Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Scientific method

One of my goals upon setting foot in the Southern Hemisphere was to test the Coriolis effect, better known as "which way the toilet swirls". Below is my full scientific investigation into the matter.

Disclaimer: all items in this experiment were properly prepared and decontaminated before use.

1. Define the question.

Does the coriolis effect actually change the direction of water flow through a drain in the southern hemisphere?

2. Gather information and resources.

First, let's figure out what the coriolis effect really is.

Or, you can just trust me (OK, trust Wikipedia) and know that it is "an apparent deflection of a moving object in a rotating frame of reference. The Coriolis effect caused by the rotation of the Earth is responsible for the precession of a Foucault pendulum and for the direction of rotation of cyclones. Due to the effect, cyclones rotate counterclockwise in the Northern hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern hemisphere."

3. Form hypothesis.

I think that this will effect the flush or drain direction in my bathroom.

4. Perform experiment and collect data;

Just in case you haven't been keeping tabs on the intricacies of your North American plumbing, here is a little reminder of what happens when you flush:

This water is clearly moving counter-clockwise.

One of the very first things I did when I landed was compare the flush:

What we have here is a problem. The flush is more of a gush. You can choose to do a half gush or a whole gush, which I found intriguing, but neither helped me determine the direction of drainage.

OK, so onto the next drain. The bathroom sink: too fast. The kitchen sink: too slow. I am beginning to feel like Goldilocks!

The bathroom tub!

Uh... did you see it? I sure didn't.

Let's try this with handy rubber ducky donated by a generous north american sponsor, who also happens to be a snappy dresser:

Umm, yeah. That's not working either.

In the words of Winnie the Pooh, "Think, think, think!"

What would Jesus do? Jesus would turn it into wine. That's not going to help in this situation.

What would Einstein do? Ah... too many variables.

What would my forefathers do? OH! Chuck some tea into it!

5. Analyze data; and
6. Interpret data and draw conclusions.
I'm sticking these together because, let's face it, it's not so hard to determine the results.

The tea-sprinkled bathwater is moving in a clockwise direction! My hypothesis was correct!

Maybe those doubting scientists don't really know the truth . OK, maybe I got lucky.

7. Publish results.
Ta da!


Grahamanda said...

Brilliant! Well that took away the only reason we had to take a trip to Australia, thanks! :) I am thoroughly impressed with your scientific prowess! Also impressed with the cleanliness of the equipment. Look forward to much more entertaining reading.

K said...

You've been watching Bill Nye again haven't you?

I loved the ducky but a gush... really? I find that kind of disturbing.

Still miss ya but I love the blog.

Trina said...

I thought you've been busy in the field ... obviously we've all been living under the rouse that you've been "working" all this time.

Jill said...

I think that CERTAINLY covered our conversation at the Pickle. I feel like I can go home today feeling I got all that I could out of it!! THANKS!! Now GET BACK TO WORK!!!

Anonymous said...

Did you decontaminate the ducky after the experiment?

Well done otherwise.


agentslaeyer said...


you are the coolest scientist EVER!!

Anonymous said...

I love that you used "American" ingenuity to solve the problem.