Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Are software makers becoming more considerate to left handed people?

No.  If they were, they would have included left handed options from the get-go.  Hey, who cares about 10-15% of the users anyway?



They seem to be responding to user concerns, but only after complaints come in.

Here's one about a right handed person reporting his use of a mouse with the left hand.  He switched hands due to a repetitive motion injury.


The hardest part of raising awareness is...

The hardest part of raising awareness about right hand privilege is not getting people's attention.

The hardest part of raising awareness is not sounding like a crank.  It would be easy to mistake this as a claim of "my pain is greater than yours," which others disingenuously try to do.

The issue here is not left handed adults.  We can take care of ourselves.

The issue is left handed children, people who can't take care of nor defend themselves.

The worst thing about censorship is **********

The UK government is trying to institute a "policy" of blocking internet content that would make the Chinese dictatorship proud.  As with "filtering software" of the 1990s, the UK government's censorship is not about blocking "obscenity", it is about blocking content that differs from the governing party's religious and political views.  Allowing sites that promote hate while censoring sites that promote human rights is not the act of a free and democratic state, it is the act of a group of thugs.

Monday, 30 December 2013

Adult annoyances: Doctors

Have you ever gone to a doctor's office and been told you need an injection?  Which side do they stand on?  Which arm do they reach for?  Without exception, they assume everyone is right handed and go for the patient's left arm.  Even left handed doctors end up doing it.

I've had times where I was told I needed a shot, then rolled up my right sleeve.

And then the idiot doctor says, "Roll up your sleeve," completely oblivious to the extended right arm.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Make only one resolution: Don't make resolutions

New Year's resolutions are pointless.  No, I'm not saying change is bad.

Rather I'm saying, If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right now.  

Child annoyances: Teachers

Left handed children in schools have many problems in getting an education, and being left handed is not one of them.  There are many objects in schools which make life difficult - pens, books, desks, rulers, scissors, etc.  But the single greatest source of frustration for children is the adult in the class, the educated person who is supposed to know better.

The teacher.

Promises, promises

The only thing I trust a theist to be is untrustworthy.  The only surprise in this story is that it was teenage girls who were raped, not pre-teen children.

Backslider: Catholic youth leader raped victim after promising not to do it again
A Catholic youth leader who promised a teenager he had raped that he would never rape again if she didn’t report him to police was reported to police by his victim after he sexually assaulted her best friend.

Priorities, priorities

Indian politicians have been putting all their efforts into writing and enforcing blasphemy laws, to prevent criticism of religion.

Preventing the rape of women?  They think it's a minor issue.

Woman gang-raped on Christmas Eve in India: reports
The reports of the latest assault came two days before India was due to mark the first anniversary of the death of a student who was gangraped on a bus in an attack that shocked the nation.
The woman who was assaulted on Christmas Eve told police she was abducted by three men while sightseeing with friends in Karaikal, a port city in Puducherry, the Times of India newspaper and TV networks reported.
One of the men raped her at a secluded spot before freeing her, the Times said.
She called for help but then another group of seven men attacked her as she was being escorted to a safe place, the paper said.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Adult annoyances: Pens, part 1

Businesses and institutions like banks, government offices and the like will tie down their pens to prevent them from being stolen.  I don't object to that, it's as much a waste of time for them to replace the pens as it is the cost of replacing them.

What I don't like is the assumption that everyone is right handed.  Have you ever seen a pen on a cord that was tied on the left side of a counter?

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Design flaws

This tag refers to problems with the design of objects which are designed for the right hand but work poorly or do not work at all for left handed people.  There are many objects which, by their design, either cannot be held with the left hand, or worse if held with the left, the user's vision is blocked.

A basic example of this is scissors, most are made for right handed people.  When held with the right, the top blade is behind what is being cut, the bottom blade underneath.  If a left handed person tries to use right handed scissors, the top blade blocks the view of what is being cut.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013


Ergonomics is (to borrow from the dictionary) "the branch of engineering science in which biological science is used to study the relation between workers and their environments".  Or in simpler terms, how easy things are to use.  Tags containing this label will discuss objects that may not be dangerous or difficult to use, but are designed for right handed people without consideration for left handed users.

In The Wrong Hands

This label is intended to identify things that are dangerous or difficult to use for left handed people.

