Why is 'clockwise' to the right?

Not to confuse the issue, if you are sitting outdoors, or in a window, you will perceive the sunlight (the light, not the sun) moving to the left. Think of sitting under an umbrella.

A (late) Australian friend recounted the following story. When he went to Cambridge as a student, he was working under a window and the sun was shining right on whatever he was working on. So, like any Australian, he moved a foot to the left. Damn, 20 minutes later, the sun was again shining on his work! It took him a few seconds to figure out what had happened.

if he would have bought you a goddamn Mickey Mouse watch then he could have said to turn the goddamn spigot in the same direction as the goddamn hands on the goddamn Mickey Mouse watch.

then you could have replied to him that it wasn’t a goddamn spigot that it was a goddamn hose bib and if he couldn’t give goddamn better directions then how could he expect any goddamn help from you.


If you check the posting times, youll find, as often happens in cat-like ninja sparring, that the ninja’d can claim moral victory because he has taken the time to flesh out a reply or given cites, which is encouraged here and is the right thing to do in any case when independent solution or Divine Revelation are not involved.

Of course, moral victories don’t count for shit to ninjas.

I never had a goddamn Mickey Mouse watch till I was over 60. Now the world makes sense.

Closewise is only to the right 1/4 of the time.

Although you are correct, I find it difficult to think that “turn it to the right” is an unknown concept. If someone told you to turn the steering wheel to the right would it be that difficult to grasp exactly what that meant? No. No it wouldn’t.

When folks from Down Under (Oz, NZ, South Africa, etc.) come Up North, it always takes a while for them to get accustomed to Northern Geography. It always seems odd, until you get used to it, that Northern Earth turns from West to East, with the result that the sun rises in the East and moves from East to West across the sky!

The converse is equally true, of course, when us Northerners visit Down South.

It doesn’t matter whether you are in the Northern or Southern hemisphere, the Sun rises in the East and sets in the West.
Just because you’re North or South of the Equator, does NOT change the direction that the Earth spins. :smack:

How many little kids do you know that know how to drive?


There is nothing inherently ‘right-hand’ about clockwise rotation or right-hand threads.

I’m guessing you don’t use a wrench much. We turn the screw or bolt the same direction we’d turn a nut, whenever it’s facing us. If we’re reaching behind and turning something that’s facing away from us, we turn it the opposite direction, but it doesn’t matter whether it’s the bolt head or the nut.

Right, but he’s right that for those of us who are naturally spatially oriented, it is confusing to be down under.

I misspent my youth on the shores of Lake Huron in Michigan. Whenever I’m in CA, I occasionally get momentarily disoriented due to the water being on the “wrong side”, and think I’m driving south rather than north along the coast (for example). When I remember where the heck I am, the world does a flip and everything is right again. A similar but more subtle thing happened when I spent 7 weeks in Australia’s southeast coast. The sun rose over the water, just as it “should”, but at noon, the shadows went the wrong way!

Except the fact that if you’re sitting on the end of the hand, facing the direction of movement, you’re always turning right, and the right-hand rule for threads, as mentioned above. What’s not inherent about those?

Regarding the right hand rule, to me a clock seems to follow the left-hand rule, if the thumb is pointed out of the face of the clock. Likewise, the planets (and Earth’s North) follow a right hand rule, but revolve counterclockwise, when viewed from north of the plane.

Put any small kid on a circus bumper cars ride and see how many seem to instinctively know which way to turn the wheel.