Saturday, July 13, 2013

Fallon Fernandes - Blog 1 (Intro & Coriolis Effect/Force Blog)

First order of business, google some needed inspiration from the Simpsons.
Check. I'm fairly confident this video won't count as an acceptable source of information, but I was also fairly confident that water drains counter-clockwise in the northern hemisphere. So, I'd figure I give it a shot.

Hi, my name is Fallon Fernandes. I live in Brockton, MA, and I work full-time at BU's Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation. I became interested in this class after hearing about it from a friend/co-worker named Debbie!

Actually, it's been a few years since I've taken a course that extends beyond the four walls of a classroom. I use to attend an agricultural high school which involved going outside on a daily basis and working with animals and plant life. Simply put, I've always enjoyed the hands-on approach to learning, especially in the midst of nature.

Although, I was always big on taking walks into the woods, I was never THAT into taking walks on the beach. I blame my mother for subjecting my brother and I to the Jaws franchise. "Smile you son of a..."

My family and I would make a trip to Nantasket beach a few times a year, but it felt mandatory. In other words, going to the beach was something you HAD to do in the summer time just like getting a frozen lemonade and a pretzel from a Mr. Lemon truck.

It wasn't until a few years ago, when my family discovered that we had relatives in Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada, that I really started to enjoy the ocean. My cousins in PEI have a cottage right on the beach front. So, almost everyday you could find us walking the beach, collecting gifts from the sea, and covering ourselves with layers of red clay to blend into the cliffside and scare the crap out of one another... Again, you can blame my mother for that one.

Moving on. In regard to the direction in which water flows down a drain... I now see why we were instructed to read that not-so-short introduction to the book "Voodoo Science." First day of class, and I got punk'd. This is the part were I would say, "lesson learned", but I don't know how many more false facts are deeply rooted in my brain. I may need more than some weeding.

My group conducted only one "experiment". We filled the sink with water, then watched it drain out completely. Before it finished draining, we threw a piece of paper into the sink to better see the direction in which the water was flowing. We all agreed the water was flowing in a counter-clockwise direction. I didn't suggest that we try it again, because that was my original guess. And, since I considered my original guess to be an already proven fact, I didn't bother checking it again. Obviously, a mistake.

When I went to wash my hands at the end of the night, I chose to use the sink next to the one my group used. The water was flowing in a clockwise direction. I stared at the drain for at least a minute, looking deeper into it thinking, "Maybe it's flowing clockwise at first because of the location of the faucets. If I just look deeper into the drain, I'll see the water switch directions, and I will be right again." That didn't happen, so I just walked away confused, and looking forward to future google hits.

I can't honestly say I remember learning that water flows in a counter-clockwise direction in the Northern hemisphere... maybe I just heard it somewhere which is why I found this site very interesting:
It gave a few examples of sources that help spread this widely considered truth.

I'm still reading up on the Coriolis force/effect, the truth from which this false fact stemmed. However, it's my understanding now that hurricanes move counter-clockwise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere. And, you cannot measure the affects of the Coriolis force at a small scale level (i.e. your bathroom sink). An experiment with a sink can be designed to show the Coriolis force, but it's amazing how many factors need to be taken into consideration. Besides the specs of the sink, the water needs to settle for a week, before it can be allowed to drain. And, when you begin drain the water, you must do so from a tiny hole in the bottom of the sink, allowing it to take several hours to drain out completely. The length of time will allow the Coriolis force to take affect and become apparent.

There's much more I need to grasp on the subject, but I have a long day tomorrow. So, I think it's time for sleep.

Besides my YouTube video and Jaws quote, here are the rest of my sources:

1 comment:

Bruce Berman said...

Fallon. Great post. Please add a label with your name.