The left-handed club: all 10% of us

Barack Obama signing with his left hand

Barack Obama signing Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009, also known as "Kerry-Lugar-Berman," with his left hand. Photo from The White House Flickr photostream

Since The New York Times published On the Left Hand, There Are No Easy Answers, it reminds me again about all the little things on being left-handed in a right-handed world.

The article’s point: Scientists still don’t know what causes people to be left-handed, but we are different.

One of the most notable differences between right-handiness and left-handiness  is the location of the language center of the brain. For righties, it’s on the left side of the brain. For lefties, it can be left, right or shared between the two halves.

Left handers are only about 10% or 11% of the world population — a number that seems small to me. I work in the media, and typically see more than a 10% representation.

With 90% of the world right handed, it’s little suprise they don’t see how so much is right-hand oriented. But when I hand them my left-handed scissors, they can barely use it. It gives them a glimpse of how the world of a left-handed person.

Actually, left-handed scissors are hard for me to use, because I spent so many years using right-handed scissors before I bought these.

Language shows how left handers were viewed in the past: sinister, gauche and left-handed compliment, for example. And if you do something correct, you do it right.

Certain power tools, such as circular saws, are strongly oriented against left-handed users as are many musical instrument and the design of many guns favor right handers. I remember a set of pots with “convenient” pour spouts — convenient only if you held the pot in your right hand.

I was so used to sitting in right-handed school desks that I felt uncomfortable in the few left-handed desks I was able to use.

The mouse on most PCs is designed for right handers. I’ve always appreciated Macs for not as strong favoring right handed users. My mouse is almost always to the left of my keyboard. I’ll move it to the right side to avoid muscle fatigue.

I’m not 100% left-handed. I throw and bat right, write left (hook style), eat left, shoot left, and  hold a phone with the left hand.  When using a hand saw, I use my left hand. I start hammering with the left hand, but switch to the right hand when I get tired.

According to Wikipedia’s entry on left-handiness, five of the last seven presidents were left handed, including Barack Obama. The others were: Bill Clinton, George H. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford. Recent candidates John McCain, Ross Perot and Bob Dole were also left handed.

Indiana University has a list of Famous Left-Handers, including authors, actors and athletes. There’s also a survey for left-handers by M.K. Holder, who is with the Handedness Research Institute.



Charlotte without Wachovia

I liked that the name was unique. Waschovia was acquired by Wells Fargo. As names of banks go, that’s good too.

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Looking back on the “Favorites from the past”

Posting so many old headlines and snippets of things that caught my interest up to five years ago shows how much we thought we knew but didn’t and how much we thought would change.

Many of these posts were before Twitter and Facebook’s wholesale adoption. It was the promise of Web 2.0 before the collapse of finance markets. It was a time when we were five years younger and had a little less experience and perspective.

This started as project to clean up some digital closets and drawers.

I could have tossed those old links and bookmarks, but now it’s an interesting time capsule for me.  The current version of those for me now are the Twitter Weekly Updates.

Wondering as I walk

From talking a walk in the spring.
  • what caused Thursday stock spike
  • bees and how we depend on them
  • bikes and mass transit for commuting
  • hiking
  • archery
  • Ubuntu and other ways for low-cost, accessible computing
  • woodworking

The moon walk from a motel room in Mississippi

Where were you on the night of the Apollo moon walk? I was in a motel in south Mississippi.

Forty years ago on July 20 my parents and I checked into a roadside hotel somewhere in Mississippi to watch the moon landing.

There was no way we were going to miss this his event in human history.

We were on vacation, but the moon landing was on everyone’s mind. We knew the Apollo 11 patches. Gulf Oil ws giving away cardboard models of the Apollo lunar lander and space ship with fill-ups. The model was fairly detailed and I had trouble avoiding crinkling the tabs as I tried to insert them into the appropriate slots.

We were worried we wouldn’t get to our destination and checked in soon enough. We had been following the lunar landing news on the car radio during the day. It seems that we checked in late and were barely checked in before I was at the foot of the bed watching with the TV on at the time of the moon walk, which was just before 10 p.m. Central time. The reception was blurry, the picture was grainy, the TV was black and white, but it was live.

But we had seen it live. That was our goal.

The TV networks devoted so much time to the space coverage that we knew details such as how Neil Armstrong would pull a handle that would release the camera on the side of the lander that was aimed at the ladder that Neil Armstrong would descend.

We had high expectations of the TV coverage, in part from Apollo 8’s flight around the moon with the reading from Genesis during Christmas 1968. But they didn’t need the dramatics of Apollo 8. There were walking on the moon — in the same decade as the first launch of a man into space.

After Apollo 11 and other moon walks, I would look at the moon, but it looked different. It seemed more familiar — it was no longer beyond reach.

Wikipedia: Apollo 11 and Apollo 8

Gas issue in charlotte

Because Hurricane Ike knocked out many oil refineries along the Gulf Coast, gasoline has been scarce in Charlotte. The price is around $4 and most stations have been only open a few days in the past two weeks.

I’ve waited in line for up to 30 minutes for gas and it’s taken extra planning to make sure I’ve had enough gas. No fights in the line where I was, but that one person who appeared to be breaking the line got an earful.