Friday, July 31, 2009

Hi my name is Wade Megan and I am currently a freshman at Boston University.  I am from Canton, New York and have grown up near the ocean my whole life.  In the summer I love fishing and that is my main obsession with the ocean.  I wanted to take this class because it seemed different from other science courses in the way that we're able to get out on the water and learn with a hands-on approach.

As for the question about which way the sink drains in Australia, I was able to find out that it actually has nothing to do with the Earth at all.  Some scientists believed that the Coriolis Deflection caused the sink to drain a certain way depending on which hemisphere you are in, but in fact it does not.  The Coriolis Deflection only effects big bodies of water, therefore the drainage from a sink has to do with the construction of the sink.

My source:

Wade Megan

Assignment #1

Hello everyone. My name is Rene Norris and I am a senior at Boston University majoring in criminal justice. I was born in a small town named Tela in the northern coast of Honduras, Central America. Growing up I had the ocean at my disposal 24/7 and 365 days a year. When I came to Boston 13 years ago I was in for a rude awakening with summer being so short, limiting the time I had to enjoy the beach. Only then I realized how I had taken for granted one of the most majestic resources we have on our planet. Needless to say I love the ocean and everything that entails being close to it. My class during summer 1 was Coastal Enveronments of Massachusetts and we were out of class and on the beach a lot. That's why I am taking this class, to learn more about this enigmatic universe. In regards to the direction the water flows when you are flushing the toilet in Australia, I had heard from several sources that it goes in the opposite direction of this part of the world ----- counter clockwise. This phenomena is backed by sources on Wikepedia, Youtube, Bing, and Google with several of first hand accounts and footage.

Don't Panic!

Some of you may have gotten a strange message when you tried to sign onto the blog - Don't panic - I have notified the folks at blogspot and they have promised to fix things quickly.

Hi everyone, my name is Hilary Miller. I am a senior at the University of Richmond in Virginia, majoring in Accounting and French. I am from Charlottesville, Virginia; however, my parents spend the summer in Maine because of my dad’s work and to get away from the extreme heat. I am taking this course because I do not have time in my schedule to take a science class next year at my university and still graduate on time. Since I have been in Argentina doing volunteer work all summer, this class fit my schedule the best. I actually just found it by googling intensive summer science classes. Regardless, I could not have been luckier this class was the one that best fits my schedule because I love the ocean. Aside from loving the ocean because I love boating (I used to work at a yacht club in Maine during the summer and have my coast guard operating licence); I love the Ocean because there is another world unbeknownst to many people just below a layer of water.
As for the big question, I started my research by searching the Internet for an answer and soon became overwhelmed by differing responses. However, the majority of sources stated that the Coreolis effect does not affect the way small bodies of water drain. I decided abandon the internet for fear of trusting an unreliable source. Next, I skyped my friend who lives in Melbourne, Austrailia (Phoebe Hammond) and asked her to test out her toilet for me. Yet, it seems her toilet didn’t drain any particular way; the water was just sucked out. But, her sink drained clockwise. In conclusion, I believe the way water in a sink and a toilet is not affected by location on Earth but the shape of the sink or toilet.
See you tomorrow bright and early!

Assignment #1: Introduction and Water Flow

Hi everyone! My name is Nick Pinheiro. I was born and raised in Weymouth, Massachusetts and have lived in New England all my life. I am currently a senior here at Boston University’s Metropolitan College working towards my Undergraduate Degree in Management Studies with a concentration in Electronic Commerce. I worked full-time here at the University for the majority of my undergraduate studies in the Department of Information Systems, Planning and Support (ISPS) as a Web Developer. I am currently the Senior Web Developer for NetScout Systems, Inc., a software development company headquartered in Westford, MA. I actually began my college career as a Pre-Med student at the University of South Florida however quickly found my love for computers and converted. I plan to complete my Undergraduate degree and continue on to pursue a Masters in Computer Information Systems here at Boston University. This is my final undergraduate class!

I am interested in the ocean because I spent the majority of my childhood near or on the water. For as long as I can remember my family has had a 20ft. Glastron boat which still today we take out every summer for a number of trips. Obviously many of these trips also included fishing which has always been a huge hobby of my father that he has now passed down to all three of his sons. With many years of fishing under our belts, we have brought up a number of living things from under the surface of the water which definitely were not fish. Not to mention the assortment of fish which we have brought up which I’ve never really known enough to distinguish certain types from others. Even though this course is my final requirement and class, I’m really interested in learning more about what lives below the water and how they live.

