Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Luigi DiSisto Intro and Water Observations

Hi everybody my name is Luigi DiSisto and I am 19 years old and an undeclared undergrad at Merrimack College. I took this class because in high school, I took an environmental science class and LOVED it. I found every subject that was discussed in that class to be extremely interesting and important. Unfortunately, Merrimack does not offer any sort of an earth science program, so I decided to try and take some classes on the subject elsewhere, and if I am still interested, than possibly transfer and pursue the subject as a career. My favorite part of the class, and something that I have always been fascinated by is the ocean. I got my scuba diving certification in 2007 and since then have dove on every weekend possible during the summer. Last year, I took an amazing dive trip to Isla Roatan in Honduras, this year I dove in Bermuda, and for next summer I am planning another dive trip to Dominica. Other than scuba diving, i like to play hockey and I work part time on the weekends as a wedding DJ for an entertainment company.
When we went into the restroom I observed that the water in the sink drained counterclockwise and the water in the toilet drained clockwise. This confused me a little because I always thought that in the northern hemisphere the water was suppose to drain clockwise and in the southern hemisphere is was suppose to drain counterclockwise. I never really knew the specific details as to why, I just knew that was how it was suppose to work due to the Coriolis Effect. My idea was supported by the definition of the Coriolis Effect on this website: http://www.answers.com/topic/coriolis-effect: "The observed effect of the Coriolis force... rightward in the northern hemisphere and leftward in the southern hemisphere." But after that I read this section of an article that caught my attention from http://www.weatherimagery.com/blog/water-spin-down-drain/: "The fact is, the Coriolis force (an apparent force as a result of the Earth’s spin) has virtually nothing to do with which direction water spins as it empties down a drain. Although this force is “real” and does have an affect on other large, long-lived systems that travel great distances (such as hurricanes, high and low pressure systems, and long range artillery shells), water draining from toilets, sinks, and bathtubs are rendered virtually immune from its affects. The Coriolis force is much too weak to have any affect on such small, short-lived rotating bodies of water under normal conditions." After carefully reading both websites, I came to the conclusion that the second site must be correct due to my observations in the bathroom. Though I do believe that the Coriolis Effect would have an effect on other, larger, things, after seeing what happened in the bathroom (and re-testing it in my own home and getting that the water in the sink went clockwise and the water in the toilet went counterclockwise) I cannot really believe that there is anything other than pipe diameter or the amount of water in the sink/toilet that controls the direction in which it spins down the drain. Having never been to Australia, I would have to assume that the same applies there.

-Luigi DiSisto

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