Saturday, October 6, 2007

Earth Sandwiches & Toilets in Christchurch

View of Akaroa Harbour, Banks Peninsula, New Zealand

We gave a workshop for kids, based on some of the activities from the Andrill Flexhibit 'Earth's Climate Secrets' on 5th October, so we spent time preparing for that. Otherwise, we spent quite a bit of time addressing a popular misconception in science/physics - the draining of bathtubs and sinks, and toilets. It is an urban myth that the direction the water spirals around in as it drains out of a sink, bath, or toilet, is a consequence of the coriolis effect (caused by the coriolis force.) The rotation of water is essentially a consequence of the shape of the container and the direction the water is forced into it in. The deflection of winds to the right of the direction of travel in the Northern Hemisphere, and to the left of the direction of travel in the Southern Hemisphere is a consequence of the coriolis effect. Ken (one of my Andrill ARISE teammates) videoed the draining of sinks and toilets – you really should check out his blog entry on the coriolis effect. Ken also completed his first step in making an Earth Sandwich – go to Ken’s blog and check out

Is there land on the opposite side of the earth from you? Is there land opposite Barrow, Alaska? England? Somalia? Laos? Stockholm? Helsinki? Make some predictions, and then test them using

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