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Subject: alt.lefthanders Frequently Asked Questions

This article was archived around: 09 Jan 2001 09:55:30 -0500

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Posted-By: auto-faq Archive-name: lefty-faq
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FOR THE LEFT-HANDED POPULATION AND FRIENDS AND SUPPORTERS I Table of Contents Welcome Introduction Credits Frequently Asked Questions Questions and Answers II Welcome Welcome to official Usenet Guide to Frequently Asked Questions for the Left-Handed Population. It is posted periodically to the alt.lefthanders newsgroup and the general newsgroups alt.answers and news.answers. It is available via anonymous ftp from: ftp://ftp.cs.ruu.nl/pub/NEWS.ANSWERS/lefty-faq /ftp@mirrors.aol.com:/pub/rtfm/usenet/alt.lefthanders/ Also, you can find a URL version on the World Wide Web at: http://www.cs.ruu.nl/wais/html/na-dir/lefty-faq.html III Introduction There exists in the world a very special group of individuals who is left handed. This group has had to spend its life conforming to a world that was not designed for its benefit. In addition, this group has had to put up with insults and derogatory comments aimed in its direction. The intent of this document is to provide a source of information for the left- handed population and to serve as a consciousness raising tool about issues of special concern for lefties for the population in general. It is sincerely hoped that it serves its goal. IV Credits This FAQ is maintained by Barry D. Benowitz (b.benowitz@telesciences.com) All corrections, additions (including new questions) and suggestions are welcome. ===== Copyright 1995 - 2000 by Barry D. Benowitz. Use and copying of this information are permitted as long as (1) no fees or compensation are charged for use, copies or access to this information, and (2) this copyright notice is included intact. ==== ===================================================================== [NOTE: this is information collected from many sources and while I strive to be accurate and complete, I cannot guarantee that I have succeeded. ] ===================================================================== V Frequently Asked Questions Q01. What does being left-handed mean? Q02. What does being ambidextrous mean? Q03. What percentage of the population is left handed? Q04. Is lefthandedness inherited? Q05. Are lefthanders naturally clumsy? Q06. Is there a quick test to determine eye dominance? Q07. Is there a quick test to determine handedness? Q08. What makes a cup right or left handed? Q09. What makes scissors right or left handed? Q10. What makes a bowling ball left or right-handed? Q11. What makes bowling shoes left or right-handed? Q12. Do Lefties have an advantage in Bowling? Q13. Do Lefties die younger than right-handers? Q14. Are Lefties brain damaged? Q15. Was famous left-hander Leonardo DaVinci Dyslexic? Q16. Do Lefties make better athletes? Q17. Do Lefties make inferior athletes? Q18. In baseball, what makes left-handed hitters so successful? Q19. In baseball, what makes left-handed pitchers so successful? Q20. In cricket, what makes left-armed Batsmen so successful? Q21. In cricket, what makes left-handed Bowlers so successful? Q22. In fencing (sword fighting), what makes left-handers successful? Q23. Is there a store catering to left-handers in my area? Q24. Where can I acquire left-handed guitars? Q25. Are there any publications for left handers? Q26. Are there any recommended books for left handers? Q27. What is brain dominance anyway? Q28. Why does women's clothing button the opposite way of mens (left vs. right)? Q29. Are there any left-hander advocacy organizations? Q30. Why is left handedness considered something sinister? Q31. Will you name some left-handed celebrities? Q32. When is International Left-handers Day? Q33. I'm rightie, my child's lefty. How can I teach him/her to tie shoe-laces? Q34. Where can I get a left-handed fountain pen? Q35. Where can I learn left-handed Calligraphy? Q36. Why do we wear our wedding bands on the third finger of the left hand? Q37. Where can I get a lefthanded joystick? Q38. Where can I get a Left Handed Computer Keyboard. Q39. Where can I get a left-handed mouse? Q40. Why are there more Lefthanded Males than Females? Q41. Do Lefthanders tend to have a specific blood type? Q42. What percentages of Lefthanders exist in different societies? Q43. Why do some lefthanders use Mirror script? Q44. Why do Lefthanders hold the paper differently when writing? Q45. Why are Lefthanders sometimes called Southpaws? Q46. Are there any organizations concerning golf and left-handers? Q47. Which sports banned left-handers? Q48. What are left-handed playing cards? Q49. Are there scholarships available for Left-handed people? VI. Questions and answers. Q01. What does being left-handed mean? A very good question. For the purposes of this document, being left-handed means having a preference for using your left hand for a variety of tasks, including reaching, throwing, pointing, catching. It also implies a preference for using your left foot for tasks such as kicking, as well as the preferred foot with which to begin walking, running and bicycling. However, there are no hard and fast rules for determining which hand or foot the Lefthander prefers to use for a particular task. Most will prefer to use the left hand or foot for delicate work. One may also have a dominant left eye, preferring to use the left eye for telescopes, camera sights, and microscopes. In general, being left-handed means having a dominant right side of the brain. M.K. Holder <mholder@indiana.edu> clarifies that this dominance does not apply in the area of brain hemisphere specialization for language abilities: According to a neurological study published by Branch, Miller & Rasmussen in 1964 (Journal of Neurosurgery 21:399-405) indicates that perhaps half of all left-handers have the same left-hemisphere specialization for language abilities as do right-handers. See: http://www.indiana.edu/~primate/refs1.html for more information. Q02. What does being ambidextrous mean? To be ambidextrous means to be equally dextrous with either hand. That is, the ability to use both hands with equal skill and coor- dination. Q03. What percentage of the population is left handed? There have been many different numbers put forth, with the most common numbers we have seen being in the area of 13 percent. However, we have seen numbers as high as 30 percent, when you allow a very loose definition of left-handedness. Q04. Is lefthandedness inherited? While lefthanders doubtless runs in some families, scientists are unsure that the issue is completely resolved. Part of the problem has to do whether a person's hand preference is the result of genetic determination or some other reason ie forced to switch because of convention, accident, what ever. Q05. Are lefthanders naturally clumsy? An emphatic NO to this. The problem most lefthanders