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And today, we're going to talk about this.
We're going to talk about this.
First of all, 90% of humans, regardless of
culture or language are right-handed.
And we choose a dominant hand before we've
even left our mothers.
When a baby inside its mother's womb is seen
sucking its thumb, it is sucking the right
thumb 90% of the time.
Animals do it too.
In fact, horses take longer strides with their
right legs, which is the entire reason racetracks
are run counterclockwise.
Left-handedness is so rare that across most
cultures there has been a historical stigma
against being left-handed.
In fact, the word for somehow who's good at
using both hands is ambidextrous and "dexter"
comes from Latin for "right."
So when you call somebody ambidextrous, you're
not saying that they're good with using both
hands, you're telling them that they have
two right hands.
And if someone is unable to use either hand,
they're called ambisinister, because in Latin
"sinister" means "left."
But why do we have to have a dominant hand
in the first place?
Why can't we all just be awesome with both
Well the fault lies in the brain.
Now, brain wants to be efficient, so it divvies
up tasks to specific regions and it tends
to avoid sending too much information between
both hemispheres, because doing so would require
using the corpus callosum, which would take
more time and energy.
Now, the way the brain works is kind of funny.
The left side of the brain controls the right
side of the body and the right side of the
brain controls the left side of the body.
So it makes sense that the hand you're best
doing precise stuff with would correlate to
the hemisphere of the brain that does the
most precise processing.
In 95% of right-handed people it's the left
hemisphere that deals with precise language
thinking, like definitions.
But when you're left-handed, there's about
a 40% chance that you're using the right hemisphere
And this is where things get interesting.
Now being left-handed or ambidextrous does
not mean that your brain works in one way
or the other.
But it may help explain why across averages
ambidextrous people sometimes score lower
on IQ tests, or why a greater proportion of
schizophrenics are left-handed or ambidextrous
than the rest of the population.
Now that said, there are giant benefits to
having a brain like that.
By sending information back and forth, more
novel connections are made, more creative
ideas are made.
Albert Einstein was left-handed.
And 5 of the last 7 US presidents have been
There's something else left-handed people
have an advantage with - keyboards.
On a QWERTY keyboard, thousands and thousands
of English words can be typed using the left
But on the right side of the keyboard you
can only write maybe about a 100 or so.
On the left side of a keyboard the left hand
all on its own can type pretty long somewhat
common words, like stewardesses, reverberated
But on the right-hand side the longest common
word you can type is "lollipop."
Oh look, a spacebar.
When people go to space, they have left Earth.
The first person to leave Earth into space
was Yuri Gagarin, a Soviet cosmonaut.
But the one I'm interested in was the fourth
man into space, Gherman Titov.
He may have only been the fourth person into
space, but he was the first person to have
left Earth and simultaneously left wakefulness.
Titov was the first person to sleep in space.
And here's what's really fun.
He was 25 years old when he did it, which
means that to this day Titov is the youngest
human who has ever been to space.
You know what else leaves Earth?
Helium gas that we use in balloons is lighter
than air and so molecules of helium rise all
the way to the very tip top of our atmosphere,
where they get picked off by solar wind, meaning
that they leave us forever.
In fact, there's a little bit of a concern
over how much helium we have left, because
the only way helium comes into existence on
Earth is through radioactive decay.
Alpha particles are essentially helium nuclei
and we find a lot of helium inside natural
But right now we're using a lot of it and
helium is quite cheap, so there's a realistic
concern that within the next 30 or 40 years
we may have no helium left.
Thanks for watching.