Abigail and I just returned from a trip to the Galapagos Islands. On the way, we visited the iconic Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World) monument which commemorates the 18th-century French Geodesic Mission expedition carried out for the purpose of measuring the roundness of the Earth and measuring the length of a degree of latitude at the Equator.
The monument is constructed at the site where the Geodesic Mission calculated the passing of the Equator. Modern measurements show that the Equator actually crosses about 240 meters north of the marked line. Not bad at all for 18th-Century Physics, and an accomplishment worthy of the beautiful monument that commemorates it!
Recently however, a group of unscrupulous investors led by Mr. Humberto Vera started the Intiñan Solar Museum, which reportedly marks the true Equator. Not true!
Tour guides take tourists there because the museum pays them a kickback (which the official Mitad del Mundo doesn’t).
What upsets me is that the tour guides at the Intiñan Solar Museum show credulous visitors tricks which are supposedly possible only on the Equator, such as water flowing both counter-clockwise and clockwise down a drain due to Coriolis effect, balancing eggs on end, or weakening of muscles due to latitude. Nonsense!!!!!!! Latitude – especially just a few feet in difference – has no measurable influence on these tricks; they are completely unrelated to the proximity of the supposed crossing of the Equator. This is a prime example of Bad Physics fueled by greed pushed onto scientifically-ignorant tourists! Shame on you Mr. Humberto Vera and the Intiñan Solar Museum!