Saturday, March 25, 2017

Left-Handed People

Approximately 10 - 12% of the people on Earth are left-handed and some 30 million of them live in the United States.

 The right half of the brain controls the left half of the body. Thus, left-handers are wired into the artistic half of the brain, which makes them imaginative, creative, ambiguous, exasperating, stubborn, emotional, obsessive and original.

Ultrasounds of the womb show that 90% of babies appear to favor the right thumb, which corresponds to the global population of right-handed versus left-handed. When placed on their tummies, right-handed babies tend to turn their heads to the right, while left-handed babies usually turn to the left or not at all.

There have been several recent U.S. presidents who are left-handed.

  • Barack Obama
  • Bill Clinton
  • George H.W. Bush
  • Ronald Reagan
  • Gerald Ford
  • Harry Truman

Left-handed royalty:

  • Queen Elizabeth II
  • Queen Mother
  • Prince Charles
  • Prince William

Left-handers have interesting traits:

  • If a left-hander injures their dominant hand, they have an easier time adapting to the use of the other hand than a right-hander would.

  • More likely to pursue creative careers

  • More efficient multi-taskers because the connections between the left side of the brain and the right side are faster making it easier to be more efficient

  • Left-handed college graduates go on to become 26% wealthier that right-handers

  • Since the right side of the brain has a lower tolerance to alcohol, they are three times likely to become alcoholics

  • Twice as likely to be a man -- women are 4% more likely to be right-handed

  • Reach puberty 4 to 5 months later than right-handers

  • More likely to have allergies & migraines

  • More likely to be insomniacs & suffer dyslexia or stuttering

  • Those with autism are more likely to be left-handed

  • More likely to be on extreme ends of an intelligence test -- there are more left-handers than right-handers with an IQ above 140 and 20% of Mensa members are left-handed

  • Recover from strokes faster

  • Able to adjust to seeing underwater quicker

  • Process emotions differently than right-handers -- more susceptible to anger and negative emotions

  • On a QWERTY keyboard, there are 1447 English words typed solely with the left hand, compared to 187 with the right hand

  • May die as many as 9 years earlier than right-handers

  • Twice as common in twins versus the general population

  • One of four Apollo astronauts are left-handed

  • Mothers who are over 40 at the time of a child's birth are 128% more likely to have a left-handed baby than a woman in her 20s

  • Premature babies are more likely to be left-handed

  • Stressed mothers are more likely to have a left-handed child

  • Reach sexual maturity later than right-handed

  • Sinistrophobia is the fear of left-handedness

  • August 13 is International Left-Handers Day

Treatment of left-handed people by nationality or religion:

  • In Latin, the word for left is "sinister" which means clumsy on both sides

  • In German, the word for left-handed is "linkisch" which means clumsy or awkward

  • In Russian, the word for left-handed is "levia" which is a term of insult

  • In Italian, the word for left-handed is "mancino" which usually means dishonest

  • In Scotland, "you must have been baptized by a left-handed priest" is a saying used to describe an unlucky person

  • Among the Inuit Eskimos, every left-handed person is considered to be a potential sorcerer

  • The Incas believed left-handers possessed magical powers and were capable of healing

  • The North American Zuni tribe believed being left-handed brought about good luck

  • During the Spanish Inquisition, left-handers were more likely to be tortured

  • In medieval Europe, witchcraft texts proclaimed that the left-hand was used to curse or harm another person -- to bring about a curse, witches were instructed to silently touch the recipient with the left hand, which would impose the curse -- the devil supposedly gives a benediction or a baptism with the left hand, as opposed to the Christian church which performs right-handed blessings

  • Medieval Jewish philosopher, Maimonides (1135 - 1204), listed 100 faults a Jewish priest was not allow to have -- being left-handed was one of them

  • In many Islamic countries, people are forbidden to eat with their left hand, which is considered to be unclean

  • In Christian and Jewish tradition, all benedictions must be made with the right hand -- for Catholics and others, the priest must present the communion wafer with the right hand and the recipient accepts it with the right hand

  • In the Talmud, the Prince of Demons is named Samael, which is associated with the left side. The angel Michael sits on God's right side and Samael sits on God's left side. The implication is that right is good and left is evil

Being left-handed has been called by many names:

  • southpaw
  • sinistromanuality
  • mancinism
  • gibble-fisted
  • cackhandedness
  • skivvy-handed
  • ballock-handed
  • scrummy-handed
  • cunny-handed
  • gibble-fisted
  • kaggy-fisted
  • cawk-fisted

Famous left-handers:

  • Albert Einstein
  • Isaac Newton
  • Leonardo Da Vinci
  • Aristotle
  • Michelangelo
  • Charles Darwin
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Angelina Jolie
  • Judy Garland
  • Robert De Niro
  • Winston Churchill
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Alexander the great
  • Charlie Chaplin
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Julia Roberts
  • Whoopi Goldberg
  • David Bowie
  • Marie Curie
  • Neil Armstrong
  • Jack the Ripper
  • Boston Strangler

Quote for the Day -- "I restore myself when I'm alone." Marilyn Monroe

Bret Burquest is the author of 11 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a few dogs and where life is series of dogs.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Width of a Horse's Ass

 Over two thousand years ago, the Imperial Roman Empire attempted to conquer the world. They built the first long-distant roads in Europe (and England) for their army to access the new lands. These roads have been used ever since.

The standard Roman war chariots were initially created just wide enough to accommodate the rear ends of two war horses. These Roman chariots formed the initial ruts in these newly-formed roads.

Those who utilized the roads thereafter spaced their wheels to prevent the wagon wheels from being damaged on the ruts. The distance between the ruts was 4 feet & 8.5 inches. Thus, all future wagons in Europe (and England) were built to match the ruts in all of the roads. If they were built with different wheel spacing, wagon wheels would be subject to damage or being broken.

When the British created the pre-railroad tramways, they used the same gauge -- 4 feet & 8.5 inches between wheels, because those who built the tramways utilized the same jigs and tools they used for building horse-drawn wagons -- thus, same wheel spacing.

When the British built their first railroad tracks, they used the same gauge -- 4 feet & 8.5 inches -- still in use today.

When the Unites States created the U.S. railroad system, the U.S. standard railroad gauge was 4 feet & 8.5 inches.

Time Marches on -- the more things change, the more they stay the same.

The Morton-Thiokol Company manufactured the solid rocket boosters (SRBs) at their factory in Utah. The engineers who designed the SRBs preferred to make them larger (wider) but were constrained by the US railroad gauge of 4 feet & 8.5 inches because the railroad line from the factory runs through a tunnel in a mountain. Since the SRBs had to fit within the tunnel, the engineers deigned them to a smaller size.

In January of 1986, the space shuttle Challenger ended in tragedy and the death of 7 crew members, attributed to a solid-fueled Thiokol rocket booster.

In 1989, Morton & Thiokol split -- the chemical division went with Morton and the propulsion division went with Thiokol, Inc.

In 1998, Thiokol changes its company name to Cordant Technologies.

It's ironic how much impact being a horse's ass can make on the world. And in human history, there have always been more horse's asses than horses.

Quote for the Day -- “He's of the colour of the nutmeg. And of the heat of the ginger.... he is pure air and fire; and the dull elements of earth and water never appear in him, but only in patient stillness while his rider mounts him; he is indeed a horse, and all other jades you may call beasts.” William Shakespeare

Bret Burquest is the author of 11 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a few dogs and has a driveway of two worn ruts in the earth, wide enough for a standard automobile, leading out to a dirt county road, wide enough for about 11 horse's asses.