On loneliness

December 11, 2010

Roger Ebert has blogged about his inability to speak before, but this post stands out as a must-read.


BBC news on assistive tech

December 4, 2010


Where’s Molly

November 29, 2010

CBS News ran a story this weekend about the way we used to manage people with disabilites. We live in a different world; we’ve engineered our society into something else since then. While we have a hard time rationalizing institutionalization now, don’t get too complacent about how enlightened we are. We’ve still got a long way to go.

Nugent Residence Hall at U of I Urbana-Champaign is designed for students with disabilities.

Their web site. (Note that this and all websites of the Disability Resources and Educational Services for the University are screen-reader compliant for those using alternative access.)

This is exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about. This is really beyond just “accommodation” and taking it to the next level of full inclusion into society.

No commentary. These articles speak for themselves.



Aimee Mullins at TEDMED

March 12, 2010

I just can’t get enough Aimee Mullins, it seems.

Here she is at TEDMED along with an interview with CNN.

Aimee Mullins

Who needs legs when you look like this?

And some other entries I’ve blogged about her:



What About George?

January 11, 2010

From the New York Times (free registration required to see the article, sorry):

What About George?

WHEN George was a child, his parents were told to put him in an institution. Though it’s not clear whether doctors gave him a precise diagnosis at that time, they said he would never be able to get along in society. His mother visited a couple of schools — including the Willowbrook State School on Staten Island, which later became notorious for its brutal treatment of residents — but ultimately they kept him at home. George’s younger brother, a copywriter in New Jersey, said George was eventually found to be mentally retarded but has not been examined for his disability since childhood.

In retrospect, the choice his parents made may seem like an obvious one, but it went against the prevailing wisdom of the day, and it also raised a difficult question for them: Who would support their son after they were gone?

David Kramer, whose father, Gdal, founded Kramer’s Hardware around 1930, started giving George small chores around the shop — moving the stock, taking out the garbage. According to the accounts of some of our relatives, George had been an unruly child, yet he proved an eager and reliable worker, and over time, his responsibilities multiplied.

George at a desk in a hardware store

George doing what he does best.

Three decades passed and Mr. Abraham, then a young Brooklyn entrepreneur, began expressing an interest in acquiring the store. By this time — 1979 — David was thinking seriously about retirement. “He was ready to teach me the business,” Mr. Abraham recalled, “but there was a ‘but’ — and this was a big ‘but’ — he wanted to make sure that George would be secure.”

more cyborg stuff

November 18, 2009

IEEE has a breakdown of the costs to go as close to full-cyborg as it is medically possible at this time.


October 30, 2009

William Ernest Henley (1849–1903) was an amputee who persevered despite his disability. He was the physical inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous amputee character Long John Silver. His daughter was said to have inspired, and coined the name of, J.M. Barrie’s character Wendy.

Probably his greatest contribution to humanity was this poem about resilience, written shortly after his leg was surgically removed (by none other than Joseph Lister, inventor of sterile surgery) to prevent the spread of a tuberculosis infection.


William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.


October 28, 2009