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Speaker: You, Me and the DHB: Your Tax Dollars at Work

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  • Paul Brislen,

    Erm, excuse my ignorance (many do, including me) but how are lift buttons handed at all... aren't they just, well, buttons?

    My mother in law is a lefty and reports on being forced to write right handed at school, and having a tennis racquet strapped to her wrong hand presumably in an effort to wipe out the evil that is wrong-handedness.

    I myself am cack-handed, as my grandmother put it. Using my knife in my left hand and fork in the right at dinner. She had a real thing about it, as I recall, pointing it out for all to see. Odd.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    I always thought that "reduced appreciation of differences in colour' was just part of the condition that is being a heterosexual male?

    Scarlet, crimson, cerise and vermillion are all just red to me.

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 889 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Erm, excuse my ignorance (many do, including me) but how are lift buttons handed at all... aren't they just, well, buttons?

    Cos lift buttons tend to be located to the right of the doors so if you're left-handed you have to reach across your body and swivel to the right to push a button, whereas a right-handed person just sticks their arm out.

    Hi! I'm left-handed too!

    ATMs annoy me. Everything is located on the right. Everything makes me reach across from the left to the right.

    It's strange cos left-handedness isn't quite a disability, it's more that the world is right-handed so things are just that little bit harder. Perhaps it does breed fighters.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Cos lift buttons tend to be located to the right of the doors so if you're left-handed you have to reach across your body and swivel to the right to push a button, whereas a right-handed person just sticks their arm out.

    The lift buttons on my building are on the left-hand side. We're very subversive.

    Can't you just reach with your right hand? Do lift buttons require dominant hand dexterity?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I always thought that "reduced appreciation of differences in colour' was just part of the condition that is being a heterosexual male?

    Scarlet, crimson, cerise and vermillion are all just red to me.

    I have this theory that men see in EGA. This handily eliminates all those colours that my partner swears are actually foods. Salmon, peach, apricot...

    Cos lift buttons tend to be located to the right of the doors so if you're left-handed you have to reach across your body and swivel to the right to push a button, whereas a right-handed person just sticks their arm out.

    Indeed. As all the light switches in our house are positioned so that, if you're walking through the door into a room, the switch is on your right. Bollocks aside, it's not really a problem unless you're carrying an armload of stuff.

    My mother in law is a lefty and reports on being forced to write right handed at school, and having a tennis racquet strapped to her wrong hand presumably in an effort to wipe out the evil that is wrong-handedness.

    A tennis racket? Dude. That's bizarre. My dad just got hit. By my schooldays, we were enlightened enough to just make the lefties sit on the ends of the rows.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Kim Wilson,

    One advantage I've noticed in being a computer using lefty is that mice/mouses are (generally) on the right hand side, leaving my writing hand free to do the writing thing.

    Nth Canty • Since Dec 2006 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    something near to 8% of the male population are colour blind in some form - it's probably vaguely close to the proportion who are lefthanded

    Most are red-green colour blind of course and learn that the top light is red and the bottom green - but lots of other things cause problems - years ago working as a chip designer one of my workmates complained he couldn't use the simulation tools we used because they showed good signals in green and bad in red (this is traditional in this biz) - which makes you think how could someone (or a whole industry) make products that don't work for 10% of their clients - the simple ability to customise the UI colours is all people need

    I guess like lefthandedness it's something that we all ignore because it doesn't affect us

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    One advantage I've noticed in being a computer using lefty is that mice/mouses are (generally) on the right hand side, leaving my writing hand free to do the writing thing.

    The one that gets me, where we end up better off than right-handeds because of a conventional arrangement, is 'fork to the left'. If there's no knife involved with the meal, I can just pick up the fork and eat. Everyone else at the table has to switch hands.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    Kittens are biofuel - love it Emma!


    On lefties - my little joke as a baggy in the Army was on an official display hand my rifle over to various VIPs to fire (right handed) and they had some very hot bullet casing smack them in the face. Giggled like the devious baggy I was.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    Also, some scissors and can openers, especially cheap ones, are just crap in general and aren't all that easy or comfortable even for us righties....

    So while your specialist lefty tools are ridiculously over-priced.... at least some of it is probably in the quality.... An equivalent quality righty tool would probably not be found in the $2 shop, or even for $5 at the supermarket?

