Friday, 16 March 2012

Fun Friday Facts

Well, I hope you've all had a good week. Although this is the last post from me for NSEW 2012, don't forget that there is still plenty going on this weekend.

I am going to leave you with some factual motion-based snippets to impress your friends with over the weekend!

Firstly, from ''The Noticeably Stouter Qi book of General Ignorance' by John Lloyd and John Mitchinson, 2009, Faber and Faber limited, page 129-130:

Which way does the bathwater go down the plughole?

  • For the Alan Davies' amongst you: it isn't decided by the Coriolis force...unless a symmetrical pan with a tiny plughole was left for about a week and the plug was then removed without disturbing the water. Then a small Coriolis effect may send the water anti-clockwise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the south. Otherwise...

  • The direction is determined by the shape of the basin, the direction it was filled from, and the vortices introduced into it by washing or when the plug is removed.

  • So, basically, it depends, there just isn't a simple answer, of course!

Secondly, from 'Does Anything Eat Wasps? and 101 other questions', New Scientist, edited by Mick O'Hare, 2005, Profile Books, page 132-134:

What would be the effect on the Earth if an alien spaceship came along and dragged the moon away? (Steven Nairn)

  • According to Andrew Turpin:

  • As the moon is the main force over the tides, they would practically disappear.

  • Wild swings in the earth's rotational axis would give us drastic changes in climate.

  • The nautilus wouldn't know when to move compartments in its shell as the moon wouldn't be there to finish a revolution around earth. Poor stranded nautilus.

  • According to Simon Iveson:

  • Without nightime light, the behaviour of nocturnal animals would be confused, and their activities much harder to carry out.

Lastly, from 'Why Don't Penguins Feet Freeze? and 114 other questions', New Scientist, edited by Mick O'Hare, 2006, Profile Books, 2006, page 213-216, a mystery to me since childhood:

Why do boomerangs come back? (Adam Longley)

  • According to Alan Chester from Sheffield no less:

  • The top wing of a boomerang goes away from you faster than the bottom wing, so the sideways push on the top wing is strongest, which tilts the boomerang over.

  • According to Chips MacKinolty:

  • Boomerangs don't come back (indeed a distraught 8 year old me on the Bromyard Downs would agree).

  • They were designed by the Australian Aboriginal people for hunting and fighting. Not just for fun apparently.

So, I think that's it, it's bye from me for now, Happy National Science and Engineering Week to you all!

Remember there is also the Global Manufacturing Festival in Sheffield next Wednesday and Thursday.

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