Steven Strogatz, a Cornell math professor and math communicator (I’m waiting for his much-praised book “Infinite Powers” about calculus to come out in paperback) had an interesting series of Tweets over the weekend that began: “I’ve long worried about this, and it is starting to happen: Some students aren’t sure which way is “clockwise” anymore. “

You can see a screenshot above of the start of the discussion, which went on for a while. Later he commented: “In 30 years of teaching, I’ve never seen so many students confused about the difference between clockwise and counterclockwise. It feels like something new is happening.”

Like many people, I’ve made jokes about this possibility over the years, so it’s interesting to see it happening. I may send a query out to area high school teachers to see if they notice it.

Perhaps we need to switch to that screw-thread mnemonic: “righty tighty, lefty loosey.”

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