have is that the world is configured for right handed people. Lefties, in the act of accommodating to this opposite world, may appear awkward using tools that have right hand preference designed into them. However, right-handers display even more awkwardness using left handed tools than lefthanders do using right handed tools. This is probably because righthanders are less used to adapting. Q06. Is there a quick test to determine eye dominance? Try the following to determine eye dominance. With both eyes open, line up the tip of your finger, at arm's length, with a distant object. Close each eye separately. The eye that results in the object and you finger remaining aligned is your dominant eye. Q07. Is there a quick test to determine handedness? No, there is not. In fact, the only sure way to determine brain dominance is to anesthetize one half of the brain and then see what functions are still handled by the still functioning hemisphere. There have been interesting results obtained, such as people able to respond to visual cues but not verbal cues. I don't know about you, dear reader, but I am not willing to submit to this test just to definitively answer the question. However, you can try this: Sitting comfortably, fold your hands together and notice which thumb is on top. Lefties will have the right thumb on top. Readers should note that this test is not completely accurate. We have heard about a significant number of lefties on alt.lefthanders who fail this test. Readers should also note that hand preference is usually not evident until children are age 4-6. Some children have been known to exhibit a preference as early as age 2. According to J.B. Sattler ( Das linkshändige Kind in der Grundschule, page 17) a better test to determine which hand is dominant is to note which hand is usually/preferably used to... - be put up in school - switch on/off lights - brush teeth - comb hair - hammer - water flowers - throw dice - pick up/count things - open window/door - use a screwdriver - sew - throw a ball etc. - draw ,paint, write Thanks: Inken B. Spreda <inken@wolnetdotde> Q08. What makes a cup right or left handed? First, you must realize that (drinking) cups come in two varieties: symmetric and not symmetric. Cups that are not symmetric may have a lip to ease pouring the contents. If this kind of cup is right handed, the lip will be on the side of the cup which is away from the body, which allows for a easy neat motion. If this cup is picked up with the left hand, the lip is toward the body, which makes it awkward and messy to pour. For symmetric cups, the problem is that when the decoration is only on one side. When the right handed individual picks up a right handed cup, he is able to see and enjoy the decoration. A leftie using that cup presents the decoration to the world; he is unable to see it. Lefties would benefit with symmetric cups with designs on both sides; cups with lips would have to be made in both right and left handed varieties. Q09. What makes scissors right or left handed? You can see the difference easily, by placing the scissors on the table like this: \ / \/ /\ O O For right-hand scissors, the part of the scissors lying `on top' at the intersection of the two parts, will be the one from top-left to bottom-right, whereas for left-hand scissors, the uppermost will be the part from bottom-left to top-right. Turning the scissors around or up-side down won't change this relationship. Secondly the reason for this difference lies in the way the scissors are opened and closed by your left or right hand. When you close the scissors, the cutting edges close and the cutting edges are pressed together because your fingers holding the scissors bend and your thumb stretches. If the cutting edges are pushed away from each other, the material being cut slides in between, and is definitely not cut. This is what happens when you use a right-hand scissors with your left hand. Since your left hand is a mirrored version of your right hand, your scissors should be `mirrored' as well. This is why the cutting edges are made on the opposite side of each part, and the parts are assembled just the opposite way, giving you perfect left-handed scissors. Thanks to: Jurgen van Engelen <jurgene@eeb.ele.tue.nl> Q10. What makes a bowling ball left or right-handed? Left-handed bowling balls are different in two respects. The first, and most obvious, is the placing of the finger holes in relation to the thumb hole. What follows is the first (and last) square bowling ball you'll ever see <G>: 0 0 0 0 + + 0 0 The view is from the top and the spacing is highly exaggerated. Mark Hideo Fujimoto <fuj@uclink.berkeley.edu> points out that while this configuration is true for a vast majority of people, one cannot say it is true in the general case. The ring finger is held behind the middle finger, as it is then the last thing to leave the ball - imparting spin. Using a right- -handed ball, the middle finger, or the thumb, would be last. Neither of these digits will impart any spin at all to the ball. Spin is important to make the ball curve, or hook, into the pins and the rotation of the ball stabilizes it as it drives through. The second consideration, which I cannot draw (do I hear cheers?) is the location of the center weight with relationship to the spot where the holes are drilled. The ball is drilled so that the weight is slightly ahead of the thumb hole and to one side - left, for left-handers. This balancing weight provides extra momentum and spin to the ball. Mark Hideo Fujimoto <fuj@uclink.berkeley.edu> disagrees: I have to disagree here, too. The "center weight", or more correctly, the center of gravity of the weight block, is usually placed to the *left* of the (+) in my diagram for a left-handed ball. This is known as "positive weight", which combined with lift and spin imparted by the bowler, gives the ball a more pronounced hook than a ball without this type of weighting. Once again, this isn't the only way to drill a bowling ball, but it is one that tends to be conducive to getting the ball reaction that produces more strikes.There will be times when other types of weighting will prove to be more beneficial than "positive" weights. Throwing the ball fairly normally for a beginner, one should ideally see some clockwise rotation as the ball tends to drift toward the center (a strike!). Throwing a right-handed ball with your left hand places the weighting on the left side - meaning the ball will go straight, or even back up (a reverse curve). This kind of delivery makes it almost impossible to get the ball to the center with force and momentum, unless you are a 300-pound gorilla. Mark Hideo Fujimoto <fuj@uclink.berkeley.edu> clarifies: you don't have to be a "300lb gorilla" in order to overcome the effects of various ball weightings. If a left-hander imparts a clockwise ro- tation to the ball, regardless of whether it's a right-handed or left- handed ball, the ball will hook from left to