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#35942 07/20/01 10:31 AM
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Ok. I gamely swallowed dexterous as yesterday's WAD. As a proud southpaw, I figured I could take a little perpetuation of the old myths and stereotypes that have served to hold us back. Then today I awake to ambisinister.* This is carrying things too far! Anu, how gauche! pmf®

Lefties of the world, unite! er... who else is left-handed out there?

-----
*Ænigma wants [ambition]]


the is firmly in cheek


#35943 07/20/01 11:09 AM
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#35944 07/20/01 11:34 AM
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Dieu et mon gauche!

How adroit of you!


#35945 07/20/01 03:20 PM
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Lefties of the world, unite! er... who else is left-handed out there?

i'll happily admit to it, provided you post the query over in Animal Safari, where it belongs. [d.h. e]





#35946 07/22/01 08:37 PM
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another right-thinkin' individuhul, am I too, E, so ferget them as was left behind in all this creativituh


#35947 07/26/01 08:31 AM
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I'm left-handed, but my right hand is forced to operate a mouse, change gear while driving, bow my cello, strum my guitar, use right-handed scissors etc. So am I still left-handed? Only barely.


#35948 07/26/01 01:32 PM
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Dear BY: Do you have left handed hammers, monkey wrenches, and saws?


#35949 07/26/01 03:39 PM
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BY, what's to prevent you from stringing your cello the other way (if it would help) and bowing with your left hand? I believe I've seen a cellist do just that.


#35950 07/26/01 04:02 PM
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stringing your cello the other way

But, as with most string instruments, the fretting hand requires at least as much agility as the other one. So why is the standard method of playing considered right-handed?


#35951 07/26/01 04:29 PM
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If the strings on a cello were reversed, because the tension on the strings is different, and some of the internal structures are not symmetrical, the tone of the instrument might be degraded. Also the nut at the top of the keyboard is asymetrical, and would have to be changed.


#35952 07/26/01 04:38 PM
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It seems from Dr. Bill's response that you need to be fretting more about the nut above the keyboard (or behind the cello?)


#35953 07/26/01 04:45 PM
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On restringing a stringed instrument. If what Dr. Bill says is true (as I'm sure it is) about the structure of a cello, I would worry more about warping or even cracking the instrument than degrading the tone. If a piano is left untuned for a very long period, you can't get it back into tune at one retuning because you will put too much tension on structures which have adapted themselves to new conditions and aren't flexible enough to take the pressure of the strings at the correct tension. It has to be done in small increments over months and it may be impossible to ever get it back in tune. My mother was greatly put out when I declined to take her piano when she moved into a retirement community; it hadn't been tuned for 20 years and would have been a white elephant to me.


#35954 07/26/01 08:18 PM
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#35955 07/26/01 11:25 PM
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Max,
I thought everything was already counter-clockwise where you live? No wait, it's the other way around....


#35956 07/27/01 05:25 AM
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Wednesday's Webshots Word of the Day was:

Ambilevous: \am_bi_LE_vus\, n: 1. Left-handed on both sides; clumsy.

Potential surgeons who are ambilevous should really consider another occupation!



Do we really need two words for this?

Bingley


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#35957 07/27/01 10:29 AM
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Faldage writes: the fretting hand requires at least as much agility as the other one.

True, but the right hand requires more strength. It's kind of like the knife and fork business: once you learn it one way it doesn't make much difference - nonetheless, stringed instruments are always bowed, plucked or strummed with the right hand, indicating that favouritism by early players and/or craftsmen.

BYB suggests: stringing the cello the other way

Then I'll have to become a soloist, because I'm going to look pretty silly in the second row of the orchestra with my left arm going up against dozens of right arms. To be blunt though, I wouldn't be able to play.
I know McCartney was one of the first to string his guitar round the left-handed way. Since then many have followed in his footsteps (e.g. Kurt Cobain). As far as I know, celli (or cellos) are made completely symmetrically, which means there wouldn't be a problem with stringing one round the other way. So long as you have a fresh instrument the tone should be okay.

