Monday, December 24, 2007

Secrets and Lies

If you are like me, then you have heard that sinks and toilets drain one direction in the Northern Hemisphere, the other direction in the Southern Hemisphere, and straight down on the equator. This difference is due to the Coriolis force provided by the Earth's rotation.

Nothing but filthy lies!

I shall now give you the Christmas gift of truth.

It is true that the rotation of the Earth does produce a Coriolis force, and that this force is responsible for the rotation of certain weather systems like hurricanes. However, this is only because such systems are very large and develop over long periods of time. The magnitude of Coriolis force is directly related to rotation speed. The Earth only rotates once per day, so the resulting force is very small. Given time, it will affect large bodies of fluids initially at rest, but things like toilet flushes are too small and happen too quickly to be influenced by Coriolis (the bowl would also have to be circular). Those rotations are instead determined by such things as the way in which they are filled and the shape of the container.

This site offers a more in-depth explanation that I found very enlightening.

Or just ask an Australian.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

We forgot November!

I just realized today that we forgot to post something for November. I'm sorry November :( .
In any case, life in the suite is going on as usual...we still eat Ramen, we still do lots of studying and homework....we still have lots of fun. This week is finals week, which means that on Thursday night we can forget about this whole school thing and pretend life is still easy! If only that were true about the rest of the semester...easy...oh well, it is almost over. Until next time...'may your days be merry and bright!'