right. The weights may alter the way the ball hooks (i.e., earlier, later, stronger, weaker.), but not the direction in which it hooks. Many bowlers use "negative weight" (placing the weight block's CG closer to where the ball rolls) in order to reduce the amount of hook on lanes that promote hook (i.e. "dry" lanes, lanes with little oil on them). Most bowling establishments have a couple of left-handed balls for use. These are usually in poor shape, but a lot better than trying a right-handed ball, for the reasons stated above. The good news is - a left-handed ball, drilled by a professional, costs EXACTLY the same as the right-handed one. And, to spur your confidence, don't forget that the first man to earn a million dollars in bowling, Earl Anthony, is left-handed. Thanks to: Bob Snyder <snyderr@buffnet.net> Mark Hideo Fujimoto <fuj@uclink.berkeley.edu> Q11. What makes bowling shoes left or right-handed? Bowling shoes are "handed" by the type of sole that is on the sliding shoe. Since (most) left-handed bowlers slide with their right foot, the right shoe is soled with some type of leather or buckskin to aid in sliding. The left shoe will usually be rubber-soled with a leather or a textured rubber toe piece. This toe piece is added for extra traction when "pushing off" on the next-to-last step. Right-handed shoes are basically mirror images of the left-handed shoes. Most bowling shoes come in this configuration; however, some manufacturers produce their low-end bowling shoes in ambidextrous versions -- both shoes have some type of sliding sole, so they can be used by either left or right-handers. House shoes are typically this way. Thanks to: Mark Hideo Fujimoto <fuj@uclink.berkeley.edu> Q12. Do Lefties have an advantage in Bowling? While there is no consensus that such an advantage exists, here's the debate in a BIG nutshell: The surface of a bowling lane is oiled for various reasons, one of which is to provide a "condition" on which to bowl. Second only to a bowler's skill level, the manner in which lanes are oiled (called the "lane condition" or "oil pattern" or "shot") greatly determines what type of bowler and his corresponding style most often will prevail. Most of the time, the "shot" will be symmetric with respect to the middle of the lane lengthwise, i.e., the oil pattern from the 20th (middle) board out to each respective gutter will be similar in a mirror-image fashion. Thus it appears that being left-handed is of no advantage over being right-handed, and vice versa. However, there are two things that create an eventual disparity -- one, there are more right-handed bowlers (RHB) than left-handed bowlers (LHB) in most situations. Two, the lane oil isn't static. It migrates as bowling balls roll through it and gets deposited in new places on the lane before eventually get- ting carried off the lane. These two factors are the basis for argument between RHB's and LHB's. RHB's argue that LHB's have an unfair advantage because: *Bowling is a sport of repetition and consistency, and when the playing conditions remain stable, it is easier to maintain the muscle memory in order to repeat motions. Since there are fewer LHB's in general, the condition for them doesn't change as much or as dramatically as it does for the RHB. Thus a RHB must con- stantly adjust to the changing conditions, thereby destroying any consistency he has tried to develop in earlier frames or games. LHB's counter with: *WHEN (more correctly is IF) the "shot" is tough (an oil pattern that tend to make it difficult to get the ball to the pocket), LHB's get stuck with dealing with it for the duration of bowling; whereas RHB's on a tough shot have the greater numbers in which a shot can be "broken down" into something more score-able. Ultimately, it comes down to a matter of respect. Many RHB's don't respect LHB's because they feel that the accomplishments of a LHB are tainted because of the unfair advantage of easier, more consis- tent bowling conditions than what RHB's (often) get. IMHO, it's a valid point, although I don't feel that this is the case 100% of the time. OTOH, LHB's can't argue the flip side because there is no equivalent. LHB's generally resort to defending themselves by asking things like "why do RHB's assume that when a LHB bowls well, it's because they have an easier "shot", and not because the LHB is talented or made good shots?", or "I can't help it that I'm left-handed, I don't oil the lanes". As you can probably figure out, this is a sore subject with many LHB's, as RHB's outnumber them and dare I say most RHB's have some sort of animosity or envy towards LHB's and their conditions. Thanks to: Mark Hideo Fujimoto <fuj@uclink.berkeley.edu> Q13. Do Lefties die younger than right-handers? Stanley Coren, who is the author of "The Lefthander Syndrome" found statistical evidence of this, and didn't believe it for the longest time. However, he remains unable to disprove it. He was able to demonstrate a possible reason for this might be that a left hand startle reflex would be much more dangerous when driving a car on US or Canadian road since the car would end up pointing against traffic while a right hand startle reflex would simply cause the car to drive of the road. As a double check, Coren did find a statistical difference in left handed traffic fatalities in countries where they drive on the left, such as Great Britain or Australia. Q14. Are Lefties brain damaged? Q15. Was famous left-hander Leonardo DaVinci Dyslexic? The Dyslexics seem to think so. Having lived many centuries before the recognition and diagnosis of this condition, the evidence is necessarily circumstantial and speculative. It is safe to say that he did exhibit many traits of the classical Dyslexic, based upon his life's works and contemporaneous observations that were recorded. For more information, check out the following references: <http://www.dyslexia.com/leonardo.htm> <http://www.interdys.org/kidsart.stm> <http://www.dyslexic.com/teachtips.htm> Thanks to: Laurence Welch <LWelch@tscwo.com> Q16. Do Lefties make better athletes? Q17. Do Lefties make inferior athletes? Q18. In baseball, what makes left-handed hitters so successful? This may not be a true statement, but here is a possible ex- planation: A left-handed hitter faces the home plate from a different side. For a pitcher who is not yet used to pitching to lefties, His standard arsenal of pitches do not have the same affect. A normal outside fast-ball to a right-hander becomes an inside fast-ball to a leftie and the same is true for an inside fast-ball. Also, a curve ball curves out for a rightie would curve in for a lefty. The resulting confusion is what makes left-handers better at hitting. Edward Brekelbaum (eb3z@andrew.cmu.edu) adds: Also, batters in the right side of the plate (lefties), are about one step closer to first base (a righty must step over the plate to be where a lefty started). This may not seem like a huge advantage, but how many times has a runner