Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

January 30, 2009


It's edited by a left-hander named Sam

Live Science - David E. Kalist and Daniel Y. Lee of Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania compared the first names of male juvenile delinquents to the first names of male juveniles in the population. The researchers constructed a popularity-name index for each name. For example, the PNI for Michael is 100, the most frequently given name during the period. The PNI for David is 50, a name given half as frequently as Michael. The PNI is approximately 1 for names such as Alec, Ernest, Ivan, Kareem, and Malcolm. Results show that, regardless of race, juveniles with unpopular names are more likely to engage in criminal activity. The least popular names were associated with juvenile delinquency among both blacks and whites. While the names are likely not the cause of crime, the researchers argue that "they are connected to factors that increase the tendency to commit crime, such as a disadvantaged home environment, residence in a county with low socioeconomic status, and households run by one parent."

Heather Whipps, Live Science - Obama is another notch for the column of left-handed presidents, now totaling eight - a proportion (out of 43) that is well above their representation in the total population, which hovers around 10 percent. . . In fact, every president since 1974 with the exception of Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush has been left-handed, as is Obama's former Republican opponent Sen. John McCain. Al Gore is too.

Some evolutionary advantage, whether overall greater intelligence or language skills, has kept a stable group of lefties for at least the past 200,000 years, said Chris McManus, professor of psychology and medical education at University College London. . .

The laundry list of lefties goes on through history, with records telling us that a number of famous ancient figures probably favored their southpaw as well, from Alexander the Great to Charlemagne, Holy Roman emperor. . .

Despite its long history, left-handedness is a uniquely human trait. Chimpanzees and gorillas, with whom we share an ancestor and a number of common physical attributes, don't seem to favor one hand over the other.

The photo of Obama signing his first bill indicated that he has been a victim of sinister discrimination: right handed teachers who don't let lefties turn their page and so have to crimp their hand to write.. Your editor, on the other hand, was blessed by Miss Waddy, who let him turn his page sideways and write down it.


Anonymous wellbasically said...

Dear Sam, maybe you want to listen to this Selected Shorts which is a little group of stories called "Eight pieces for the left hand" by J Robert Lennon.

I usually can't put up with Selected Shorts, but I liked this one.


February 1, 2009 11:38 AM  
Anonymous wellbasically said...

Well here's a better link... I can't figre out if you can listen to it right off the page. Maybe if you subscribe to the podcast you can get the old episode.


February 1, 2009 11:43 AM  

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