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Homework Help: Lab question

  1. Nov 27, 2005 #1
    The question goes as follows: Why are clockwise and counterclockwise referred to as "senses" rather than directions?

    It should be obvious, right? But I just can't seem to figure out what they are talking about. I mean, senses are touch, taste, hearing, seeing, smelling. What does clockwise or counterclockwise have to do with this, and why would they ask it in regards to a torque lab?

    thanks for your patience and your help.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 27, 2005 #2
    A direction can be thought of in terms of a compass. Up is north, down is south, etc. The vector is pointing in that direction. However, what direction is the vector pointing in a counter-clockwise torque? (Yea yea, if you want to get picky you could point out that its based on the right hand rule, etc.) You can't point to a direction and say, its turning this way. So you have to use sense as opposed to direction. Look it up in your glossary, its there for a reason ;)
  4. Nov 27, 2005 #3

    Math Is Hard

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    I am not sure if this will help, but just to speak to the question about why they are senses...In your inner ear, you have structures that detect which way you are moving and help you orient yourself. This is the sense of balance. There are three structures, the semi-circular canals, used in detecting rotational or angular movement of the head. There is also a structure for gravitational equilibrium, the vestibule, responsible for the sense you feel when your head bends down.
  5. Nov 27, 2005 #4
    Thank you! I actually looked in my book and there isn't any glossary. I even did a search online and I must not have searched for the correct phrase. You have provided a means for me to understand the question. I appreciate the help.

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