After extensive research online I found that the question regarding ‘which direction water flows on the other side of the world’ has been associated with a bit of an urban legend. The legend basically states that water spins in different directions on opposite sides of the hemisphere. In many references this has also been placed in relation to the Coriolis Effect. The Coriolis Effect defined states that objects spin at different direction when viewed from a rotating point of reference. However the forces of the effect are so small that they are only able to affect large things such as masses of air. Therefore as I have encountered many conflicting statements on this topic, my answer based on the research I have done is: the direction the water in a sink or toilet moves is simply based on the way water is pushed or pulled from them. I have come to this answer from information included in the following sources:,

Nick Pinheiro

Hi everyone. My name is Leana and I am originally from New Jersey but have lived in Boston for the last four years. I am working towards a degree in Art History at the MET College here at BU and currently work at the Museum of Fine Arts. We have some good exhibits up so you should all check it out. I decided to take this course because I thought it would be a fun and interesting way to learn about science for my requirement. Science was never one of my best subjects but I am looking forward to this class because I’ll be experiencing new things and I absolutely love being outside. I do not have much experience with the water relative to most people in Boston. I grew up by the Hudson River but there was no fishing going on. I have actually never really been fishing so a lot of this will be new for me. I’ve had some interesting experiences with the water. For example, when I was about 10 I stepped on a sea urchin in the ocean in Israel and couldn’t use one foot for about four days. Just recently I fell into the Charles River canoeing on the 4th of July. But I still love the water because it relaxes me, seems to have endless possibilities, and because I know so little about it so it is always new and exciting.

As for the big toilet-flushing question, the consensus of the articles I read tells me that the direction in which a toilet in Australia flushes has nothing to do with the fact that it is there as opposed to here. A common misconception is that the Coriolis force which concerns the Earth’s rotation completely determines the direction of the flush. In fact, the way in which the flusher is pulled, the shape of the toilet, the air currents, and the tilt of the toilet all determine which direction the water will drain. So it is not necessarily always clockwise or counterclockwise. I concluded this from reading the same line of logic on several websites, and felt that it was somewhat validated after coming across it on the Michigan State University’s Physics and Astronomy site because usually those “.edu” sites are reputable sources.

See you all tomorrow.

Leana Ovadia

Hi everyone my name is David Warsofsky. I am currently a sophmore here at Boston University. Right now i am enrolled in the College of General Studies and I am not sure what i would like to transfer into after this year. I am from Marshfield MA and live right on the ocean. Even though i live on the ocean I really have never learned anything about it. I feel that living this close to something you should know the facts about it. And I feel that this class is going to do just that. I am interested in learning what is living in our ocean and how it survives. I am really excited for this class and look foward to working with all of you.

As for the question that was asked in class, I have come to the conclusion that it does not matter where you are in the world the water flowing in the toilet will always flow the same way. The way the water is flowing down the toilet is determined by how the toilet is designed. The Coriolis effect does not play a role in determing what way the water is flushed, nor does the hempisphere that you are located in. The design of the toilet is the only thing that can dtermine which way the water is flushed down the toilet.

Dave Warsofsky

Assignment 1

Hey my name is Joe Pereira,  I will be a junior next year in the Metropolitan College at Boston University.  I am taking this class not only to fulfill my science course for my degree but because I am genuinely interested in the ocean and its inhabitants.  I am from the shoreline of Connecticut, a mile away from the beach, so that is where I spend much of my free time.  By taking this class I hope to become more knowledgeable about the ocean because while my current knowledge is very limited, I am extremely intrigued by the ocean and all that it entails.

With regards to the question about the way the water drains in Australia, many sites that I have been looking at have conflicting views.  After thoroughly looking into both sides, however, it appears that while some believe the direction of water drain has to do with the Coriolis effect, others believe the mere construction of the sink or toilet is what dictates the direction of the water drain.  Though the Coriolis effect does in fact exist, and is "an apparent deflection of moving objects when they are viewed from a rotating reference frame," I do not believe it pertains to the direction in which water flushes.  While I'm not saying that water drains the same way worldwide, the way in which it drains- clockwise vs. counterclockwise- does not vary internationally due to any sort of physics related matter.

I got my information from &

Joe Pereira

Assignment #1

Hi, everyone.

My name is Han. I come from Harbin, a beautiful city in northeast of China . There is heavy snow in winter where you can not only go skiing or ice-skating but also enjoy the ice lantern and snow sculpture. It is fantastic. If you want to travel around , tell me, I will help you arrange a happy time in Harbin.

My major is International shipping in Shanghai Maritime University. Some of my friends will be sailers after graduate and I want to be a broker for shipping trade. It's really hard to work on board, but it can't stop my favor of the ocean. I love the feeling of freedom and ease on board.

And about which way does water drain in a sink , I think, it will be a anticlockwise way of water drained in Australia. For in the north hemisphere, the water will drain in a sink clockwise. why?

First water will be effected by the vertical force of the gravity which make water go down.