been out "By one step". John Mianowski <jmianows@ix.netcom.com> points out that LH hitters are generally more successful against RH pitchers. As noted, a RH pitcher's breaking balls (i.e. curves, sliders, cutters) will break in toward the hitter. It's always easier to hit a ball that's breaking in on you than breaking away. LH hitters are therefore perceived as being more successful than RH hitters because the great majority of pitchers are right-handed. Q19. In baseball, what makes left-handed pitchers so successful? There are three factors here. First, left-handed pitchers stand on the mound facing first base, making it much easier to spot base-stealing attempts, and to throw out the runner. Secondly, the throwing arm of a lefty pitcher is more hidden from view of a righty batter, making it difficult for the batter to gauge the pitch as it's being thrown. Finally, lefties naturally tend to throw the ball towards the left side of the plate (from the batter's perspective), placing the pitch inside for a righty batter (which is more difficult to hit). Ironically, the perceived success of LH pitchers is primarily due to their inherent advantages over the LH hitters that the other teams put in their lineups to hit off the RH pitchers! Often, managers will bring in a pitcher to face just one hitter (LH-on-LH or RH-on-RH matchup), because of which hitters are coming up soon, or even to try to force the opposing manager to pinch hit to get HIS favorable matchup (the hitting team gets to make the last change), but taking a good hitter out of the game to do it. Thanks to: George Feil <george@schwing.hip.berkeley.edu> John Mianowski <jmianows@ix.netcom.com> Q20. In cricket, what makes left-armed Batsmen so successful? Left-armed Batsmen enjoy the same advantages as left-handed hitters do in baseball. See the answer regarding baseball hitters above. Note that many left-armed batsmen prefer to hit from the left side, for an unknown reason. Roy Lakin <cgerbil@vossnet.co.uk> provides some additional information: The rough patch formed by the right-arm pace bowlers is further away from the off side of a right-hand batsman than a left-hander; a (right-arm) bowler bowling over the wicket is closer to the stumps than one bowling round the wicket, and will therefore tend to run on to the pitch in the follow-through. Thanks to: Roy Lakin <cgerbil@vossnet.co.uk> Q21. In cricket, what makes left-handed Bowlers so successful? The success of the bowlers and batters is obvious and closely related to the similar success of the baseball players. When bowling against a left-handed batsman, especially if there is a right-handed batsman at the other end of the cricket pitch, it places the fielding side at a disadvantage when ever runs are made. The whole fielding side has to swap around to accommodate the left-hander. Similarly the left handed bowler, especially a spin bowler can cause havoc against the right-handed batsman because the ball will break opposite to a right-handed spinner. Also the left-handed spinner can pitch the ball into the rough patches on the pitch formed by the right handed pace bowlers on the opposite side of the wicket. This ensures an uneven or unpredictable bounce or movement of the ball. Roy Lakin <cgerbil@vossnet.co.uk> adds that Bowlers generally bowl to a batsman's off side in order to provoke a catch in the slips, so the left-hander will suffer from pitches in the rough more than would a right-hander, who would often leave wides or near-wides alone. Thanks: David Wiles <hamfast@palantir.klinies.sun.ac.za> Roy Lakin <cgerbil@vossnet.co.uk> Q22. In fencing (sword fighting), what makes left-handers successful? Fencing is a sport where the very best practitioners don't think, but react. This requires practice, practice, practice in order to develop an instinctual approach. The scarcity of left-handers means that right-handers don't get a chance to practice (usually) and fail to develop that edge. Conversely, left-handers practice against right- handers frequently which give them more chances to develop a high skill level. Thanks: Malcolm Glennie Holmes <malcolm.glennie-holmes@smtpgwy.agric.nsw.gov.au> Q23. Is there a store catering to left-handers in my area? We have heard of the following places, but since we have not been able to try them, the following list does not constitute a recom- mendation. They are listed in no particular order: Left Hand World, Inc. Pier 39 San Francisco, California Phone: (415)433-3547 The Left Hand Supply Company P.O. BOX 20188 OAKLAND, CA 94620 510-658-LEFT Anything Left Handed Ltd. 57 Brewer Street London W1R 3FB. Tel: 0171 437 3910. RU-Lefthanded www.ru-lefthanded.co.uk PO Box 1056 Sandhurst Berskhire GU47 0ZW Tel 07044 700 818 Fax 0870 133 0654 Email: sales@ru-lefthanded.co.uk ZURDOlandia Cl Bolonia, 10 (Esq. Cte. Sta. Pau) 50008 - Zaragoza Spain Tel : 976 22 63 80 Fax : 976 22 63 80 E-mail : zurdolan@encomix.es Contact : Jesus Capapey, Ana Lombo DE DRETA A ESQUERRA S.L. Copernico 85 (Tienda 2) 08006 Barcelona Spain Tel/Fax: *-34-(9)3-201.93.92 email: lefty@solution4u.com (English) zurdos@solution4u.com (Castellano) geni@cybergal.com (Problems) Left Handed Products 29a Playfair St The Rocks Sydney NSW 2000 Australia phone :02 9247 6374 On the Other Hand 6907 Woodtrail Ct. Fort Wayne, Indiana 46835 phone: (219) 486-2702 fax: (219) 486-7428 WWW: http://www.ontheotherhand.com The left gender corporation d/b/a A diestra & siniestra, la tienda de los zurdos Local 5D Pueblo Xtra Building Plaza Carolina Fragoso Ave., Corner Pueblo Xtra Carolina, Puerto Rico, USA 00983 Tel: (787) 750-9098 Fax: (787) 750-9168 Email: leftgender@excite.com or leftgender@prtc.net Toll free: 1-888-Excite2, extension 787 750 9098 Website: www.leftgender.com Also, an extensive list of shops in Germany, Swiss and Austria (in German language) can be found on "Die deutsche Linkshänderseite: Geschäfte":<http://www.wolnet.de/lLinkshaender/geschaef.html> Q24. Where can I acquire left-handed guitars? We have heard of the following places, but since we have not been able to try them, the following list does not constitute a recom- mendation. They are listed in no particular order: Route 66 Guitars 3579 E. Foothill Blvd., #321 Pasadena, California 91107 USA tel: (213) GUI TARS Vintage, Used & New Left and Right Handed Instruments Vintage Amps & Accessories Lists available via US Mail, FAX & eMail (Route66@southpaw.com) (http://www.southpaw.com/route66/) Southpaw Guitars of Texas 5813 Bellaire Blvd. Houston, TX 77081 (713) 667-5791 Q25. Are there any publications for left handers? There are several. One is called Lefthander Magazine and it is published six times a year by Lefthanders International. It is written in English so that the words appear left to right, but the columns are presented right to left and the pages are numbered right to left. Its a little disconcerting at first, but Lefties will soon get used to it. It contains articles about lefties of note, plus many helpful hints for leftie adaption problems. It contains advertising for some catalog items plus other products of interest to lefthanders. It is available only to members of Lefthanders International, but there is no additional charge to receive the magazine. Left Hand Corner -Infos, Bilder, Texte, Songs für Links- und Rechtshänder- The only German magazine for left-handers. It is published 4 times per year, DM 4 per copy. Order: Norbert Martin Left Hand Corner Platzhoffstr. 