Saturday, July 13, 2013

Introduction & Which Way Does The Water Spin

              Hey all, my name is Nitin Bhardwaj. I’m a 22-year-old undergraduate here at Boston University in the College of Arts & Sciences. I’ve been around much of Boston and the surrounding suburbs, but the Harbor Islands still remain as an unchartered, new territory that I need to see before I graduate. With the emphasis on fieldwork outside the classroom, it’s a sharp contrast to my Anthropology & Economics courses. And so, here I am, ready to step out and develop those skills that one just doesn’t get surrounded by four walls. (I'll let you know what those skills are when I do, but I think the syllabus might be a good resource.)
               I’ve always found the ocean to be a mysterious and fascinating place that is not only intriguing to our senses but vital to our economy; hence, it is essential we learn how to preserve this valuable commodity. Growing up in Houston, I was only 70 miles away from the Gulf of Mexico, in Boston I am only 4 miles away, and when I studied abroad in Singapore, I was essentially surrounded by it, so I think it ain't leavin' me anytime soon. 
              I hypothesized that the water in the Northern Hemisphere would drain counterclockwise. If a hurricane spun that way here, I had always assumed that was the case with water anywhere. And yes, that Simpsons episode were Bart goes to Australia was involved in my reasoning. As we were doing the experiment, there was a concensus of counter-clockwise, but there was a sense of doubt in the air. It seemed hard to tell, even with the paper as a resource.
            It turns out, however, that this is a complete myth. People assume the macro scale impacts of the Coriolis Effect would apply to objects on a smaller scale like a sink, which isn't the case. According to the Huffington Post, this helps to explain the phenomenon in which the rotation of the earth can cause things moving in a straight line to appear to follow a curving path. However, the Coriolis Effect has minimal influence in how water drains in the sink. It could potentially, but this is currently impossible to measure. It depends on the shape the sink, the shape of the spout, if there was a force (like a hand) involved in spinning it a certain direction, etc... It doesn't matter whether you are in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere; it could go either way.


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