Saturday, July 14, 2012

Pondering the Plumming

Hey everyone, it's Stacey here! I'm from Stamford, Connecticut and will be a senior in the fall. I'm majoring in photojournalism and minoring in Italian. I'm really excited to take this class since I hope to photograph for National Geographic someday.

My group had all previous  decided that the water would drain counterclockwise when we went into the ladies bathroom before we observed the actual water flow. After filling and draining the sink three times, we all unanimously agreed that our hypothesis was correct, meaning that water would drain clockwise Down Under. I remember learning that this had something to do with the rotation of the Earth when I was younger and it has always remained hidden in the recesses of my mind, although I have never known the exact underlying facts of this phenomenon.

After doing some preliminary research on Wikipedia, I came across the term "the Coriolis Force," which is the effect of the earth's rotational speed on objects moving over its surface. The closer you get to the equator, the faster the earth is moving so things appear to move in different directions, according to ( In relation to water drainage, however, the effects of the Coriolis Effect are not always as clear as people would like to think. The Coriolis Effect has little to no impact on everyday, common water drainage. This does not mean that it has no effect, however. Conditions have to be very specific for the effect to come into play. According to "The Great Plughole Debate" by David Adam of The Guardian, "as long as the water was allowed to stand for at least 18 hours, it always went down the plughole in a clockwise direction" in a series of experiments conducted by the University of Sydney. ( So water does flow clockwise own a drain in Australia and counterclockwise in the northern hemisphere...just not all the time.

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