Second water will have different horizontal forces which is caused by the earth rotation . Earth is round , and part of the water which is nearer to the equator has the faster surface speed, so the water will go down by clockwise because of the inertia .

That's what happened in the north hemisphere. So to the Australia, which is in the south hemisphere. water will go down by anticlockwise because it is opposite to the hemisphere.

That 's my idea. I do read the research post by:
But I don't agree. I think it will be an anticlockwise way.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Assignment #1

Hi all. My name’s Matt and I’ve enrolled in ES 141 because it’s allowing me to take a class which offers a condensed schedule; along with providing me the opportunity of experiencing a rare real world scientific research expedition of sorts (this class also fulfills my final degree requirement). I’m really looking forward to the many interesting days ahead. Additionally, I love the ocean; for its vast open space, for its coastlines, for its wave activity, and for its marine life above and below the surface. Whenever possible, I like fishing (with most anyone), enjoy boating with friends and neighbors within Boston Harbor, and take great pleasure in visiting the many beaches up and down the New England coastline. I also love to build an occasional sand castle, catch and throw a football around in the water with whomever I’m with, and enjoy walking up and down the beach while taking in the natural surroundings.

For example; while serving in the U.S. Navy (back in the day when I was only 19) aboard the U.S.S. Midway (CV-41) Aircraft Carrier, I was fortunate enough to have traveled the Pacific and Indian Oceans, enabling me to take liberty in the many countries along the way. One night on a beach in Mombasa, Kenya comes to mind. While walking the beach (the name of it escapes me right now) after hours of drinking with my fellow shipmates, I had decided to walk along the beach alone around 1 a.m. As I looked out over the moon lit horizon over the Indian Ocean, the faint clicking sounds of some unknown origin were coming from all around me. After about five or ten minutes of walking barefoot along the sand and surf, my eyes finally adjusted to the moon light, revealing the thousands of red crabs (each about the size of my fist) crawling up and down the coast. Cool!!! I thought to myself. At that time I decided to sit down, allowing the waves to pass me by, and watch the somewhat migration of crabs make their way along that beach.

My favorite beach on the New England coast is by far Second Beach in Middleton, Rhode Island (note: 2nd beach in Newport and 2nd beach in Middleton are two separate beaches). The skyline on Second Beach is the high cliffs supporting such Newport Mansions as the “Breakers” in the background (note: views are most appreciated the further south you go along the beach), and the sand and surf is fantastic.

In regards to my research into the direction of the water when draining down a sink in Australia; I am convinced that according to the following sources below, water drains clockwise (under natural conditions, without any intrusive forces) as it does in the Northern Hemisphere of the globe.

I’ll see you all bright and early on Saturday!


Hi, I am Sean Escobedo and I am an incoming freshman here at Boston University. I am in the College of Arts and Science and the academic advisor thought it would be a good idea for me to take this class for the summer to get a science class done with. Im from Queens, New York. I live about 20 minutes away from the Atlantic Ocean, so I am very familiar with the water. I like going to the beach and going on boats so I feel that this class will be very interesting to me. The beach is a great place to just relax and hang out with friends. I also love swimming in the ocean cause its cold and refreshing. I also like the fact that we won't be sitting in a classroom for eight hours a day.

As for the question of which way does the toilet bowl flush in Australia it depends on the way the toilet bowl is designed. The difference in hemispheres plays no major role nor does the Coriolis Effect, for a toilet bowl is to small of an object. The only way the water can spin clockwise or counterclockwise is through the plumbing of the toilet bowl. I got this from my friends brother who lived in Australia for a year and this website

Sean Escobedo


I'm Samuel Appiah; a full time student of Boston University and in my final year. I'm from West of Africa and a small country called Ghana. I signed up for this class because I am missing one natural science requirement and my advisor told me about the class.
I was recruited to play soccer for BU so I moved from Ghana to the states in 2006. My experience has not not been too bad neither has it been too fun, but i guess this class will add some fun to my stay in BU. Despite the fact that i'm a horrible swimmer, I really like the breeze from the ocean and the look of the ocean is something you can't resist. Later in the day, the ocean looks so peaceful and the breeze so refreshing.
With regards to the question as to which direction water drains in the sink in Australia, most sites have different views. But what reminds a fact is the idea of how the sink is molded; meaning, the shape of the sink can determine with direction water will drain from it. Others believe that Coriolis force can also determine water movement in a sink, but it has been argued that Coriolos force has no effect on how what drains in a sink.
People are with the view that, the duration of stagnation of water in a sink can also determine with direction the water will drain. Research shows that "in 1962 in the appropriately named Watertown, Massachusetts, the physicist Ascher Shapiro did just that. Built in a windowless room, Shapiro's circular sink was about two metres across and 150mm deep, with a tiny hole drilled in the middle that could be unplugged from below. After filling the sink with water, he left it to stand for more than three days. It took nearly an hour-and-a-half to drain, and sure enough the water went anticlockwise each time. Three years later, a group at the University of Sydney repeated the experiment, and as long as the water was allowed to stand for at least 18 hours, it always went down the plughole in a clockwise direction. "We have acquired confidence in the hypothesis that carefully performed experiments on liquid drainage from a tank will show clockwise rotation, if done in the southern hemisphere," they concluded" ( Based on this experiment, i can however say that the direction of water in a sink in Australia will drain either clockwise or anti closewise depending on the number of hours or days that the water had been in the sink, and also on how the sink has been molded and the temperature surronding the water in the sink.

