Left Handers Club Newsletter – October 2010
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In this issue..
1. The effect of changing hands
2. How much and how often?
3. Hope for right-handers – they can be changed to the left!
4. Two For One Member offers
5. Left handed language
6. iPhone 4 signal problems for lefthanders
7. Left handed calendars and diaries for 2011
8. Lefty bits and pieces
If you need to change your newsletter details, please use the link at the bottom of your newsletter email (in the blue box). Don't forget that you can see all previous newsletters in our archive
For many years, left-handed children were forced by their parents or schools to change hands and at least write left-handed. We have also heard many stories about other activities that have been forcibly changed – from eating to making the sign of the cross in Catholic schools.
We received a note from Kent in the USA that made us think about this again and try to get some more feedback from members on this subject. This is what he had to say:
I was forced to change my writing hand from left to right at a young age and I would like to see feedback from your other readers that were forced to write right handed as to how it affected them. I'm a male in the US and I wet the bed up until the age of 12 and I wonder if that was related. Also the universal opinion of my penmanship is that it is atrocious. I'm 62 now and a few years back I taught myself to write left handed. Although I'm slower left handed (probably less practice) the writing is clearly more legible.
Another thing that has made us think about this is a new film to be release shortly called “The King's Speech” about UK Monarch George VI (King from 1936 to 1952 and father of our current Queen Elizabeth II), starring Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter. He was a natural left-hander but was forced to write with his right and grew up as a nervous child with a pronounced stammer. The film does not seem to make much of the forced change in handedness, but stuttering is one effect of changing hands that has come up in research before.
There is a good article about the film and links to trailers here:
Please add a comment to the blog post of this article here or use our contact form to send us your thoughts – we will report back in our next issue.
We normally send our newsletters once a month and we format them with all the main stories in full and links to additional information elsewhere as appropriate. We think this gives people the chance to read all the content in one place and you can skip the bits you are not interested in. We have had various suggestions from members about how we do this and, of course, they are all different and conflicting!
Her are some of the main suggestions and we would be very interested to know what you think about them as we are here to inform and entertain you and want to do it in the way that you prefer (but we can only do it in one way overall – we cannot produce personalised newsletters for individual members!).
We have produced a short survey and would very much appreciate it if you let us know your views:
As noted above there are good reasons why left-handers should not be changed to write right-handed, but there have been recent reports of a research project that changes right-handers preference to their left hand!
Scientists from UC Berkeley now claim they've discovered a way to switch a person's preference from their right-hand to their left by overriding the brain's decision process using magnets. Experiments with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation saw magnets applied to a particular part of the brain (the left posterior parietal cortex region for right-handers, which is involved with planning physical movements) and 33 right-handed volunteers begun to favor their left hands for smaller tasks after a while. This doesn't mean they could achieve beautiful handwriting but there was a dramatic increase in their use of the left hand to pick up objects as well as press buttons.
Through TMS, the Berkeley team has found a way to disable the competition between the two hands that occurs in the cortex when performing small tasks. Though your dominant hand rules larger tasks, we're all on a sliding scale of ambidextrous ability, performing menial tasks (ringing a doorbell, opening a door) with either hand. But with TMS, your brain can be conditioned to pick left each time.
The TMS breakthrough could prove an asset to the medical community considering what it could mean for those struggling to function with their non-dominant hands after injury or illness.
The experiments were only conducted on right-handers but there is a comment in the reporting that stimulating the right side did not affect hand choice in the same way so left-handers may not be affected – they still cannot turn us lefthanders into righties!
We have a special discount for you on some of our most popular products – these are guaranteed to make any lefthander happy so will be a good chance to tick of some early gift purchases.
Our left handed tin opener is a full reversed design so you can position it on the left side of the tin, hold the handles in your right hand and turn the wheel with your left. The precision made stainless steel geared mechanism makes it quick and easy to use with very little effort. Dishwasher safe.
Order two and only pay for one! Have a look at the customer reviews under the video.
Left handed scissors are always our most popular product and essential for any left-hander. These are our four most popular scissors and we are also doing a Two For One offer on them as well – order any two scissors and get the cheapest one free.
We have also linked our very popular Download Guide to left handed cutting and scissors with this offer – when you order any two qualifying scissors you will get that free as well (normally £2.95)
Just add the items to your cart and you will see the discount calculated. We have not put any limit on how many each member can order so make the most of this chance to stock up on presents at half price.
If you have missed any previous newsletters on this, we have now added all the previous information to our main language page here
Here are the latest updates
And here is one of the rare ones that seem to be in favour of left-handers:
We are still looking for more words and language that are positive to left-handers – let us know if you find any.
You can use this link to see our full page of left-handed language information and please add a comment on that page if you have any more information.
The recent launch of the iPhone 4 promoted huge excitement because of all the technological advances in the new mobile handset. However one glaring problem soon became clear when left-handed users claimed that calls were being cut off because the signal was interrupted when the phone was held in the left hand.
The antenna in the new model is wrapped around the edge of the phone in the stainless steel casing, and can apparently become masked when held in the left hand, causing a drop in signal strength (in fact, there is a small “deadly spot” that causes the problem – see the video linked below).
The issue was brought to the attention of Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, at one of the high-profile press launches for the iPhone 4, and many journalists were amazed at his seemingly dismissive response to the problem when he commented: ”Just avoid holding it in that way.” Apple's official advice is to ”avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band” yet for some left-handers this is the most comfortable and natural hand placement when using the phone.
After the launch of the iPhone 4 the Left-Handers Club were contacted by a number of publications, including the Daily Telegraph, wanting our comments on the problem and we expressed our surprise and disappointment that Apple had not considered left-handed users during their design and testing stages of the new handset. Lauren commented: ”It seems ludicrous to suggest that 10 per cent of potential users should be told they have to adopt a less natural hand hold to use this latest technology. I would strongly suggest that Steve Jobs employs left-handers in his design and testing team in future, and urgently address this issue to ensure the phone is fit for purpose.” A bit ironic really given the often quoted fact that 4 out of the original 5 designers of the original Macintosh computer were left-handed (has anyone got a reference to back that up?).
On consideration of the problem, Apple's advice to left-handed customers was to buy a case to stop the antenna being blocked by a hand. Apple sells a rubber ”bumper” that shields the sensitive area as do many other firms. A later update of the operating software iOS 4.1 was rumoured to fix the problem but actually just changed the height of the signal strength bars!
Which hand do you hold a phone in?
There has been a huge amount of comment in various forums about this and one recurring theme is that this is not actually a left-handed issue because most right-handers hold their phone in their left hand so they can write etc while talking. On the other hand (!) they say most left-handers will hold their phone in their right hand. This may be true when actually writing but we suspect that is only a very small part of phone use and most people DO use their dominant hand to hold a mobile phone (though it can also be affected by the person's dominant EAR – our survey on this a while ago showed that 70% of left-handers have a dominant left ear as well).
In an attempt to resolve this we have set up a poll to see which hand left-handers hold their mobile phone in –
Just a reminder that these are still available at the moment – we usually only make one order for these each year and have to let them know how many we want back in March so once they are gone they are gone!
Use these links for more information or to order your diaries.
There are videos about each of the products on those pages.
This is where we put updates on previous stories and the bits of news and comment that don't fit anywhere else. if these stories are of interest or you have more information or views on them, add a comment on the blog article and we may expand on them in future issues.
That's all for this month – we will be in touch again soon
Keith & Lauren
and all at the Left Handers Club
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