Right handed people ignorantly assume that left handed people are "uncoordinated" or "clumsy".  Wrong.  When objects are deliberately designed for use with the right hand, it is difficult to use them correctly with the left.  The problem is not the user's hand, it's the design of the object.

Posts with this tag will talk about objects (machinery, kitchen utensils, etc.) that are poorly designed or contain design bias.

Everyday Annoyances

"It's not the mountains that wear you down.  It's the grain of sand in your shoe."

That statement is truer than you could ever believe.   A grain of sand on its own weighs very little.  But as it reaches a million or even a billion grains, the weight begins to add up.  But even a single grain can cause damage, cause blistering and bleeding, if it wears away repeatedly on the same spot.

It's not single, big things about right hand privilege which annoy left handed people.  Rather, it's the small, everyday things that get under one's skin.  That's what this label is for, to identify the small things that can irritate a little at a time, like the single grain of sand in your shoe will irritate.

December 25th is just another Wednesday

Here are some significant historical facts that happened on this date, and the year they happened:

1066 : Duke William of Normandy ('William the Conqueror) crowned king of England

1492 : Columbus' ship Santa Maria runs aground and sinks on Hispaniola

1926 : Hirohito becomes emperor of Japan (1926-1989)

1947 : Taiwan passes Human Rights laws (Day of Earth Law)

1989 : Japanese scientists achieve -271.8°C, coldest temp ever recorded

Fictional events did not and do not take place, no matter how many people claim they did.


Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Children suffer the most from right handed privilege

Left handed children suffer the most because right handed privilege is unlike any other form of privilege.

When people in other minorities face privilege (adults or children), they can ask for help, band together and take action, or at the least, communicate with each other and find support:
  • Women who are harassed or face a glass ceiling in the workplace
  • Those who endure racism
  • LGBTQ people and homophobia
And so on.  People in these groups can gain support both within families and within communities, or even further afield.  They are large and visible groups, with the knowledge and ability to take action because there are many adults among them, and they can communicate with each other.

For left handed people, it's a different matter.

Left handed adults have very few problems with it.  Aside from possible hiring discrimination (e.g. mechanical devices and machines designed only to be operated with the right hand), it's a non-issue.  Adults have the experience, education and knowledge to adapt, adjust or take legal action.

Left handed children, on the other hand, have massive problems.  Women, ethnic minorities or LGBTQ people who can obtain support from family, teachers and community.  But for left handed children, their own families, teachers and community are most often the source of discrimination and abuse.  The people who should be their support system are most often the source of the problem, and  left handed children have no one they can ask for help.

Without that sense of community,  left handed children lack a support structure, and are isolated.  And because they are young, they lack the experience, knowledge and ability to help themselves.  It really is the same way gay people felt decades ago, as if they're the only one in the world, and everyone is telling them they're wrong.

Often the only left handed person in their families.  If the parents are biased against left handedness because of religion or culture, they will try to force the child to switch hands.

In schools, teachers are almost all left handed and fail to teach left handed children properly.  "Corporal punishment" and verbal abuse still go on, even where it's illegal.  I've seen it first hand, teaching in various Asian countries.

Communities and cultures often perpetuate ignorant and outdated views that left handedness is "evil", "dirty", "stupid" or "awkward", none of which is true.

Parents: If your child is left handed, educate yourself instead of taking it out on your child.  Forcing a child to change hands is a form of child abuse.  Read books.  Become informed and understand that left handedness is as natural as one's gender.

Teachers: Respect the fact that left handedness is natural and does not need to be "changed", that abuse is not acceptable.  Your personal views have no place in the classroom.  You have an obligation to treat that child with respect, and an obligation to do your job and teach that child.  Neglect and passive-aggressive behaviour are as much abuse as violence or insults.

Communities: "Culture" is a choice.  Ignorance is a choice.  Left handedness is natural.

Religions: Keep your views to yourself.   Left handedness is not "evil".

Right hand privilege is wrong

Right hand privilege is wrong.  

What does that mean?  It means right handed people are unaware of their unearned privilege.  It means they should be aware that there are left handed people, and that societal norms, design of objects and everyday behaviours should not be done solely for the benefit of right handed people.

