Anything Left-Handed > Left Handers Club > LHC Newsletters > LHC NL October 2010

Left Handers Club Newsletter – October 2010

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We have also posted some of the articles in this issue of our newsletter as an individual blog post so you can click on the link immediately below to see any of them as an individual page that you can add your comments to – and please do as we love to know what you think!


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


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1. The effect of changing hands

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.

King George VI of EnglandAnother 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:

  • Are you a natural left-hander who was forced to write right handed?
  • Is there anything else that you have been forced to change and do right-handed?
  • What effect did these changes have on you and how have things changed as you have grown up?
  • Are you aware of any research into this subject, or do you want to undertake any?

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.

2. How much and how often?

lhc newslettersWe 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!).

  • Produce shorter newsletters but do them more often
  • Produce the newsletter as just a list of links to the full articles as posts on our website
  • Create short summaries of articles linking to the main stories

We have produced a short survey and would very much appreciate it if you let us know your views:
Click here to complete the survey.

3. Hope for right-handers – they can be changed to left!

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!

Transcranial Magnetic StimulationScientists 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!

Click here to see the abstract of research results
Click here to see some seriously scientific info about the experiments

4. Two For One Member offers

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.

left handed tin opener

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.
Click here to see our video of the tin opener in action and order yours now.

Order two and only pay for one! Have a look at the customer reviews under the video.

scissors 2 for 1

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)

Click here to order your scissors and see our video on left-handed scissors and cutting

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.

Click here to see Keith's short screen capture video on how to get all these discounts on your order

5. More Left handed language

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

  • Another word for lefthanded in spanish is ZOCATO
    this means the fruit before is ripe, when is yellow and rough
  • Focus from Botswana has told us about the Setswana language – If someone calls you NTSOGOTLHO they mean someone who uses a hand for the loo but if they say MOLEMA it simply means your left-hand.
    Generally, in Botswana people who are left-handed are considered very intelligent but in some minor tribes they consider us to be handicapped. Before, many would try and force their children to use their right-hand but that has since gone.

And here is one of the rare ones that seem to be in favour of left-handers:

  • Arezou from Iran tells us: In my country there is a word “Chapool” ,which means lefty. However, I would like to say that in Iran there is a good concept about the left handed people and every one believes that left handers are more intelligent than others. This is the opinion which I have heard hundreds of times when people understand that I am left handed. I am 32 years old and I have never heard bad words but only compliments from the people around. Although when I was a child my mother told me to eat my meal with my right hand and it is not good in formal parties to eat with left hand. All I tried to say is that it is not all over the world there are mocking words aligned to left handers. I mean some countries have a positive assumption to the left handed people.

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.

6. iPhone 4 signal problems for lefthanders

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.

iphone 4 grip that interrupts signalThe 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!
Click here to see a good article on this topic and a video demonstrating the deadly spot

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 –
click here to join in the poll and see the result so far.

7. Left handed calendars and diaries for 2011

Left handed block calendar 2011Just 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.
Left handed ring bound desk diary
Left handed block calendar with one tear-off sheet per day

There are videos about each of the products on those pages.

8. Updates, Bits and pieces

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.

  • Left handed leaders
    We have been advised that Hugo Chavez Frias, President of Venezuela is a lefty!
    Unfortunately we cannot find a picture of him writing or doing anything specifically left-handed – can anyone help with more information?
  • Left handed mouse – some interesting comments added to the page here
  • Left handed radiologists and doctors – Again some very interesting feedback and this is a subject we are going to pick up in more detail in a future issue.
    Use this link to see comment about this



That's all for this month – we will be in touch again soon

Best wishes

Keith & Lauren

and all at the Left Handers Club

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4 comments on “LHC NL October 2010
  1. Karla says:

    something that worked for me…

    Ok the mouse…but the cursor?

    I looked online and there are several freeware leftie cursors! You just have to download them and use them…
    It will make your colleagues and friends look twice when they use your PC…”ah..well oh…you are leftie” and then I answer, but of course I am”…..


  2. Originally Lefty says:

    It was said in one of the artices that a new fim is goin to be soon reeased. and u said that the king was naturally lefty but was forced to write with hie right, and so he grew up as a very nervous child. I’m interested: I was also forced to write with my right at the age of 5. And guess I’m a little bit (too much) sensitive… So does it mean that if I wasn”t forced to write with my left I woudn’t have become so nervous or sensitive? and does this have a psychoogycal affect on a human?

  3. Dmytro Grygorovych says:

    Hello evreybody,
    I have found pictures with Hugo Chavez taking a pen with left hand:

  4. Sriram says:

    That article about changing preference with magnets was really cool! I’m a lefty, and seriously I would like to see that happen 🙂

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