Thursday, March 27, 2008

Flush This!

I think the first thing I did when I got to the hotel in Montevideo was check the toilet. I'd been thinking about it for hours, days, maybe even weeks. Would the water really go the other way? If any of you watch The Simpsons avidly, you're aware of the episode "Bart vs. Australia," which deals with the subject about the toilets and sinks running the opposite direction in the Southern Hemisphere. Since I'm really a 10 year old at heart sometimes, I just couldn't wait to test it out for myself.

The Coriolis Effect, as it's better known, is the direction and angle at which water flows. It's all very scientific and based off of things that I can't quite grasp, but in my investigations, I was upset to find that according to sources, it's just a coincidence. Though the angle of the Earth does matter, it could really just have to do with the design of the bowls and how much water is in there.

Well, sometimes you need to conduct a little experiment of your own. So, without further adieu, here is my own field research on the Coriolis Effect.


video

There you have it. If you can't see it clearly, the water is flushing downward to the left, or counter-clockwise. With every experiment there has to be a control, so I tried flushing many toilets while I was in Uruguay, and the same result occurred every time. So take that, Science!

Now that I've solved the toilet-flush problem, I suppose I should move on to other important subjects throughout the world. Maybe for my next experiment I'll head to Alaska in the winter to see if my pee freezes before it hits the ground. What are your thoughts?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jon,
That is one of your better articles. I enjoy reading your material, and look forward to many more. Keep up the great work. I especially loved the little comments and tips you put in about the difference and the video haha.