In starting this blog, I am not claiming that the right handed privilege is comparable to racism, sexism or other forms of discrimination.  I'm not even calling it organized discrimination.  And this is definitely not intended to be confrontational.  What I am calling it, however, is a lack of consideration the one in seven people who are left handed, and I am calling for right handed people to think about it.

For adults, right handed privilege is generally a minor issue, except perhaps where dangerous machinery is involved and left handed people are forced to used things with the wrong hand instead of the left hand.  The biggest annoyances I have are ones I can work around.

For children, though, right handed privilege is a major issue.  Materials in classrooms - books, desks, various objects - are designed for right handed people.  But even if objects weren't a consideration, the attitude of teachers, schools, parents and societies are.  Children are still forced and harassed to switch hands against their nature, a topic I will go into in other posts.

Alan Turing has been pardoned...sixty one years too late

Crack the Enigma code and enable the allies to defeat the Nazis?  Nope, not good enough.

Inventing modern computing?  Nope, not that either.

The only gross indecency was the false conviction and hypocrisy by his own government.

And as for "suicide", even that is debatable and questionable.  I won't be surprised if it's someday revealed that he was murdered.

Alan Turing granted royal pardon for gay sex conviction
Mathematician Alan Turing, who helped Britain win the Second World War by cracking Nazi Germany's "unbreakable" Enigma code, was granted a rare royal pardon on Tuesday for a criminal conviction for homosexuality that led to his suicide.

Edward Snowdon: “I already won."

Every time this man talks, he impresses me all the more.

“For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished,” Edward Snowdon said. “I already won. As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself."
“If I defected at all,” Snowden says, “I defected from the government to the public.” 

Mikhail Kalashnikov, dead at 94

Regardless of what you think of the man and the weapon he created, he is a significant figure of the past one hundred years. His weapon may have become the tool of communist expansion and terrorism, but he is no worse than (read: is equally as awful as) any American, British, Belgian, German, Israeli, French or other gun designer.


"Blame the Nazi Germans for making me become a gun designer," said Kalashnikov. "I always wanted to construct agricultural machinery." 

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Why I don't watch football, part 8: Murder/suicide, and the possibility of CTE

In December 2012, Jovan Belcher committed suicide.  He murdered his girlfriend, then drove to the Kansas City Chiefs (NFL) practice facility and shot himself in front of his coaches.

His family now wants to know if he suffered from CTE.


Report: Former NFL player's body exhumed for brain study
The body of former NFL linebacker Jovan Belcher was exhumed Friday in order to perform tests on his brain, a lawyer for the player's family told the Kansas City Star.

Why I don't watch baseball, part 2: Concussions, and now, a suicide

Former MLB player Ryan Freel committed suicide in December 2012.  Since then, he has the dubious distinction of being the first Major League Baseball player diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, which has been diagnosed in dozens of dead ex-NFL players and some ex-NHL players.

Freel committed suicide last December at the age of 36.
Testing of his brain tissue after death -- the only way to definitively diagnose CTE -- found that he had Stage 2 CTE, which is associated with erratic behavior and memory loss. Stage 4, the worst possible expression of the disease, is associated with full-blown dementia, aggression and paranoia.

Prostitution is effectively decriminalized in Canada, but it could be worse

The Surpreme Court of Canada has struck down all laws regarding prostitution, most of which were based on "nuisance laws".  By striking down the laws, the court has effectively decriminalized prostitution (there's a difference between decriminalization and legalization).  If you think this decision is bad, it could be worse.


I'm no fan of legalized prostitution, though I'm also onside with full protection - legal and physical - of those who sell sex.  Those who sell should be allowed to work (yes, it is work) in positions of safety.  Legalized brothels with security guards would prevent violence and other crime perpetrated against sex workers.  And it also protects the Johns, since they don't have to worry about "some psycho with a knife".  (Then again, if they're so worried, why aren't they buying a porno magazine and servicing themselves in safety?)

Those who sell sex are not the cause of the problem.  Prostitution exists because there is a demand for it.  If you want to stop prostitution, if you want to prosecute someone involved in it, target the Johns.  No Johns, no prostutition.

Happy New Year

The Julian Calendar may say December 21st, but to me, this is the start of the New Year.  This is the day of the winter solstice, the day when the Earth is at its perihelion, its closest point to the Sun.