Max demands: Get yourself a pair of left-handed scissors, BY.

You know I should, but then again, I never have/find those utensils when I needs them. One that's worth buying is a left-handed potato peeler. I must say, I have noticed a positive increase in the amount of bi-handed kitchen instruments lately - so things seem to be getting a little better. [clicking 'Continue' with my right index finger]




#35958 07/27/01 11:22 AM
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Do we really need two words for this?

Indeed, Bingley! (harrumph®)

Meanwhile, what is the etymology of 'ambilevous'?


#35959 07/27/01 12:31 PM
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Do we really need two words for this?

Indeed. Let's vote. We'll send the results to James Murray.


#35960 07/27/01 12:46 PM
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>We'll send the results to James Murray.

he also is still dead.
[sotto voce] madman...

etymology:
f. L. amb(i)- both + læv-us left + -ous.]
As it were, left-handed on both sides; the opposite of ambidexter. rare
1646 Sir T. Browne Pseud. Ep. 191 Againe, some are+Ambilevous or left handed on both sides. 1879 Syd. Soc. Lex., Ambilævous, Having left hands only; that is, clumsy.


ed. note: pay no attention to the odd spelling.


as to having two(2) words, we have no one to blame except those old Latins:

[f. L. amb(i)- both + sinister left + -ous.]
= ambilævous.
1863 W. P. Lennox Biog. Remin. I. 63 In wedlock, he [Prince of Wales]+was certainly more than ambi-sinistrous.


ed. note: if it comes to a vote, wouldn't the latter win hands down from that citation?!

#35961 07/27/01 02:05 PM
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What's the *fundamental difference between sinister and lævus? Where's Cicero when you need him?


#35962 07/27/01 02:10 PM
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>What's the *fundamental difference between sinister and lævus?

perhaps sinister came to have a more... well... *sinister connotation, and they needed something more neutral.


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yeahbut. Where d'you find the left-handed potatoes?


#35964 07/27/01 03:38 PM
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I am interested in left handed tools as a part of the interest of making thing for the users and not viceversa.
So , if you buy left handed scissors as a gift for a left handed friend, you are in fact adding in your culture and society a small seed of tolerance and respect for people as they are - and not as they "should" be.

And I would like to do this for my friends , but I have no idea about where to find them. Can anyone help me ?


#35965 07/27/01 04:02 PM
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http://www.thelefthand.com/ is one example.

http://inex.itas.net/lefthanded/shop/home.asp is another.

A quick google on something like "left-handed tools" will surely throw out lots of good suggestions.

#35966 07/29/01 03:19 AM
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Then, of course, there's the expression two left hands meaning clumsy...shouldn't a left-hander say "I've got two right hands?

BY says bi-handed

Us USn's are more apt to use one of those phrases from baseball, switch-hitter, for this. Which also brings us to the term (and big YART) southpaw which is entitled to a token appearance on this thread.

Fret discussions have me down right now, as I injured my fret hand at work and am unable to play the guitar properly...and it may not be temporary. I may have to relearn to play McCartney style...left-handed! Guess that'd be a chore after all these years...


#35967 07/29/01 01:57 PM
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Down in Maine, they used to have an expression for chronically tardy people: they had three hands. The third was a little behind hand.


#35968 07/29/01 07:11 PM
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There is a "symbiotic" reason for strings to be thicker for lower tunings. A thicker string provides more surface area and therefore more raw sound (presence) as needed for a listener to hear tones as the same "volume" (even thought they are not). A thicker string also povides the necessary physics to compensate for the different tension that would be required to apply to strings to achieve different notes... usually more tension for a higher note... yet a thinner string requires less tension to achieve that note... so the tension across strings/bridges are (theoretically) equal. As for reality...well...

In countries that drive on the (left) opposite side of the raod as USn's do (on the right) are the operation pedals arranged opposite as well... making then from right to left... clutch-brake-gas? Are all cars alike. Where's our Ruby?


#35969 07/29/01 07:58 PM
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BY says bi-handed

Us USn's are more apt to use one of those phrases from baseball, switch-hitter, for this.

