I understand on the other hand.

But what's on the grasping hand?

Source: Stack Overflow blog.

1 Answer 1


The poster is mis-quoting "On the gripping hand", as mentioned introduced in the novel The Mote in God's Eye by American writers Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

and is used (by the alien species Moties, and us nerds who read and enjoyed the book) when there are three alternatives
One one hand...
On the other hand...
On the gripping hand...

The saying is native to the alien Moties, who have three arms, one of which is stronger but possesses less finesse.

Original text [bold is mine]:

Of course, there are other factors to consider; for instance, now that you have a mostly-empty server sitting around, you’ll probably find ways that it can be put to use. On the other hand, your electricity bill is probably a few $/month higher than it would be if you didn’t have that server. On the grasping hand, if you used a good online backup system (cough tarsnap cough) you probably wouldn’t have to upload all 5GB every day, since there’s probably large amounts of that data which remains unchanged from day to day.

  • Hold up, are you now saying that the text the OP cites is incorrect? "Grasping" looks intentional, to me. Jul 14, 2011 at 6:17
  • 2
    I am saying exactly that. It is a mis-quote from the book
    – mplungjan
    Jul 14, 2011 at 6:34
  • But "grasping hand" is used to represent spendthriftery, which suits the context well, so I'd maintain that it's intentional. Jul 14, 2011 at 6:42
  • "Tarsnap has no fixed or minimum monthly fees! Tarsnap is billed only based on actual usage — if you only store a small amount of data, a $5 payment might last you for years. "
    – mplungjan
    Jul 14, 2011 at 6:46
  • Exactly, so only uploading changed files will cost a lot less. If that's not a "grasping at pennies" solution, I don't know what is. Jul 14, 2011 at 7:20

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