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 Home > hotspots > Glove

A "glove" (Middle English from Old English glof) is a type of garment which covers the hand. Gloves have separate sheaths or openings for each finger and the thumb; if there is an opening but no covering sheath for each finger they are called "fingerless gloves".

Fingerless gloves with one large opening rather than individual openings for each finger are sometimes called gauntlets. Gloves which cover the entire hand but do not have separate finger openings or sheaths are called mittens. Mittens are almost always warmer than gloves made of the same material because fingers maintain their warmth better when they are in contact with each other. As well, the reduced surface area means that there is less heat loss.

There is also a hybrid of glove and mitten which contains open-ended sheaths for the four fingers (as in a fingerless glove, but not the thumb) and also an additional compartment encapsulating the four fingers as a mitten would. This compartment can be lifted off the fingers and folded back to allow the individual fingers ease of movement and access while the hand remains covered. The usual design is for the mitten cavity to be stitched onto the back of the fingerless glove only, allowing it to be flipped over (normally held back by Velcro or a button) to transform the garment from a mitten to a glove.

Gloves can serve to protect and comfort the hands of the wearer against cold or heat, physical damage by friction, abrasion or chemicals, and disease; or in turn to provide a guard for what a bare hand should not touch. Latex, nitrile rubber or vinyl disposable gloves are often worn by health care professionals as hygiene and contamination protection measures. Police officers often wear them to work in crime scenes to prevent destroying evidence in the scene. Many criminals also wear these gloves to avoid leaving fingerprints, which makes the crime investigation more difficult.

Fingerless gloves are useful for bikers and where dexterity is required that gloves would restrict. These gloves are not particularly used in cold weather, as the exposed finger numbs. Cigarette smokers and church organists often use fingerless gloves. Some gloves include a gauntlet that extends partway up the arm. Cycling gloves for road racing or touring are usually fingerless.
Gloves have been made of many materials including cloth, knitted or felted wool, leather, rubber, latex, neoprene, and metal (as in mail). Modern gloves made of kevlar protect the wearer from cuts. Gloves and gauntlets are also integral components of pressure suits and spacesuits such as the Apollo/Skylab A7L which went to the moon. Spacesuit gloves must combine extreme toughness and environmental protection with a degree of sensitivity and flexibility if the astronaut is to do any manual work.

Today gloves are made around the world. Most expensive women's fashion gloves are still made in France, with some made in Canada. For cheaper male gloves New York State, especially Gloversville, New York is still a world centre of glove manufacturing. More and more glove manufacturing is being done in East Asia, however.

2. Enough with the blanket approach
LIKE so many trendy ideas that are absurd, this one has spread. Like chocolate on the pillow in hotel rooms - who else has not noticed the little morsel only to find a worrying brown smear on the sheets in the morning?
It defies all logic. It is totally environmentally unfriendly. It countenances no consideration for climate. It can be found in hotel rooms from the tourist three-star, through the five-star exclusive eco-resorts, to the delightfully cosseting luxury ocean liner. It is guaranteed to have you setting the air-con to "arctic" regardless of the outside temperature. And worst of all, unless you have come across this abomination before, you are doomed to a night of sweat-soaked sheets, tossing and turning to the most vivid and disturbing anxiety nightmares that your tormented subconscious can create from its back catalogue of childhood traumas and phobias.
Have you worked it out yet? This destroyer of sleep, this enemy of nocturnal cuddling is . . . the doona.
Why oh why have hoteliers embraced this fashion? What is wrong with the good old-fashioned fine Egyptian cotton sheet, light cotton blanket, along with a spare, folded neatly at the foot of the bed?
Every hotel I have stayed in lately has installed these inflexible monsters on the bed.
Often it is built into a doona cover, so you can't even throw it off and just sleep with a sheet. Many a time I've had to pull it out of its cover in the blackness of night, cursing housekeeping. The absurdity of the doona plague is that even in tropical climes, such as Bangkok, a doona is installed.
How many guests must resort to setting the room thermostat to 15 degrees in order to sleep? What a mockery of the "help us to help the environment" cards hotels leave lying around suggesting you do your bit by re-using your bath towels, or bed sheets for more than one day. I wouldn't need new bed sheets every day if I hadn't sweated five litres during the night.
The solution, gentle reader, is easy. As soon as I enter a new hotel room, I make a beeline for the bed and if a doona lurks there I call housekeeping to come and change it for a cotton sheet and a light cotton blanket. Oh, what bliss to know this travellers' tip. And might I suggest one more little thing, let the hotel know what you think of the doona infestation. You'd be doing something for the environment.

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