On Monday, meteorologist Eric Holthaus demonstrated just how cold it was at his home in Viroqua, Wis., by tossing a pot of boiling water into the air—and watching it drift back down as snow. In retrospect, perhaps he—and I, when I wrote about the stunt—should have added a disclaimer: Don’t try this at home. Or, if you must, at least stand upwind of the direction in which you’re tossing the boiling water.
As my post and others on Holthaus’s video spread around the Internet yesterday, the Los Angeles Times’ Matt Pearce began to notice a disturbing trend on Twitter: People around the country were trying the experiment in their own back yards—and burning the crap out of themselves.
Blayne and I just did the boiling water thing and I accidentally threw all the BOILING water against the wind and burnt myself. Wtf.-- Maci (@MaciKorfhage) January 6, 2014
So I did the thing where you make snow and not all the boiling water froze and now my head is burned 😂😂😂-- shelby vandgrift (@shelbyvandgrift) January 7, 2014
This was the 40th boiling-water-to-snow burn victim I found on Twitter. pic.twitter.com/4pwOYZYrHR-- Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) January 7, 2014
BuzzFeed’s Adrian Carrasquillo has a roundup of the victims and three words of sage advice: “Everyone, please stop.”
Previously in Slate: