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Archive for the ‘LEFTIES’ Category

A lifetime of being left-handed has prepared me for the news that, like 12% of the world, I’ll probably earn less than right-handed folk

Left-handed girl writing in a schoolbook

This is the ungainly, permanently-smudged life of a lefty; there to be gazed upon by righties who don’t realise you have to do everything backwards.’

I have this memory of being at a nursery when I was three years old. They gave out pieces of paper that we were to fold into quarters, cut bits out of, and then unfold to reveal pretty patterns like doilies. We were each given a pair of those rubbish children’s scissors that barely work, and – unfortunately for me, a left-hander – were also right-handed. I spent ages hacking away at my paper without making a dent until eventually I told the lady in charge that I couldn’t do it. “You’re just not trying hard enough,” she replied. I’ve never forgiven her for that.

At the time I didn’t realise that little incident was the introduction to a lifetime of misusing can-openers, wrestling with ring-binders, sliding off exam desks, struggling to play any sport involving a bat, and even reading clocks backwards.

This is the ungainly, permanently smudged life of a lefty; there to be gazed upon by righties who don’t realise you have to try to do everything in a way that seems backwards and usually end up writing you off as clumsy, or as someone who just doesn’t try hard enough.

To be honest, the only time I give my leftiness much thought is when I’m elbowing the person next to me, or when some neuroscientists release a study that suggests my left hand is a window to my soul, or that it can be used to divine my future.

The latest of these studies was in the news yesterday, and it revealed that on average lefties earn about 10%-12% less than righties. According to Harvard economist Joshua Goodman, who was behind the study, this is because “lefties have more emotional and behavioural problems, have more learning disabilities such as dyslexia, complete less schooling, and work in occupations requiring less cognitive skill”. After a lifetime of being told my leftiness makes me more creative, this news is rather disappointing.

I’m still smarting from the 2001 research that suggested lefties tend to die three years younger than righties, although “extremely left-handed people” (which I suspect includes me; I hardly ever use my right hand and am also left-footed) have a life expectancy that is just one year lower.

The Bible also suggests that we’ve got the devil on our side, so you’d at least think we might have some fun sinning during our short time on Earth, but no – studies also show we reach sexual maturity later than your average right hander. To be honest, when we eventually get around to having sex, we’d probably attempt it from the wrong angle. Awkward.

Left-handedness certainly has its practical (and apparently neurological) drawbacks, but I have to admit I quite like being this way. Your are a member of a special club where you swap tips about the best way to avoid getting ink all over yourself and how to navigate that stupid pen on a cord in the bank, where the cord is never long enough. A Buzzfeed post about the problems lefties face, like spiral notebooks, was viewed more than 9.5m times. Who’d have thought a hand could spark so much conversation?

Sure, I’ll never be a gossamer nymph, but at least I’m more likely to be a US president (I mean, you know, technically) and if Rafael Nadal can win 14 grand slams with a tennis bat in his left hand, it can’t all be bad. Plus, Albert Einstein and Leonardo da Vinci were both left-handed, which I’m taking as irrefutable evidence that we’re all geniuses. Globally speaking, 12% of us are lefties, which means a significant chunk of you reading this article will be part of our exclusive club.

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The truth about all those utterly bogus statistics you see in the newspapers

left=hand

Thoroughly cheering news emerged this week that left-handed people are likely to earn between 10 and 12 per cent less than their right-handed colleagues. (So 11 per cent less, then). Good. I have never cared for left-handed people, considering them arrogant and possessed of unsavoury personal habits — and were I an employer I would not give jobs to any of them. I would let them moulder on benefits, and laugh and point as I passed them waiting at the bus stop on their way to the dole office. Awful people. The most famous left-handers from history were Gerald Ford, Fidel Castro, the spoon-bending self-publicist Uri Geller and the controversially sexist Victorian Jack the Ripper. I think that tells you all you need to know.

