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#35992 08/13/01 05:27 PM
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Au contraire, mon frere. The queen of mystery writers, Dorothy L Sayers, in The Documents in the Case, written with Robert Eustace, fashioned a plot that had the solution to a murder turn on the fact that the organic form of the poison which killed the victim had a lefthand twist but the synthetic form of the same compound had a righthand twist. A book I recommend very highly; it's one of my favorites. Written in the epistolary style and as notable for its literary qualities as for its ingenious plot. (No Lord Peter Wimsey.)






#35993 08/13/01 06:04 PM
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the keyboard was originally designed to be inconvenient. The designers were afraid folks would type too fast for the mechanics of the old typewriters from which the keyboard was inherited.

You're right (pun unavoidable). A while back, IBM made typewriter with the type on a ball (rather than a series of rods), and the balls were interchangeable: you could insert one to give you special symbols or keyboard arrangements. IBM offered a ball for a keyboard arrangement that's designed to be more efficient (the "Dvorak" keyboard), but it never caught on.

Windows offers some Dvorak keyboards (found in "control panel; keyboard"), most of them designed for a typist who has use of only one hand.



#35994 08/13/01 06:13 PM
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IBM offered a ball for a keyboard arrangement that's designed to be more efficient (the "Dvorak" keyboard), but it never caught on

My junk drawer memory has that it was very easy to convert to Dvorak and almost impossible to convert back to qwerty. This, of course, discouraged anyone from converting in the first place.


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Re: optical isomerism. There are naturally occurring organic compounds which may have only right or left optical handedness. Synthesis of such compounds usually yields a mixture or dextro- and levo- rotatory molecules, which it may be possible to separate. At least that is the way it was sixty years ago. I am sceptical of a plot based as above.


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Thalidomide is probably the most well known of these compounds. It exists in a right-handed (R) form and a left-handed (S) form. The currently accepted theory is that the S form is responsible for the therapeutic benefits (of which there are many) and the R form responsible for the side effects (including the birth defects for which the drug is most widely known). Naturally, thalidomide occurs as a combination of the two (a racemic mix), but can be separated. However, if a pure R form (for example) is created, over time it becomes a racemic mix (especially in the acid environment of the human stomach. Synthetic versions are being created which do not allow this interconversion to occur.

And that's the biology lesson for today, folks. As for that organic poison, did you really expect me to stay on topic?


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There are naturally occurring organic compounds which may have only right or left optical handedness ...

My information is that each of the amino acids (except the simplest one) exists in two such forms, and that when multiple amino acid chain together to form a protein, the links the acids stable only if all the acids are the same form -- one or the other. As a result, life -- on earth, anyway -- uses only one form, which is the one we happen to call the L-form.
PS: In those few meteorites in which amino acids have been found, they are split roughly 50-50 between the two form. At least as of my the date of my source, from the 1970's.

But does this have anything to do with why most people are either right- or left-handed, or why the righthandedness is far more common?




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Keiva, of course we know why righthandedness is more common. Because God is righthanded. How do we know? Look at the picture on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. He's reaching out to Adam with his right forefinger.


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righthandedness is more common because God is righthanded. How do we know? Look at the picture on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. He's reaching out to Adam with his (God's) right forefinger.

Witty -- but on that basis we'd have to conclude that mankind is lefthanded, because Michangelo's painting shows Adam touching God with his (Adam's) left hand. We might not trust Michaelangelo, however, for he also thought that Jews have horns on their heads (as appear on his statue of Moses).

(PS as to the latter: My understanding is that the Bible says that when Moses brought the Ten Commandments down from the mountain, rays of light were shining from his head. The Aramaic word for rays of light (halo) is "kerinim", and it has alternative meaning, "horns". When the Bible was first translated from Aramaic into Latin, the word was mis-translated as "horns" -- leading to the medieval belief that Jews have horns.)

EDIT upon checking the picture: on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. He's reaching out to Adam with his (God's) right forefinger, and His left arm proctively shelters a young woman (the future Eve?). Checking further, I found that in madonna and child paintings, the baby is almost always cradled in the left arm. Could it be that the right is active because the left (where the heart lies) (1) is the vulnerable side, needing protection, and (2) comforts the babe with the rhythm of the heartbeat? How does that square with the experience of any lefties in our group who have raised babes?




#36000 08/21/01 02:38 PM
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Left-handed scissors (the good kind) are hard to find. My daughter's a leftie, and her first grade teacher was constantly chewing me out for my daughter's tendency to take rightie scissors in her left hand and cut toward herself. But she just refused to use those ridiculous kindergarten left-handed scissors. She does mouse right-handed, though.

As for potato peelers, I believe most of them are symmetrical... when new. I always thought I should find a left-handed person to trade with, so the blades wear out evenly. <G>


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Re Checking further, I found that in madonna and child paintings, the baby is almost always cradled in the left arm. Could it be that the right is active because the left (where the heart lies) (1) is the vulnerable side, needing protection, and (2) comforts the babe with the rhythm of the heartbeat? How does that square with the experience of any lefties in our group who have raised babes?

Most women find that babies are quieter when cradled in the left arm, and yes the thought is it's easier for the infant to hear the mothers hear beat. i suspect lefties have a harder time of it, since there stronger hand is engaged hold the baby, and not free for other tasks.


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