The Coriolis Effect: do toilets flush backwards?
Buenos Aires Travel Blog › entry 3 of 22 › view all entries
May 14th, 2007 – by: jill
"This effect[the Coriolis Effect] is caused by the rotation of the Earth and is responsible for the direction of the rotation of cyclones. As a consequence, winds around the center of a cyclone rotate counterclockwise on the northern hemisphere and clockwise on the southern hemisphere." -Wikipedia. It is thought that toilet bowls flush one direction in the Northern Hemisphere and another in the Southern Hemisphere due to the Coriolis Effect. My brother told me about this before I left and I didn't believe him, so I set out to prove this myth incorrect. First, while still in America I checked Snopes.com which says "The twisting effect of the Coriolis is real and does influence certain large things like the movement of air masses, but the effect is so small that it plays no role in determining the direction in which water rotates as it exits from a draining sink or toilet." I forgot to check which direction the toilets in the Northern Hemisphere, but I can disprove this anyway. I have remembered to check several times while here and have seen toilets that fluch counterclockwise, clockwise, and even one that didn't even rotate. Therefore, Snopes.com is correct. The myth has now been busted.
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