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Re (tilly) 2: Apparent Inconsistencies in Perl Function Naming

by tilly (Archbishop)
on Nov 24, 2000 at 19:57 UTC ( #43230=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re: Apparent Inconsistencies in Perl Function Naming
in thread Apparent Inconsistencies in Perl Function Naming


I do not believe that scientists ever had anything to do with this particular myth.

The basic facts about weather and spin that it is based on were widely known. In the northern hemisphere hurricanes blow counter-clockwise, in the southern clockwise. I do not remember when this was first discovered, but from fairly shortly afterwards on any competent sea captain had to know it because if they encountered high winds at sea it told them which way to turn to avoid the worst of the storm.

Therefore any scientist should have known that the effect was too small to be measured, but many others - including sailors - knew that. But note that sailors knew the fact but did not really understand the principles. Mix that with an inclination to tall tales and...

Incidentally I didn't remember or look up the correct direction. Rather I remembered that the East Coast sees the sun rise 3 hours before the West. So draw a mental globe and visualize what way you have to move to get that to happen. OK, from the North Pole the Earth turns counter-clockwise. Now the cause of hurricanes turning is that when air comes together towards the eye, that from the equator moves faster than that near the pole. So visualize that and the hurricane turns counter-clockwise. In the Southern hemisphere the faster air comes (viewed from the North Pole) from on top so goes clockwise.

Now if you want to blame scientists for a myth, you can blame some in the Victorian era (sorry I forget names) for the widespread belief that in the Middle Ages people believed that the Earth was flat. No. They believed that the Earth was round and even knew the diameter fairly accurately. Indeed the main argument against Columbus was not that he would fall of the edge, but that it was too far to China and he would starve. And he would have had he not encountered a small obstacle in the way... :-)

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