Thursday, February 21, 2008

Try this at home: Experimental Success

Before I left for BA, a car salesman at a local car dealer asked my mom for me to find out which way the water spins in the Southern Hemisphere. This gentleman always asked foreign exchange students this question and stumped them. After 2 weeks in Argentina, I can tell you finally the correct direction of water.

This solution wasn't easy to come by. Usually its very easy to fill a drain or a tub and leave the water out. In this case, I have had to observe water in bathrooms and sinks for two weeks to come to a definite conclusion. The reason is that the commodes here are set up different. They don't just drain, they also have this secondary tube that spurts water out preventing me from getting my answer.

So finally, this morning, I got this brainstorm. I could block the drain in the shower and gather more water with more velocity. Then I would know for sure what direction it flows. So I blocked it with my foot, and FOUND the answer.

KIDS: You can try this at home.

The water in the Southern Hemisphere spins without a doubt counterclockwise. See for yourself what it does in the Northern Hemisphere and let me know what it is with a comment :)

More posts coming soon...

¡Chau! Dave

4 comments:

Steven said...

I checked it here in central Texas, and my drain also drained counterclockwise. Texas is often further south than I think it is...

However, I read in various places on the internets that the Coriolis Effect, while quite pronounced in large systems (like cyclones and hurricanes), is quite weak in small systems (like sinks and toilets).

Short answer: used-car salesmen will say anything.

Long answer: http://www.ems.psu.edu/~fraser/Bad/BadCoriolis.html

I had fun (and got funny looks) trying this out!

Marisa said...

In response to your comment, I'm still studying in Argentina because I decided from the beginning I'd stay here for a year and not change my mind about it. I want to be here for my Spanish. Plus there are lots of things I love here.

Have fun with COPA in BA!

neagley said...

I'm going to have to check it out Steven :)

If you would realize how much trouble I had figuring it out, you'd laugh.

Rebecca said...

You are a geek! But that is why I love you...