My research is from

Introduction & Assignment #1

Hello everyone, my name is Chris Connolly and I just finished my freshman year at Boston University. I am from Duluth, Minnesota where it is said to have about 4 months of winter and 8 months of cold weather, just kidding. Duluth is located on the biggest fresh water lake in the world, Lake Superior, and I have always had and interest in water and the beach. Although I have grown up near a lake for most of my life, I have never been exposed to ocean-life before and that's my interest in taking this course. Besides going to the beach, I think this class gives me the opportunity to experience the ocean to the fullest.

As for the big question on which way the water drains in a sink, it has nothing to do with which hemisphere you are in. Some people say that the "Coriolis Deflection" is the reason that sinks drain differently in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The truth is that the Coriolis Deflection only effects large bodies of water, therefore the way water drains in a sink has to do which the sink and drain construction.

My source for this answer:

Chris Connolly.

Toilet Flush #2

Hi Y'all,

I forgot to say where I am from and all that. I am from Florida originally, moved to NY in 2005, and now I live in Boston. I am a Criminal Justice major and am learning Arabic. So, if anyone can help me out there, let me know! I love the water. I have always lived less than 10 minutes from the beach, and I hope that it always stays that way. If we are actually going to catch and kill our own fish, I am a bit worried. But, I asked my boyfriend's roommate, and he said that if you are trying to kill a fish just push on its eyes and then jab the brain and it should stop flopping around so much. Gross, but effective? Anyhow, I look forward to learning new things and making new friends.

Happy Thursday!
Alexandra Carry

Assignment *1

Hey Everyone! So to introduce myself, my name is Monique Bellefleur. I am a Senior in the College of Arts and Sciences at BU majoring in Psychology. I'm also from West Chicago, IL. I decided to take this class because I am graduating a semester early and needed just four more credits to do so. I am going to Paris in the fall on a BU abroad program so I had to finish the four credits before then. I also work for BU's freshmen orientation so this was the one and only class that fit with my bizarre work schedule (we only work 3 days a week, but around the clock). I think this is a pretty awesome class to be the only one fitting into my schedule though! I'm not huge on science, but I do love marine life.

I love the ocean mostly because of what is in it: the fish, marine animals, reefs, etc. The National Geographic articles on the deep sea have always been my favorite. I am looking forward to seeing sea-life first hand. On the other hand, I despise sand. I hate how sand has a way of clinging to your body and never letting go although I do understand I will have to get over my dislike at least for the time being that we are in this class. Plus, I have yet to see the Harbor Islands and since I'm leaving Boston forever soon, I think this class is a wonderful way in which to experience them.

As far as the water draining question goes, I went to a purely academic site (not) called "The Straight Dope: fighting ignorance since 1973". The site said the theory that water drains different directions in the different hemispheres is indeed a myth. The way in which the water drains mostly depends on the shape of the sink and drain. Although the coreolis effect holds true for natural disasters, it does not for our own bathrooms.

See you Saturday!
Monique Bellefleur

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Assignment #1 (again)

Sorry I forgot to add why I like the ocean. I have always enjoyed the ocean and the beaches I am born and raised as a New England boy. I like boating and fishing in the summer time. I usually go down the cape a good amount during the summer for that to my uncles house. The beach is another place that I love in the summer time because it is one of the most relaxing places in the world. My favorite beach is probably Good Harbor up in Gloucester, it is one of the nicest around.

Brian Strait

Assignment #1

Hello class I am Brian Strait from Waltham massachusetts. I just finished up my junior year here at BU and currently closing in on graduating. I will not be back on campus for my senior year unfortunately, so I will be taking summer classes from here on in to finish out my degree. I am a history major in the metropolitian school and I need this class to fulfill a science requirement. That doesn't mean that I am not excited for this class. I cannot wait to start because a friend of mine took this class last year, enjoyed it, and thought he got more out of it than any other class he has taken. That is actually the reason why I chose it over a boring science class where you sit inside all day long.