13, D-42115 Wuppertal Tel/Fax 0202-305156. Info: <http://www.sinergo.com/linkshaender/katalog8.htm#LT17/2> The Left-handers Club: Anything Lefthanded Ltd. 18 Avenue Road Belmont, Surrey SM2 6JD, England They publish a magazine "The Left-Lefthander", which is published quarterly and costs £2,50 per copy. Q26. Are there any recommended books for left handers? Unicorns Are Real, by Barbara Meister Vitale Warner Books ISBN 0-446-32340-4 The Lefthander Syndrome, by Stanley Coren PhD The Natural Superiority of the Left-Hander, by James T. deKay The Left-Handed Book, by James T. deKay Left-Handed in a Right-Handed World, by Jeff Goldsmith The Left Handers Guide to Life, by Leigh Rutledge and Richard Donley ISBN: 0-452-26845-1 Germar Saule tells us of the following German language books, he is not aware of any translations into other languages: Linkshaendig? Ein Ratgeber (Lefthanded? An adviser) HRSG: Rolf W. Meyer, Fachliche Beratung, Dr. Johanna Barbara Sattler,ONRS; 1991;Humboldt-Taschenbuchverlag Jacobi KG, Muenchen; ISBN 3-581-66669-3; Das linkshaendige Kind in der Grundschule (The lefthanded child in the primary school) HRSG: Dr.Johanna Barbara Sattler/ Staatsinstitut fuer Schulpaedagogik und Bildungsforschung, Muenchen; 1993; L. Auer-Verlag; Donauwoerth; ISBN: 3-403-02532-2; 4.Aufl. 1994; Der umgeschulte Linkshaender oder Der Knoten im Gehirn (The "translearned"(learned from left to right) lefthander or The knot in the brain) HRSG: Dr. Johanna Barbara Sattler 1995; L. Auer-Verlag; Donauwoerth; ISBN:3-403-02645-0; Linkshaender sind bessere Menschen (lefthanders are better humans) HRSG: Nora Babel; 1992; Eichborn Verlag; Frankfurt am Main; ISBN 3-8218-2283-X; Das Linkshaenderbuch (The lefthander-book) HRSG: Diane Paul 1990; Bloomsbury, London; Uebersetzung: 1994 Droemersche Verlagsanstalt Th. Knaur Nachf., Muenchen; ISBN 3-426-84037-5; Alles mit der linken Hand (Geschick und Geschichte einer Begabung) All with the left hand (skill and history of a talent) HRSG: Rik Smits 1994; Rowohlt ISBN 3-87134-096-0 Selim oder Die Gabe der Rede (Selim or The gift of the speech) HRSG: Sten Nadolny 1990, R. Piper GmbH&Co.KG, Muenchen; ISBN: 3-492-02978-7; Geni Cabre <geni@cybergal.com> recommends the following book (in Spanish): El Nino Zurdo by Dr. Cesar Cabre and Elicia Rios Thanks: <Germar Saule> saule@hrz.uni-kassel.de Q27. What is brain dominance anyway? The term "brain dominance" was historically used by neurologists to describe which side of the brain (which cerebral hemisphere) played the greatest role in human speech & language. Neurologists currently prefer the term hemispheric "specialization" to describe how one side of the brain's neural function is specialized for a particular function, usually language ability. But even language tasks occur in both hemispheres, so this description is simplistic. Thanks: <M.K.Holder> mholder@indiana.edu See: "What does Handedness have to do with Brain Lateralization?" at: http://www.indiana.edu/~primate/brain.html Q28. Why does women's clothing button the opposite way of mens (left vs. right)? This goes back to the Victorian age. It seems that a proper gentleman would dress himself while a proper lady would require the services of a dresser. In order for the motion of securing a button to be the same, and to account for the fact that the clothing of a man would be fastened from behind while the clothing of a woman would be fastened while facing the clothing, the buttons on men's clothing would have to be opposite of women's. Q29. Are there any left-hander advocacy organizations? The one we have heard about (and of which we are a member) is Lefthanders International. They are located in Topeka, Kansas and can be reached at the following address: Lefthanders, International P.O Box 8249 Topeka, Kansas 66608 USA The local telephone number is: 1-785-234-2177. Annual dues run about US$15. There is an organization available in Germany. They can be reached at the following address: ONRS e.V. Sendlinger Str 18 80331 Munich Germany Q30. Why is left handedness considered something sinister? First, let me say that the Latin word for left is sinister. The connection between the the English word and the Latin word are obvious, but this reasoning breaks down when other languages are examined. Raymond <vges@smtp.belspo.be> tells the following story: Roman priests/fortune-tellers used to point a square wooden frame towards the sky and thus watch birds fly by. If the birds came from the left (sinister),it meant trouble (sinister).If they came from the right (latin dexter if I remember well),everything was OK. Raymond <vges@smtp.belspo.be> also tells me that the French word "sinistre" means sinister with the obvious Latin root. Also, someone who is considered not skillful is called "gauche" (left) in French. Rob Jordan <rjordan@u.washington.edu> offers this explanation. It also has to do with shaking hands. It seems that one explanation for the origin of shaking hands (according to a Latin teacher at the high school I went to) is that people would shake hands on meeting to show that they didn't have a dagger (or similar weapon) in their (right) hand so they couldn't stab you right off as they met you. However if you were left handed, you could shake someone's hand (with your right hand) and still be able to effectively use your left hand to stab someone. Therefore left-handed people were considered potentially more dangerous and "sinister". Erica <erica@netvision.net.il> tells me that in Hebrew, "Yemin" is right and "Smoll" is left. A right-handed person is referred to as "yemani," which means "right-handed;" a left-handed person, on the other hand (no pun intended. Well, ok, maybe it intentional), is referred to as "Eetair yad Yemino" or "Eetair" for short, which means, in essence, a person who is not right-handed. (Connotation: a shortcoming). Balthasar <bi@inside.net> tells me that in german you call someone 'linkisch' (meaning 'leftish') if he/she is either weird, strange or even mean in an antisocial sense. Wei-Hwa Huang <whuang@cco.caltech.edu> responds that a bit of research on Chinese etymology has turned up some interesting facts. The Chinese word for "left," when traced back to ancient pictograms, is a drawing of a hand with a drawing that means "work." The idea apparently was that the left hand did work by helping the right hand. Bruce Balden <balden@wimsey.comd> points out that the symbol "gong1" means work because it looks like a carpenter's set square, which would be held in the left hand (of a right handed