This latest survey was carried out at Harvard University and suggested that one of the reasons left-handers do badly is that they are thick — or slower at accomplishing cognitive tasks, as the researchers put it. I knew this all along, but it is heartening to have my suspicions verified by a brilliant piece of research at one of the world’s most prestigious learning institutes. Even if, a few years ago, I read a different piece of research from Imperial College London and Bristol University which suggested that these epicene, cack-handed bastards actually earn 5 per cent more than their right-handed fellow humans. This is, it was argued, because they are perceived as being ‘more creative’ and also have a larger corpus callosum — the large white-matter part of the brain which connects the two cerebral hemispheres via the conduit of between 200 and 250 million contralateral axonal projections. ‘That’s as maybe,’ I thought, reading the study back then, ‘but they’re still scum in my book.’

It might occur to you, bearing these two studies in mind, that there is probably no difference whatsoever between the earning capacities of left- and right-handed people and that the two conflicting results are a consequence of false correlations arising from the samples chosen. You might even go on to hazard that almost all of the statistics which you see in your daily newspapers are utterly bogus and full of such false correlations, such as the ones that tell you that if people had homes in Torquay, rather than Tower Hamlets, they would live longer and healthier lives. Wealth, you might think to yourself, would be the real factor behind those figures, rather than geographical location. Also, another recent study — from Durham University — which posited that areas which had a high proportion of immigrants tended to be more pro-immigrant than areas which did not. Um, hang on, you might have muttered… isn’t that because the areas which had a high proportion of immigrants also had a high proportion of immigrants answering your fatuous, politically loaded survey? Immigrants are likely to be pro-immigrant, as a rule. Also, areas with a low number of immigrants might well be full of people who have got the hell out of areas which have a high number of immigrants. But no, according to the idiotic researchers, it was all down to the fact that in extremely multicultural areas people were forced to ‘reconsider their stereotypes and preconceptions’. I think that this was the most stupid survey I have seen lately, and there have been a few.

 

And then there are the latest immigration statistics. The headline figure focused on the net gain to the population of 260,000 immigrants, and how this rather large figure tended to undermine the government’s supposed determination to cut the flow into this country to below 100,000. Instead, we were told, things have got much, much, worse. Well, yes, indeed. But even this terrifying figure is hugely understating the case. The gross figure of people coming to live here from abroad was 583,000; it is that yearly influx which is irrevocably changing the nature of the country. Because we have to be honest about this — the people who are leaving this country to work abroad and the people who come into this country to work, or not to work, are not quite the same people, are they? It is not a like-for-like swap, as the headlines sort of imply. For a start, those who are leaving tend to speak English as a first language, which is not true of the overwhelming majority of those who are coming in. And those leaving here tend to be higher paid, better skilled and better educated than the people who arrive. This is especially true of EU migration to the UK, where we have welcomed largely low-skilled hard-working immigrants from what we used to call Eastern Europe. But it is true of the non-EU migrants too.

It has to be said that a proportion of both EU and non-EU migrants to the country are students at our universities or places which these days call themselves universities, and that this is lucrative for the country as a whole and for these eminent learning establishments. However, we are attracting substantially fewer overseas students than we did five or six years ago, perhaps 35 per cent fewer. So at a time when immigration is hitting record levels, the numbers of those coming to study are reducing sharply. It may be that a majority of those coming in who tell us they are students are not actually students at all, but bogus students, who wish to do something very different once they arrive. Probably all left-handers, too. And in terms of population growth, it is worth noting that it is the children of immigrants who are responsible for 85 per cent of our rising birth rate.

I mention all this because there is a bit of an outcry over the plan to expand the Oxfordshire town of Bicester to the size of something like Mexico City in order to provide housing for our growing population. You think the Bicester plan is bad? The think-tank Migrationwatch suggest we will need ten new cities the size of Birmingham in the next 25 years. No wonder the more affluent are getting out.

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eft-handers aren’t just poo 6 daily struggles of being a lefti

Cruel Harvard scientists today dealt yet another blow to left-handed people, with a study that proved left-handed people are likely to be poorer than right-handed people.

As if we needed yet another poke in the eye from the world’s right-handers.

Professor Joshua Goodman said we ‘exhibit economically and statistically significant human capital deficits relative to righties.’

Translation: we’re poorer.

‘Left-handed individuals show consistently lower cognitive skills and higher rates of mental and behavioural disabilities,’ he said, just to rub salt in the wound. With his right hand.

Translation: we’ve got all SORTS of problems.

