Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 in 40 Seconds

To end 2008 and start off 2009, this video gives a beautiful recap of 2008. I feel bad for those who don't get to experience the variety of the seasons.

Happy New Year!

One year in 40 seconds from Eirik Solheim on Vimeo.

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sign Tube

Okay, so virtually everyone has been to You Tube at one point or another. If not, then they've watched one of their videos embeded in a news story or blog (such as this one). Though You Tube recently added captioning, its not widely used by video producers. One limitation of the You Tube method is that only the person who uploaded the video can add captions to it.

There's now a video site out there for those who are Deaf, Sign-Tube. Funded by the UK based Deaf Enterprise Partnership, it is for "deaf people or those who wishes or involved in Sign Language or in the deaf community to share the news, information, events and even fun with people across the world."

It looks like the site is fairly underused, as there are only 500 videos listed currently (as opposed to YouTube which has 10 hrs of video uploaded to the site every minute and has hundreds of millions of views per day). A quick search on You Tube for Sign Language gets 42,000 videos.

Sign Tube is an interesting idea, especially as it intends to develop community as part of it. I'm not sure if there's a need for it, as YouTube seems to be hosting a significant amount of sign language videos, but that's what is nice about the internet, you can always put something out there and see what sticks.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

David Patterson SNL Parody- Did it go too far?

A recent sketch by Saturday Night Live has drawn some criticism for its portrayal of David Patterson, the Governor of NY who is blind. Quoted in the LA Times, Patterson said "I can take a joke," Paterson told the Daily News on Sunday. "But only 37% of disabled people are working, and I'm afraid that that kind of third-grade humor certainly adds to this atmosphere."

The National Federation for the Blind was also quoted as saying "The biggest problem faced by blind people is not blindness itself, but the stereotypes held by the general public," spokesman Chris Danielsen said. "The idea that blind people are incapable of the simplest tasks and are perpetually disoriented and befuddled is absolutely wrong."

Read my opinion after the video

Did SNL go too far? I'm not sure if too far is the right phrase. They didn't do anything original, this was juvenile humor. The cliches they missed was him walking into a wall, or being surprised that he was black (ha, ha, didn't know he was black because he's BLIND! yawn).
Aside from this poorly written skit, it raises a good question about the use of real or fictionalized characters with disabilities in humor. Is it okay to use someone's disability in a humorous skit? How? What would make it too far? What about the character's comments about someone "with a gamy arm...giant gums with the tiny teeth", is that humor?

Ultimately, I'd love to see David Patterson go on SNL and show them was humor is. The little I've seen him speak, he appears to have quite a sense of humor and can laugh at himself. He also seems to have a good sense of how far is too far and how they could use his blindness in a skit.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Book Review: BizzWords

BizzWords: From Ad Creep to Zero Drag, a Guide to Today's Emerging Vocabulary By Gregory Bergman

I've been putting off writing this review for some time. I finished the book within days of receiving it from Mini Book Expo for Bloggers, but have delayed in writing the review. I'm not sure what exactly my reason is, but that's also how I feel about the book: I'm not sure exactly. Formatted like a dictionary, and written like bad comedy, BizzWords purports to be "A Guide to Today's Emerging Vocabulary".

There are plenty of terms that cause a chuckle, such as Dot Snot defined as a "young arrogant person who got rich by owning a dot com company" or when people stick their heads over a cubicle wall when there's noise or something interesting happening is called "prairie dogging". Some of the terms actually have merit, and are useful if you're not familiar with business language and need or want to know such as angel investor, action items or red chip. There are others that have little utility and are more descriptive or just interesting.

My problem with the book is what I haven't been able to resolve about the book. That is; What is the book's utility and the intention in writing it? Is it meant as a serious guide to emerging vocabulary? Then it should act like it and skip the silly terms while embracing a more dictionary style format and form. Define the term, origins and provide an explanation without the weak attempts at humor. This would make the book far more interesting by providing a context to the words and, over time, perhaps an evolution of the terms (or extinction). There are serious terms that are actually very descriptive and interesting, but are ruined by bad writing. A prime example of this is "Brightsizing" where a company lays off those with the least seniority while retaining older workers. The book proposes that these "new employees, who are often younger are typically the best trained and educated..." Interesting concept and decent description ruined by

"Signs that your company has been brightsized:
* The highest level of education among your employees is now the tenth grade.
* In the lounge, magazines like The New Yorker and The Economist have been replaced by coloring books.
* In the design department, the Mac has been replaced by the Etch A Sketch."

Ultimately, there is some utility in the definitions BizzWords provides assuming that you can overlook those that aren't useful or just plain silly, but I can't say I'd want to hand over my $9.99 to take this home from my local book store.

From Adams Media

A review for Mini Book Expo: Full Disclosure

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Voice Activated Alarm Clock

voice activated digital alarm clock with blue face
"This unique alarm clock uses advanced speech recognition technology that lets you easily set the time and alarm via voice commands and responds to queries such as What time is it with vocalized answers." -Assistive Technology Services website
Very interesting alarm clock. Why not, the technology exists and allows those with cognitive disabilities as well as visual impairments to use the clock. I suspect though that it's susceptible to problems with accents and speech impediments. See the demonstration below or check it out on their site where there are other interesting AT demonstrations.

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Assistive Tech. as Psychological Marker

Okay, so the title might over state it a bit, but the point is very valid.

"...we can often have the false impression that providing a patient with a bit of kit will be well received as its offers a "solution" to a problem. Sadly however the issue of a device can also be a clear a visible marker of an ability lost or never to be gained and may therefore be received with a distinct feeling of sadness, even anger."

Short but very interesting article. It's imperative that we're cognizant of an individual's feeling about using a piece of AT. For many, especially young people, its others' perceptions of the AT rather than their own. They may understand how it can help them, but the perception may out weigh this. It is not enough to say you should or must, but to help them come to a point of accepting it, and finding a way to build it into their life. This may mean helping them talk to others about what it does for them.

Thanks for supporting Maine VRC.

AT picture used with Creative Commons Permission from Flickr user cobalt123

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Skype Boating

Interesting article from IT about using VOIP (voice over internet protocol) to help people with visual impairments navigate using a boat or participate in other sports.

"Ed Gallagher has slowly lost his sight over the last ten years. He was a keen sailor in the San Francisco Bay area and wanted to continue his hobby. He joined the Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors (BAADS) but really wanted to continue solo sailing. He put together a solution using a head-mounted video camera and a video Skype link to a friend on terra firma. The friend can now see the boat and where it is going and direct Ed so that he can sail solo in the Bay."

Great example of using existing technology to meet needs, and how assistive technology needs to be neither expensive or specialized.

Thanks for supporting Maine VRC.

Boating photo used with permission from Flickr user tiarescott under Creative Commons License

Monday, December 1, 2008

Book Review: A Wood Engraver's Alphabet

There are plenty of alphabet books out there, ones that have cars, fruit, clothes, kids, toys and animals. However, this isn't your child's alphabet book. A Wood Engraver's Alphabet Book 2008 Porcupine's Quill, Inc. by G.. Brender a Brandis is a beautifully crafted art book comprised of 26 wood cuts of both familiar and rare flowers and plants.

In his introduction Mr. Brandis talks with a love for his craft and an almost intimate feeling about his subjects. He talks about his drawing process of drawing on paper and later transferring this to wood while other times drawing directly on "the highly polished wooden block (usually boxwood if available although the lady's mantle was done on a piece of holly wood)."

"Something mysterious happens in my brain when I actually begin engraving. Throughout the drawing process I make dark lines on white paper or onto the blond wood, but the minute I pick up a graver or burin to start incising lines into the block I am thinking in terms of white line in a black field since what ever bits of the block's surface I lower by cutting will not catch any ink... I have never understood how I do this reversal of black and white- it just came to me from the first engraving I did..."

Read the rest of the review at Associated Content

Thank you to Mini Book Expo for providing me this book. Read my other reviews at Associated Content
Full Disclosure

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Paraplow- the Wheel Chair Snow Plow

Charlie's Homepage on You Tube

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Australian Show Sets the Standard on Disabiltiy TV

Attitude TV is a very different kind of disability television show.

"Attitude is an upbeat television magazine series designed to reflect the lifestyle, issues and interests of people either living with a disability or caring for a person with a disability"

It is just what it says it intends to be, a lifestyle magazine for individuals with disabilities. The latest edition covers the paralympics, while other episodes cover a woman's struggle to get to work (below), trying skiing for the first time, inclusive nightlife and other lifestyle issues. Definitely worth a view. They cross post all of their episodes on You Tube as well, but it doesn't have the full features of their home site.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

SNL's Disability Skit: Funny or Offensive?

Offensive or not? Patricia Bauer asked the question of her readers. I enjoy a good parody, and don't mind when it pokes fun of our stereotypes or perceptions of disabilities. These can be very healthy to challenge our ideas. However, this SNL skit doesn't parody disability, or attitudes. What do you think?

"But when the camera comes in for a closeup, it reveals that Wiig’s “Judice” has physical deformities — an abnormally large forehead and tiny, doll-sized hands.
There’s also more than a suggestion of intellectual disabilities here. As her three sisters (led by Anne Hathaway) sing conventional lyrics about boyfriends and butterflies, Wiig’s character sings about chasing cars, eating a dead cat she found in the road, and finding love “with my by myself.”

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Got Sheep?- Pets with Disabilities

Sheep dog with hind legs on wheels chasing sheep.

Interesting site "Pets with Disabilities"

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Urinary Tract Wall Paper

Only marginally disability related, okay, maybe just medical, but still....

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Savants: 50% are autistic

Very interesting video about savants.

"A fascinating look at the relationship between genius and autism, with particular focus on the phenomenon of savants; a small group of enigmatic talkens with extraordinary mental abilities. Savants number less than 100 worldwide. Some can work out five-digit multiplication in their heads, or recite thousands of books by heart. Others can play a piano melody after hearing it only once. Over half of savants are autistic; others develop these super human talents only after brain injury."

I was especially amazed at the man who could draw a city from a flyover. Interesting piece about him worrying whether he's losing his ability, and whether it's due to working on improving his other skills. Long video, but worth the time to watch it.

Pt 1: Beautiful Minds the Einstien Effect.
Stephen Wiltshire's website

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Wine for the Blind

Very interesting idea. I like the Braille label. The text on the page doesn't tell you much except that it's designed for those who read braille;

"Using the extreme acuity of his senses, a winemaker blind, supported by a team of professionals, conducted the development of sensory Lazaruswine.
Baud was the company selected to represent this project graphically in the product. In the design process, we chose to use the magnificent form of the Braille system for transmitting the particular design and high-end wine."

Lazarus Wine

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Tasting Sight

Interesting article from Gizmodo regarding using the tongue to stimulate visual input. though initially developed the theorized for the visually impaired, in ths article, it's being displayed for purely recreational purposes.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"Graphic Evidence Against Steriod Abuse"

I'm not one for scare tactics, but wow. If you ever needed to turn someone off steriod abuse, this would be it. It's an article from Wired Magazine and contains some graphic pictures of one of the side effects of steriod abuse, serious acne.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Banjo Playing During Brain Surgery

"Now you can truly call Eddie Adcock the Bionic Banjo Player --and don't forget Gearhead Guitarist-- as he recovers from some remarkable brain surgeries to control a right-hand tremor.

The three-part surgery, termed Deep Brain Stimulation, involved implantation of electrodes into the brain as well as insertion of a palm-sized battery-powered generator within the chest wall, plus lead wires to connect the two. The technologically-advanced procedure was performed in multiple stages over the month of August in Nashville, Tennessee, at Vanderbilt Medical Center, a teaching and research hospital which is a world leader in neurological studies and surgeries.

Those neurosurgeons were eager to operate on Eddie, with his life-long high level of musical accomplishment and the unique requirements related to his fine motor skills. During the brain-implantation stage of the surgery, he was kept conscious in order to be able to play his Deering GoodTime banjo and assist the team of surgeons in directing the fine-tuning of their placement of electrodes in the brain -- an operating-room 'first'.

According to Eddie, "I came up in music the hard way and learned to be a trouper fast. Some of those early days were pretty rough, and I've been stomped, cut and kicked; but I never went through hell like this -- it was the most painful thing I've ever endured. And it was risky. But I did it for a reason: I'm looking forward to being able to play music the way I did years ago prior to getting this tremor. It means that much to me. I'm far from being done!"

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Blind Leading the Non-Blind; Dialogue in the Dark

More than disability awareness, Dialogue in the Dark appears to give sighted people the experience of some of the more unique aspects of being visually impaired.
"Spend one hour in complete darkness, maneuvering through city streets and markets, relying only on a walking cane and a guide who is visually impaired. That's the premise behind Dialog in the Dark, a sensory exhibit that made its U.S. debut in late August in Atlanta...Dialog in the Dark, founded 20 years ago in Germany, opened at the Atlantic Station Exhibition Center on Aug. 30. It requires visitors to navigate through five familiar environments. They must complete routine tasks, such as selecting a pineapple at the market or purchasing a soda at a café, relying only on scents, sounds, temperatures and textures.

The first gallery visitors explore is a park — complete with a waterfall, creek and ground that turns from gravel to wood chips."

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Breast Cancer Benefit Dinner Saturday 10/25

I would like to encourage everyone who reads this to attend this dinner or donate to this amazing young woman. She is my cousin and is a genuinely good person who spent her summers and school vacations doing service projects such as Habitat for Humanity, supporting environmental causes and raising political awareness. Support as much as you can, she is truly worthy of your support. Thank you. Tickets are available via Ebay or at the door

"Local Benefit for Young Newlywed Battling Breast Cancer Kaitlin Janssen and Kevin Osborne grew up in small Maine towns neighboring each other, but it wasn’t until the summer of 2005 that their paths crossed and they fell in love. On June 7, 2008 Kevin and Kaitlin, both 25 years of age, married at St. George’s Lake and celebrated their nuptials at Bar Harbor for their honeymoon. Three weeks after the celebration of their new life together, Kaitlin was diagnosed with stage-three breast cancer. Since her diagnosis, she has undergone surgery and begun chemotherapy...As breast cancer awareness month comes to a close, Kaitlin is one of the thousands of women diagnosed annually. She also demonstrates that the disease affects more young women, under the age of 35, every year. On, Saturday, October 25, 2008, the couple’s family and friends are hosting a spaghetti dinner and raffle in their benefit to help raise money for mounting medical expenses. The benefit will be held at the Boynton-Webber American Legion Hall in South China from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The hall is located just past the intersection of route 3 and route 202. The raffle will include prizes such as handmade quilts, breakfast for two, movie rentals, oil changes, massages, and much more. Tickets for the dinner are $10 per adult, $5 per child under 10, and $25 per family of four or more. Online ticket purchases will be available for pickup at the door. Raffle tickets are $1 each or $5 for 6 tickets are also available online. Also, if anyone is interested in making a contribution to Kevin and Kaitlin, they can send donations of their choice to any Bank of America banking center c/o Kaitlin and Kevin Osborne Benefit. "

Tickets via Ebay

See also Kate's Platypus and Life's not fair

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Getting Accommodations in College

A good short article on getting accommodations for ACT and SATs as well as at colleges. It clearly states the need to self identify, meet with the coordinator and get accommodations in place. Its clear and concise, and a nice reference for students and families.
I especially like that it encourages students to negotiate accommodations even if they don't think they'll need them. It's better to have them an not use them, than need them and not have them.

NPR piece on Prepping Kids with Disabilities for College

Also great: Toto, I have a feeling we're not in High school any more. A more comprehensive guide from the University of Montana Missoula

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Kate's Platypus

This is for Kate, I thought you'd appreciate this.

We think of you often,

From Busted Tees

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Christian Perspective of Downs Syndrome

In a very compassionate article Al Hsu talks about having a son with downs syndrome and how is wife and he were encouraged to abort the child. It doesn't preach against abortion, but argues that the church should look to protect all of those with disabilities against discrimination.

"Jean Vanier, founder of L'Arche communities, which bring abled and disabled people together under one roof, warns in Living Gently in a Violent World that in a few years there may be no more children with Down syndrome in France because they will have all been aborted. In China, babies with disabilities are often abandoned. Extremist groups in the Middle East have even used people with mental disabilities as unwitting suicide bombers. The church must advocate on behalf of those most vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. Care for the disabled is a global justice issue.

The 2000 U.S. Census found that 19.4 percent of the population is affected by physical or intellectual disability. One in 140 children now has an autism spectrum disorder, according to the 2007 Annual Review of Public Health. Cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injuries, spina bifida, Alzheimer's, and a host of other conditions affect millions. If you don't currently know someone with a disability, chances are that you will.

All of us are only temporarily abled. We are only a car acci-dent or stroke away from disability. "

Its great to see another perspective on disabliity, and the entire article is worth a read.

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Buying Dragon AT on Ebay

Nice article from Hand to Mouth: Assistive Technology about buying Dragon Natually Speaking 9.5 software from Ebay and what to watch out for. He warns against

“'disk' only” auctions, sold in quantities too large to be believable. You can bet that they’re pirated. The pirated software is a truly bad thing to buy, not only for legal reasons but also functional reasons. One disk means one serial number, a unique way of identifying that particular installation disk."
He says that other warning signs are no box, no paper manual, and not a Dragon headset.

His recommendations would go equally well for any other software I would suspect as well, whether AT software such as Dragon or JAWS, or more general purpose software.

FYI a free version of JAWS is available from the the Freedom Scientific website, it allows you to use it for 40 minutes then locks up, and you have to restart your computer to use it again. Fine for someone like me who uses it for accessibility testing, not great for a regular user. Is a great way to try it out and get some familiarity with it and see if its for you before laying out the $895 for it.

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Stilt Walking for CP

Article and some great video of a guy who walked across Michigan on stilts to raise money for CP. Quite the feat (no pun intended). His name is Neil Sauter and his site is called Stilt Story, so check him out.

Rise above from Nick Dentamaro on Vimeo.

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Sunday, October 5, 2008

SSA Releases Annual Statistics

If you're a data person, SSA has released their annual statistics for SSDI for 2007.

Some highlights include

  • Disability benefits were paid to more than 8.1 million people.
  • Benefits were terminated for 522,349 disabled workers.
  • Average age was slightly over 52.
  • Men represented about 53 percent.
  • Mental disorders was the diagnosis for about a third
On a similar vein, Amateur Economist has an article People With Disabilities in the U.S. Labor Market. It has a few more frightening statistics
  • 37.7% of people with disabilities in the U.S. population were in employment in 2006
  • people with disabilities earned an average of $33,109 compared with $43,269 for non-disabled employees.
And they make the argument that "Since there are around 30.6 million people aged between 21 and 64 in the U.S. who have some form of disability, this group represents a potentially valuable source of recruitment that is likely to become increasingly important as the size of the working age population in the U.S. declines due to demographic change."

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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Book Review: Toyota Culture- The Heart and Soul of the Toyota Way

Toyota Culture; The Heart and Soul of the Toyota Way
Jeffrey K. Liker and Michael Hoseus
McGraw-Hill Ryerson Canada, 2008

"Toyota Culture: The Heart and Soul of the Toyota Way (2008) by Jeffrey Liker and Michael Hoseus gives readers amazing insight and appreciation for how Toyota is run. More companies should treat their customers and employees with such respect as Toyota does. As impressive a as Toyota Culture is, the level of detail the provides obscures the lessons being taught.

Two of the main themes that run through the business is respect and continuous improvement. The goal of Toyota is to produce a flawless car, and they continue to strive to achieve this through continuous refinement of the manufacturing process..."

Read the rest of my review at Associated Content.

A review for Mini Book Expo: Full Disclosure

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fantastic (free) rehabilitation articles from Cornell

Cornell University's ILR school has a free "Digital commons" called the Gladnet Collection with loads of great articles on a range of disability and rehabilitation topics. Below are a few of the ones that jumped out.

Disability and the Muslim Perspective: An Introduction for Rehabilitation and Health Care Providers, Rooshey Hasnain, Laura Cohon Shaikh, and Hasnan Shanawani
Job Accommodations for People with Learning disabilities Dale Susan Brown
Scope of Practice for Rehabilitation Counseling from the CRCC
The Disability Divide: A Study into the Impact of Computing and Internet-related Technologies on People who are Blind or Vision Impaired Scott Emery Hollier, Curtin University of Technology

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Happy Birthday

Okay, since its my birthday, I thought I've give you a variety of happy birthday information and trivia.

Is Happy Birthday still under Copyright? See Snopes for the answer
Research paper about the history of the copyright of Happy Birthday
200 Documents relating to the copyright of Happy Birthday

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fascinating auditory illusion

Fascinating auditory illusion (via, Boingboing). BB cites wikipedia "A Shepard tone, named after Roger Shepard, is a sound consisting of a superposition of sine waves separated by octaves. When played with the base pitch of the tone moving upwards or downwards, it is referred to as the Shepard scale. This creates the auditory illusion of a tone that continually ascends or descends in pitch, yet which ultimately seems to get no higher or lower."

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Patterson talks disability at the DNC

An excellent article from News Day on NY Governor David Patterson's speech at the Democratic National Convention.

"it was a bit unusual for some New Yorkers to watch Paterson use part of his short speech in Denver to predict a new era for the disabled would be ushered in under a president Barack Obama...It was a rare and serious foray for Paterson into the topic of disabilities. He's not one to declare that he won't let blindness stop him, or that he refuses to use his disability as an excuse. Paterson doesn't dip into those profile-in-courage cliches, as inspiring as they can be. He mostly deals with his disability by, seemingly, not dealing with it all."

I continue to be impressed by Mr. Patterson's attitude and humor. As the article notes, he doesn't take to being an "inspiration", and I think it's a healthy attitude for himself and for others to see of those with disabilities. He also obviously has an easy humor about him, I love the opening joke about his time being up. The full speech is below, thanks to You Tube.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

BBCs missing model Pt III (the final chapter)

After two previous posts on this issue, this (may be) the final chapter about this show. (Pt I and Pt II) A winner has been crowned in the BBCs show the missing Model. The Telegraph (UK) has an article about the winner, Kelly Knox.

Since the original post, I have become aware of a beauty pagent here in America called Ms. Wheelchair America (no prizes for guessing who the contestants are). Sadly, according to the official Ms. Wheelchair America website, Maine was not represented this year.

Ms. Wheelchair Texas Flicr collection

Maine VRC Missing Model Pt I

Maine VRC Missing Model Pt II

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Paralympic manual revisions due to offensive language

In a follow up to an earlier Maine VRC post, here's some video about the recall of the volunteer manual for the 2008 Paralympic games in Beijing due to start September 6.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Cognitive Disability: A Challenge to Moral Philosophy

There's an upcoming conference at Stonybrook University in NY which sounds fascinating.

"Cognitive disability: A challenge to Moral Philosophy"

"The realities of cognitive disability pose a significant challenge to certain key conceptions philosophers have held. Philosophers have conceived of the mark of humanity as the possession of rational cognitive capacities. They have traditionally extended the mantles of equality, dignity, justice, responsibility, and moral fellowship to those with these abilities, whom they speak of as "persons." What then should we say about those with severe cognitive disabilities? How should we treat these individuals and what sorts of entitlements can they claim? Should we grant the arguments of some philosophers who want to parse our moral universe in ways that depend on degrees of cognitive capacity, not on being human? How do claims for the moral consideration of animals bear on the question? Is it morally acceptable to consign some human beings to the status of "non-persons"? Philosophers have rarely faced these questions squarely and systematically."

Further information notes that the main focus of the conversations will be regarding those with Ausism/ Aspergers, Alzheimers and "those labled 'mentally retarded'."

The conference runs from September 18-20. See Stonybrook's site for more information.

Thanks for supporting Maine VRC. P

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Questions for Cash for Breast Cancer research

Purina Cat Chow will donate $1 for every person who takes a breast cancer awareness questions.

" In celebration of the loving support ourcats provide, we're donating $175,00 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure®.
And you can help. For every person who completes our breast cancer awareness questions, we'll donate an additional $1.00 (up to $50,000 above the $175,000 minimum donation). "

Get over there now

Via the Freebie Blogger (thanks)

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

ADA revisions (mini golf concerns revisited)

I've been amazed how the minature golf piece has been reported and re-reported over and over regarding the ADA changes. Amazing.

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Monday, September 8, 2008

"Assistive Technology: A video tour of Accessibility"

A good collection of videos demonstrating various assistive technologies. Demonstrations include screen readers and magnifiers, speech to text software, an AT vendor in the UK's You tube page with various demonstrations of their equipment, and web accessibility.

