Thursday, November 23, 2006


As world travelers, the boys take a keen interest in international scientific topics of interest. They study world economics, atomic energy, atmospheric change, and monetary exchange rates, for starters.

Today's topic is gravity. A very heavy topic indeed.

Around the world, the boys have heard about the working of the Coriolis Effect, the supposed event of toilets flushing in one direction in the northern hempisphere while flushing the other direction in the southern hemisphere.

As true scientists, the boys have done their homework and will test this theory in both hemispheres to find conclusive answers via the scientific method. For too long, the world has remained ignorant of the true facts behind this urban legend. We will discover the truth once and for all.

Science: The boys test the Coriolis Effect

Step 1: Observation.
Individual toilets flush in one direction only. Lisa Simpson claims that toilets flush Counter-Clockwise in the northern hemisphere and Clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. See Simpsons episode 6-16 for more details.

Step 2: Hypothesis.
Directional toilet flushing is dictated by location in either the northern or southern hemisphere of the earth. (Above or below the equator)

Step 3: Experimentation & Data

Spruce Toilet, Lake Tahoe, CA (northern)... Counter Clockwise
Home Bathroom, Nashville, TN (northern)... Counter Clockwise
Stockton, CA (northern)... Counter Clockwise
Sink, Brother's house, CT (northern)...CLOCKWISE >>a rogue result!<<
Hotel, Auckland, NZ (southern)...Clockwise
Action Down Under Hostel, Lake Taupo, NZ (southern)...Pretty much straight down
The Penthouse, Wellington, NZ (southern)...Clockwise
Sink, Gas station, Bulls, NZ (southern)...Counter Clockwise >>another dastardly rogue<<

Step 4: Conclusion...
It works for hurricanes, does it work for toilets?

Guess not! While "the force" does seem to hold sway over many bathroom appliances, it cannot rule them all. There are some sinks, shower drains, and toilets whose construction gives them the man-made power to overcome the force and send water in whatever direction they wish. While the force does seem to direct many waters, it cannot "rule them all," and the myth of New Zealand as the home to the "One Toilet" proves a bust. Drains will most often spin Counter-Clockwise in the north, and Clockwise in the south, but not all the time. Oh well. So much for science.

Comments are open for you to add your own researched results to this scientific endevour. legitimate findings only please.


j kelly said...

i'm impressed with how much science goes into the movement of toilet water. those stanford kids and co. are something else...

Anonymous said...

its not true... the coriolis effect isn't strong enough... also... trainer has way too much time on his hands

benjamin shimmy dean said...

never speak that way about science -- "so much for science" my hat -- be thankful for the good graces of science each and every day -- i wonder if smoke curls backwards down the south land -- be well and ever in good stead lads

The Engels said...

We have hypothosized that some of the rogue results may have occured because of the different draining structures of the sink vs. the toliet. College Park, MD toliet - Counter-Clockwise.

Trainer said...

This topic is hot! In Google searches for such things as "direction of toilet flush in southern hemisphere" and "toilet flush different hemisphere" and "flush clockwise earth rotation", this post turns up between #3 and #5 on the google results page.
Once again, the NZBoys demonstrate that doing your own science brings its own rewards.

intan.basiron said...

This might be a year late bt a comment nonetheless:

Here are results from my bathroom(s) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia:

1st toilet - counter clockwise
1st basin - counter clockwise
2nd toilet - nowhere in particular, just split in half.duh.. coz the water jet directs it to the middle

so there are big IFs in the hypothesis:
the flow is very much influenced by
- bowl/basin shape
- direction of water pump jet (fr toilet)or where the jet forces the water flow to
- where the basin tap is - it affects the flow of water spin of course! a website
confirms this saying that the Coriolis force hardly takes effects at all. u need to let the water stand fr aaaaaages to kill motion from tap flow, get water to drain from a tiny hole at the bottom (so the flow is super slow that nature cld take over force) and avoid splash from pulling water plug (so, plug n pull from bottom, outside of water)

yeah. im a geek hiding in a hot bod of a TESL student. cant resist testing it out myself. guess i also have too much time to kill :p

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