The Indian Motocycle (sic) Company of Springfield, Mass, made bikes which were all bright red, and left-handed. The practice of putting the throttle on the left-hand handlebar began as a quirk of their engineering - they started building bikes before they came up with the throttle, and speed was controlled by an operation with the right hand – so when they added the throttle they put it on the other side and that was where it stayed. However, it turned out to have an unexpected advantage as
American police forces bought them in large numbers.
The bikes became popular with the cops because they were able to draw and fire their guns with their right hand whilst maintaining acceleration with the left. Indian would arrange for the various police authorities to write specifications for their forces which included the requirement that their bikes be red for visibility, and left-handed for shootability – and once that spec was written it became effectively illegal for the force to buy anything but an Indian. Their ads showed cops shooting at fugitives from their bikes. The policy helped to make Indian the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles between the wars, but it went bust in 1953 (though the marque has been revived repeatedly by different companies since then).
Part of the reason for this was that Harley paid them back in kind by ensuring that the US Army wrote specs for their own buyers which effectively locked them into buying Harleys and excluded Indians.
About 22% of twins are left-handed. This compares to less than 10% in the non-twin population.
Two and a half thousand left-handed people are killed every year using things made for right-handed people.
Orange and lemon aromas are produced by chemically identical molecules that are simply mirror images of each other, so an orange is really just a left-handed lemon.
The left and right-handedness of molecules is known as 'chirality'. Louis Pasteur (1822–1895) noticed that crystals of Tartaric acid had left- and right-handed forms, and that each sort twisted polarised light in different directions. Crystals that twist clockwise are called right-handed (or D, for 'dexter') and anticlockwise Left-handed (or L, for l'aevo'). The two forms are called 'enantiomers'.
Many naturally occurring chemicals exhibit chirality, for reasons which are not well understood. Naturally-occurring sugars are right-handed – indeed, only right-handed glucose is metabolised by the body. Left-handed glucose forms the basis of low-calorie sweeteners as it is not metabolised by the body but tastes identical to the right-handed form. You can eat as much of it as you like and you won’t put on weight.
Chirality is used by archaeologists for dating organic material; in living things most amino acids are laevoform (left-handed), but after death these begin to change into their dextroform (right-handed versions) due to protein degradation. By comparing the proportion of left to right you can say how long the thing has been dead for.
Ambisinistrous is the opposite of ambidextrous - being no good with either hand.
According to a variety of studies, anywhere from 70% to 90% of the world population is right-handed, while most of the remainder are left-handed. A small percentage of the population can use both hands equally well.
There is no prevailing theory that explains why right-handedness is so much more common than left-handedness. Neurologically, the motor skills of the right side of the body are controlled by the left hemisphere of the brain, so researchers believe the explanation may ultimately be found in the differences between the two halves of the brain.
Polo has to be played right handed, for safety: if two polo players are riding towards each other towards the ball with their sticks in their right hands they’ll pass each other like cars driving towards each other on the left-hand side of the road, but if one was playing left-handed, they’d collide head-on. Field hockey can be played by left-handers, but they have to use a right-handed stick.
Left-handed measuring tapes have the scale running from right to left, boomerangs have the wing profiles reversed so as to create lift when spinning clockwise, and you can get pencil sharpeners, tin openers, scissors, pens and other things in left-handed versions.
Reason is our soul’s left hand, Faith her right.
Most snakes are right-handed. They don't have hands, of course, but they do have left and right hemi-penises, and it seems that they use the right-penis more than the left, so they're right-penised.
Crossbills are the only birds with asymmetrical mandibles - that is, the upper half of their beak curves either left or right while the lower one curves in the opposite direction. This has evolved so that the bird can enjoy its favourite food, pinecones.
Foetuses who suck their right thumbs in the womb almost always grow up right-handed and vice versa.
The human heart is not on the left-hand side of the body; it’s in the middle.
After a double hand transplant, right-handed patients can become left-handed.
Until the early 20th century, left-handedness in a wife was grounds for divorce in Japan.