Word of warning though, the videos I checked were not captioned, and I'm not sure whether any of them are. That aside There's plenty there to browse and learn about assistive technology (AT), so leave some time or return often to wade through the collection.

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Saturday, September 6, 2008

Post Partum Depression

Good video on Post Partum Depression from Parents TV

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Attention span

"The addictive nature of web browsing can leave you with an attention span of nine seconds - the same as a goldfish,” said the BBC in 2002. “Our attention span gets affected by the way we do things,” Ted Selker, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology told the British news agency. “If we spend our time flitting from one thing to another on the web, we can get into a habit of not concentrating.”
-As quoted by Sitepoint

Though focused on the web design aspects of attention (and not making our pages too long), it raises some interesting points regarding the way we receive information and the impact it has on us when we're required to attend to something for longer periods. I have felt for a long time that the way we receive information is contributing to this short attention span, even when we're watching a movie or a show that lasts and hour or more, scenes or camera shots rarely last more than a few seconds.

Thinking of our minds as a muscle, we need to train it to either sprint or do distance.

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Friday, August 29, 2008

What to do before school starts for your child with a hearing impairment

Hearing Exchange has a short article with some simple recommendations about how to get ready for the start of the new school year.

  1. "Meet the Teacher in Advance
  2. Verify that Devices are Working
  3. Check your Child's Hearing and Devices
  4. Stock up on batteries and spare parts
  5. Tour a new school"
See the entire article at Hearing Exchange for details

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Phelps and ADHD part II

As a follow up to an earlier post here at Maine VRC, I was able to track down this article about Michael Phelps and his ADHD

Thanks for supporting Maine VRC. Please be sure to visit our site at

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Disabled athletes at Beijing 2008

Though you may not realize it if you've been watching the TV coverage of the Olympics, there is more than Michael Phelps and beach volleyball. The Montreal Gazette has a good article on two athletes who are competing in Beijing 2008 who are missing part of an arm and a leg respectively.

"Natalia Partyka of Poland, who was born with a right arm that ends at the elbow, competed in women's team table tennis today. Natalie du Toit of South Africa, whose left leg was amputated just below the knee after a 2001 motorcycle accident, will swim the new 10-kilometre open-water discipline next week."

Media dis&dat has pictures of the two athletes in action

Though he didn't qualify for the Olympics, Oscar Pistorious will run at the Paralympic games. If you're not familiar with him, he fought (and won) to compete against able bodied runners, and there was some debate about whether he had an advantage because of his prosthetics. Though from last year, the video below is an interesting piece on the S. African runner.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Interview NY Governor David Patterson (by Katie Couric)

Interesting interview with David Patterson, NY Governor

He notes some scary statistics about employment; that 25 percent of those with blindness and 10% of those who have deafness are employed, but yet they exceed the national average educationally. I would have liked to see a little more person first language from him rather than "Deaf girl", but still a good piece that doesn't sentimentalize him or try to make him a "super crip" or inspirational.
I was surprised at his lack of using assistive technology, or technology in general. It seems like he could have so much more information at his fingertips were he to use a screen reader and e-mail. Either way, a good piece about the Governor of New York.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Book Review: Flight of the Hummingbird

Flight of the Hummingbird: A Parable for the Environment

Flight of the Hummingbird by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas is a beautifully simple environmental parable about a hummingbird. The parable of the hummingbird has its origins among natives of South America and the Haida of the north west of North America. The author notes that a common theme in Haida stories is that "the most diminutive creature -a mouse, a frog, even that curious being that becomes smaller the closer it approaches, that offers the critical gift or necessary solution." As is the case with the hummingbird, who does what she can to fight a forest fire.

The artwork of is amazing, similar style to other Haida artwork I have seen, with smooth lines, and beautifully shaped animals. The illustrations are sharp and clean in red and black. It is a nicely crafted book, with textured dust jacket and illustrated end papers.

The Dalai Lama provides the afterward of the book, encouraging "universal responsibility."
"Nowadays, significant events in one part of the world eventually affect the entire planet. Therefore, we have to treat each problem as a global concern from the moment it begins. We can no longer invoke the national, racial or ideological barriers that separate us without prompting destructive repercussions."
I was attracted to the book because of the environmental theme, and after reading about the author's artwork. The forward and afterwords were bonus' in their concise and poignant messages. A beautiful gift for anyone who is concerned about the environment, or enjoys beautiful artwork.

Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas

Video for Flight of the Hummingbird (via You Tube)
Mini Book Expo
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Friday, August 15, 2008

Paralympic Games Opening Preview

Interesting article about a couple artists involved in the opening of the Paralympic Games. Beautiful piece called the Thousand Arm Buddha Dance

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Michael Phelps and ADHD

Before Michael Phelps won his gold medals, he received treatment for ADHD. The New York Times recently ran an article about Michael Phelps mother and parenting Michael was treated for ADHD and took Ritalin for two years, starting at age 9. What I found especially interesting about the article is that it illustrates the paradox that teachers and parents find in so many kids with ADHD, that they can focus on certain types of tasks.

" Ms. Phelps watched the boy who couldn’t sit still at school sit for four hours at a meet waiting to swim his five minutes’ worth of races...He always did his swimming homework. “In high school, they’d send tapes from his international races,” Ms. Phelps said. “He’d say, ‘Mom I want to have dinner in front of the TV and watch tapes.’ We’d sit and he’d critique his races. He’d study the turns — ‘See, that’s where I lifted my head.’ I couldn’t even see what he was talking about. Over and over. I’m like, ‘whoa.’ ”

Apparently Debbie Phelps has been hired by Ortho-McNeil-Janssen as a celebrity mother to talk about her experience with ADHD on a Facebook page called ADHD Moms. In her article for ADHD Moms, she gives some great recommendations for working with the school, communicating with the teacher, but also what do to at home to support the student with ADHD, such as structure, exercise, snacks. I did find it interesting that in the article, she states a couple times to "behavior modifications combined with medication" may be helpful. and she herself allowed Michael to come off medications after 2 years. Ultimately, it is sponsored by a drug company.
Interestingly, all of the "Resources" they list show a web address (such as for the American Academy of Pediatrics, but when clicked bring you to ADHD Moms (oversight or poor design?)

