Tuesday, 1 May 2012

...A Possible Reason for Left Handedness.

We all know that being left handed is a rare thing. Its a statistic that most people know: 1 in 10 are left handed. Its also not exclusive and right handed people do things left handedly (I shoot left in hockey and eat left handed). But why does it even exist in the first place? It seems the world should have half it's population as left handed or none at all. Early tools weren't specific in what hand you needed to use them with so there's no need for a difference in handedness to develop. But a new study out of Northwestern University suggests its a competitive trait.

August 13th is Ned Flander's favourite day.
One of the only things where being left handed is an advantage is in sports. In a sport such as golf of bowling being a southpaw has no advantage, but a left handed pitcher will do better against right handed batters in baseball. In fencing the ratio of left handers is 1 in 5, double what the national average is. Same is true for boxing. A left handed boxer has an advantage over a righty and looking back over the history of man we did a lot of fighting (with hands and swords). Its this persistent competitive nature that we have that seems to keep it around.

Another advantage.
Being left handed was seen as a curse and as a sign of the devil for most of human history. That sort of thinking sounds absurd but we really only just stopped thinking being left handed was bad for you. Just ask your parents if their mom or dad ever gave them a smack for using their left hand. The word sinister comes from the Latin word for left and the word left in other languages follows suit. Gauche (French for left) also means clumsy, the Russian equivalent means unauthorized and is slang for committing adultery, we even say 'two left feet' when we can't dance.

Must have been left handed.
A lot of tools and materials can be used with either hand (corkscrew, hammer, or tweezers), but leftys still get the shaft most of the time. Watches, guitars, and video game controllers are all built for right handed people. You can get left handed versions of these items but they are rarer to find and custom orders come at great expense. Left handed military personnel have it tough as their machine guns eject super heated casings to the right, away from the face forcing left handers to use their less dominant hand. Not really a good thing when your life is at stake. But like anything they just cope with it until it doesn't seem like a problem at all.
Left or right....it doesn't matter.
And that is what I learned today.

-How our skin is waterproof.

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