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Author: stevenjklein Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 90376  
Subject: Re: A little INTERMISSION from the Politics... Date: 2/22/2005 12:22 PM
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Looks like NL has done the experiment. When experiment conflicts with the books, the books are wrong.

One anecdote does not a fact make.

Did you even read the article? MIT did the experiment, documenting their procedures so that the experiment is presumably repeatable.

At the risk of bringing the rath of the copyright police upon me, I'll quote at length:

...the Coriolis effect is insignificant, amounting to roughly three ten-millionths of the force of gravity (in Boston, at least, which is where they happened to do the measuring).

The boring truth is that water drains every which way no matter what hemisphere you're in, for reasons which have to do mostly with the shape of the drain, the way you poured in the water in the first place, and so on.

All this was demonstrated way back in 1962 by one Ascher Shapiro, a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Shapiro filled a circular tank six feet in diameter and six inches high in such a way that the water swirled in a clockwise direction. (Remember, now, that Coriolis forces in the Northern Hemisphere act in a counterclockwise direction.)

Shapiro then covered the tank with a plastic sheet, kept the temperature constant, and sat down to read comic books or whatever scientists do while they wait for their experiments to percolate. When he pulled the plug after an hour or two, the water went down the drain clockwise, presumably because it still retained some clockwise motion from filling.

On the other hand, if Shapiro pulled the plug after waiting a full 24 hours, the draining water spiraled counterclockwise, indicating that the motion from filling had subsided enough for the Coriolis effect to take over. When the plug was pulled after four to five hours, the water started draining clockwise, then gradually slowed down and finally started swirling in the opposite direction.

Needless to say, unless you are a consummate slob, you do not wait 24 hours (or even 4-5 hours) to drain your bathtub. Hence the influence of the Coriolis effect may be safely described as slight.
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