Saturday, September 22, 2012

Calling all scientists, geeks, nerds, and short-order cooks

Today is special. Today is one of two days each year when, if you wish, you can balance an egg on end.

Today is the autumnal equinox. The other time is the vernal equinox in March.

Do people in the Southern Hemisphere refer to the equinoxes the same way people in the Northern Hemisphere do? I mean, what we call the autumnal equinox occurs in their spring and what we call the vernal equinox occurs in their autumn. Also, their water swirls the other way around in their toilets. Perhaps Katherine and/or Helsie will explain to us why this is so.

The equinoxes are distinguished from the solstices in that while on an equinox you can, if you wish, balance an egg on end, on a solstice you can only fry an egg on the sidewalk (if it happens to be the summer solstice) or freeze and egg on the sidewalk (if it happens to be the winter solstice). Except, of course, if you happen to be in the Southern Hemisphere. In some years, of course, you can do neither because the day may not be, on the one hand, hot enough or, on the other hand, cold enough, to perform the aforementioned astounding scientific feats.

But today, trust me, you can, if you wish, balance an egg on end.


4 comments:

Helsie said...

To your first question: No, I don't think people talk about equinoxes like people in the Northern Hemisphere do. Well not in the circles I mix in anyway( and a lot of my friends are teachers too ).
As for the bathwater question. I've heard it said but never bothered to look so I looked it up and here's an answer for you:

Sorce No. 1:
Does the rotation of the earth affect the way in which water runs down the plug hole when you empty the bath? Some people say that the water goes down clockwise in the Southern hemisphere and anticlockwise in the Northern hemisphere. Such people have probably never, or very rarely, looked. In some bathtubs (basins, toilets etc) and under some conditions, the water runs out clockwise, in others it runs out anticlockwise. There is no correlation with the hemisphere. Other effects may lead to the direction of draining.
http://www.animations.physics.unsw.edu.au/jw/foucault_pendulum.html
and sorce No. 2 confirms this
http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/s1604444.htm
Sorry to be long winded !!

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Drat! I'm a day too late. Missed that goddam egg-balancing opportunity yet again. Isn't "the vernal equinox" listed in "The Kama Sutra"? Helen and Katherine should also be able to advise on that one.

rhymeswithplague said...

Helsie, thank you for the informative link. I am now more confused than ever.

Yorkshire Pudding, I know that you feel strongly about certain subjects, but on family-friendly blogs we say "gosh-darn" (or, here in the South, "goldurn"). Especially about the Kama Sutra.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

I apologise most sincerely for my coarseness. It is because I am not as cultured as you. Please forgive me for I know not what I do.