As for the direction in which water drains on the opposite side of the earth I would have to believe that it would be the same as here, clockwise. From the articles which I have read the coriolis effect has nothing to do with the way water goes down a drain therefore it is that same everywhere in the world. The myth that it drains the opposite way can be put to rest.


See you all saturday,

Brian Strait

Hi All!

I am from Montclair, New Jersey and as most of your probably assume the Jersey shores are not the greatest. I was able to truly first fall in love with the Ocean when I saw the beaches in Phuket, Thailand last summer. For the first time I was able to get that calm, breath-taking feeling that you are supposed to get from being at the beach. To get a better idea of how incredible the sight is and why it impacted me so much , here is a picture that I found on Google images of Phuket.

My family spent a week on Phuket and we all dream of going back. During the week, we went Snorkling every day and explored a lot of the Island on boat. Unfortunately, my father and I have always gotten seasick, to the point that it has inhibited us from experiencing the Ocean on a boat. I even managed to get seasick on a pontoon boat on a lake in Indiana which I didn't think was possible. Luckily, when we were in Phuket we took some Dramamine and took the plunge. I am not sure if it was the medicine, or the stunning bright blue color of the water, but my father and I held it together and had an incredible time. It really made me resent my stomachs inability to handle boating because I think its a hobby I could really get into.

I have not been on a boat since Phuket, and I am so thrilled that this class is giving me another opportunity to build up my boating confidence, as well as a chance to explore Boston in a new way. I am very excited to make new memories and meanings of what Boston has meant to me through out these past few years, after my transfer from Indiana University. I look forward to the challange of tackeling science, a subject I now feel I have not spent enough time on, as well as the challange of my stomach. : )

As far as the Question concerning if the water in Australia goes counter-clockwise down the drain or not, I began my research on Google Scholar where I was led to this article titled "Bathroom Buddies: Countering your Clockwise Rotation" from the website In this article, it is pointed out that there is a lot of disagreement on if water rotation has to do with the Coriolis Effect because the only fact we have is that Cyclones rotate clockwise in the southern hemisphere and in the northern hemisphere hurricanes rotate counter-clockwise, and that this is not enough reason to believe it is based on the earths rotation. There seams to be a lot of myth to this theory, and that an accurate answer has not yet been determined because many Australians have reported both, indicated by these travelling bloggers from the website:

Looking forward to our weekend adventure!

- Chloe Katz


Hi Everyone,
My name is Jackie and I'll be the TA for Snails to Whales 09'. I initially took this class in 08' because, like many of you, I love the ocean. It is the last unexplored frontier left on Earth, and with global climate change afoot, the ocean will play a huge role in Earth's modern history. I look forward to working with you all, and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.


Assignment 1

Hi Everyone! My name is Sam Gifford, I am currently a junior at BU majoring in Marine Science and hoping to minor in Earth Science. I'm originally from Port Charlotte, FL, but have been living in Boston for about 10 years now. I'm taking this class mainly because it just seemed interesting, and since I am always around during the summer i figured why not? I am also hoping to pursue a career in research after school, and this class will hopefully give me some experience in field work that I can use and later build on in grad school. I love everything about the ocean, from its vastness to its diversity, but my favorite part is definitely the animals that live in it. So called "charismatic megafauna" are my favorite; whales, dolphins, sharks, and especially coral reef species. Ever since i was little I've lived near the ocean and done things like boating, fishing, and snorkeling regularly with my father. I recently became scuba certified, something i have wanted to do for years, and am excited to get out there and see even more of the ocean whenever an opportunity arises.

As for the direction water flows down the drain in China...
No matter where you are in the world, water will flow down a drain the same way. The only noticeable factor affecting the flow of water is how it is introduced to the contained from which it drains, for example the entrance holes on the rim of a toilet. Which ever direction the water is pointed is the direction which the water will spiral down. Of course, the geometry of the container has an effect as well. The idea that water will behave differently in different locations of the world stems from the coriolis effect and how it is observed in the ocean. According to this idea, water should drain counterclockwise in the northern hemisphere, and clockwise in the southern hemisphere. However, a sink is too small a body of water for the coriolis effect to take place, and therefore is unaffected by its location on the planet.


Assignment 1

Hey guys, my name is Maycon G. Tambosi but I go by Mike. It is not really a translation of my Brazilian name. I think the name Michael was very popular in the late 70's so parents decided on that name but if you speak to way is written down it would sound very different.

As I said, I was born in Brazil and moved here in 2000, it was a lot like an adventure to me and I planned to stay for a few years only...9 years have passed and I'm still here.

I'm taking this class because it is a requirement for my major which is Management Studies, but I think I would still take it as an elective I guess. I've always liked science and geography, so I'm looking forward to it and get to know all of you!

