## Re: Idle tidbits

1

Usually airplanes use runways in both directions, depending on prevailing wind and such, so half the time you'd be hindering them rather than helping. Maybe if the airport had a non-even split of which way it worked it would be a better idea.

Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 2:25 PM
2

You'd probably have to have teeter-totter runways. But it would be worth it.

Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 2:28 PM
3

The handwriting thing is interesting. I don't want to be singled out here as a big old sexist, but I keep being surprised that 100% of women have girly handwriting, while maybe 15% of men do.

As for plastic film I have no idea how people get the serrations to actually cut it. Wax paper, yes. Aluminum foil, yes. Plastic film cannot be cut by that thing whether it's on the flap or the stationary part of the box.

Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 2:33 PM
4

You'd probably have to have teeter-totter runways.

What could possibly go wrong?

Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 2:34 PM
5

Huge fuel savings would accrue.

Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 2:35 PM
6

it is a deeper brain design than that

Rather, less deep.

Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 2:36 PM
7

Handwriting wouldn't be "wired" in your fine motor skills any more than it could be wired in your genes, anyway.

Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 2:36 PM
8

As for plastic film I have no idea how people get the serrations to actually cut it. Wax paper, yes. Aluminum foil, yes. Plastic film cannot be cut by that thing whether it's on the flap or the stationary part of the box.

You could do it, Ned, if you only had big muscles like a girl.

Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 2:37 PM
9

Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 2:37 PM
10

I keep being surprised that 100% of women have girly handwriting

Maybe you just know an unusually girly sample of women.

Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 2:37 PM
11

If catapults are good enough for the Navy they ought to be good enough for United Airlines.

Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 2:38 PM
12

7: If you were describing a condition where one's handwriting was wildly different depending on the scale of the muscle motions required, how would you phrase it?

Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 2:39 PM
13

Recall that "body-schematic processes are ordered according to the intention of the actor rather than in terms of muscles or neuronal signals" (Gallagher 2005, p 38). This is something Merleau-Ponty knew.

Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 2:40 PM
14

If catapults are good enough for the Navy they ought to be good enough for United Airlines.

Of course then the airliners would need afterburners which would be cool, but probably wouldn't do much for fuel consumption.

Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 2:40 PM
15

Is 13 to 12?

Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 2:43 PM
16

12: I would say that the person's handwriting differed according to the scale (and type) of muscle movement involved, of course. But you were describing the phenomenon where that is not what happens.

In which case (nonvariance of relative letter shape w/r/t medium, posture, scale, etc. of writing) I would describe the phenomenon by saying that people tend to write the same letters the same way.

This is, obviously, not constant, because I certainly write, say, the letter "s" differently depending on whether the overall context is cursive or ... whatever the opposite of cursive is. Plainspoken.

Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 2:44 PM
17

Re: handwriting. I can always identify the handwriting of a person who is Korean, Japanese or Chinese. Speaking without any expertise, but having given some thought to the subject in the past, I think that their handwriting is different because a lot of very specific training goes into how you write in those alphabets. For example, in Korean, you form all your letters using strokes in a specified way, left to right, up to down. This discipline is ingrained and carries over when the writer learns to write in English.

Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 2:44 PM
18

Re:13

surely not true? We know that actions are executed much faster than could happen under direct intentional
control.

Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 2:44 PM
19

13 actually just because I read that sentence just after posting the string of three comments supra.

Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 2:45 PM
20

I don't think the phenomenon noted in 18 actually contradicts anything in 13, which does not say that the processes in question are under direct intentional control.

Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 2:46 PM
21

The intention of the skilled musician playing a rapid trill is not to move his finger up and down on the fingerboard (assuming that this is how one plays a trill on such instruments as have fingerboards) at such and such a frequency but rather simply to play the trill. If the intention were given in terms of the component movements there would be no reason to stop there rather than with the muscular flexions and extensions that underlie the finger movements, and back and back, and the distinction in 13 would collapse, anyway.

Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 2:49 PM
22

neb seems to be having a bad day. The handwriting thing is interesting to me. It may be that, in other countries, more time is spent requiring the handwriting to be pretty, and the foreign students heebie describes were simply more forcefully trained to adhere to their region's pretty handwriting standard. In my education, handwriting was important for one year and then they gave up.

Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 3:03 PM
23

I keep being surprised that 100% of women have girly handwriting, while maybe 15% of men do.

I'm a counter-example (all right, you knew I was going to say that.) My handwriting's awful and illegible, but spiky weird awful.

I notice women who went to Catholic school have the same handwriting -- my mother has it and my eye is always getting stuck on random handwritten things and thinking "Mom? Is that you?" And when I find out who wrote whatever it is, they usually seem to have gone to Catholic school.

Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 3:10 PM
24

1, 2: Airport on a hilltop, runways running uphill from four directions?

Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 3:11 PM
25

I assume that text is right regarding the cross-student uniformity of handwriting in the foreign students.

Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 3:12 PM
26

24: Airplanes coming to a stop by colliding with the airport?

Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 3:14 PM
27

Probably easy to avoid.

Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 3:14 PM
28

26: I believe that's commonly referred to as "landing".

Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 3:28 PM
29

AUUGH! My airplane is going to hit the tectonic plates unless something gets in the way of our descent!

Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 3:31 PM
30

17: There are enough homonyms in Japanese that people disambiguate by sketching the (main?) strokes on the palm of one hand where the hearer can see. I found this out while working with a programmer so geeky that he had optimized his stroke-order when learning to write and was therefore half-incomprehensible to his colleagues. Well, not me; since I don't speak Japanese, we were communicating by code snippets and wild gesticulation, which was fine.

Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 3:31 PM
31

The airport at Courchevel in the French Alps (where space is limited and terrain is already steep) has its runway on an 18.5% grade. Aircraft do indeed land going uphill, and take off going downhill.

Posted by: Mirounga | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 3:41 PM
32

Brilliant!

Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 3:44 PM
33

I am always surprised with my female students incorporate little hearts in their handwriting. I have a student this semester who always preceded her name with a heart. She is "❤ Jane Doe"

Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 3:45 PM
34

I have a theory that women who spend their whole lives going to all-women's schools tend to have a lot less girly handwriting. If you saw my students' in-class essays without seeing their names, you would not identify a "girly" one in the bunch.

Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 3:50 PM
35

Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 3:52 PM
36

I always increase my handwriting efficiency by tilting my writing surface to the right.

Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 3:56 PM
37

Hence the handy explanation, if someone doesn't enjoy something I've written, that, well, once I started, my writing just went downhill.

Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 3:59 PM
38

I'm not actually sure what 'girly' handwriting is -- open loops and rounded letters is what we're calling girly, or are there other features?

Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 4:00 PM
39

Little flowers over the i?

Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 4:04 PM
40

Likewise loops, hearts, and smiley faces.

If you dot your 'i's with a tiny little adorable skull, is that girly or the reverse?

Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 4:06 PM
41

re: 40

Girly, definitely.

Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 4:10 PM
42

Polish handwriting drives me crazy. I'm supposed to translate some WWII era letter scanned off of microfilm right now, and aargh. I find it far, far, more difficult to read than American, English, or French. German is also annoying but doable (not talking about old school German writing which budding historians sometimes take special two week intensive courses to even begin being able to read).

31 Isn't that airport private planes only? Or are there normal commercial flights to Courchevel? Also I've never understood why it's the most expensive of the Trois Vallees. The other two are better as far as skiing goes, and Meribel is conveniently placed for access to the other two. Though Courchevel does have one of my favorite two ski runs of anywhere in the Alps - one which is just as easy or easier to get to from Meribel.

Bleg: How to deal with iTunes importing CD's with the tracks in some sort of random order. It's driving me crazy. The tracks have their numbers right, they're just not in order. It happens with both physical CD's and MP3 files.

Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 4:11 PM
43

re: 42

Yes, I struggle to read my wife's Czech handwriting. Also, when I was teaching and marking essays I sometimes came across students, invariably from outside the UK, whose handwriting had a beautiful flowing elegance combined with total incomprehensibility that seemed the hallmark of certain continental European styles.

Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 4:14 PM
44

I notice women who went to Catholic school have the same handwriting

You can thank the Palmer Method. In my experience, Catholic-school men (of a certain vintage) are as likely as their female classmates to display the telltale symptoms of Palmer Methodism.

Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 4:17 PM
45

It was weird watching my mother open a letter from a fellow she had gone to school with, and discovering that to all appearances she had written it herself.

Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 4:19 PM
46

WHAT IS THIS MYSTERIOUS LETTER BETWEEN t AND u

Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 4:20 PM
47

That's Mom. Funny, I knew the words "Palmer method", but didn't connect them with Mom's handwriting.

Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 4:21 PM
48

46: An alternative, uncrossed 't', I'm pretty sure. I'm not sure what governs when you're allowed to use it.

Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 4:22 PM
49

48: It's used by USian anglophones. We tend to be less cross than the THEMians.

Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 4:24 PM
50

Huh. That's what I was taught, but it sure isn't how I write now.

Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 4:24 PM
51

That's Mom, too.

Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 4:26 PM
52

The tracks have their numbers right, they're just not in order.

I've noticed occasional problems where some tracks are numbered, e.g., "5 of 13" and others just "6 of __", where filling in the total number on all of them will get iTunes to order them correctly. Also, I think they all have to have the same year information.

Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 4:27 PM
53

a programmer so geeky that he had optimized his stroke-order when learning to write and was therefore half-incomprehensible to his colleagues.

That's awesome.

Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 4:30 PM
54

Also Russian cursive, an invention from hell. Half the letters look the same, and they generally bear no resemblance to the print version, or at least not their own print version e.g. a cursive T looks like an M (two up down strokes) whose cursive version looks just like a double L or an I or two thirds of a SH. So the syllable shlim would be just one long series of identical up-down strokes)

Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 4:32 PM
55

There's a line in one of Tony Hillerman's books about an old Navajo man who had the sort of neat handwriting that clearly indicated that he had been educated at St. Michael's.

Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 4:40 PM
56

17: I remember reading that there have been big, rancorous debates in Japanese educational circles over the proper stroke order of Roman letters, since stroke order's on a par with spelling in importance.

Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 4:46 PM
57

scale-invariance of motor representations is a well-studied phenomenon, I think, but I'm super lazy and I'm not going to google it. It comes up in studies of sign language, among other places, because the size of the sign is used as an indicator of volume or emphasis.

I think it all has something to do with the fact that motor representations are... dynamical? Or relative? Some bullshit like that, you know.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 4:55 PM
58

Motor representations are like 95% pure bullshit. Studies have shown, etc.

Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 5:00 PM
59

There are two or three nice books on teaching yourself a modified Italic hand as an adult; clear and fairly fast. (Huff, puff, Arrighi's Operina, fuff.)

My ancient oldest great-aunts wrote copperplate; beautiful and very hard to read.

Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 5:04 PM
60

59: Titles? I'm desperately unlikely to actually do this, but I do hate my handwriting.

Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 5:11 PM
61

I only write in Fraktur.

Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 5:12 PM
62

From the OP: I'm single-parenting it for the next few days.

Hence the idle tidbits?

Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 5:20 PM
63

In high school I thought it would be useful to learn Pittman's shorthand; I liked how it worked and plugged at it for perhaps a couple of weeks. These days when I find myself using a long word a lot I put an abbreviation for it into autocorrect, and those abbreviations are now creeping into my note-taking.

Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 5:26 PM
64

I don't think I can troll Saran Wrap. The Party has no official position.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 6:10 PM
65

Look at some of Barbara Getty's books. I think you want to actually look at the books to see if you would like the hand they're trying to teach.

Oh, the one by Lloyd Reynolds is still in print, too. A little more formal than Getty, but lovely.

Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 6:12 PM
66

This is a fun (and, for me, useful) site on Scottish hand. I take notes in it during lectures to practice.

Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 6:20 PM
67

This tutorial illustrates the process whereby someone's handwriting deteriorated after they had left the watchful eye of a writing master. Different scripts (Italic and Secretary Hand) become mixed up and the writing becomes untidy and idiosyncratic.

Fun!

Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 6:29 PM
68

64: It does too. Saran Wrap is made by Dow Chemical, which manufactured napalm. My parents still won't buy it.

Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 6:55 PM
69

It's possible to avoid buying things made by Dow? Without becoming a hunter-gatherer somewhere far from the nearest city?

Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 7:00 PM
70

Yes. For instance, K-sky's parents avoid buying saran wrap.

Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 7:14 PM
71

Originally it was called sarin wrap and they made it from poison gas. FACT.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 7:15 PM
72

Polymerization's an amazing thing.

Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 7:16 PM
73

Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 7:18 PM
74

I was a Zaner-Bloser kid myself, which as far as I can tell doesn't differ notably from my mother's Palmer script (except that we used these specially shaped and weighted pens of which I can't seem to find an image online), and I can't imagine I'm the only one here. We were drilled enough that if I care to, I can produce cursive that looks like an instructional sample, but somehow I never have occasion to care to.

Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 7:22 PM
75

I can actually pinpoint the night on which my handwriting began to go to hell, as I looked for quicker ways of forming letters while copying out a clean version of the paper due the next day. Now I can't consistently write any other way. Luckily, God now supplies keyboards.

Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 7:27 PM
76

Yes. For instance, K-sky's parents avoid buying saran wrap.

Sigh. Pretend I had included the word "all" in the appropriate place in my comment, dammit.

Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 7:30 PM
77

I hope cursive will die over the next generation or so.

Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 7:30 PM
78

It'll all be D'Nealian soon enough.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 7:32 PM
79

I keep trying to train myself to write in cursive again. It's no less illegible than my printing, and it has the advantage that I can see where one word ends and the next word begins.

Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 7:34 PM
80

I hope cursive will die over the next generation or so.

Seems likely. I mean, sure new album this month, but it seems unlikely they'll keep up this pace longer than a generation.

Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 7:37 PM
81

I was excited to discover, upon trying for the first time in years to write with lower-case letters, not only that I still had the knack but that the result was quite a bit more readable than my block lettering.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 7:37 PM
82

As I think I've said here before, the best thing that ever happened to my handwriting was my first-year math class in college, when the professor would happily use lowercase, uppercase, script, and the occasional blackboard-bold or fraktur version of the same letter all in the same proof. Taking notes probably improved my handwriting more than my knowledge of mathematics.

Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 7:38 PM
83

Oh, and also similar-looking Greek letters at times. Then there was the day that he ran out of symbols and started using a Sanskrit character that looked like yet another, slightly different, version of the letter 's'.

Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 7:40 PM
84

I was taught D'Nealian myself. It didn't stick, but I have ok-looking handwriting that is remarkably consistent.

Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 7:40 PM
85

Sort of Tweety-pwned. Sigh.

Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 7:41 PM
86

that looked like yet another, slightly different, version of the letter 's'.

I think you mean more different "S".

Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 7:45 PM
87

I was taught D'Nealian, and my handwriting is atrocious. I doubt there's any connection.

Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 7:46 PM
88

I also learned how to write consummate "v"s.

Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 7:47 PM
89

38: I'm not actually sure what 'girly' handwriting is -- open loops and rounded letters is what we're calling girly, or are there other features?

Was there a straight answer to this? I assume it refers to the kind of handwriting LB describes, which might seem, on a first pass, to be more for show than for function.

My own handwriting may or may not be girly, but it's designed for speed, a function of rapid note-taking and writing in general during college and grad school, so it's dropped a lot of the curlicues and whatnot I was originally trained in.

Most men I know don't actually write in cursive. Printing, often in block letters, yes.

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 7:47 PM
90

I doubt there's any connection.

Really? I see elements of D'nealian in my printing. I merged cursive and printing somewhere in high school, and then started slanting it in college, but there are visible traces of what I was trained to do.

Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 7:49 PM
91

I learned how to draw birds flying, shaped like little "m"s.

Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 7:51 PM
92

90: I'm sure there are some traces of D'Nealian left in my handwriting, but they would be awfully hard to suss out given the general illegibility.

Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 7:53 PM
93

I can write neatly and legibly if I really make an effort, but if I want to write with any speed at all, it's a nearly illegible scrawl. How do people take notes neatly?

Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 7:55 PM
94

You're the sort of person who writes the exams I strain to read the first few paragraphs of and then give up and skim and hope that they didn't suddenly start writing nonsense, aren't you, teo?

Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 7:55 PM
95

93: I take beautiful notes. Writing quickly really doesn't hamper my handwriting at all. I have no idea how.

Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 7:56 PM
96

94: Yep. Uh, sorry about that.

Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 7:56 PM
97

95: Inconceivable!

Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 7:58 PM
98

96: Heh. I only get about one student a year where I really can't read their handwriting at all. I always have students apologizing to me for their handwriting; for the most part it is really not that bad. But I have noticed that the combination of pencil, tiny letters, and illegibility almost always means a guy wrote it.

Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:00 PM
99

Ew, pencil.

Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:01 PM
100

Hatred of bluebooks unites Unfogged's two major occupational groups.

Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:06 PM
101

92 gets it right.

My dad's handwriting is legendarily horrible (he also takes a ton of fast notes). When he left his last job his coworkers presented him with a font made from his handwriting, as a joke.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:06 PM
102

I do not understand students who don't mind writing with a super dull pencil. Or a super short pencil. I throw tantrums in class when all the chalk gets too short.

Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:11 PM
103

I generally take copious notes in meetings. I keep toying with the idea that I really ought to reduce it by 80% or so, but it feels so decadent when I don't.

Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:11 PM
104

I throw tantrums in class when all the chalk gets too short.

Memo to heebie's students: for a fun time, break all the chalk before class.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:13 PM
105

The best math teacher I ever had liked to fling pieces of chalk and the occasional eraser at the duller students.

Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:14 PM
106

One of the other math profs is known to take fresh chalk out of the box, and break it in half so that he'll have two pieces. Inevitably a student informs me of this, and I get melodramatic about it.

Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:15 PM
107

I most definitely display the signs of D'Nealian in my handscrawling.

Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:15 PM
108

I generally take copious notes in meetings.

When I TA, I take about 4-5 pages of notes (smallish handwriting) for a 50 minute lecture. There is absolutely no need for this; in many cases I've heard the lecture before. However, the only way I pay attention is through note taking, so, I take notes.

Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:15 PM
109

It's important to hone your dull students.

Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:15 PM
110

Chalk is best when it is no longer than 2 inches and no shorter than 1 in length. Deal, Heebs.

Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:16 PM
111

A couple of things strike me: I don't have to write at length for the general reader's comprehension much at all any more. Those who know me enough to read anything lengthy I might write can read my handwriting quite well. This isn't a problem: it is written in [parsimon's] hand. That's a phenomenon I wouldn't want to see fade away.

When I do write more than a paragraph for general consumption, I take more care at it, and then it's lovely, I'm sure, though improperly formed.

Otherwise, for short notes to the general public, it's all caps.

Why does essear want to see the the death of cursive?

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:16 PM
112

Why does essear want to see the the death of cursive?

Because cursive is awful and illegible. Architectural lettering is much nicer.

Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:18 PM
113

Zaner-Bloser

Me too! It looks a lot better than that D'Nealian shit that took over a few years after I came of cursive age.

