Did you know there was a left-hander's day? Neither did I.
 Left-handers International has designated August 13th International Left-handers Day.
Events on this day are usually publicized via the alt.lefthanders newsgroup.
Mark your calendars.


        Have you ever wondered why men's and women's clothing are buttoned on opposite sides? According to Fincher (1977), the custom comes from the Victorian age when a noble woman was usually dressed by her maid, and because the maids were usually right-handed, it was easier for them to button the garments from right to left. Conversely, a noble gentlemen usually dressed himself and did not require this reversed arrangement of buttons.

        Why do virtually all of the world's religions associate the left with that which is evil or dirty? According to Langford (1984), sun-worship may be to blame. The majority of humankind also always lived in the northern hemisphere, and therefore, when tracking the sun across the sky, most will have faced south, following the path of the sun from left to right. Earliest forms of religion manifested themselves through sun worship, and very early on humankind may have developed an association between rightward movement and what is good. Vestiges of our tendency to track the sun from left to right still remain today. Clocks go in this direction, and so do compasses. Even the Japanese word for left, "hidari", was derived from the words for "sun" and "on".

        How about weddings bands? Why do we wear them on the third finger of the left-hand when the left is associated with sin and filth? Early Egyptians believed that the vena amoris (love vein) ran from the third finger of the left-hand to the heart, and placing the wedding ring on this finger would provide a closer connection with one's heart.

        Do you think the days of banning left-handedness are over? Not quite. In the sport of polo it is illegal to play left-handed. The only conceivable rationale for this might be an effort to preserve the safety of the sport wherein the horses would be trained to expect the mallet to be swung on the right side. Doing so on the left may spook them.

        Can you assess handedness in someone who is unconscious? DeKay (1994) claims that handedness can be determined by examining ones thumbnails. The hand with the larger and squarer (is the larger thumbnail always squarer?) is supposedly the dominant hand. DeKay (1994) supports this claim with reference to the New England Journal of Medicine (presumably Block, 1974), despite the fact that subsequent articles in the same journal criticize the "thumbnail" hypothesis (Bersohn, 1974). Others have claimed that handedness can be determined while a child is still an infant by looking at the pattern of one's hair. According to DeKay (1994), left-handed infants are characterized by a counterclockwise whorl to their hair. Although this general effect may exist, the accuracy of such a method is rather questionable. According to Ortiz de Zarate and Ortiz de Zarate (1991), right-handers have clockwise whorls of hair only 55% of the time. The hair whorl method of determining handedness appears to be a little more accurate among left-handers, where 74% exhibit counterclockwise whorls. Given that right-handers are much more prevalent than left-handers, an individual with a counterclockwise whorl to their hair is still more likely to be a right-hander than a left-hander.

Do You Know the Answers?

  1. Identify the only southeast Asian country that was never colonized by non-native people.

  2. Gin, the drink, derives its name from what European city?

  3. Who was the first woman killed in WW II?

  4. What woman was the first to be awarded a second Nobel prize?

  5. What human body function can generate speeds of up to 100 miles per hour?

  6. Which two planets days last longer than their years?

  7. Sara Josepha Hele (1788-1879) wrote a poem - one of the few of its kind with a documented author - celebrating an actual happening from her school days.  It has since been put to song.   What is the poem?

  8. In Greek myth, what is the one thing that remained in Pandora's box after everything else escaped?