person) while the other hand draws or saws. Wei-Hwa resumes: On the other hand (pun intended), the character for "right" was a picture of a hand next to a mouth, indicating that the ancient Chinese probably used the right hand to eat. Now an interesting fact emerges. Although there are many more words derived from a hand on the right side than there are words on the left (i.e., whenever a new word was formed and it needed a hand, it was invariably on the right side), at some point all the "right-handed" words were flipped to their mirror image! This happened sometime in the last 2000 years, and now all words that are "hand"-derived have the hand on the left side. (For etymology buffs, these characters are not to be confused with the ones with the actual "hand" radical, which went a different route.) It is an interesting fact to note that since Chinese writing proceeds top to bottom, then right to left, that left-handed writing may actually be easier. (Virtually all Chinese writers are taught to write with the right hand only, though... traditional Chinese calligraphy is done without the hand touching the paper.) Paul Batey <pbatey@laurel.ocs.mq.edu.au> tells us that an ancient Romany Gypsy word for left is bongo, which means evil. Feico Nater <effect@worldaccess.nl> provide these insights: In Dutch, Recht means right, straight, privilege (as in human rights), Link means left, stupid, awkward, but also keen, skilled. Een linke jongen means a skilled criminal, a bad criminal, or a keen man. Edward A. Spaans <spaans@orion-sys.com> offers the following idiom: De linker, de flinker De rechter, de slechter In Dutch, the 'er' as in linker, flinker, rechter, slechter' is the superlative. The meaning of 'slecht' is bad, criminal. The words 'link' and 'recht' are assigned a quantitative content here, which makes strict translation a bit difficult. The idiom could be roughly translated as: The more (to the, or possessing of) left, the better, The more (to the, or possessing of) right, the worse Paddy O'Neill <jq01@dial.pipex.com> reports that the Gaelic (Irish) word for lefthanded is "Ciotach". It has two meanings as well: 1) lefthanded 2) Awkward or difficult Chris Owen <C.J.Owen@cs.cf.ac.uk> reports that in Welsh (Cymraeg), the word for left is 'chwith', which also means strange. According to Simone Cortesi <cortesi@venus.it>, In Italian, the word for clumsy is "maldestro", the word for training is "addestrare", an evil face is a "faccia sinistra", and according to your insurance company a car crash is a "sinistro". According to Barbara Kaye <barbara_kaye@twcable.com>, the Greek word for Left is aristera, which is the root of aristocrat. Please respond to the FAQ maintainer a similar analysis of the same words in your favorite language (pro or con) for inclusion in this section. Second, we are able to trace this link back to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. In the great religious art of the period, it was common for the "good" guys to be portrayed as being right-handed while satanic characters to be portrayed left-handed as sort of an antithesis to the good. It is interesting to note that Leonardo a Vinci painted "good" images like Jesus and Mary to appear left handed, but Da Vinci is a fabled Lefthander. There are examples of people appearing to be left-handed in earlier art, but these are not considered to be symbolic of anything. Later on, handedness was considered an important test to determine if a person was a witch or war-lock theoretically because of the link to Satanism. You would think that in the twenty-first century, this sort of thinking would be non-existent, but even today some people have a hard time with left-handers. Q31. Will you name some left-handed celebrities? A list of more than 500 well-known left-handed people from around the world is maintained by Mauri Haikola <mjh@stekt.oulu.fi> and it can be found at http://stekt.oulu.fi/~mjh/lefties.html Some familiar names from the list are Bill Clinton, George Bush, Ronald Reagan, Pablo Picasso, Fred Astaire, Charles Chaplin, Greta Garbo, and Marilyn Monroe . Check it out. In addition, MK Holder <mholder@indiana.edu> maintains a similar list called FAMOUS LEFT-HANDERS at http://www.indiana.edu/~primate/left.html This one is translated into French an Spanish as well. Q32. When is International Left-handers Day? According to Left-handers International, August 13th has been designated as International Left-handers Day. Q33. I'm rightie, my child's lefty. How can I teach him/her to tie shoe-laces? Try this. In order to have the child see the hand movements in the proper direction, sit opposite the child rather than next to him or behind him. This will probably work for tying a necktie as well. I am also told that it applies to teaching knitting as well. Q34. Where can I get a left-handed fountain pen? Parker still offers this service by mail order. You can opt for needle point which is so sharp that it has no bias. Platinum Fountain Pen sets are available for left-handed people. Sets include nibs, barrel, cartridges and converter. John Neal, Bookseller (a mail order company specializing in calligraphy books and supplies) stocks these sets. They also provide left-handed grinding which converts right-handed nibs into ones suitable for left-handed use and can special order other left-handed materials. In addition to the fountain pens they carry left-handed nibs(dip pens). John Neal, Bookseller can be reached at: QSQK50A@prodigy.com or JNealBooks@AOL.com. Toll-free at 1-800-369-9598. Note: Appearance here does not constitute a recommendation. Thanks: Gerald McMullon <gerald.mcmullon@ukonline.co.uk> Q35. Where can I learn left-handed Calligraphy? We have heard of the following books: "Insights into Left-Handed Calligraphy" by Betsy Rivers-Kennedy 1984. "Pen Lettering" by Ann Camp the Speedball manual that comes with their pens AND "Left Handed Calligraphy"... Bella <ivcf@astral.magic.ca> recommends the following book: "Mastering Calligraphy" by Timothy Noad, published by Simon & Schuster 1995. It contains chapters on the origins and development of calligraphy, materials and techniques, A-Z step by step and projects. For the first time this calligraphy a book also provides special notes and diagrams for left-handed calligraphers for every stage alongside information for right-handers, by the famous left-handed calligrapher Gaynor Goffe. K <kamaley@hevanet.com> makes the following suggestion: If you would like to take a class ask the teacher whether he/she has taught lefties before. They will either tell you it can't be done, be willing to work with you or have already taught "one of us." Thanks: Isabella V. Chang Fong <ivcf@astral.magic.ca> K <kamaley@hevanet.com> Q36. Why do we wear our wedding bands on the third finger of the left hand? The custom dates back to the early Egyptian belief that the vena amoris (vein of love) ran directly from the heart to the third finger of the left hand. Thanks to Erica Hamel <erica@netvision.net.il> Q37. Where can I get a lefthanded joystick? While you should note that real commercial and military pilots fly according to where they sit in the cockpit and thus must be able to fly equally well with either hand, this question is asked very frequently. According to a Usenet Survey, It is downright impossible to have a true lefthanded joystick. There are several ambidextrous ones that people use, with the consensus being that the products by a company called CH were the best. The complete list follows in no particular order: CH Flightstick Pro CH Flightstick Suncom 2000 TM Action Controller XL Kraft Thunderstick Gravis GamePad (has a switch) Quickshot claims to have a model called GenX 500L which has a left-handed handle. Note that this does not represent a recommendation. Q38. Where can I get a Left Handed Computer Keyboard. Peter Wood <paw@interserv.com> tells us that he has had good success using inexpensive peripheral equipment, since its not designed in a way that would make it uncomfortable for left-handers to use (or for right-handers) but avoids the re-learning process. He thinks that left-handed adaption skills are sufficient as long as the device doesn't exhibit a a strong bias. Q39. Where can I get a left-handed mouse? Logitech used to supply left handed versions, but have discontinued these. Symmetrical versions became rarer in the mid 1990s but saw a revival in 1999/2000 with more models released by Logitech, Kensington and even Microsoft. The mouse supplied with Wacom Intuos graphics tablets (140GBP for A6, 289GBP for A4) can be tilted to the left or right, exposing a thumb wheel on the right ot left side. This is otherwise a symmetric mouse. Using the graphics tablet does not exclude the use of the standard mouse. You can use the pen with the left hand, standard mouse with the right and swap the pen for the Wacom mouse. The buttons on the two devices are tied. So you can't have one as a left-hander and the other as a right-hander. The inexpensive Wacom Graphire (65GBP) is an A6 device (serial or USB) supplied with a pen and symmetrical wheel mouse. Unfortunately the A6 active area of the tablet is smaller than a typical mouse mat and may not suit all users. The correct use of the mouse or pointing device can reduce the chance of repetitive strain injury. Using a handed mouse with the wrong hand (e.g. the Intelligent Mouse from Microsoft or the top model cordless mouse from either Microsoft or Logitech both of which are right-handers) will result in cramp in the fingers and ball of the hand. For light users of computers this may take some years to develop. For heavy users of mouse movement this can be observed with in a few months. A mouse that is symmetrical in shape, but has an indent for the index finger of the right hand will often be used left-handed and the middle-finger used for clicking. If the twisted position is adopted to use the index finger of the left hand to operate the left button will cause unnecessary strain on the position of the hand. Unfortunately learned habits are often difficult to unlearn, even if comfort is at stake. I have successfully convinced several users that a change in mouse and/or keyboard will reduce the feeling of cramp and strain that they complain about. The relative size of the mouse to the hand may also play a significant factor. E.g. using the symmetrical mini-mouse on a laptop feels less comfortable than the cordless pilot mouse that has the roughly the same shape but means that the index finger is more relaxed and better supported, but in the hands of my four-year old daughter the smaller mouse 'fits' and for her is easier control. A tracker ball may be better for smaller and younger hand, but experimenting can be difficult and expensive (if you have to buy the device to try). Most users are not trained in the correct mouse/keyboard skills and even if they are they may forget and revert to 'bad-habits'. Many organizations supply a standard desktop and need to be persuaded to allow for an alternative mouse, keyboard (e.g. the natural keyboards from Microsoft and Logitech or a keyboard with the numeric keypad on the left) and drivers. With a good mouse and keyboard costing less than 60USD/40GBP (25+25) it is not unreasonable for the employer to supply these, otherwise buy your own for work. Not all left handers use the mouse left handed. Many like typing or writing left handed using the right hand to always hold the mouse. Positioning of the mouse and keyboard and monitor are very important. Users should be encouraged to experiment as desk surface, lighting and handedness (mouse space on the left or right) are vital to comfort and efficiency. If this means re-wiring mains and network cables prove your case and make sure it is done. The keyboard should be place in the middle and sufficiently far away from the edge of the desk so that the palms of the hands are not rubbed against the edge of the desk. The monitor should be 30 cm (12 inches) away for small screens and over 50cm (20 inches) away for larger screens. Monitors on extension arms increase the choice of position both away from you and height above the desk. Desks that allow for different height adjustments also help. Unfortunately the extension arms for large monitors (20 inches and above) normally use a support leg as well as being attached to the desk. This precludes the active use of an adjustable desk and may restrict the desk to a 'standard' height. Feet should be capable of being position flat with the top of the leg horizontal. Likewise arms should be positioned so that the lower arm is horizontal and at the height of the desk. Mouse mats with wrist support are worth considering as are mouse rugs (www.mouserug.com, 25USD, 15GBP). Mouse rugs, besides being miniature rugs and looking cool are anti-static, allow easy movement and reduce, if not eliminate ball clogging. Many mouse mats have a hard surface, which give positive ball contact but have a sharp edge that rubs against the palm of the hand. Look for mouse alternatives, such as the Glidepoint or tracker balls. But where ever possible try before buying and make sure that the drivers for the operating system(s) that you use are available or the 'standard' MS software (Win3, Win95, NT, 2000) etc will work. Finger pads may appear to be without bias but even here the position of the cable or left of center give a bias to right-handers. Finger pads are not to everyone's taste and some users complain of numbed index fingers from 'clicking' the pad's surface. Pens can sometimes be used with these devices, particularly the larger ones. However 'natural' and unbiased a pen is it has to be picked up and dropped for keyboard use. A mouse or tracker ball is easier to grab and disgard than a pen. Swap the buttons to use the left index finger with the right button. This confuses the hell out of right handers so much that I have seen fared tempers at not being able to use it even when explaining to them that