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Things of interest in Maths & Science

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You’re on a merry-go-round and you want to pass a ball to someone opposite to you. Looking from above, the ball will travel in a straight line, but to you it will seem to curve in towards them. You ought to throw it towards where they are going to be by the time it gets to them. However if you didn’t realise you were spinning, you might think the ball was experiencing a sideways force, causing it to curve. This effect is called the ‘Coriolis effect’, and it explains why tropical storms always spin clockwise in the Southern hemisphere and counter clockwise in the Northern. [more] [my code]

You’re on a merry-go-round and you want to pass a ball to someone opposite to you. Looking from above, the ball will travel in a straight line, but to you it will seem to curve in towards them. You ought to throw it towards where they are going to be by the time it gets to them. However if you didn’t realise you were spinning, you might think the ball was experiencing a sideways force, causing it to curve. This effect is called the ‘Coriolis effect’, and it explains why tropical storms always spin clockwise in the Southern hemisphere and counter clockwise in the Northern. [more] [my code]

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Matt Henderson

I post original stuff about maths, space, computational linguistics and other things that I like. This blog is meant to be accessible and interesting to people of all backgrounds. My undergrad was maths in Cambridge, and I'm now starting research in Speech and Language technology. Email me at If you're new, check out this overview of my posts. All code posted is in Mathematica.

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