I’m not a scientific guy. The physics questions on University Challenge make me feel nauseous and my continuing ignorance is only validated by the Oxfam models who answer them.

But, with the equator, I want to understand. One foot north of the equator, water empties anti-clockwise, one foot south it empties clockwise. Directly over, it goes straight down with nay a swirl in either direction. Standing on the equator, you can balance an egg on the end of a nail and you weigh considerably less.

The scientific cause of this is the Coriolis effect, which (as I understand it) is a deflection of air and is therefore potentially under the influence of local factors. I’ve tried it and seen both northern and southern hemispheres draining water the ‘wrong’ way. I’m also told that the equator is constantly on the move. In Ecuador, there is a town called Middle of the World which was built directly over the equator. The equator then left town.

I’ve seen these experiments performed on two continents with a bunch of the most sceptical people you could ever meet. If it was manipulation, it certainly wasn’t obvious. How easy is it to drain water without a swirl when it is liberally poured on high? Have you ever tried balancing an egg on a nail? Why, when weighing yourself on the equator are you lighter than a foot in either direction? The cake fans of the party were unconcerned with the science.