Hmmmm. These days, if somebody tells me that someone is a switch-hitter, and we are not speaking of baseball, I'm likely to understand that the person is bi, but having nothing to do with manual dexterity.


#35970 07/29/01 08:01 PM
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"There is a "symbiotic" reason for strings to be thicker for lower tunings. A thicker string provides more
surface area and therefore more raw sound (presence) as needed for a listener to hear tones as the
same "volume" (even thought they are not). A thicker string also povides the necessary physics to
compensate for the different tension that would be required to apply to strings to achieve different
notes... usually more tension for a higher note... yet a thinner string requires less tension to achieve
that note... so the tension across strings/bridges are (theoretically) equal. As for reality...well."..

Dear musick: with fear and trembling consciousness of my ignorance of music, may I observe that it is not only the diameter of the low pitched strings that is important. The lower pitched strings are usually wound with fine metal wire to increase their mass per unit length. The diameter is only one factor in determing pitch.


#35971 07/29/01 08:17 PM
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I thought there might be an etymological connection between "left" and "levo", but my dictionary does not confirm this.I think a better dictionary might.
eft1 7left8
adj.
5ME (Kentish) var. of lift < OE lyft, weak, akin to EFris luf, weak6
1 a) designating or of that side of one‘s body which is toward the west when one faces north, the side of the less-used hand in most people b) designating or of the corresponding side of anything c) closer to the left side of a person directly before and facing the thing mentioned or understood !the top left drawer of a desk"
2 of the side or bank of a river on the left of a person facing downstream
3 of the political left; liberal or radical

It is also interesting that in science matters, I have never seen "sinister" used, always "levo"


#35972 07/29/01 08:27 PM
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wwh - Yes! I alluded to "mass" by saying that thickness provides the (opportunity for) "necessary physics"... Thanks for the clarification for all!


#35973 07/29/01 09:06 PM
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musick asks: In countries that drive on the (left) opposite side of the raod as USn's do (on the right) are the operation pedals arranged opposite as well... making then from right to left... clutch-brake-gas? Are all cars alike?


http://www.travel-library.com/general/driving/drive_which_side.html

I've had this bookmarked forever, hoping it would be useful some day. Thanks, Keven.


#35974 07/29/01 09:38 PM
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Thank YOU for the link!

I'll think of you, now, every time I turn on the wipers at the same time I signal to turn left.

I'm sure not 'owning' a car has something to do with this...


#35975 07/30/01 12:44 AM
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I'm likely to understand the person as bi, but having nothing to do with manual dexterity

Right you are, Sparteye! That is, of course, the foremost connotation, nowadays. I just didn't think it's mention fit the thread. However, without some sort of, ahem, "manual dexterity" it would all be pretty irrelevant and boring, wouldn't it?


#35976 07/30/01 03:10 AM
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>I thought there might be an etymological connection between "left" and "levo", but my dictionary does not confirm this.I think a better dictionary might.

as quoted above f. L. amb(i)- both + læv-us left + -ous.]

so when ya gonna pop for that better dictionary, bill?


#35977 07/30/01 07:50 AM
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Not to forget the T-shirt with the slogan "Lefties have Rights Too".

Most Computer Mice, are symettrical, and even some of the fancy ones are sold in left hand versions. The buttons can be logically swapped if you so desire. Getting the scroll bars on the left of screens is more difficult, but with the new scrolling wheels on mice, that is not so much a problem.

Some left-handed guitarists have been known to play a right-handed guitar in a left-handed fashion (can't remember the famous example), but it gives a whole new sound from the direction of strike and some chord finguring differences.

But there is definitely an anti-lefty bias in words like sinister, cack-handed, and the like. Another minefield to avoid (if you have a feisty lefty sister-in-law like I have)

Rod



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AnnaS; I too have had that link bookmarked for some time. Fascinating information on how the sides for driving were chosen.