I love the ocean! It is too bad that the water temperature he is a lot colder than what I am used to in Brazil. What fascinates me about the ocean is its size and the peaceful feeling it offers. Even if you live in a Metropolis, when you go to the ocean it seems like the entire background noise of life goes away. Don't quote me on this but I think, and I'm not an expert on anything, we still know very little about the ocean compared to other sciences, don't you think so?

I called my best friend on Skype at his father's business and asked him to do me a favor. He didn't believe me at first but after explaining he did for me. It is funny because last December we all went to Brazil on a 3 week vacation and my wife's step dad keep saying "I can't wait to get there and flush the toilet" we were thinking he was kidding you know. He wasn't.

The answer is, the toilet didn't have a clear direction, I think because of the water pressure there. The sink water went on a anti-clockwise direction, believe it or not. If you don't believe me call Rodrigo and ask him to do it again and while he's at it ask him to film it as well.

See you guys Saturday!

assignment 1

1. Hi my name is Ryan Santana. I must admit I did not personally pick this class out myself, but now having gotten an idea for what it is all about I am glad that I am in it. I am from Yorba Linda, CA. I've grown up in an area where I have been lucky enough to hang out at beaches like Huntington, Newport, and Laguna but, I have never seen the water on this side of the country. I love going to the beach and I have always liked the ocean; body surfing, boogie boarding, skim boarding, I love it all. Having said that, I am sure I will enoy everything we do in this class and am excited about it.
2. The water does NOT go in the other direction. That theory is based on the Coriolis Effect but, both a sink and a toilet are to small to be effected by it. This website, , explains much better with more detail than I could ever hope. I found it by just "google"ing the question and saw a bunch of links that came up. I looked for one that, I guess, seemed like a "straight-shooter".
Hey my name is Lizzie I am from Boston actually about  a half hour north of Boston a small town called Swampscott (North Shore).  I love the ocean I grew up the town that I am from is right next to Nahant which Bruce mentioned the other night in class there is really no other choice but to love the ocean because it is all around you.  I grew up fishing even though most of the time I still am not really sure what I'm doing.  My uncle has had several boats over the years but most recently bought a Grady White which is one of the premier fishing boats.  Most of the time if we go fishing we will leave from the Corinthian Yacht Club in Marblehead, I have been to Stellwagon Bank several times but like I said before do not really pay attention as to how we get there so I am not the best navigator by any means but when we go tuna fishing out there it is a BLAST!  I decided to take this class because I need it as a requirement, I love the ocean and being outdoors, and its the summertime although in Boston you never really know what that means.  I am very excited to get going on all of our adventures and to learn a lot of new things!

As far as the toilet flushing goes like many others in the class I thought the answer was simple a thanks to Simpson's.  As I was looking at some information it seemed a lot of sources said that in Australia the force of the flush usually goes straight down not even really allowing for any rotation at all.  We talked about it at the end of class, where the pipes are positioned has a lot to do with the way the water will go into the toilet.  That seemed to be a trend in most of the information I found that many Australian toilets do not go in one direction or the other.  It seems that what we discussed is the truth the toilet will flush in whatever direction the jets tell it to. I got most of my info from a site just about the Coriolis Effect called Coriolis Force and from a blog critics site as well.  

See everyone bright and early Saturday morning, Elizabeth Moran

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A man, a plan, a canal, Panama...or something like that

a) My name is Marina, and although my moniker is apropos for this class, I have always gone by Larissa. I am an English major of sorts. I do not fancy myself a literary whiz nor do I have lofty notions of novels and movie deals. I can barely punctuate or capitalize my words long enough to make it to the end of a paragraph, so this post should feel like a I prefer to tear down works and examine words..exposing the faults and the lies and determining how bad something is rather than finding its worth...harsh? Yes. Fun? You bet. I am taking this class like most people for the mandated science requirement, but also because this is the first of two classes that were out of my normal scope that really jumped out at me. I grew up in New Jersey at the shore. Our house was situated in a lagoon area and as long as I can remember we had a boat docked out back and a garage full of fishing poles. I rode, swam and ate right out of my backyard. There was always something comforting knowing that there was water all around me, as though there was an escape route should there be a zombie holocaust in my neighborhood...or worse...conservatives! I would spend hours sifting through the muck finding crabs and sand sharks...feeding the ducks and looking for the egrets nesting in the marsh. So much happens under water that we forget that it is part of this world. It is this alien place to us hidden beneath the horizon...I am both in awe and terrified of what lurks in the depths of the ocean...I am hoping to walk away from this class with a deeper understanding of the things I cannot see, and a renewed love of a home once thought lost, and discovery of a universe in my own backyard. Tranquility and smallness, wonderment and awe, and possibly a bit of educational value ;)

b) To be fair...I have a bit of a wild card up my sleeve with this whole southern hemisphere query...I shot off an email to my
sister-in-law who lives in Bondi, NSW, Australia and asked her to do me a solid and see which way her sink drained. I wanted to make sure that she was using standing sink water and not toilet water which has outside forces (no pun intended) working at moving the water along. She was kind enough to take a short video for me to prove that in fact....the water in Australia does indeed follow the path of northern water...and that is a clockwise rotation.

