12 comments on “Timmy elsewhere

  1. Perhaps the Dvorjak keyboard is better than he qwerty, perhaps it isn’t, but the reason we don’t use it today is because it definitely wasn’t better with mechanical typewriters.

    Actually, the reason we don’t use it today is that, just as Congress were about to pass legislation to switch the nation from Qwerty to Dvorak, WW2 broke out. As with so many things, it’s the Nazis’ fault.

  2. As with driving on the left or the right. Unlike Dvorjak there’s no particular merit to either system, no basic reason to choose one or the other

    No, there was actually a very good reason. Which side of the road we rode our horses on was decided on the basis of the way people drew their swords, thus making it more difficult to attack a horseman passing the other way without warning. Apparently, the British and the mainland Europeans used different sword-drawing techniques.

  3. There’s a golf club near Stamford that drinks a lot of Kummel. Apparently the habit was introduced by former member Hermann Goering. So goes the tale, at any rate.

  4. Thanks profoundly for bringing Benedictine back to my notice. it’s one of the very few sticky hooches I like. Very strongly. But I’d forgotten all about it for nigh on thirty years.
    Off to buy a bottle. Two.
    See if we can’t get some serious path dependence going here

  5. “just as Congress were about to pass legislation…..”

    Which keyboard layout is something to legislate over. I am shocked!

  6. @s2 I don’t buy the sword drawing excuse, no matter how most people draw a sword it will end up in the right hand anyways.

    The side from which a sword is drawn is dependent on the size of the sword, longer swords from the left hip, shorter ones (like the Romans used) could be drawn from the right, which was easier in formation, really big swords go on the back.

    On horseback a sword is normally longer (to reach lower enemies) and is therefore almost invariably sheathed on the left and this would be the side of the horse is trained to be mounted from, it would be difficult otherwise (an exception is Native Americans who mounted from the right but did not use swords or roads). If you are mounting from the left then it makes sense to be on the left side of the road and mount from the roadside.

    For other reasons as well, using horses for riding or draft makes left side driving (passing on right) the more natural option, mainly due to holding the reins in the left hand and freeing up the right hand. This changed when larger wagons appeared and the driver rode one of the team of horses, he’d be on the left rear horse as his right hand would be used to whip the others onward, consequently it was easier for him to pass on the left as he could see the wheels against the oncoming traffic.

    I believe there was also a theory that Europe used to drive on the left (pass on the right) but Napolean deliberately made his army march on the opposite side so everyone had to give way and it stuck, only the countries that resisted him stayed on the left.

    Still it does all go to show Tim’s point.

  7. @ Runcie

    “but Napoleon deliberately made his army march on the opposite side so everyone had to give way and it stuck”

    Why is this so believable..!?

  8. > I don’t buy the sword drawing excuse, no matter how most people draw a sword it will end up in the right hand anyways.

    Yeah, but that takes time. As I understand it, the point is to make it impossible to use just one quick sweeping movement to get the sword from your scabbard into the neck of the rider passing you before they have a chance to react.

    The Napoleon thing’s interesting, and very believable. In fact, the French still drive like that.

  9. On the sword thing:
    If passing a possible adversary it would be usual to prefer to pass on the right. If carrying a shield, which was done through much of history, as it protects the left side. And to the right-handed swordsman the stronger fore-hand blow can be delivered coming from the adversary’s rear, whilst the parries are made in back-hand.

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