My brother-in-law has a 1928 Crossley, the Gentelman's Sports model in which the only sporting thing about it is that the back of the bench front seat folds down to make a double bed. A magnificent vehicle, but requires great care in driving because the pedals are not in the standard configuration of A-B-C but (I think) A-C-B.

And on the left-right etymology, it's quite simple (with apologies to lefties); the right hand is the one you write with and the left is the one left over.

Rod


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Subject: Re: lefthanded potato peelers

yeahbut. Where d'you find the left-handed potatoes?


ROFL! mav, you slay me....
_________________________

and in regard to the mouse issue, i've always found it quite convenient to use my right hand; mousing certainly doesn't require any tremendous amount of agility, so this 'inconvenience' actually frees up my *good hand for writing and other tasks.




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Glad to see you back, caradea, and to hear you have both hands full


#35981 08/12/01 02:28 PM
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How did "handedness" evolve? What natural-selection advantage is there to having one hand more agile that the other -- and why is it typically the right hand?



#35982 08/12/01 04:32 PM
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i dunno-- but even molocules exhibit 'hand" ness with most, but not all twisting or turning in a single direction.. so it not just living thing.. we really live in a right hand universe..


#35983 08/12/01 06:20 PM
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How did "handedness" evolve?
Unsure if my above question was contrary to AWAD etiquette, as not really being a linguistic question. If improper, please advise.


#35984 08/12/01 10:20 PM
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How did right-handedness come to be the most common condition? A previous post stated ( though citation not given) that God was right-handed So it figures that Adam was right handed. Maybe Eve too. Unless the rib used to create her was from Adam's left side.. I remember somewhere in the Bible the statement that the "righteous" would in heaven "sit on the right hand of God." There must be a big empty space on His left hand, since the unrighteous do not get past the Pearly Gates..( I do not mean to suggest that no lefties were allowed on His right side. The Bible didn't discuss that, as far as I recall.)

Psalms 110:1 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand

I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness ….
For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. (Isaiah 41:10, 18)



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#35986 08/13/01 08:11 AM
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> The dextral world is built on sinistral cells. That's right. Nice one Max

> There must be a big empty space on His left hand

But Bill, surely you've heard of the Holy Trinity. The (albeit abstract) place to the left of The Father is reserved for 'the Holy Ghost' or 'the Spirit' - at least that's how I always thought of it.


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place to the left of The Father is reserved for 'the Holy Ghost' or 'the Spirit'

... so proving He must be left handed - cheers!


#35988 08/13/01 12:42 PM
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In reply to:

I thought there might be an etymological connection between "left" and "levo", but my dictionary does not confirm this.I think a better dictionary might.




I would guess you are correct- Levo is "left" in Slovene. Slovenija is a Slavic nation which was once deep in the Roman Empire (the upper right-hand corner of Italy including Trieste (Trst) was a part of Slovenija until the mid 20th century), and a living etymological museum. The Latin "sum" lives on as "sem", in some dialects even closer, the ancient "we two", lost in every other Indo-European language, is still in daily use, etc. As you move further away from the center of the Roman world, the sound shifts and such get busy, "levo" is already "ljevo" in neighboring Croatia.

The question of word origins is unfortunately often politically tainted, but linguists should at least be able to suggest the idea of a common origin without raising too many hackles. (Good luck! )

Just googled this one, and no surprise-

Destrer, Dextrer
[OF. destrier, fr. L. dextra on the right side. The squire led his master's horse beside him, on his right hand. Skeat.]

Slovene- desno, right, right-hand side, etc.

Dex- Des is hardly a far-fetched sound shift, but I can't think of any examples in English. Anyone?

-CB

PS. If you're into European traveling, languages, cultures that have retained their language against all odds, and nice people, not to mention good drinking, Slovenija is up there with Ireland and Wales.














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I read yesterday that the keyboard we use highly favors the left-handed among us. Not only does the left hand do 56 percent of the typing, but the right hand's most dominant fingers are left on the infrequent J and K keys. I realize this doesn't even the scales, but it is interesting. Wonder if any studies indicate quicker typing from the Sinistrous.


