Sunday, February 19, 2012

Shifting Poles and Toilet Water Swirl

There may or may not be a connection. Have you ever googled "direction of swirl in toilet"? (Before you get to the "toilet", Google will offer you the option of the bathtub, instead. But that is beside the point.)

According to Wikipedia "It is a commonly held misconception that when flushed, the water in a toilet bowl swirls one way if the toilet is north of the equator and the other way if south of the equator, due to the Coriolis effect – usually, counter clockwise in the northern hemisphere, and clockwise in the southern hemisphere. In reality, the direction that the water takes is much more determined by the direction that the bowl's rim jets are pointed, and it can be made to flush in either direction in either hemisphere by simply redirecting the rim jets during manufacture. On the scale of bathtubs and toilets, the Coriolis effect is too weak to be observed except under laboratory conditions"

Scrupulous attribution in accordance with Wiki's Creative Commons policies

So.... if you have not redirected your rim jets recently, and your waste water swirls in the "wrong" direction, there could be a mega tsunami in your future.

Not out of the toilet! I'm talking about a global disaster. As it probably would be a dis-aster.... not "aster" as in star, more likely as in "slow moving asteroid". On the other hand, our Sun is a star, and it was the cause of the trouble in 2012 (the movie).
  • A geological or axial shift in which the Earth's crust literally slips around its molten core - like a loose peel on an orange - altering the positions of land masses with respect to the planet's rotation on its axis. This could happen by a few degrees or by many degrees. Antarctica could wind up at the equator and Miami could be the new North Pole. The effects on our civilization could be devastating.
  • A shift of the magnetic poles only. As it is, the Earth's magnetic north (the north that compasses point to) is not exactly the same as the true North Pole. This magnetic pole is not fixed and can move. In fact, scientists are fairly certain that it has shifted by as much as 180 degrees several times in the past. This change may be sudden or it may be gradual, taking place over hundreds or even thousands of years. The effects on life on the planet would probably be minimal, affecting perhaps the migratory or homing instincts of some animals.
See also

Okay. All this reminds me of one of Professor Trelawney's tea leaf reading (Tessomancy) scenes. (As an author of alien romance, I also enjoy fantasy, and science fiction.) Am I going to believe that we are in the slow midst of a magnetic pole shift, if the toilet does not have a good, vigorous swirl in either direction?

No. But, if you are excessively prudent, you might enjoy this blog, which suggests where to go househunting in the next nine months.

Nowhere in the USA is a particularly good spot. Nor is Europe. Which brings me to the science fiction movie 2012, which poetically put mankind back in --or, more properly, on-- Africa.

I just had a thought,  "if tessomancy is tea leaf reading what is toilet bowl reading?" (For the very limited purpose of prognosticating the end of the world as we know it.) Google hasn't thought of answering that, so I guess I can please myself.

Latrinomancy? But, the Romans did not enjoy a view of a vortex.
So perhaps Ajaxomancy?

"1596: Sir John Harington (born 1561) published A New Discourse of a Stale Subject, Called the Metamorphosis of Ajax, describing a forerunner to the modern flush toilet installed at his house at Kelston.[7] The design had a flush valve to let water out of the tank, and a wash-down design to empty the bowl. He installed one for his godmother Elizabeth I of England at Richmond Palace, although she refused to use it because it made too much noise.[citation needed] The Ajax was not taken up on a wide scale in England, but was adopted in France under the name Angrez."

This week, I watched 2012. I watched it as research for a Crazy Tuesday On Saturday radio interview (I am the host) with author Robert P Bennett, about his Blind Traveler mystery series which takes place in 2021 when natural forces have changed the world, the poles have shifted, pressure is building, and earthquakes wreak havoc.... and a blind computer technologist solves murders using his other senses.

No, we did not talk about toilets. We talked about disability; about Chicago as a wonderful holiday destination for a geek or an agricultural pathologist; about turtles; and about shifting pole theory; and also about the things people do that piss off a person in a wheelchair, and how blind men (and women) might get around using GPS and virtual reality.

I was going to scour the bottom of the metaphorical barrel for a pithy last line, but instead, please check out curmudgeonly remarks about teachers who apparently never flush the toilet or wash their hands on "bad Coriolis".

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