I got real artsy in elementary school, though, and started messing really purposefully with my handwriting. When I'm bored, I still practice writing the alphabet in a bunch of different styles. I went through a lot of handwriting phases, and now I always surprise myself if I don't concentrate on one. The worst is that when I write something for myself, it's such a bizarre combination of influences that I don't think it looks much like words to other people. My whiteboard writing, however, is fucking exemplary, all even kerning and shit.

Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:20 PM
114

79 to 112.

Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:20 PM
115

Architectural lettering is much nicer.

You say this, but you've never seen my mangled version of it.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:21 PM
116

It looks a lot better than that D'Nealian shit that took over a few years after I came of cursive age.

This timing seems strange. I'm quite a bit older than you, but learned D'Nealian before cursive.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:22 PM
117

My best writing is done by paintbrush. If I have to write really neatly on something, I'll get out my brushes. How twee is that? Do I win something?

Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:23 PM
118

I got real artsy in elementary school, though, and started messing really purposefully with my handwriting. When I'm bored, I still practice writing the alphabet in a bunch of different styles

Me too. My friends still make fun of me (lovingly) for it.

Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:23 PM
119

116: It could be we just had old materials. I think I was living in Nebraska then.

Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:24 PM
120

For the record, I've never known anyone who knew the name of the writing style they were taught before you weirdos.

Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:24 PM
121

Dunno, my teachers made a big D'eal out of it. Maybe it was new and exciting?

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:26 PM
122

you've never seen my mangled version of it.

I suppose. It could just be better for me. I'm just terrible at ordinary printing or cursive.

Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:27 PM
123

I just remember that all the materials said "D'Nealian" all over them, and that the teachers talked about it a lot. I could never figure out what the hell it meant or how it differed from any other type of writing. In fact, I mostly still haven't figured that out.

Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:28 PM
124

I recognize it from the pictures that ringed the room just below the ceiling in my 2nd and 3rd grade classrooms.

Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:29 PM
125

120 for the win.

I've stared at the difference between the Palmer Method and D'Nealian, and I see (I was originally taught something closer to the former, which is indeed pretty, but trained myself toward the latter). Zaner-Bloser I have yet to check.

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:30 PM
126

I recognize it from the pictures that ringed the room just below the ceiling in my 2nd and 3rd grade classrooms.

I remember alphabets along the top of the walls, but they just looked like nice, formal font.

Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:34 PM
127

nice, formal font

CHIROGRAPHONORMATIVIST!

Posted by: OPINIONATED HANDWRITER | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:37 PM
128

I self-consciously started doing my lowercase "q" like the people I met in Chile. It looks more or less like a print "q" but with an additional horizontal line crossing neatly and briefly through the vertical line just below the bubbly part. I can't for the life of me find an image of one online, dammit.

Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:39 PM
129

I cross my sevens and my Zs.

Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:40 PM
130

117: You win a baby plum in a teacup.

Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:42 PM
131

129: I do that, too, thanks to a teacher in Spain who insisted otherwise there was no way to distinguish a 1 from a 7.

Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:43 PM
132

Is it utterly retrograde of me, then, to feel that cursive handwriting, fair or foul, is a thing of charm?

I'm seeing in reading around about this a bit more that D'Nealian was considered to be a solution to the horrible difficulty for children in learning to write cursive. Was it really that hard? I mean, I remember it was sort of a drag, but it didn't seem any more so than learning the times tables. I'm kind of surprised by this.

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:44 PM
133

129: Me too. And I write lowercase a's just like this one here: a and have since I was 5. I also write g's like this one here: g, with the two full loops.

Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:48 PM
134

130: Me too! I picked it up off my Dad when I was 7. Crossed Zs in particular are far superior.

Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:48 PM
135

I also draw 8s as two circles. Picked that up from working in a lab with Japanese people. They couldn't read my infinity-sign-on-edge 8's and it stuck. Now my students are like, what's up with that 8, seriously?

Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:50 PM
136

Judging from the linked samples, I think I was supposed to learn the Zaner-Bloser style but instead imitated my mother's modified Palmer: a semi-deliberate anachronism that is altogether too typical of me.

Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:51 PM
137

Absolutely nothing my penmanship teacher tried to teach me ever stuck; the worst grade of my life was in penmanship. My mother, Palmer all the way, says my writing is beautiful but illegible, such that she nearly doesn't bother trying to read cards and notes from me. And yet it's quite routine for people sitting next to me at seminars to tell me that my notes are impossibly neat, and I was the go-to supplier of comprehensive class notes in grad school. In sum, I have no idea how my penmanship is, except that I can't write in cursive to save my life.

On preview: crossed zs and 7s here too, for ages. Totally started as an affectation, now impossible to shake.

Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:54 PM
138

And, way back at 17:
I think that [Asians' English] handwriting is different because a lot of very specific training goes into how you write in those alphabets.

This is so: there are eight basic strokes in Chinese, and one draws them in a particular order. I also think writers of East Asian scripts will tend to have more developed fine motor skills and so will write with a characteristic precision.

Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:55 PM
139

Although my normal handwriting is a near-illegible scrawl, as noted above, when I really put my mind to it I can write pretty neatly and legibly (printing, not cursive). It takes enough effort that I rarely do it, though.

Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:57 PM
140

Oh, and I also cross my Zs and 7s.

Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 8:58 PM
141

I crossed my sevens and Zs for a while, but then I gave up on it. I also put a slash in my zeros for a while, but could never decide which way it should go. That still happens sometimes. Generally the key element of my handwriting is inconsistency.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:01 PM
142

ANYTHING OTHER THAN CURSIVE IS SLOW SLOW SLOW

Posted by: OPINIONATED MODIFIED PALMER | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:01 PM
143

I wonder if one of the side effects of everyone typing everything is that handwriting is really really personal and private. At least for me, whenever I've known someone for a long time and then see their handwriting, it feels all intimate and stuff. Like, aw! Their little handwriting! It's them, on paper!

Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:01 PM
144

This 7s and Zs is shaping up to be another nice Unfogged Unifying Feature. Even more of us cross our 7s and Zs than have been on Jeopardy!

Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:01 PM
145

Stop foolin': none of you people cross your 7s here.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:02 PM
146

I cross 7's fairly regularly but not every time. I have crossed z's in the past but more often than not the z remains untouched.

Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:03 PM
147

138: in this, as in so many things, YMMV. I have had three different Chinese colleagues whose English penmanship was a complete disaster, and whose fine motor skills were frequently in doubt (these were scientists). I call "orientalism" on foolishmortal!

Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:05 PM
148

My handwriting is bad to the point of me being unable to read it unless I'm concentrating hard on the act of writing. Apparently I have a small but significant fine motor control problem related to premature birth. On the down side that meant that I never learned how to take class notes, took forever to learn how to pronounce certain sounds, can't untie knots, and find sewing on a button to be a time consuming mostly futile nightmare. On the plus side that meant that with one exception I didn't hand write an exam since my junior year in high school. The one time was a college prof who refused to allow me to type the exam even after I provided a letter from the appropriate dean, then failed me because he couldn't read it. The only time I filed a formal complaint against a professor.

Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:07 PM
149

They do write 8's with circles though. ALL OF THEM.

Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:07 PM
150

I also cross 7s and Zs. Not 2s. I also slash 0s, which made for a funny solution set now and again in e&m: the grader must have wondered why I set phi = phi.

Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:07 PM
151

Yay! Crossed z's and 7's for the win!

Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:08 PM
152

I also slash 0s, which made for a funny solution set now and again in e&m: the grader must have wondered why I set phi = phi.

This is exactly why one should never slash a 0. Though I suppose you could write \varphi instead.

Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:09 PM
153

I go back and forth on whether I write \epsilon or \varepsilon.

Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:10 PM
154

And yes I do cross my 7's and Z's. I picked it up after moving to Geneva. Always figured it was a result of all my Brit teachers, but I guess American educated folks do it too.

Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:10 PM
155

Which reminds me, this site is great.

Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:11 PM
156

Did anyone else ever do the little x's in place of the dots on i and j? I did, because I was a punk-as-fuck little seventh grader, let me tell you.

Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:12 PM
157

What 143 says.

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:12 PM
158

156: Almost. I put hats on them. In punk-ass physics class.

Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:15 PM
159

148 -- This is really interesting to me. I've always had really unbelievably horrible handwriting and am terrible at fine motor skill type things, and was also very premature. I always figured it was just a lack of skill/coordination on my part, but maybe I can blame my birth!

Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:18 PM
160

I remember a funny lecture where my freshman physics prof was trying to get the premeds to understand that arbitrary variables really could be used. Did a whole period using a smiley and the word "Frank" for position and velocity, respectively.

Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:21 PM
161

There's some apocrophyl math paper that begins "Let 6 be a group..."

Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:24 PM
162

apocrophyl

I'm so using this as my new term for the chemical property of possible bullshit. Only 93% apocrophyl!

Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:26 PM
163

161: ... With a very amusing character table.

Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:27 PM
164

Apocrophyl: n., the substance which imbues the apostropher with his super powers.

Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:28 PM
165

163: Groan.

Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:28 PM
166

I sense that some have not spent as much time in the physical act of writing as others.

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:29 PM
167

I also cross zees and sevens. What the hell, people?

Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:31 PM
168

I sense that some have not spent as much time in the physical act of writing love as others. Jack T. Ripper.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:31 PM
169

OT, but I think the political ads from this California gubernatorial election might actually kill me.

Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:33 PM
170

166: And you're surprised by this sense? I, for instance, can't recall a non-in-class essay since high school that wasn't typed up on a computer (or at least a typewriter, which I did use on occasion in high school).

Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:34 PM
171

Almost every single paper I turned in during college was hand-written. Seriously.

Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:35 PM
172

Only 93% apocrophyl!

That leaves, what, 7% obtainium?

Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:37 PM
173

I cross sevens but not zees. Rift in universe ---> <---

Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:39 PM
174

I sort-of agree with AWB on the intimacy of handwriting, but for me there's a serious embarrassment factor. If you get to see my handwriting, I must really trust you not to laugh.

Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:39 PM
175

I also cross zees and sevens. What the hell, people?

Awkward turtle!

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:39 PM
176

159 Could be. In my case the conclusion came as a result of a battery of tests by various neuro types after my high school teachers banded together and told my parents that something must be done about my handwriting. The answer was, no, nothing can be done, but since typing requires a lot less fine motor control skills, I can do that instead. I also came close to being classified as a 'special needs' kid at the recommendation of my Kindergarten teacher who was upset that I 'refused' to cut paper or properly do other art projects; that and my un-American insistence on speaking some weird firruner lingo when my parents were around. The testers determined that my fine motor skills were at a level that would automatically classify me as such and fudged the scores since I did very well at all the 'intelligence' tests.

Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:40 PM
177

I know the guy who invented the awkward turtle. His cat doesn't have any followers on Twitter.

Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:41 PM
178

Jack T. Ripper, was he a lover?

Anyway, it's interesting the extent to which our various lives and pursuits, not to mention our training, affect our handwriting; I'm beginning to wonder about the psychological profiles allegedly generated from handwriting samples. Really? Maybe some just wound up being physicists or carpenters, while others wound up as supermodels or humanities professors. Or, of course, are possibly writing in a second-language script.

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:41 PM
179

177: I demand proof.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:43 PM
180

Jack T. Ripper, was he a lover?

Oh, latterly maybe more of a fighter.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:43 PM
181

It's a fine line between lovin' and fightin'.

Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:44 PM
182

Occasionally I get a handwritten in-class essay that makes me want to call the cops--just flat-out clear signs of psychosis, no space between letters or words, solid from top to bottom of the page. But maybe I've just seen too many serial killer movies.

Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:44 PM
183

If handwriting profiles are to be believed, and the length of the tail of your word-final cursive "s" varies directly with your generosity of spirit, I'm a much meaner bastard than I used to be.

Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:49 PM
184

178.2.1: you're beginning to wonder about those? How do you feel about phrenology and haruspices?

Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:49 PM
185

Maybe that's just how their parents wrote, AWB!!!

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:49 PM
186

First one to say "biscuit conditional" gets a punch in the teeth.

Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:50 PM
187

Don't mock the augurs, Jacobian.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:51 PM
188

Schmiscuit Schmonditional!

Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:53 PM
189

I cross sevens but not zees.

Same here. Rift averted!

Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:54 PM
190

Handwriting is not interesting, except this: no matter the scale, your handwriting looks the same.

Not! My normal handwriting has always been very small and neat (well, it was neat back when I used to do it all the time, before I started writing with a keyboard). But when irritating people whose poor eyesight would have made them easy prey on the veldt insisted that I write bigger, it looked very different. I remember an exhibit of manuscripts at the British Museum, one of which (by Swift, I think) was written in a delightfully small script. My brother!, I thought.

Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:55 PM
191

I feel bad even pointing this out, but if Parsimon is planning to Google she'll do better looking for "Jack D. Ripper". Which frankly may not even be the fifth best name in the movie.

Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:56 PM
192

191: no kidding? Next you're going to tell me it isn't Col. Bat Guava.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:58 PM
193

178.2: I can definitely trace the tininess of my handwriting to having spent uncountably many hours of my life labeling the lids of eppendorf tubes. When not screwing up an experiment demands that you fit your initials, the date, the name of the experiment, the condition, and the stage of sample processing onto a 1 cm diameter circle, in sharpie, things get very small and very neat very fast.

Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 9:59 PM
194

My favorite childhood book animal was a shy and lazy baby bull

Still, it's a rabbit, the animal entire generations know as the star of children's books and Saturday-morning cartoons, and as a classroom mascot.

Buttermilk Channel in Brooklyn had rabbit on some menus shortly after it opened in late 2008. But after a table of guests walked out, it came off. Now the only rabbit served at the restaurant is disguised in a country terrine.

"It seems to me that the more you can make rabbit not look like rabbit, the easier it is to sell people on it," said the restaurant's owner, Doug Crowell.

And on the main article topic - didn't everybody dissect rabbits and rats in bio lab in junior high?

Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 10:01 PM
195

184: you're beginning to wonder about those?

Yeah, I don't know why I'd taken that stuff about the light-seeming, uplifting strokes and the downward angry-seeming strokes seriously (at least to some extent), but apparently I did. Too many police procedurals on tv?

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 10:04 PM
196

173, 189 - Does 146 mean the rift is back?

Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 10:07 PM
197

Someone in that kind of restaurant in Brooklyn needs to start serving cuy.

Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 10:09 PM
198

I am starting to think that Teraz may be my long lost Polish cousin. I also was sent home from elementary school -- more than once -- for refusing to do crafts.

I'm in the crossing sevens but not zs camp.

Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 10:11 PM
199

197: I used to work with an Ecuadoran guy who raved about cuy. My favorite thing is the alternate name: conejo de Índia.

Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 10:15 PM
200

Cuybe!

Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 10:16 PM
201

I have a dawning fear that many of those who declare a hatred for hippies do so because they were sent home from elementary school as children for declining to do crafts. (Not that I remember what Robert Halford's stance on hippies is.)

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 10:37 PM
202

This is exactly why one should never slash a 0. Though I suppose you could write \varphi instead.

I don't muck around with math enough in LaTeX to know offhand what a \varphi looks like, but when I write φs in normal writing I leave a little open space on the top left, and even in a closed handwritten φ you don't need to have the slash extend above the curved part.

A slashed zero is useful in mixed letter and numeral contexts.

Finally, I write my best with my fountain pen, I think.

Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 10:45 PM
203

I guess that is what a varphi is. Thanks, essear in 155!

Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 10:46 PM
204

Also, let it be observed that I haven't yet mastered the motor modalities demanded by detexify and the characters I draw in it only very vaguely resemble what I would write with a pen or with chalk or marker.

Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 10:49 PM
205

193- I have to wonder how much more advanced science and medicine would be at this point if every lab just bought a goddamn 2D barcode printer.

Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 10:56 PM
206

194- Our progression was 8th grade = raw chicken meat from the store; 9th grade- rats; 11th grade- fetal pigs, cow hearts, and cats (all 3 in the same class, which was an elective.) Never did a frog. Apparently there really is only one proper way to...

Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 11:00 PM
207

A year or so ago I actually made an effort (as in, looked up tutorials online and studied them) at improving my handwriting. My handwriting is embarrassingly bad, and even more embarrassing is the fact that I don't even have one handwriting -- it changes all the time. (I fear what the handwriting analysts would say about me.) The result of my work with the handwriting tutorials is that I now have roughly three handwritings -- a careful, angular italic; a more casual, loose script; and a scrawly illegible jabbermess, which the first two inevitably devolve into after about three sentences.

Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 11:02 PM
208

even more embarrassing is the fact that I don't even have one handwriting -- it changes all the time.

"We often believe that our handwriting differs at different times, while to others it always looks the same" — GC Lichtenberg.

Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 11:05 PM
209

But after a table of guests walked out, it came off

Wow, what assholes.

Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 3-10 11:06 PM
210

I cross zeds but not zees.

Und mit bridges im Königsberg, I cross zose but not zees.

Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 12:02 AM
211

And yes I do cross my 7's and Z's. I picked it up after moving to Geneva. Always figured it was a result of all my Brit teachers, but I guess American educated folks do it too.

Crossing those is more common among educated folks in America, but we still don't write 1s that look like upside-down Vs.

I thought one day "It would be useful to put a curl at the bottom of my t's so they don't look like plus signs", and instantly that became what I always do. It was quite gratifying. And yet any other attempt to change my handwriting has failed utterly, since it would require a transitional period in which I write much slower before being re-trained in the new habit.

Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 12:07 AM
212

Und mit bridges im Königsberg

Kaliningrad or Królewiec, you fasco-revisionist scum.

Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 1:25 AM
213

HandTutor is being used to treat children who have fine motor skill problems characterized by poor handwriting, cutting and painting skills as well as other functional daily living tasks. These children may have been diagnosed as having ADHD or ADD.

It has been found that fine motor training will improve academic achievement in children with ADHD and ADD. Children are required to successfully do progressively more difficult fine motor tasks during their pre school and school careers. Children are therefore taught firstly to cut and paint before being taught to write. Thus there is a progression in the complexity of the task and the fine motor skill ability required to carry out the task. At the same time there is a progression in the concentration and attention to small details required to successfully complete the task.

The HandTutor provides sensory motor impairment oriented training by giving the child games that require isolated, co-ordinated and accurate finger and wrist movements. At the same time the HandTutor dedicated rehabilitation computer games motivate and improve concentration and allow for intensive practice. This practice will lead to better eye-hand co-ordination, and improved fine motor skill ability. This will allow the child to better perform the required functional task and encourage them to continue functional activities as they will begin to achieve better results. The HandTutor is suitable for children from 5 years old and upwards.

HandTutor can help to improve children's eye hand co-ordination and treat children with fine motor skill problems e.g. poor handwriting and cutting etc.
During a child's schooling there is a progression in the complexity of the functional task and the fine motor skill ability required to carry out the task. At the same time there is a progression in the concentration and attention to small details required to successfully complete the task.

The MediTouch HandTutor provides sensory motor impairment oriented training by giving the child games that require isolated, co-ordinated and accurate finger and wrist movements. HandTutor's dedicated rehabilitation games motivate and improve concentration allowing for intensive practice leading to better eye-hand co-ordination, and improved fine motor skill ability.

