Saturday, July 13, 2013

Karissa Vincent - Day 1


My name is Karissa Vincent. I am currently a student at Wheaton College in Norton, MA. I am double majoring in Geochemistry and Music and double minoring in Arabic and Theatre. I am planning (and hoping) to go to Graduate school for a PhD in oceanographic research. The ocean is my thing. But, I have a wide variety of interests and do lots more than just study and swim.
I am originally from a tiny town in New Hampshire that I am fairly certain no one has heard of it's that small. Though I am from a small town, I still love the big city too. When I was young I went to Boston quite often, so I am familiar with the Boston streets.
I am taking this class because frankly, it looks like a lot of fun. I mean who wouldn't want to do an intensive oceanographic course in the Massachusetts Bay? It also gave me something constructive to do this summer besides work.

I have always loved water. I grew up on a lake, so ever since I was a baby I was in the water. Being launchind into the air out of the water by my parents is among my earliest memories. And as soon as I could walk, I was jumping in that lake myself. I was fascinated with everything that went on under the water's surface. The animals that live the under the surface, the different life cycles and processes that are going on, it all fascinated me. I remember the first time I went to the ocean with my parents I fell in love. It was something I'd only read about in books and it was so much better in real life. Running across the beach to jump into the waves and hearing the gulls and the waves crash just filled me with a joy that few things in life can duplicate. Since that first day of jumping in the ocean, I have seen that being under it and SCUBA diving is even more amazing than I could ever have imagined. Ever since then, the ocean has become one of my passions and one that I plan on pursuing for the rest of my life. I want to help save this amazing and fleeting resource that we have. The ocean is an amazing place, full of mysteries, and few people truly realize this. I hope that I can help the populous see the breathtaking commodity we have in front of us, and the necessity for preservation and conservation. In short, I love the ocean. It's where I feel at peace. Being under those waves, 30 meters down, I just feel at home. With the wonders that will never cease to amaze me and the comfort of the ocean around me, there's nowhere else I'd rather be.

The task today was to perform an experiment to see if water drains clockwise or counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere. To do this, we broke off into groups and gathered around a sink. There, one person put his/her hand over the drain (as there are no stoppers), filled the sink up with water, and then removed his/her hand to watch the water drain out. In my group, we did this experiment twice. The first time, we did not fill up the sink as much as we did the second time. After the first initial fill, we all thought the water looked to be going clockwise. We then repeated the process, filling the sink up higher and again determined that the water flowed clockwise.
In reality, there is no one specific way that water will rotate when it is drained out of a sink. There are a lot of factors that go into determining which direction the water will flow. As stated on "Toilets and sinks drain in the direction they do because of the way water is directed into them or pulled from them. If water enters in a swirling motion (as it does when a toilet is flushed, for example), the water will exit in that same swirling pattern; as well, most basins have irregular surfaces and are not perfectly level, factors that influence the direction in which water spirals down their drains." This is because of something called the Coriolis effect. The Coriolis effect basically makes it look like the water is going down the drain in a rotated manner, when in fact it is going down straight, just the Earth's rotation and gravitational pull make it look different. Now, does this mean that water in the Southern Hemisphere (Australia for instance) flows the same? Seasons are flipped, so one might think that the water would drain opposite as well. This is not the case. As mentioned in Scientific American by Thomas Humphrey, water will drain the same just north of the equator as well as just south of the equator. So, there is no difference. Also, water doesn't always drain clockwise or counterclockwise. It depends on the size and shape of the vessel (be that sink or toilet) as well as the water's motion and other outside factors.


1 comment:

Bruce Berman said...

Karissa - what is the Coriolis effect?