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 889 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall,

    I'm a "sinister" leftie as well. I also write left-handed, too (b-dum-tish!, thangew, thangew...).

    Back in 1981, my Form 2 teacher tried to get me to have a go at writing right-handed, in an attempt to improve my already messy, somewhat illegible, hand-writing. It lasted about a week, then I just went back to being a leftie.

    I generally don't find any inconveniences to being left-handed. I suspect I may in fact, technically-speaking, be ambidextrous. I write left-handed, but hold a spoon in my right hand, for example. Sports buffs may also wish to know that Richard Hadlee bowled right-handed, but batted with his left.

    I also recall seeing a shop specialising in left-handed goods (including, presumably, can-openers ;) ) in Bath, England, 10 years ago. I expect it was more successful than Ned Flanders' left-handed shop as per an episode of The Simpsons a while back.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 760 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Indeed. As all the light switches in our house are positioned so that, if you're walking through the door into a room, the switch is on your right.

    But more convenient for a left-hander when leaving the room and turning the light off?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    Very nice post, Emma...

    Do you know if there's any correlation between left-handedness and increased co-ordination? At one stage I seem to recall seeing that the top target-shooters in the world were all lefties. My Jennifer (a lefty) is lethal with a rifle, causing any observers to comment that they wouldn't want their spouse to be quite such a good shot.

    On the colour-blindness thing, I did a few electrical eng. papers in my degree. This had a practical component in the high-voltage laboratory and I was partnered with a colour-blind bloke. He was quite nervous wiring things up, because he reckoned it was easy for him to get the red and green wires confused. Red in this case being 450 volts different from green.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    So while your specialist lefty tools are ridiculously over-priced.... at least some of it is probably in the quality.... An equivalent quality righty tool would probably not be found in the $2 shop, or even for $5 at the supermarket?

    I can't attest to the quality of the scissors, not having bought them. But good dressmaking and hair scissors are always expensive. But the can opener, which has un-rounded hard hollow plastic handles, was about twice the price of a right-handed equivalent.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Samuel Scott,

    i was told by my eye doctor at the age of 4 that i would never be able to fly a plane. For some reason as a young child I thought that was really great. I was honestly overjoyed that I was special enough to not be a pilot, where as all the other 20/20 visioners at kindy were doomed to life of international travel at the helm of a DC10.

    South Wellington • Since Feb 2008 • 315 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Do you know if there's any correlation between left-handedness and increased co-ordination? At one stage I seem to recall seeing that the top target-shooters in the world were all lefties. My Jennifer (a lefty) is lethal with a rifle, causing any observers to comment that they wouldn't want their spouse to be quite such a good shot.

    Not that I've run across in my reading. At the other end of the spectrum, I'm a really terrifyingly terrible shot myself. But left-handed batsmen look more elegant than right-handeds. She ever come at you with a cricket bat?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Smart,

    On lefties - my little joke as a baggy in the Army was on an official display hand my rifle over to various VIPs to fire (right handed) and they had some very hot bullet casing smack them in the face. Giggled like the devious baggy I was.

    I think the issue here is the strength of the eye not the hand.
    I am right handed and left eyed so I aim with my left eye. (hold a gun to my left shoulder)
    To find out which is the strongest eye look through both eyes at your forefinger and place the forefinger in front of an object. Close one eye (right or left) . Which ever eye is stronger will keep the finger on the object. The weaker eye moves it either left for a strong left eye or right for a stronger right eye. Interesting if you have ever had hand eye coordination problems.

    Since Nov 2006 • 71 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    But left-handed batsmen look more elegant than right-handeds.

    In cricket the theory seems to be non-dominant hand at the top of the handle, dominant hand at the bottom.

    In ice hockey, they do it the other way. So a right handed player will play with the stick on their left side. The top hand gives you the direction and control, so it makes sense for that to be your dominant hand. The bottom hand gives you power, and both your hands have similar power levels, so that should be your non-dominant hand.

    Internationally, about 80% of ice hockey players play on the left, particularly in Europe.

    In New Zealand about 80% of ice hockey players play on the right. The main theory for this is that we always play cricket first, and so when kids pick up a hockey stick they treat it the same. I did the same thing when I took up the sport.