Posted by: Alan Waterman | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 1:40 AM
214

I cross my 7's and my Z's, which I copied from my dad. (He slashes his zeros too, when needed, being a programmer from the olden days, but I don't do that.)

211 - my 9 year old starts his 1's with an upstroke, no idea where he got that from. I always think of that style as being continental. His aren't so exaggerated as to look like inverted v's, but enough that he should probably cross his 7's consistently. My 1's and my I's are both just sticks.

I learnt Marion Richardson at school when I was 7, which annoyed me, because I'd already taught myself how to do joined-up writing from a Ladybird book. Learning Marion Richardson involves drawing lots of patterns with the letters.

Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 2:08 AM
215

I too learned Marion Richardson at school when I was 7. I spent the next 20 years deliberately trying to dump every trace of it (not entirely successfully), because it had such bad memories for me and because it was plug ugly.

Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 2:15 AM
216

192: it's actually Col. Bat Guano, which is, I think, even better than "Bat Guava".
The top five are probably Gp/Cpt Lionel Mandrake, Gen. Jack D. Ripper, President Merkin Muffley, Premier Dmitri Kissoff, and Gen. Buck Turgidson.

On the original post: aircraft like to take off in the same direction in which they land, i.e. upwind, if possible. Because the lift depends on the airspeed over the wing, not the aircraft's speed over the ground. (Aircraft carriers steam very fast upwind to fly aircraft off.)

I think that, in general, it's not done because airfields tend to be in flat places anyway and it would unnerve the pilots.

There are some interesting airfields out there. Christopher Robbins' "The Ravens" includes memorable airfields in Laos, including one which was built on top of a horseshoe-shaped hill, so you touched down facing one way and, by the time you stopped, you were facing the other way; and a field whose runway led right up to the foot of a large cliff face, known to pilots as the "vertical speed brake".

Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 2:37 AM
217

I remember an exhibit of manuscripts at the British Museum, one of which (by Swift, I think) was written in a delightfully small script. My brother!, I thought.

I read somewhere that 'professional' writers in the days of feather pens used a crow's quill instead of the conventional goose's, so as to be able to write a smaller script (cheaper on paper). Can't remember where I saw that, maybe a biography of somebody like Grey - AWB would know.

are Americans still all taught Palmer, or is that old hat?

Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 3:00 AM
218

Last time handwriting styles came up someone posted a link with various samples from a range of methods, and I found one which corresponded quite closely with whatever style was taught in Scottish schools in the 1970s. I can't quite remember which one it was now. Both D'Nealean and the Marion Richardson look a bit like it, but neither seem quite perfect.

My handwriting is quite readably legible, I think, except when in rapid scrawl mode, but it's not going to win any awards for aesthetic perfection.

Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 3:00 AM
219

||

REALLY, REALLY take a break for the last reasonable conservative in America. Fuckety, fuckety fuck!

|>

Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 3:28 AM
220

I've only read the first 53 comments in this thread, but my handwriting actually looks quite different depending on the size of the letters I'm writing. My fine motor skills aren't that good (right-hand dominant adjusted, they fall in the bottom 17%), so I have this scrunched up-hand style where I write small, neat somewhat delicate letters. When I write more quickly on a certain-sized scale it looks very different. In short, I don't know that I buy your hypothesis.

Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 4:51 AM
221

AWB would know.

I don't have any more hard info than you do, but I believe this to be true.

There seems to be some controversy around the beginnings of the use of the pen (Wikipedia sez the development is credited to someone in 1803, but it's pretty dubious since there are many earlier mentions of metal pens, in Defoe for example).

Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 4:57 AM
222

Oh, I'm talking more about my printing than my cursive.

Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 5:02 AM
223

pwned by Jesus in 191.

Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 5:14 AM
224

errr, 190, that is.

Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 5:15 AM
225

194: I do find rabbit-aversion weird. My ex was a real carnophile, a culinary school grad, and a former sommelier in France who would usually order the most bizarre cuts and organs from any menu, but he drew the line at rabbit. Would not, could not, with a mouse. As his vegetarian girlfriend, I thought it was some kind of deference to an imaginary taboo of mine, but no. He was deeply freaked out by it.

Dissections: frogs, fetal pigs, cats. We worked with our cats for a whole semester.

Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 5:20 AM
226

225: Oh, nevermind. I remember now. Upon inquiry, he admitted that it had something to do with his first wife's miniature poodle and some kind of tragic death that reminded him of rabbits. That sort of meat-aversion makes sense to me.

Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 5:26 AM
227

I have to say I love rabbit, and would like to eat it more often, but it's hard to get in cities. Do people object because it's cute or because it's vermin? I'm afraid I have a bit of an attitude over this: "Look, if you're going to eat meat, eat meat. Or be a vegetarian, that's great. But don't have the vapours over this or that animal, their mothers all loved them equally."

Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 5:27 AM
228

226. OK, that's a pass.

Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 5:28 AM
229

227: But what about, say, dogs or chimpanzees? Do you draw the line at friendly-human-like? (I'm not trying to start a vegetarianism fight; I actually agree with you completely, but find that I still have conceptual taboos.)

Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 5:31 AM
230

229. OK, you got me. I can't imagine eating other hominids. Why not? Too intelligent? Too human like? I don't know. But no, I do't like the thought of eating Chimps (or Bonobos or Gorillas or Orang Utans). And I'm sure it's a purely emotional response.

For the rest, though, I'd rephrase it to "any animal commonly domesticated or hunted for meat", which would mean that I'd probably not argue for eating dogs in Europe or North America, but I'd be cool with it in Korea.

Also, the rule: "Don't kill endangered species" overrides everything. I'd try a wildebeest steak, but never okapi.

Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 5:41 AM
231

I was giving Maj. King Kong the edge over Jack D. Ripper, but that's probably partly because Slim Pickens has far more entertainment value as a name than Sterling Hayden.

Col. Bat Guano ("if that is in fact your name") is obviously the champ, though. Was "batshit" in general use back then?

Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 5:41 AM
232

Rabbit is plentiful and easy to get in Italy, with no taboos at all. They serve it in the cafeteria at work and sell it in the supermarket. My mother-in-law makes it all the time. Tasty.

Posted by: mealworm | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 6:06 AM
233

216.1: thanks for making that explicit.

Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 6:19 AM
234

233 was me, implicitly.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 6:20 AM
235

awkward turtle

I've been using this physical gesture as an example of language-specific phonotactic constraints for a couple of years: it is the sign for "fish" in Rwandan sign language, but it violates several ASL constraints and is problematic for a number of notation systems!