Yes, we are closest to the Sun now.  So why is it winter in the northern hemisphere?  Because the northern half is pointing away from the Sun, thus receiving less heat and light.  It is summer in the southern hemisphere, which is actually warmer than summer in the north.

We are definitely exhibiting a northern bias, aren't we?

Buck the trend.  Start your year on the winter solstice, not eight to ten days after.  Calendars are arbitrary enough, make the starting point of the year meaningful.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Male privilege sucks: Maasai women who refuse FGM are refused marriage

In a disgusting display of arrogance, males in the Maasai tribe in Tanzania are refusing to marry women who have refused to subject themselves to the horrors of Female Genital Mutilation.

No, FGM is not "clean".  The mutilation is actually less hygenic than women's natural genitalia.

No, it is not a "minor issue".  The violent cutting of highly sensitive skin leaves women with a lifetime of pain and discomfort, and most of the time it is done to girls too young to consent.

No, it is not "cultural" or "religious", it is an act of violence.  The fiction of religion does not trump the reality of nature.

No, male genital mutilation is not comparable.  The only way it could be compared is if the head of the penis were cut off with an axe, leaving only the shaft.  And even then, it's still not an apt comparison.

Toyota put the brakes on because their cars won't

Toyota has been fighting tooth and nail to avoid any liability for injuries and deaths caused by their cars.  Toyota has wanted the plaintiff to prove their cars are faulty.  However, Toyota is conceding defeat because the judge in that case has ruled that circumstantial evidence will be considered.

There are a huge number of unrelated incidents, with drivers who have no history of reckless driving nor suicidal behaviour, and they all suddenly decide to drive at 160 km/h through cities?  Sorry, Toyota, that's not plausible.  The judge has made the right call.


Sunday, 15 December 2013

Charity starts with selfishness

The rich repeatedly claim that "We give a lot to charity!" but you never hear who exactly is getting the money or for what purpose.  So somebody decided to take a close look.

Do the rich give to food banks?  To help the underprivileged go to college?  Help the homeless?

Oh, puh-leeze, don't be so naïve.


Rich people’s idea of charity: Giving to elite schools and operas 

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Hypocrisy, thy name is America, part 1: CIA spies are exempt from laws

When countries spy on the US - from WITHIN the US - you'll Americans get into a tizzy and whine about "treason", despite the fact that only citizens can be traitors.  Foreigners who do it are spies, effectively engaging in acts of war.

So why is it when Americans spy on other countries, commit crimes within other countries on the US's behalf, they're "not criminals" and should be returned to the US?  Then again, the US is the country which whined about the Lockerbie bombers while protecting Orlando Bosch, a CIA stooge who bombed a Cuban airliner, killing 75 civilians.

American missing in Iran since 2007 was working for the CIA

Why I don't watch football, part 7: “This was an investigation of a rape victim”

Patricia Carroll is the lawyer of a young woman who was raped in Florida. She said, “This was an investigation of a rape victim, not an investigation of a rape suspect."

She says the Tallahassee Police Department and Florida state attorney Willie Meggs were more interested in clearing Jameis Winston of the rape charge than of finding out if he did it despite the evidence they have. Given the history of sports figures with rape accusations (e.g. Roethlisberger) and a failure to prosecute, I have no reason to doubt her.

But hey, Heisman trophies and the possibility of winning a "national championship" are so much more important than ensuring justice is carried out. Lucky for him he plays for Florida State (13-0) playing in the BCS title game and not Florida Atlantic (6-6) playing tiddly winks. Or are all football players exempt from prosecution in Florida?


Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Twenty years on, I'm still in the MOOD for DOOM

On December 10, 1993, a two megabyte file was uploaded by a six-person software company in Texas onto the computer systems of University of Wisconsin–Madison.  What was done as a favour by U W-M's sysadmin turned into an event which crashed their system.

DOOM was released.  And the world would never be the same again.

DOOM was remarkable as a computer game in four significant ways:

1) It was the first widely-popular First Person Shooting game (FPS).

Yes, there were others before it (Catacomb, Wolfenstein 3D), but it was DOOM that popularized the genre and changed gaming.  The sense of being in the game was unlike any other on the market.  The only other widely player first person types of games at the time were car racing games.  DOOM added fear and paranoia, sound and lighting to make gameplay seem almost real.

