Thursday, February 01, 2007


Coriolis effect

When I was in college, we spent an inordinate amount of time arguing about the Coriolis effect. My friends argued that the Coriolis effect made toilets flush counterclockwise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere. I believed any differences in the flush flow came from plumbing, rather than the Coriolis effect. Apparently we weren't the only ones having this argument; both Snopes and the Straight Dope have written on this.

Several years I missed the chance for a controlled experiment (same toilet in both the northern and southern hemispheres) when I was on a ship that crossed the equator. In the interest of science, I'm sharing some video evidence from South America:

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