Should I take her word for it...probably...but just in case she would be tricksy and lie to me...I decided to check out some online sources to see if there was additional evidence to provide credence to her video. I believe that the Library of Congress is a reputable enough source to validate her statement. According to their website:
It all depends upon how the water was introduced and the geometric structure of the drain. One can find both counterclockwise and clockwise flowing drains in both hemispheres. Some people would like you to believe that the Coriolis force affects the flow of water down the drain in sinks, bathtubs, or toilet bowls. Don’t believe them! The Coriolis force is simply too weak to affect such small bodies of water. (source)
It is safe to say that water in both the northern and southern hemispheres can and do drain clockwise.


Toilet Flush!

Hi Y'all!

My name is Alexandra. I am not a Math or Science type of gal, but I have always loved earth science type of classes. I thought that I would enjoy this class as well as fulfill my science requirement So, here I am.

I thought that the water flushed the other way in Australia due to the Coriolis effect. I asked my boyfriend, and he thought that anything in the other hemisphere flushed the opposite way. I "googled" it and found conflicting answers on and other sources of the like. Finally, I went on Wikipedia. There, I found that my previous assumptions about the Coriolis effect were wrong. The Coriolis effect is able to determine the spin, but only under " certain controlled laboratory conditions". It really depends on the angle of the toilet.

Alright, I will see y'all on Saturday!

Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Welcome to "Snails to Whales"

My name is Bruce Berman, and I am the BayWatcher for Save the Harbor / Save the Bay in Boston, Massachusetts.

During the summer I teach public policy, communication and marine science at Boston University.

"Snails to Whales" is a blog where my Boston University students can share the work they do in my class marine science class "From Periwinkles to Pilot Whales" with each other and with the public.

I hope you will take a look, and share your comments with them - and with me.

From April - November I live with my wife on my boat "Verandah" at Constitution Marina on Boston Harbor. Did I mention that I like to fish?

Here is a screenshot from the fishfinder on my boat:

If you want to venture a guess as to what's happening in this picture, please post a comment, and I will post a reply.

If you are interested in taking this class, email me today at, and we can set up a time to talk.

You may also be interested in my other Boston Harbor Class blog, which focuses on the history of the Boston Harbor Clean-up from an advocacy and public policy perspective. You can find it here, at

You might also be interested in visiting Save the Harbor's site at . If you are interested in free, fun, and exciting things to do on the harbor you might also want to become a fan of their Boston Harbor page on facebook.

If you want to see more images of what lives under my boat, you can visit my website and click on the "Fishcam"!

Thanks for visiting.

Bruce Berman

PS. Here are a few of my favorite maps ...

Boston Harbor, Mass Bay, Cape Cod Bay, Broad Sound and the Gulf of Maine.

An historic map - looking south.
Another "Oldie but Goodie"

Finally, to help you get around -
See you Saturday.
Bruce Berman

Introduction: Where I am coming from...

Love that clean(er) water
Learning about the Boston Harbor Cleanup from the waterway’s eyes, ears, and mouthpiece

By Brian Fitzgerald, BU Bridge

On Georges Island, Bruce Berman talks with his students about the history of the Boston Harbor Cleanup,
which is 95 percent complete. Photo by Vernon Doucette

Bruce Berman, aboard a ferry from Boston’s Long Wharf to Georges Island, poses a question to his students: “How clean is clean enough?”

He’s talking about the water below.

It’s a brilliant July day, with the smell of salt spray in the air. The sky is clear, and so is the ocean. But there was a time when Boston Harbor wasn’t so clean, when the stench of sewage assaulted the nostrils of anyone who went near it.

Berman is the communications director for Save the Harbor/Save the Bay, a public-interest environmental advocacy organization whose mission is to help restore and protect the harbor and Massachusetts Bay. He also teaches a Metropolitan College summer course called Politics, Public Relations, and Public Policy: The Boston Harbor Cleanup.

“The Boston Harbor Cleanup is an amazing success story, and I just love to share it with students,” says Berman, noting that the harbor’s “bad old days” weren’t that long ago. Those were the days when untreated human waste, syringes, condoms, and tampon applicators routinely washed ashore. The antiquated sewage treatment plants on Deer Island and Nut Island were so poorly designed and maintained that they flooded during even mild rainstorms, sending millions of gallons of untreated waste directly into the harbor.