the reason that the mouse was on the left was because you are left handed. Using Windows 98 family login you can give separate perferences for each member of the family, including desktop, backgrounds, menus and mouse use. Passwords are not needed and when booted the user is presented with a list of names to select from. Even a three year old can recognise their own name when on screen and can 'log' themselves in. Thanks: Gerald McMullon <gerald.mcmullon@ukonline.co.uk> We have recently heard of the following source for a left-handed mouse: The Contour Mouse for left-handed users can be ordered directly from: Contour Design 254B North Broadway, Suite 204 Salem, NH 03079 USA phone 1-800-462-6678 phone: (603) 893-4556 fax: (603) 893-4558 email: info@contourdes.com World Wide Web site (http://www.contourdes.com). Listing here does not constitute a recommendation. Q40. Why are there more Lefthanded Males than Females? Recent research has looked at the amount of Testosterone present in the fetus and amniotic fluid during pregnancy. Scientists have speculated that an excessive level of testosterone slows the development of the left side of the brain, which allows the right side of the brain to achieve and maintain dominance. Adult females normally produce a small amount of testosterone which will find its way into the amniotic fluid during pregnancy. A male fetus produces some testosterone in the uterus during development while a female fetus will produce no testosterone. Therefore, the chances of testosterone reaching excessive levels are much higher in a male fetus than in a female fetus simply because the normal levels of testosterone for a male fetus are higher in the first place. Males are about one and one half times more likely to be lefthanded than are females. Thanks: Gerald McMullon <gerald.mcmullon@ukonline.co.uk> Q41. Do Lefthanders tend to have a specific blood type? Some one in Cambridge questioned all blood donors about their background. Looking at the couple of hundred forms the distribution for the A, AB and O groups looked the same in the LH group as in the RH group. Thanks: Gerald McMullon <gerald.mcmullon@ukonline.co.uk> Q42. What percentages of Lefthanders exist in different societies? Middle class western (white) society is more tolerant of LH than some cultures. In many cultures eating with the left hand is an insult to the host. This is so strong that even those educated and living in the west does not adjust this view point. [ possibly related to hygiene - which hand is used for toiletry etc]. Thanks: Gerald McMullon <gerald.mcmullon@ukonline.co.uk> Q43. Why do some lefthanders use Mirror script? Da Vinci and others often write right to left and in mirror script. They feel that the writing is more fluid this way. Q44. Why do Lefthanders hold the paper differently when writing? Lefthanders turn the paper in order to more completely mimic the right hand style. Included in this method is using the twisted hand over the top of the line of writing method adopted by some left handers. With the advent of the biro some left handers push the nib in front of the hand movement. Others hold their arm at right angles to the line of writing and so don't cover up the writing or twist the arm over the top. Various forms of positioning the writing pad at right angles to the line of the desk or inclined at 60% are also used. Young left-handers should be encouraged to try all these styles to find the best fit for themselves. Q45. Why are Lefthanders sometimes called Southpaws? This is a baseball term. It seems that on many (most) baseball diamonds the left hand side of the pitchers mound would face south.At one time, most ball-parks were constructed so that the setting sun was behind the batter so as not to be in his eyes. The LH pitcher's throwing arm would then be toward the South as he faced the plate. With larger grandstands in modern stadia (not to mention indoor baseball) this is less of a concern than it once was. Thanks: Jeff Snyder <jps@tyrell.net> Q46. Are there any organizations concerning golf and left-handers? We have heard of the National Association of Left-Handed Golfers (NALG). It is " a nonprofit organization that promotes and enhances left-handed golf." Dues are US$20 per year. Phone number is: 1-800-844-NALG in Canada: 1-880-844-NALG and the URL: http://www.dca.net/golf Q47. Which sports banned left-handers? I don't know the answer to this one, precisely, but I believe it to be Polo. My reasoning is that the horses are trained to expect the mallot to always to be swung from the right side. To do it on the left would spook the horses and cause safety problems. Albert Prete <71212.1644@CompuServe.COM> thinks that the sport is jai alai. In jai alai a ball is thrown at walls at a very high rate of speed. A gourd (cesta) is used to throw the ball. I guess they're concerned about someone getting hit with the cesta. Marty <mverdi@mindspring.com> mined this tidbit from the Dania Jai-alai web site: Due to the centuries-old tradition of the game of jai-alai, all players ("lefties" included) are required to wear the cesta on their right hand. Also, because of the side wall being on the left side of the court, it would be dangerous and almost impossible for players to throw with their left hand. For more information, try http://www.dania-jai-alai.com Scoop <scoop@pygmy.demon.co.uk> tell me that when he was in school in the UK he was not permitted to play Field Hockey lefthanded and that there is no such thing as a lefthanded Hockey Stick. He also told me that the Grand National Archery Association, which is the only such organization in England, requires lefthanders to be segregated to one side during competitions. Similarly, The National Smallbore Rifle Association in the UK and The National Rifle Association in the UK segregates the lefthanders to one side during competitions as well. Q48. What are left-handed playing cards? Left-handed playing cards are cards where the numbers are printed on all four corners of the card. That way, no matter which way you fan them out, you can see the numbers. Standard cards must be fanned in a right-handed manner for the numbers to be visible. According to Elisa <elisacg@pacbell.net> A brand name for which you can search is: WADDINGTONS Number 1 Playing Cards - Superior Quality - Linen Finish. Thanks: Elisa Carlos <elisacg@pacbell.net> Q49. Are there scholarships available for Left-handed peope? We have heard of one scholarship available. It is particular to Juniata College in Huntington, Pensylvania. It is worth $1000 USD, which doesn't go a long way at Juniata, where costs run about $25000 USD. Lefthandedness is just one of the qualifications; you need to have demonstrated academic achievement as well. Thanks: Katie Shaefer <Scyodahaefs@collegeclub.com> -- Barry D. Benowitz - FAQ maintainer for alt.lefthanders Email:b.benowitz@telesciences.com Phone:+1 609 866 1000 x3354 Snail:Telesciences Inc, 4000 Midlantic Dr., Mt. Laurel, NJ, 08054-5476