    If you get a beginner ice hockey player at their first session, you can lay the stick down on the ice and tell them to pick it up with one hand. Whichever hand they pick it up with should be their top hand.

    Interestingly it doesn't seem to make a great deal of difference either way. Presumably all us right-handers could play cricket and softball left-handed, as long as we started out that way and stuck with it.

    I think the issue here is the strength of the eye not the hand.

    You can also figure this out pretty quickly by playing a game of pool. Once you get your head low enough over the cue, freeze just before you take your shot and get someone to see which eye is above the cue. Most people will have one or the other, some will have their eyes on either side of the stick (neutral eyes). The latter is supposed to be a little stronger in pool and snooker because it's a 3-d game and gives you better depth perception in terms of weight.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Another thing - while I do most things with my left hand, I can only use scissors with my right hand. I suspect this might have stemmed from using my mum's dressmaking scissors, that came with serious moulded handles.

    But it's got to the point where I can't even open some scissors with my left hand. It's like it's scissor-weak.

    And I do all sorts of intricate cutting and craft stuff with scissors - it's never been a problem using my right hand.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    To find out which is the strongest eye look through both eyes at your forefinger and place the forefinger in front of an object. Close one eye (right or left) . Which ever eye is stronger will keep the finger on the object. The weaker eye moves it either left for a strong left eye or right for a stronger right eye. Interesting if you have ever had hand eye coordination problems.

    I tried this and my astigmatism (normally too mild to notice) went wild and now I have a headache. And I still don't know which eye is dominant. I suspect that this means I should never be allowed to handle any form of projectile weapon.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    Well I am niether left or right handed, something to do with same sized brain hemispheres according to my teacher wife

    So it sort of depends on which hand I first to used for chore whether or not I do anything sinister handed or not

    It can lead to interesting times with valves, as to which way I turn them but does allow quick finding of left handed threads
    A lot of trouble doing army drill and directions are best given with compass directions rather than left /right

    I can write with iether hand but cannot do the Sylvia Ashton-Warner trick of writing a sentence from each side of a blackboard with each hand. Never tried it to be honest but it gives me a head ache to think about trying

    One out of three sons is a lefty and none are ambidextrous

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 577 posts Report Reply

  • daleaway,

    Left-handed genes ran amok in my Dad's family, affecting him and four of his five siblings. And his mother. And my sister. And numbers of our cousins.

    Funnily enough there were two generations of good cricketers among them, some playing for New Zealand. Does that mesh with your dominant hand/cricket bat theory, Kyle? Some of them were lefthanded slow/spin bowlers, which I am told is a very hard combo to score runs off.

    Cricket was fine for this rightie, as he taught me to spin bowl, but I had to be left out of the family golf lessons as all the clubs were left handed.

    As a result of growing up in this skewed environment, there are a number of things I do left handed, including beating eggs - granny used her hand eggbeater backwards and so do I, because I learned on hers which would no longer wind the other way. And call it an eerie coincidence, but my husbands have been left handed as well.

    Years ago there was a left handed shop in Sydney which came in very handy when buying family presents - nothing like the outrageous prices you quote though, Emma. Quite ordinary.

    Curse the plumber that just installed the cold tap on our hand basin on the right hand side, though - bet he was a leftie. Or maybe my husband put him up to it.

    Since Jul 2007 • 198 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Funnily enough there were two generations of good cricketers among them, some playing for New Zealand. Does that mesh with your dominant hand/cricket bat theory, Kyle?

    I feel a bit guilty if I don't mention that when I was thinking about elegant leftie batsmen, the guy playing the straight drive in my head was Stephen Fleming who, while he bats left-handed, is actually a rightie.

    It's also a shameful secret how much I would have liked one of my kids to be left-handed. I had to restrain myself from trying to force them to use their left hands when they were little. I'd have liked to be not quite so outnumbered.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • daleaway,

    And here's some cheap Aussie leftie scissors for you Emma:
    https://secure.leftys.com.au/html/products/scissors/gpscissors.htm

    Since Jul 2007 • 198 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    I would like to note, irrelevantly, that the title of this post has caused me to mentally sing Lobo's 1970s smash hit 'Me and You and a Dog Named Boo' for approximately four straight hours.

    Travellin' and livin' off the land...

    Sigh.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

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