Would Marilyn get Dizzy in the Dark?

Marilyn is Wrong Copyright © 1997-1998 Herb Weiner. All rights reserved.

Ask Marilyn ® by Marilyn vos Savant is a column in Parade Magazine, published by PARADE, 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017, USA. According to Parade, Marilyn vos Savant is listed in the "Guinness Book of World Records Hall of Fame" for "Highest IQ."

In her Parade Magazine column of January 19, 1997, Marilyn explains that the reason you would not get dizzy standing at the North Pole "is that the landscape would revolve with you." although she does admit that you would not get dizzy on a carousel rotating at the speed of once per day.

Incomplete Answer

Although Marilyn finally answers the question in her last sentence, Marcel Lachenmann <lachenm@husc.harvard.edu> wrote to point out two important factors that Marilyn neglected to mention:

And Furthermore

Paul Czerner <pczerner@ivid.com> wrote to point out that although you are going much faster at the equator than at the poles, the angular velocity is still the same. The speed is increased at the equator, however the curvator of the path of motion is much smaller. In fact, since you are presumably standing on your feet, you would get dizzier (if you could sense the spinning earth) on the pole than on the equator because your body's axis of rotation on the pole is vertical, whereas on the equator it's horizontal.

Semicircular Canals

Margaret Clinton <mec13@axe.humboldt.edu> wrote to point out another factor:

No one addresses the specific functions which make us dizzy. Marilyn does discuss one aspect of it: visual sensory input. But she failed to address our three semicircular canals located in our inner ears. These canals are filled with fluid that respond to the earth's gravitational pull and our own personal velocity due to that law about inertia etc.. If one were to stand at the a pole the reason you wouldn't get dizzy is that your rotational velocity is not enough to overcome the earth's gravitational pull to the extent that the fluid in your ears moves much different than it does when you are not at the pole. So your brain doesn't get the "earth's spinning" input. All this is, of course, due to the fact that your body is rotating only once in a twenty four hour period.

http://www.wiskit.com/marilyn/dizzy.html last updated July 27, 1998 by herbw@wiskit.com