Article on Johnson and Johnson site regarding ADHD Moms
Permalink to article by Deborah Phelps for ADHD Moms

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Concerns about ADA revisions

Apparently there's been some concern about the revisions to the ADA. They have recently passed the House of Representitives, and will be read in the Senate in September.
A recent article in Diverse Issues in Higher Education notes:

"Two sections of the legislation will have unintended and negative consequences for our members in their role as academic institutions, says Dr. Terry Hartle, senior vice president of government and public affairs at the American Council on Education.
One provision would add thinking and concentrating to the list of major life activities for which students with difficulties may request accommodations. Hartle says the change could allow students to claim limits on their ability that would be difficult to verify...
Another concern is that colleges would have less flexibility to consider other measures, such as a study skills course or even a change in student behavior toward school, in determining whether a student needs formal accommodations."

Text of the ADA
Another article expressing concern about the revisions

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Book Review: Click; What Millions of People are Doing Online and Why it Matters

Click; What Millions of People are Doing Online and Why it Matters

Bill Tancer loves data. He loves it so much he has a blog called "I love Data". His book, Click; What Millions of People are Doing Online and Why it Matters is an extension of that love. As the general manager of Hitwise, his job is to evaluate internet traffic for companies to better understand consumers and how to market to them.

Click is divided into two sections, the first reads largely like a laundry list as he explores interesting pieces of data and trends he has encountered over the years. Such as, that there is a surge in searches for prom dresses starting in January, and how this has been driven by magazines for girls expanding the advertising season. How our New Years hopes (and failures), and are reflected in search terms. As well as what we need to know; "How to tie a tie" topped out at #1.

Throughout the first half of the book, I kept wanting him to go beyond the statistics, and talk about the social aspects and impact of this types of data. I got my wish in the second half of the book. He explores the idea of intimacy, and friendship through the social networking sites, and how we’ve gone from the concept of 150 close friends to thousands. He questions at one point though, whether the technology that has so much potential to bring us together through improved communication, is it actually isolating us. He also examines the impact and interaction of television and search, especially in relation to advertising (The Apprentice), and competition shows such as Dancing with the Stars.

Throughout the book he observes the changing nature of the searches, and how they’re becoming more specific and sophisticated. He questions the changes in on line behavior. I expect that as the generations continue to age with the internet, that people will be more open in these public spaces. At the moment, many of the users of the internet are still struggling with the blend of privacy, anonymity and publicity of the internet and how to balance these. Young people now see little division between their physical lives and their on line lives, and as they age, the data will change with them. The proportions of people asking more of their search engines and finding new ways to make money and share on the internet will increase.

I found it a bit frightening how much information Hitwise was able to track regarding internet users, but as Neitzche said “When you look into the abyss, the abyss looks back.” Click got my imagination going regarding what I could find and how I would sort the data were I in a position, but also made me question what my surfing says about me. Though I would have liked to see a deeper examination of some issues, such as group sourcing of information, a la Wikipedia and commercial sites, Click provided engaging insights into the internet as it exists today and how we’re changing with the net. A great read for data people, and those who love the internet or do business on-line.

Bill Tancer

Hyperion Books

Mini Book Expo

Full Disclosure

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Unclaimed Economic Stimulus payments

Get the word out that there's unclaimed stimulus payments

Go to for more information on unclaimed stimulus payments and how to claim them.

According to the Maine fact sheet(pdf.) there are nearly 31,000 yet to file, and over $900,000 in unclaimed stimulus payments.

Many low income households may not have filed a tax return because they didn't earn enough to be required to, but that is how the checks are figured. So, check with your clients whether they've received their payments and let them know how to claim their stimulus payment if they haven't. No sense in leaving money on the table.

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Friday, August 8, 2008

Driving while disabled

The other week, I came across a number of articles and blog posts about a "study, compiled recently by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found "hundreds of thousands of tractor-trailer and bus drivers in the U.S. carry commercial driver's licenses despite also qualifying for full federal disability payments for medical conditions" involving such things as heart disorders, sleep apnea and diabetes. " (source)

In Maine, disclosure for non-commercial drivers is voluntary, though required for those who have disabilities. It is required that an individual have their treating doctor complete a medical certificate which is sent to the Secretary of State's office for review.

Maine's Rules for Drivers with a disablity
Certificate of Examination form (Word) (Pdf.)

Articles on this issue:
Government Accountability Office (GAO) report "Commercial Drivers; Certification Process for Drivers with serious medical conditions"
Connecticut Post "Drivers truckin' despite disability "
Advertiser Tribune "Trucks, busses, too big to fail when it comes to safety"
Disability Law 2.o blog "Drivers truckin' despite disability"

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Accessibile? Sure, we've got a ramp!

Some rights reserved, photo courtesy of Daquella Manera

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Mini Book Expo: Full Disclosure

Full Disclosure: Mini Book Expo

In the interest of full disclosure, I want to let readers know that in the coming weeks you will see my first review of a book I have received free of charge from a site called Mini Book Expo for Bloggers. It is my hope that should this arrangement work out, that you will c0ntinue to see reviews on a fairly regular basis.

Mini Book Expo for Bloggers is a site that distributes books to bloggers for the purpose of having them reviewed. Publishers provide the books to Mini Book Expo for this purpose. I receive no payment for the review, only the free book from Mini Book Expo. Should a reader purchase the book via the link in the posts, I would receive a percentage, however this is independent of my relationship with Mini Book Expo.

All posts about books I have received from Mini Book Expo will have a link to this Full Disclosure post, as well as a link to Mini Book Expo.

I will continue to provide readers with an independent point of view.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Missing Model Pt II

A couple weeks ago I wrote about the BBCs Missing Model, a modeling show where everyone has a disability. Since that time, I've come across a couple pieces which I wanted to include in these pages.

The first is a pice from, the Ouch Podcast #29. For those not familiar with BBC's Ouch, it is a disability website which has news, message boards, columnists and a podcast. Just a quick warning, Ouch is not always, okay rarely, politically correct, and may offend some listeners. Podcast #29 has an interview with the first contestant thrown off the Missing Model show, and one of the judges. Its an interesting piece, especially a discussion of how some contestants are visibly disabled, and a couple are not, and whether this was appropriate for the show. Ultimately, she decides that those that are not visibly disabled, they would still be challenging steriotypes and changing minds behind the scenes with other models, agents and photographers, even if they're not impacting the public perception.