While lefties can count Leonardo Da Vinci, Spike Lee, Jimi Hendrix and, perhaps most importantly, Drew Barrymore in their ranks, there’s no denying being left-handed is a daily struggle. Here’s why.

MORE: 10 left-handed people who prove that lefties aren’t ALL failures

1. Ring binders

In the same vein as spiral notepads this office stationery is the leftie kryptonite.

2. Pens

Aside from the biro pens are the devil. Trying to write anything with an inky pen will end in a page full of smudges and a stained hand. Also note, ballpoints are meant to be pulled not pushed so jar when in the grip of a left-hander.

3. Scissors

Left-handed scissors designed for special leftie use are arguably harder to cut with than the standard right-handed version. The solution? Teach yourself how to use the regular pair.

4. Dying sooner

Righties live longer and there’s no way of getting around that fact. It’s science.

5. Anger problems

Previous studies, including a 2012 paper published in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, have shown lefties are more prone to negative and angry thoughts.

It’s probably down to the frustration at being sentenced to live in a world designed for the right-handed.

6. Ned Flanders

Ever wondered why lefties have such a bad rep? Their most famous spokesperson is ‘Stupid Flanders’.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, there is a whole wave of Christians who believe, ‘There is much evidence that… people who have chosen to use Satan’s hand… will burn in hell for all eternity.’

So, on this day dedicated to those few, eternally damned lefties in the world, spare a thought for their strife.

And maybe lodge a petition with your bank to get rid of those pens on strings, because they’re evil too.

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Could a new study that shows lefties earn less than righties and are more likely to have learning disabilities possibly be true? Lefties everywhere – retreat to the keyboard!

LEFTORUM

I think I’m left-handed, but I can’t quite remember. I haven’t actually hand-written anything since about 2008, when the last smartphone-free human was exiled by society and sent panicking into the wild to carve tweets on a tree. Gradually, as we type more, the issue of choosing “which hand” to write with will fade. They’ll probably release an app in a few years that even gets Siri to wipe your bum too.

One thing I don’t miss as I reluctantly become integrated into my keyboard, like some forgotten PC accessory that’s grown a beard, is the dip in frequency with which I hear the expression, “Oh you’re left-handed? I hadn’t noticed.” An irksome interaction that suggests you’re keeping some sort of hand census, and that this vital piece of information had somehow got by one of your pervy informants.

I sometimes wonder if it’s similar remarks that caused Jimi Hendrix to set fire to his guitar. “Ooh, you play left-handed, I hadn’t noti- OK I’m sorry!” Keyboards are my camouflage against the manually obsessed.

A fascination with our favoured extremity might be more useful than we previously thought, as a recent study into the effects of left-handedness has made some intriguing findings.

“Left-handed individuals show consistently lower cognitive skills and higher rates of mental and behavioural disabilities,” writes Joshua Goodman in the Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Admittedly, most people would show lower cognitive skills if they spent their first 17 years fixing the smudged nonsense caused by a writing system that involves your hand immediately undoing the hard work of your pen. Children with iPads in schools will never know my frustration at producing an ink-smeared essay that could easily be mistaken for the manifesto of a clumsy squid.

Goodman has further bad news: “The empirical evidence for greater creativity among the left-handed turns out to be fairly weak.”

So not only are we sinister types probably not very clever, we can’t even fall back on the usual trade-offs of being arty and creative either. What next? The left-handed can’t tell anecdotes? They’re scientifically bad in bed? It turns out the final blow is financial, with lefties receiving “10–12% lower annual earnings than righties”, apparently due to their focus on jobs with less emphasis on cognitive skill.

There isn’t much consolation for all of this. Some might point to the fact that Barack Obama is left-handed, but I’m not sure that’s comforting any more when you consider the fact that he’s more likely to have “emotional and behavioural problems [and] learning disabilities such as dyslexia”. I mean, does he even know what he’s signing? Does Obama know he’s signing off on drone strikes?

I think shunning ink and sticking to the keyboard might be a good plan. It means I can avoid the “I hadn’t noticed” conversation and ensuing violence, but also I don’t want people now saying, “You’re left-handed? Oh dear. You’re probably stupid and poor. Want to borrow a fiver?”

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