Does the rotation of the Earth affect toilets and baseball games?

More Coriolis: What it is and isn't

While some explanations of the Coriolis effect rely on complicated equations and confusing scientific jargon, there's a simpler way to visualize it: Picture yourself at the center of a merry-go-round (symbolizing the North Pole) spinning counterclockwise. If you throw a ball straight across to a person on the opposite side (the equator), the ball will appear to veer to the right because that person's moving faster than you are.

Sometimes the Coriolis effect is called the Coriolis force. The reason is simple: In causing an object to accelerate, it appears to change the direction of that object. However, the Coriolis force isn't a typical force like a push or a pull. The effect is actually based on the observer's perspective. A force isn't really acting on the object to make it go off course; it merely appears to curve because of the Earth's movement underneath it. To a person standing outside the rotating frame of reference, the object still moves in a straight line. Since the so-called Coriolis force doesn't actually act on the object to alter its course, some people argue that it's more accurate to continue calling it the Coriolis effect. Others differentiate between the Coriolis force and other (actual) forces by categorizing it as an inertial or fictitious force.