The other is a short video about the show (below):

Friday, August 1, 2008

McDonald's Sued and American grounds boy with Autism

A Nebraska McDonald's is being sued because it refused to allow a hearing impaired woman order her food at the drive through window, as opposed to using the speaker.

"At least three times since September 2007 workers at a Lincoln McDonald's refused to let her place her order at the drive-thru window, Tumeh said. In denying her service, McDonald's violated the federal Americans With Disabilities Act, she said."

The article notes that she is physically capable of going inside to order her food, but that she "has children who are autisitic, and if they are having difficulties, it would make it problematic for her."

When I initially started the article, I felt that it was some getting overly zealous and suing for very weak reasons. The fact that she has autistic children has no bearing on this case, as it is irrelevant whether she's capable of going in the store or not. The question is whether this is covered under the ADA and whether ordering her food at the window is a reasonable accommodation.

"Raging fit" in the air
In another case, a 2 and a half year old and his mother were thrown off an American airlines flight because the boy with autism "melted down." The mother noted that it was due to the frequent touching by the stewardess checking his seatbelt and that she (the stewardess) kept "coming over and reprimanding him and yelling at him." The child eventually had a tantrum and he and his mother were removed from the plane.

In this situation, it's not a reasonable accommodation to allow him to be unbuckled or throw a tantrum which endangers other passengers, but would have been reasonable for the stewardess to keep hands off the child and address her needs to the mother. Frankly, for any child this would have been reasonable and I can see how this occurred.

Link to video news report and article from ABC news

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Frontier Psychiatrist by the Avalanches

Only vaguely related to the blog at hand, Psychiatry themed techno. The video is frankly distracting, but the music is good. I suggest shutting your eyes and enjoying the music.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

$15 coupon for Enable Mart

FYI, there's currently available a $15 coupon for Enable Mart, an AT vendor, via Cubital-Tunnel a site dedicated to Cubital-Tunnel Syndrome. Visit the Cubita-Tunnel site for more information on this repetitive strain injury that can lead to pain in the fingers and arms.

Whether you have Cubital-Tunnel Syndrome or not, given the cost of AT these days, $15 may not go far, but is always welcome.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Life's not fair

Its not fair that a genuinely good person, and 25 year old newlywed should have to have a mastecotomy.

Best of luck with your surgery today K.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Digital Wheel Art

Interesting use for the Wii- mote (the controller for the game system Wii), to allow a significantly impaired wheelchair user draw electronically. Basically, the Wii mote works by tracking the movement of the hand held controler in relation to the tv set top box. In this example, one half of the Wii is strapped to the wheel chair and allows the user to move the chair around the floor as though they were painting, while their track is "drawn" on a screen.

There is a short article, and some videos. I have included one below, but it makes more sense once you read the articles and arrangement of technology.

Great use of existing technology. The designer notes that it allows individuals with significant mobility impairments the ability to express themselves artistically.

Digital Wheel Art from Young Hyun Chung on Vimeo.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

One for the guys (and the guys you love) aka Carpe Testes

Breast cancer has had plenty of press, public service announcements and awareness raising programs. It's acceptable to talk about self exams in polite company.

But how about one for the guys. I've always wondered what the ads for mens self exams would look like. With the rise of the awareness wrist bands and magnetic ribbons for the cars, I could just picture the one for the men being two upside down ribbons (think about it......). I can't imagine Channel 13 doing a buddy to buddy on checking your testicles.

Arrive Carpe Testes the public awareness site of the Sean Kimerling Testicular Cancer Foundation. Having stumbled on the Sing Along video on You Tube, I had to check out the origin. Thankfully I did, as the other videos are engaging and hilarious as well. From the Sing a long of euphemisms for "the boys" (captioned) to an ice hockey themed "Check your nuts...Often" (both below) the videos pass along an important message.
So, send this along for a laugh and a reminder to the men you love to "Check their nuts"

After you're done checking them, don't forget the Balla Powder for men. Yes it's "Testicle Talc" (per Boing Boing)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Accessible Playgrounds

The New York Times has a nice article on accessible playgrounds and how more communities are making playgrounds more accessible.

"With the summer in full swing, playgrounds are a daily part of life for most families with small children. But for many disabled children, they remain tantalizingly out of reach. That is starting to change in many towns around the region, where handicapped accessible playgrounds and ball fields are being built or planned. "

Friday, July 18, 2008

"Activist: Obit: Harriet McBryde Johnson

The Wall St. Journal has a great article on the passing of Harriet McBryde Johnson who is listed as a "disability rights activist". I confess I was not aware of Mrs. McBryde before reading this obituary, but love her positions.

I particularly like the piece of the article about her work with "Jerry's Orphans"

"Ms. Johnson was part of a disability rights movement that had changed dramatically since the first Jerry Lewis Labor Day telethons in the 1960s, with their offensive references to "cripples" and their maudlin descriptions of "killer diseases." She worked with people like Mike Ervin, a former Muscular Dystrophy Association poster child who founded a group, "Jerry's Orphans," to protest the telethons; Ms. Johnson herself demonstrated every Labor Day on the streets of her hometown of Charleston, S.C. "
This is perhaps one of the most insideous issues in disability, is the telethon. It creates sympathy, perpetuates the "supercrip" idea, and instills fear. "No Pity: People with Disabilities forging a New Civil Rights Movement" by Joseph Shapiro has a great discussion of this issue.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Optimus Maximus Keyboard

Tekzilla has an interesting video on a new keyboard, that has previously only been in theory. The basic premise is that the keys are small computer screens 48 pixles x 48 pixles and allows the user to program each key with a specific image and / or function.
Primarily designed for graphic designers and other tech heavy occupations. This would allow the user to reduce the number of key strokes dramatically, by allowing the user to program the keyboard based on the program they're using. The demo of the keyboard runs from 14:21- 24:16minutes

The top end model, Optimus Maximus is $1800, though other models are available, even down to a 3 button version, called the Mini three, which will set you back $183.

No not specifically Assistive Tech, and quite cost prohibitive, I can see how this technology could in the future allow a user to have a keyboard or other programmable surface customized based on their environment, be that work, shopping, socializing or at home. It's currenty a very cool gadget for the truely devoted (and more wealthy tech lover).

