Lefties make up an estimated 5 to 15 percent of the global population. Are you one of them? Here are seven interesting facts about being left-handed.
1. Certain disorders, including alcoholism and schizophrenia, may be more prevalent among left-handed people.
2. Left-handed people are at a slight advantage in certain sports, such as fencing, boxing and tennis, because most players are accustomed to facing right-handed opponents.
3. International Left-Handers Day is celebrated annually on August 13.
4. Evidence suggests that left-handed people are better at remembering events, whereas right-handed people are better at remembering facts.
5. Communication between the left and right sides of the brain occurs more quickly in left-handed people.
6. Nearly all kangaroos are left-handed, according to recent research.
7. Famous left-handers past and present include Babe Ruth, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey and Leonardo da Vinci.
Being important, statistically speaking
You’ve noticed, of course, that marketers are looking for that sweet demographic in everything.
And that demographic starts at the age of the grandkids and ends about 15 years shy of where you are.
Older people don’t spend much money.
Except, as it turns out, in restaurants.
Market research company, the NPD Group, found that during the last five years, restaurant visits by Baby Boomers and older Americans have grown 6 percent, while those by millennials (people under 30) have declined by that much.
See, millennials are supposed to be the ones spending all their money, but it turns out Boomers have more money, they spend it less often, but they like to eat out.
This has caused the restaurant industry to take note.
Some proposed changes may be music to your ears. First, no banging music in your ears. Good first step. Readable menus. Commendable. Comfortable furniture. Obvious.
And professional service, not electronic notepads. Thank you.
Now, where should we eat tonight?
Jewelry that won’t irritate your skin
If you’re allergic to your jewelry, nickel’s probably to blame. This inexpensive metal is often mixed with other, finer metals to change their color or make them stronger.
If you have sensitive skin, here are some metals that won’t irritate your skin:
• Stainless steel. A very strong and solid metal that usually doesn’t irritate skin, despite the presence of nickel
• Sterling or 925 silver. High-end silver is mixed with seven-and-a-half percent copper, not nickel
• Copper. While your skin may temporarily turn green, copper won’t cause an allergic reaction unless it’s mixed with nickel
• Platinum. Thirty times more rare than gold, this metal is strong enough that it doesn’t need to be alloyed with other materials to strengthen it.
• Titanium. As strong as steel but less dense, this metal is often used in medical devices because in most cases the human body doesn’t reject it.
• Zamak. This alloy made of silver, zinc, aluminum, magnesium and copper never contains nickel.
If you’ve had an allergic reaction to jewelry in the past, talk to a jeweler. He or she will be able to suggest a metal that won’t bother your sensitive skin.
Winter driving tips: Did you know?
Regular oil tends to thicken in cold weather, which can cause your engine to run less efficiently and even prevent your vehicle from starting. Synthetic oil, on the other hand, retains its properties in cold temperatures, making it the better choice for your vehicle during winter.
It’s important to clear away the snow and ice in your vehicle’s wheel wells. A build up of ice that rubs against your tires can damage or even puncture them.
You can get rid of ice inside your door’s keyhole by heating your key with a lighter before inserting it in the lock.
GPS technology isn’t foolproof. It’s even been known to, on rare occasions, direct drivers towards frozen—in winter—lakes. If you find yourself in this unlikely circumstance, know that it can take up to three minutes for a vehicle to sink. Passengers who remain calm generally have enough time to escape the vehicle by climbing out a window.
A single gallon of used motor oil can contaminate hundreds of thousands of gallons of drinkable water. Ask your local municipality where you can dispose of your used oil. Many regions have household hazardous waste depots. Otherwise, your local garage will often take it.
During long trips, dimming the lights on your dashboard can help you stay alert by decreasing visual fatigue. Note also that fast driving can heighten fatigue, as drivers have to process a greater amount of information.
Remember. Honor. Teach. Group remembers war dead with wreaths
Like most good ideas, this one began with a problem.
In 1992, the owner of a wreath company in Maine found himself with a surplus near the end of the Christmas season.
What to do?
Morrill Worcester, owner of Worcester Wreath Company, decided he would use the wreaths to decorate the most inspirational place he saw as a boy: Arlington National Cemetery.
With the help of a senator, he made arrangements to decorate an older section of the cemetery, one with fewer visitors every year. A local trucking company heard about the effort and donated transportation for the wreaths. American Legion and VFW posts volunteered to make red bows. And the Maine State Society helped to lay the wreaths.
It became a mission for veteran and military groups and the idea spread.
By 2007, a non-profit corporation– Wreaths Across America — was formed with the motto: Remember. Honor. Teach.
In 2014 the group placed more than 700,000 wreaths in 1,000 locations from Pearl Harbor to Valley Forge.
If you would like to participate, go to wreathsacrossamerica.org.
How we came to know the drummer boy
One of the most beloved Christmas carols is a sentimental ballad, not grounded in Biblical verse, but well rooted in hearts at Christmas.
Pa rum pa pum pum. The little drummer boy played for the baby Jesus. We don’t worry the drumming woke The Babe because, after all, Mary nodded. And, the little drummer boy, who was a poor boy, too, played his best as a gift for the newborn king. And He smiled.
What more can you ask of a carol than a tear for innocence and a musical ox and lamb that can keep time?
Well, perhaps one thing you could ask, if you were the author, as was Katherine Davis, a Wellesley music teacher, was for a little credit.
Seems in 1941, Davis gave an interview in which she spoke about a tune running through her head for a little Christmas carol that she said practically wrote itself.
About 20 years later, a friend called to say her carol was on the radio.
“What carol?” asked Davis.
“The Little Drummer Boy. It’s everywhere.”
And it certainly was. Davis managed to claim credit (and royalties) for the song, which is now part of the beloved library of uniquely American Christmas carols.
Shades of gold: a spectrum of colors
Pure gold is too soft to make jewelry with, so other metals have to be mixed in to make it strong enough to wear on a regular basis. Interestingly, combining other metals with gold can alter its color. You may already be familiar with white and rose, but did you know that gold in fact comes in a full spectrum of colors?
Here is a comprehensive guide to the various shades of gold available. Keep in mind that all of the below mixtures assume 75 percent pure gold, thereby making them 18-karat. Lower karat grades will have different ratios.
• Yellow: 12.5 percent silver and 12.5 percent copper make the closest approximation to the color of 24-karat gold.
• White: gold is mixed with metals such as palladium, copper, zinc and silver, and then plated in rhodium. This metal will have to be re-plated periodically to conserve its color.
• Rose: gold is mixed with 20 percent copper and five percent silver.
• Red: similar to rose gold, but only copper is used to make the alloy.
• Black: the same mixture as white gold but plated with black rhodium.
• Green: also known as electrum, to get this color, gold is mixed with silver.
• Blue: known as an intermetallic alloy, in this case gold is mixed with iron or cobalt.
• Purple: also an intermetallic alloy, in this variation, gold is mixed with aluminum.
While all shades of gold can be beautiful in their own right, some types are more suitable for jewelry than others. It’s therefore best to speak to an experienced jeweler before making a purchase.