Watch Water Levitate, Flow Up, & Swirl the Wrong Way in the Other Hemisphere – Facts So Romantic

The conventional wisdom is all wrong. Countless parents and teachers have gotten it twisted. The BBC and PBS aired bogus explanations. Even textbooks have botched the story.

The Earth’s rotation, and the Coriolis effect that results, do not cause water to circle the drain in opposite directions in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

Well, actually, they do—sometimes. But not in your sink, not by happenstance, and only if you go to great lengths to let Coriolis take over.

You can see two of the very rare occasions when latitude does control how water drains in these twin videos from the YouTube channels Smarter Every Day and Veritasium, which recorded tag-team-style explanation of the phenomenon. Start the two videos as close as you can to the same time, and you get excellent demonstrations from both sides of the Equator.

These may be the best of online watery demonstrations, but there are some other good examples, too. In this video, the backyard experimenter named brusspup sets up a speaker projecting a sine wave around 24 hertz into a hose squirting out water. With the camera set to capture 24 frames per second, the water appears to barely move at all, a…

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