2) It proved that shareware was a viable and profitable method of distribution

DOOM's shareware release (today, it would be called demoware) meant people could download the program and play before paying, able to get a taste without buying the whole meal.  And because the meal was so tasty and new, people did pay.  Sure, there was a shareware market and distribution system, but it was used mostly by individual programmers, not large computer companies who continued to sell programs in packaged boxes.

3) DOOM introduced modding to the world

Other people had modded games before id (e.g. Ms. Pac-Man), but DOOM made it easy for less technically proficient people to create and insert their own graphics, sounds and level design into the game, something never before possible for most.  Modding spawned (pun definitely intended) its own industry of add-ons that people made and sold.

4) DOOM introduced networked gaming

Before DOOM, "multiplayer gaming" meant either taking turns (playing until you "died" and then handed the controller to another player until that person "died") or two players looking at the same screen with the same view (or worse, a top/bottom split screen with a smaller view).

DOOM's appearance meant that two people could now play against each other with full computer power to themselves.  And not just separate machines, but separate viewing and playing.  It meant you could play someone across a room, in another room, another building and eventually, another country.  DOOM make the internet a near necessity for multiplayer gaming.


Whether you like DOOM or not, you have to respect its place in history and its influence.  Just as the Lord Of The Rings movies could not exist without Dungeons and Dragons, so too could today's gaming not exist without DOOM.

DOOM is likely to remain popular for the next decade given John Carmack's decision to release the source code.  There are many high quality ports of DOOM still in development, with additions of sound, graphics, player movement and many other features.  And with the plethora of fan-made WAD files to use, there's no end to customization.  DOOM is nowhere near the end of its playability.

DOOM World has a list of ports to various computer systems including DOS, Windows, Macintosh, Linux and several others.   ZDOOM, Brutal DOOM, and Chocolate DOOM are among the more popular and recently updated versions.


One genius maniac obsessed individual person went so far as to create a Flash side scrolling verion that can be played in a browser.


Friday, 6 December 2013

Three women held as slaves for decades were victims of religion

Why am I not surprised?

Man accused of London slavery 'claimed he was Christ and took thousands from followers'
The head of the Maoist sect accused of keeping three female slaves tried to convince his followers he was like Jesus Christ and persuaded them to hand over thousands of pounds for the revolutionary cause, a former activist claimed yesterday.
The women are a 30-year-old Briton, named in reports as Rosie Davies, 57-year-old Josephine Herivel from Belfast, and a 69-year-old Malaysian, confirmed by that country's police to be Siti Aishah Wahab.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Where is Jozef Wesolowski?

Another day, another catholic priest is facing charges for child molestation.

Dominican Republic: Prosecutors Find Archbishop Sexually Abused Minors
Prosecutors in the Dominican Republic say that that the former apostolic nuncio to that country, Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, is guilty of molesting at least five boys.
Wesolowski was relieved of his duties and recalled to Rome in August, after Church leaders in the Dominican Republic informed Pope Francis that they had uncovered evidence of sexual abuse by the papal representative. The Vatican turned over the evidence to the Dominican government, and has pledged to cooperate with prosecutors there and indeed, Dominican authorities report that the Vatican and church officials were fully cooperative in their investigation.
That's what they claim, but their actions are different.

Defining stupidity

I watched a documentary on stupidity.  It posed the question of "What is stupidity?" but never defined it, probably because it's too nebulous to define.

The best definition I can think of is this:
stupidity (n.)
1. To act in contradiction to reality, facts, and/or one's own interests
2. To deny and ignore reality and facts in pursuit of one's desires or ambitions
It's not a perfect catch-all, but it fairly well describes things most educated would call stupid:
  • "daredevils" and other physically dangerous acts
  • religion, creationism, climate change denial, political hypocrisy
  • obsession and fanaticism (music, movies, sports, etc.)

Are software makers becoming more considerate to left handed people?

No.  If they were, they would have included left handed options from the get-go.  Hey, who cares about 10-15% of the users anyway?



They seem to be responding to user concerns, but only after complaints come in.

Here's one about a right handed person reporting his use of a mouse with the left hand.  He switched hands due to a repetitive motion injury.