Monday, December 31, 2007

and in Japan that would be...

Following up on left-hand turn elimination at UPS, a friend overseas wrote to tell me that a number of Japanese parcel delivery companies have already had a similar program in place, although for them it's obviously no right-hand turns. Who da thunk it?

Meanwhile, because all things southpaw tend to follow me like a plague, I just learned that a quote from my book is included in the "Left-Hander's Desktop Calendar for 2007." It isn't a National Book Award, but I'll take it. And just today I bumped into an article about a Finnish retailer called The Left Foot Co. (Saw it in Forbes, which of course made it sound like spending $300 on shoes was no big deal.)

Monday, December 17, 2007

U.P.S no longer an ambi-turner

The New York Times Magazine "Ideas of the Year" included a terrific bit about how U.P.S planned to limit the number of left-hand turns that its trucks will be taking. For an individual trip to the supermarket, you might idle at one or two traffic lights while waiting to take a left, and that's no big deal. But "if we're talking about more than 95,000 big square brown trucks delivering packages every day," rerouting to avoid left turns, says a U.P.S spokeswoman, saves 3 million gallons of gas and cuts CO2 emissions by 31,000 metric tons. (I'm not sure why the writer felt the need to add brown into his description of the trucks--U.P.S marketing people must be lovin' that--but still a cool little piece.)

And if you don't know what any of this has to do with Derek Zoolander (a southpaw, if I'm not mistaken), I don't think I can help you.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

sheesh!

This strip by Vic Lee hits a little close to home. Meanwhile, people have been sending me links to this Phili Inquirer piece about the handedness puzzle. It's ambitious in its breadth and does a decent job typing the seemingly arcane topic of handedness to wider questions of brain development. On the other hand (ha), it also has some trite and misleading stuff, most notably this snippet: "Most people have a dominant left hemisphere, and since each hemisphere controls the opposite side of the body, most of the population is righthanded." If only it were that simple. No one yet knows why most people are right-handed, but the short(est) answer is, as this reporter explains elsewhere in the piece, is that genes are most likely responsible.