Monday, July 14, 2008

Web Anywhere! Web based screen reader

The University of Washington News has a great article on a new web based software that will allow users who are blind or visually impaired to surf the web with the assistance of screen reader. The greatest benefit is that they can now use any internet connected computer, from the library or a friends house without having to worry whether they have the right software or downloading other programs.
The software basically frames the top of the page, and the web page the user is reading is below. The developers have plans to continue to develop the software to allow users to customize the voice, speed and pitch.

The service and demonstrations can be found at

Friday, July 11, 2008

Disability, self image and sexuality

A recent London Times article talks about the rise in popularity of doll portraying individuals with disabilities. They give the example of a doll manufacturer who produces dolls which resemble individuals with Down's syndrome, and how there has been a positive reception to them by individuals with disabilities. They also note:

"They are not the only “disability dolls” available on the market. Far from it. You can buy dolls with prosthetic limbs, walking frames, hearing aids, “blind” dolls complete with guide dogs. When Mattel launched Becky - Barbie's friend in a wheelchair - it sold out within two weeks. In the past few years, the toy industry has been waking up to the fact that it makes good financial sense to cater for overlooked consumer groups."
Okay, so these dolls aren't designed to fit the unrealistic Barbie expectations of beauty. How about a disabled model? This is just what a british show "Missing Model" is attempting to do (and no the contestants are not all amputees). Catwalk Queen has an interesting article about the show and how it's "shining a light on disability in the fashion industry"
The Guardian had an opinion piece about the same issue, and is similarly conflicted to myself.

And of all places, Fox news actually has a decent article which is actually shining a light on the reality of individuals with disabilties being sexual.

Is showing an individual with a disability as a doll, sexual being, model appropriate? Of course! I guess I object to the model show because its saying that these women are beautiful as models, but couldn't compare to a non-disabled model. Sometimes I feel like I should be thankful that there's an awareness of disability and that it can be sexy and worthy of a show. Good on them for recognizing that, but separate, no.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Behold the Fulgurator

The Fulgurator is an innocuous device that allows you to insert an image or text into any photograph by pointing it at the object being photographed. Though not visible to the naked eye, the text or image shows up on the picture.
Wired Article about the Fulgurator
Official Fulgurator site (via Google translator)

The video below shows the Fulgurator in action at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin.

Okay, so it' not disability related, but its still very cool.

Monday, July 7, 2008

"Existing Drug Reverses a Form of Mental Retardation in Mice"

Scientific American has an article about a drug that has apparently caused the reversal of a form of mental retardation "linked" to autism. The drug, rapamycin, is used in surgery to reduce the rejection of transplanted organs and was found to have other benefits.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Sir Hawking? Not likely!

Will Stephen Hawking be kinighted? He reportedly turned down the honor, "because of his apparent distaste for titles and his anger at the way in which the British government has handled scientific funding over the years." according to IT News. According to another article by IT News, the relvelation was made in correspondence released by Hawking.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Lego Vault

Gizmodo has a great video and article on the Lego vault that has every set of Legos manufactured (all 4,720 of them) going back to the 50's.

I'd love to see the Weebles' vault. Yes, "They weeble. They wabble, but they don't fall down." For a bit of Weeble nostalga, check out the Weeble fan site, with a great gallery of weeble and accessories. They even have the Weeble pirate ship I had as a kid.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Guitar hero for the blind

Wired has a great article on a professor at University of Nevada, Reno who has adapted an open source video game for the blind. The game is modeld on Guitar hero and requires the player to key in "chords" on the plastic guitar as they see them occur on the screen. The mod this professor has done, is to provide that stimulus through haptic feedback using a glove with vibrating fingers. Check out the video below for and interview and demonstration of this great mod or the video and article at Wired

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Bizzare Thorazine Ad

Thorazine “for prompt control of the agitated, belligerent senile…”
- Thorazine Advertisement from 1957

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

why I love the net

Periodically I'm going to post about things I find on the net and find funny, fun, useful or interesting.

As a heavy computer user in a cube farm, I nearly always wear headphones to block out the noise of those around me. I love music, but am not in a position to be buying alot of music (and frankly there's not alot out there I want to buy.)

However, live music is a different story. I am a huge fan of live music, especially those artist who I love and who are no longer with us. There's no new albums, and no tours. There are also those classics who its great to hear in their prime.

Thankfully, there's plenty of free (and legal) streaming live music. Here's three of the best

  • which has an amazing live music archive (don't get overwhelmed by the opening page, have a browse around). Including 5,369 Grateful Dead Shows (with their own soundboard recordings and audience tapes). Besides the Dead, I'd recommend the Billy Bragg page, especially his show at the Gene Autry Museum where he plays the songs (music) he wrote to Woody Guthrie's lyrics. Great acoustic performance, and dialogue. You'll also see this site when I get into books.
  • A recent find of mine is Wolfgang's concert vault Wolfgang's vault is legendary promoter Bill Graham's own archive, full of music posters tickets and music. The posters and tickets are for sale, even if you're not buying they're worth a look at the 60's and 70's poster art and photography. But, they're also streaming music from great artists including Springsteen, Neil Young, Zappa, The Who and AC/DC to mention a few.
  • streams live clips of shows non-stop while also selling complete shows. While their studio stuff can be a bit hokey, their live stuff is amazing. For anyone who wondered what the whole deal with Phish was about, check out LivePhish.

I am so thankful to the artists who put their music out there to be enjoyed. I can see how this can only rejuvenate existing fans and create more because many of these artists best work is in front of an audience.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Changes proposed to CRCC Ethics and ADA

The Comission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification has announced proposed changes to the CRCC Code of Professional Ethics. The Propsed changes are open for public comment through October 2008.

Proposed changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act are now posted. Visit to view the changes and find out how to comment.
NY Times article with summary of the changes.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Great site for parents

I came across this site today, and got very excited. Now, we're not a house that lacks books, and we surely don't need to be looking for many more at this point.
However, you can never have too many. So, the question is how do decide? states that "Picture books are for reading" and that they "allow you to look at books in their entirety-from cover to cover."

What I love is that the books are large enough so you can see the illustrations as well as the text. The interface looks like a book and allows you to click on a page to turn it, and it gives the impression that you're turning the page. The example below is a shrunken version of what you'll see on the site. Of course you can also buy the book through various on line retailers. Who has the time to look through loads of books while coralling a 20 month old.

Happy reading!