Someone told me it means some sea-going animal (fish? whale? turtle?) in hula dancing.

Do hearing people really do this in conversations?

Also I cross 7s and Zs too.

Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 8:32 AM
236

Yeah, I'm open to eating pretty much any meat, except primates. Too close to cannibalism, I guess. Also, the thought of eating insects squicks me right out, but that's purely irrational.

Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 8:38 AM
237

235.[last - 1]: seemingly, yes.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 8:38 AM
238

I surprised myself by being a little tetchy about eating horse when I was in Germany. Next time, I guess.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 8:39 AM
239

Also, the thought of eating insects squicks me right out, but that's purely irrational.

Me too. I felt AWB upthread was talking about tetrapods, though. Mind, people do eat insects all over the world. And I'm quite partial to prawns, so it's even less rational.

Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 8:47 AM
240

re: 227

Rabbit is easy to get in Oxford, but I suspect Oxford's population, and the colleges, sustains more butchers that sell game than would be normal elsewhere. Rabbit is great. I can't understand the aversion, tbh.

Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 9:10 AM
241

I'm quite partial to prawns, so it's even less rational.

Yeah, me too. And lobster and crab and crayfish and all the rest.

Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 9:11 AM
242

Whole skinned rabbits look disconcertingly human stretched out in a roasting pan. But actually eating them has never bothered me (although I may not have had good rabbit -- that's something where I really do think "Tastes like chicken," to the point that I wouldn't pay a dime extra for rabbit over chicken.)

Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 9:18 AM
243

re: 242

It is a bit tricky to cook really well, I think. I've had mixed results. A couple of times, absolutely delicious, a couple of times, a bit like chicken [i.e. dry and white]. Mixed results from different recipes, I mean. Not that I cocked up one or other of them as they were all straightforward and uncockupable.

Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 9:27 AM
244

That's not rabbit, it's MOLE!

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 9:30 AM
245

are Americans still all taught Palmer, or is that old hat?

Anecdotal, but I was admiring an older cow-orker's handwriting recently and lamenting my own hodge podge of semi-cursive plus block letters. He noted that his teenage son never learned cursive, as they've stopped bothering to teach it at all at Local UMC Public School System.

Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 10:07 AM
246

"Look, if you're going to eat meat, eat meat. Or be a vegetarian, that's great. But don't have the vapours over this or that animal, their mothers all loved them equally."

Not all animal mothers regularly eat their children. You seem to be biased toward rodent consumption here.

Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 10:14 AM
247

161: "Let 6 be a group" actually has a ton of ghits. On closer inspection, though, they all seem to involve OCR errors, and a group that's really named $\theta$.

Posted by: micah | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 1:10 PM
248

If 6 wants to be a group I don't see what the problem is. You have to let it make its own mistakes anyway.

Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 1:14 PM
249

they all seem to involve OCR errors

As opposed to the preverbal nail.

Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 1:21 PM
250

Edna Lewis has a recipe for rabbit stuffed with pork and bacon fat that looks great. Also sauteed in a cup of butter, IIRC. Whew.

D'Nealian handwriting looks like the worst of all worlds to me; almost as inconvenient as cursive, not as clear as printing. I get extra cranky because I'm left handed and cursive was much less adaptable than italics. Ssss.

Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 4:22 PM
251

Are major airport runways not poured in place? Might be tricky to make steeply slanted runways in that case. What with the cement wanting to find level. Could be easy enough to do if you used pre-poured mosaic.

Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 6:06 PM
252

251: I'm pretty ignorant about road-construction techniques, but how do they pour roads or sidewalks that are slanty?

Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 6:09 PM
253

Stiffer concrete, I suppose. Don't we have some engineers around here somewhere?

Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 6:13 PM
254

I never took Concrete. That is one of my life's sorrows.

Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 6:26 PM
255

I think JRoth might know something about concrete and cement, possibly about making slanty things, but who knows.

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 6:38 PM
256

Well, I've only ever done flat concrete. But I guess you make full forms--with tops. That seems like that would do it.

Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 6:47 PM
257

Also I bet they have a crown on the runways as it is. Standing water not being conducive to things like 'not skidding off the runway and crashing in a fiery inferno of fire.'

Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 6:48 PM
258

Hmm. Getting in to work tomorrow might be difficult for people who use this WMATA stop.

Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 6:52 PM
259

258. From the news it looks like it will be cleared by then. The upper level of the bus station is closed, but they have re-opened the lower level and the northern exit from the subway. How one gets from the rail subway to the lower level w/out using the upper level is an interesting question. But, by morning it will be OK, I hope.

Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 7:29 PM
260

rail

Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 7:31 PM
261

Probably be more ballistic glass and a slower rate of entry going forward!

Posted by: Turgid jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 7:33 PM
262

I have long predicted to my colleagues that with the next big incident that they will expand the perimeter. Guard shacks to protect the guard shacks.

Actually, right after 9/11 they did do that. You had to show ID to walk into South Parking or to use the fare gates in the subway station.

Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 7:40 PM
263

Yes, I imagine that is right. Snipers with laser guided bee cannons! Guns with guns mounted on them! A tank parked there on the little bit of lawn!

Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 7:44 PM
264

Snipers with laser guided bee cannons!

I love DARPA!

A tank on that bit of lawn would be funny to see.

Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 7:48 PM
265

But you know who else used bees as weapons? Nazis, that's who.

Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 7:59 PM
266

My eyes were opened to DARPA's plans for bees by a talk by Ja/ke Ko/sek.* Suddenly the X-Files bee farms seemed just slightly less crazy.

*I liked his work on the actual use of the bee; the metaphor section of the talk was less convincing to me.

Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 8:07 PM
267

I love DARPA!

I have a friend who just got hired as a DARPA program manager. I'll be happy to pass any damn-fool ideas you have along.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 8:16 PM
268

267, me too! I'm wondering if I shouldn't go there and not get shot at.

Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 8:19 PM
269

Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 8:19 PM
270

269: oh sweet christ now. I would be very disturbed if those two persons were the same person.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 8:20 PM
271

That should be "oh sweet christ no" but I like both forms pretty well.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 8:21 PM
272

Not my buddy's cat. Too articulate for 140 characters.

Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 8:26 PM
273

There are fewer than 200 employees at DARPA (not counting contractors and details and black budget folks). So the odds are good.

Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 8:28 PM
274

I could narrow it down even more. Still, his cat isn't on twitter.

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 8:29 PM
275

Picture of a DARPA transit project.

Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 03- 4-10 8:30 PM