposite the direction we want to move the earth so we have
a place for our "jump." (remember "for every action............"?)

Secondly, are we all supposed to go to one side of the earth to get a
one direction jump? Have calculations been made precisely how high
to jump so the exact orbit can be obtained? I'm not too spry any more
so I may only be able to jump about 12 inches, do you think that will
help? Finally, do we all have to jump at the same time or do we have
to land at the same time for this to work. These are a few of the
important questions that came to my mind. I'm always up for a good ole
college try.

Preparations: to get 600-million people in one place at one time is
going to take some planning. Should we bring our own food and

At least you provided a good laugh, so I'm giving you an A+ for some
fun. This story has endless laugh possibilities.

PS: Since the story doesn't name the author I can't say thanks
directly but since this email is directed to the news director, please
give him/her a raise. The writer deserves it. Or better yet, send
this to the Pulitzer Prize committee, it is bound to win first place
in the "environmental category" because I know the committee will
believe every word.


PPS: I will be posting your story and my response on my blog
with full credit to


Anonymous said...

I heard this before and your response was very insightful.
If Global Warming is only affecting the US shouldn't it be called US Warming? Just a thought.

NewGnome said...

TOS, I think this "artist" guy missed April 1st by quite a while. But it really is funny if you consider it's implications seriously. For example, I didn't include one idea. If people are jumping on both sides of the earth, doesn't that cancel them out...and what about the southern and northern hemispheres. The laughs are endless.