Since then, bacteria counts in the water have decreased by more than two-thirds. Now the harbor teems with plants and animals, and people can legally dig for clams on Carson Beach in South Boston, which was unheard of in the 1980s.

“It was one of the filthiest harbors in America, and now it’s one of the cleanest,” says Berman. “What I’m trying to impress upon students is how this incredible comeback occurred, and how business, advocacy groups, environmentalists, and government can affect the outcome of large projects such as the Boston Harbor Cleanup through negotiation.”

Paradise regained

Berman points to the left as the boat cruises by the cleanup’s centerpiece: the gargantuan white egglike tanks of the Deer Island waste treatment plant, which in 1995 replaced the antiquated facility. The plant treats an average of 350 million gallons of sewage a day.

“And what comes out of the Deer Island treatment plant?” he asks. Berman, his booming baritone competing with the roar of planes taking off from Logan Airport, has a habit of putting students on the spot to see if they’re paying attention.

“The outfall pipe,” say several simultaneously. “Treated water,” chime in a few more.

“That’s right,” he says with a smile. “The plant separates the solid and liquid waste, and it pumps the treated water through the 9.5-mile outfall pipe, which empties into Massachusetts Bay. The resulting sludge is converted to high-grade fertilizer.”

Now Berman returns to his original question: “How clean is clean enough?” There’s no quick and clear answer to this one. “It’s a question that at the end of the day the federal courts had to decide.”

In 1985, a landmark federal court case required that the harbor’s beaches be made swimmable and fishable by 2000. Save the Harbor/Save the Bay was formed the next year to raise public awareness of the $4.5 billion Boston Harbor Cleanup. Sewer ratepayers in the 43 cities and towns financing the project cried foul over the prospect of astronomically rising bills, but because of the determination of environmental advocacy groups such as Berman’s, the cleanup was largely completed on schedule.

Berman says it isn’t finished, however. There are still frequent beach closures because the counts of Enterococcus bacteria exceed the federal and state standard for swimming. The culprit: filthy storm water and sewage, much of it from leaky pipes and illegal hookups emptying into storm sewers, and then into the harbor.

“So is the harbor clean enough,” the Springfield native asks his students, “when you can’t swim in it one out of five days in the summer?”

Work to be done

Berman and his class look out from Georges Island to Gallops Island (left) and the white tanks of the waste treatment plant on Deer Island (right). Photo by Vernon Doucette

This summer the state approved one of the last parts of the cleanup: the construction, by 2011, of a 2.1-mile tunnel near the Dorchester and South Boston shorelines that will hold sewage and storm water during bad weather. It then will be pumped to Deer Island for treatment.

Berman is ecstatic over this development, the result of “tireless negotiation and consensus-building,” he says. “After 2011, we’re looking at beach closings once every five years, when there is a major storm, instead of once every five days.”

But he is not about to let his guard down. To say that he is a man obsessed with the harbor cleanup would be an understatement. Berman is also Save the Harbor/Save the Bay’s “Baywatcher,” and he lives on his 40-foot trawler Verandah. Polluters beware: if you’re discharging oil or sewage into Boston Harbor, the Baywatcher just might be watching.

He is quick to point out that his zealotry is not just on behalf of the harbor’s flora and fauna. “The harbor is for everyone,” he says. “If you’re from a working class or poor family in Boston, and you can’t afford a Cape Cod getaway in the summer, a clean harbor is important. The same is true if you’re a tourist vacationing in Boston or you happen to live in a pricey waterfront condo.”

Accordingly, Berman, who was a political consultant and contributing editor to the Phoenix newspaper before joining Save the Harbor/Save the Bay nearly 10 years ago, also teaches his students about the harbor’s role in the city’s economy. He points out that in the early 1990s, just a few ferries cruised the harbor’s waters. Today, more than 100,000 people visit its islands each summer, discovering their ecological and historic treasures.

“The best way to protect the harbor cleanup,” Berman tells his students, “is to make sure that the public has access to the resources and can see a return on its investment.”

Trevor Kosmolsick (MET’05) has lived in Boston for seven years, but until taking Berman’s course, he had never been to the waterfront. “I’ve also wanted to go camping in the area, but I never knew that you could camp on a few of the islands,” he says. “Bruce Berman is not only a great professor, but the ultimate tour guide.”

He also backs up his words with actions. Sometimes he takes off his shirt and dives in the water to demonstrate to passing boaters that it’s safe to swim. To show people on ferries that fishing is safe, he’s been known to grab one of the bluefish he’s caught and plant a sloppy wet kiss on it.

“What I want everyone to understand is that investment in the environment really does pay off,” says Berman. “We’re willing to pay for a clean Boston Harbor, so we should enjoy it.”