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> left hand... 56 percent

and think how skewed it would be if the right thumb didn't type all of those spaces!


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Brandon notes: the keyboard we use highly favors the left-handed among us

Way I heard it, 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.

Jammin' them keys.


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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.)






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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.



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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?




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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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lefties have a harder time of it, since their stronger hand is engaged hold the baby, and not free for other tasks.

Thus giving right-handedness an evolutionary advantage?


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...or, by the number of babies dropped from the weaker hand, giving an advantage to...?


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"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. "

I've never understood why the dominant hand would be stronger. I'm right handed, and because of that my left arm is stronger. I carry things in my left arm (including babies) to keep my right hand free to "do stuff." As for heartbeats, my kids seemed to prefer smack in the middle of my chest.

(btw, how do you get the quote you're replying to to show up in a different color?)


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I vote with Helen O'T -- sounds sensible to me.

And just now picked up an (unverfied) tidbit reinforcing her suggestion that handedness might relate to traditional child-rearing roles. I'm told that of all ethnic groups, lefthandedness is most common among Ashkenazi jewish men, but that Ashkenazi jewish women are no-more-often lefthanded than the general population.


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i sent you a private note-- but you should also check the FAQ and the Information category for the thread for new comer's and beginners.. it has all the information you'll ever need or want about searching awad thread, finding on line dictionaries, and lots more..

we keep bumping it back to page 1-- and i will again right now if its not there already.


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>lefthandedness is most common among Ashkenazi jewish men

Very interesting. Could this be because A.j. men would historically write Yiddish and/or Hebrew, both of which are written right to left and therefore more conveniently with the left hand?


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Which would also apply to most Muslim cultures since Arabic is also written right to left, but they have a very strong taboo against using the left hand in public, adding to the horrors of amputation of the hand for stealing.

Bingley


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>lefthandedness is most common among Ashkenazi jewish men

Very interesting. Could this be because A.j. men would historically write Yiddish and/or Hebrew, both
of which are written right to left and therefore more conveniently with the left hand?

Dear Bobyoungbalt: Do you then believe Lysenko was right?


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Finley Peter Dunne iscredited with coining the expression "southpaw" when writing about left handed pitchers, because a left-hander's throwing arm was on his south side as he pitched in the White Stockings' stadium.


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Didn't we hear from tsuwm (was it?) that the expression was first used for a left handed boxer? Didn't make sense to me then nor does it now, but there it is. But thanks for the name to add to the search, Dr. Bill.


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If indeed it was a boxing term, Mr. Dunne, as a sports writer, would have had ample opportunity to have heard it and to introduce it to the world of base ball. It seems to have a fair spread of meanings in boxing, at least according to this site: http://www.hedbergska.sundsvall.se/roger/finalD.htm

Don't be discouraged by the large blank screen. Scroll down to 3.4. The boxer.




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Dear Faldage: before I made that post, I re-read all the previous posts, and just now searched all forums, and found no mention of tsuwm's posting about southpaws. I can't see any logic to OED talking about a southpaw boxer. Finley Peter Dunne started as a sportwriter at age 16. which would have been before 1900. The layout of the ballfield involved provides logic to the term. I like logic, and this is one more reason for me to say bad-word the OED/


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I *did say that the base ball origin made more sense to me but I have, apparently, more respect for Sir James's modest collection than you do.

de gustibus non carborundum est


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Regrettably we will be unable to stage a debate between Finley Peter Dunne and Sir Boyle Roche. But I would enjoy separating you from your cash support of Sir Boyle. That would require a virtuoso performance on the Ouija board.


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>found no mention of tsuwm's posting about southpaws.

well, here it is (fwiw); switch to flat mode to follow the whole prehashed topic. [yapt alert]

http://wordsmith.org/board/showthreaded.pl?Cat=&Board=words&Number=3738


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You guys tempt me to take the name of the Lord in vain (which still reminds me of wehen) I thought going back six months was far enough. That quote was over a year old, six months before I joined, you pair of elephants. (alleged possessors of phenomenal long term recollection of affronts)


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