Sunday, February 19, 2017

Deaf MS Man Shot to Death

Rafael Thompson was found dead in his car in Jackson with multiple gunshot wounds, according to MS News Now. Thompson had attended the Mississippi School for the Deaf before going to college. Jackson Police have no suspects in the case. Here's a video report from MS News Now. - Jackson, MS

Deaf Man Killed by Train

A Colorado deaf man was hit and killed today afternoon by train while he was crossing the tracks. KDVR-TV has surveillance video from a neighboring business in the video report below.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Large Collection of ASL GIFs now Available

A library of more than 2,000 GIFs of individual signs are now available through GIPHY, the GIF search engine. The collection of ASL looping flashcards is cut from a educational series called "Sign With Robert" featuring Robert DeMayo. There's text to make it clearer. "Sign With Robert" director and producer Hilari Scarl says, "The GIF format has the ability to loop infinitely, so it's perfect for learning new signs. [It] doesn't require the back and forth of hitting play, rewind or repeat." Particular sign can be found by using the search bar. There's an example below.. and you can access the "Sign with Robert" GIPHY library here.


Friday, February 17, 2017

Deaf Student: School Discriminated Against Me

A deaf Lousiana college student has filed a lawsuit claiming that the University of Louisiana-Lafayette did not him as required by ADA. Fabian S. Strauss says he requested a note taker but was denied. Read more about it in the Louisiana record here.

One Billion Videos Captioned.. sort of

While YouTube is bragging about have one billion captioned videos, critics are pointing out that many of the automatically generated captions are wildly inaccurate. It's been eight years since Google added the automatic speech recognition designed to generate captions and the company says it's accuracy is up by 50 percent. But in the anouncement about the number of captioned videos, Google Product Manager Liat Kaver admits the program is not where the company wants it to be:
A major goal for the team has been improving the accuracy of automatic captions — something that is not easy to do for a platform of YouTube’s size and diversity of content. Key to the success of this endeavor was improving our speech recognition, machine learning algorithms, and expanding our training data. There were limitations with the technology that underscored the need to improve the captions themselves. Results were sometimes less than perfect, prompting some creators to have a little fun at our expense!
Read the full announcement from YouTube here.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Deaf High School Mascot

Deaf from birth, 15-year-old Freshman Kamron King "has mastered sign language and how to lip read and speak." As his high school mascot, King says he "uses his eyes and his energy to get the crowd fired up." He's affectionately known as "Kam the Ham." Here is an NBC News video report.

Irish Comedian Insults Deaf with Fake Signing

An Irish comedian stood up in front of a group gathered to hear a streamed political speech and pretended to use sign language. His random gestures were not appreciated by the Deaf community, Irish Deaf Society said it was insulted by the prank. Read more about it here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Shot after not understanding gunman's demands

John Kelly was getting money out of an ATM when he was shot four times because the deaf man couldn't hear the commands of robbers. WISN-TV in Milwaukee has a video report here.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

A review of Switched at Birth from a deaf perspective

The TV series Switched at Birth has gotten a lot of positive press for its protrayal of deaf characters. But one reviewer says that while the show is a "GREAT innovation" it doesn't live up to its potential. Case in point:
If you are fluent in sign and have been in and around the deaf community it is annoying that the cast can’t learn ASL properly after 4 full seasons. It’s painful to watch Vanessa Marano (Bay Kennish) struggle through her lines as if she has an ASL coach telling her how to sign off set. It’s terrible. She is supposed to have known her deaf “sister” for 4 years now plus she is dating deaf guys for a few years and she doesn’t know the difference between the sign of “English” and “night.”
Read the full review in the San Francisco News.

Police: Video Made of Deaf Man's Beating

A video shows a deaf man being beaten in Detroit by another deaf man.. and "police said the woman holding the camera in the video set it all up," reports WDIV-TV. The three attended the same school for the deaf.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Super Bowl Signing

Kriston Pumphrey
image from NAD
The Super Bowl festivities will include the talents of an NTID alum (National Technical Institute for the Deaf). Kriston Lee Pumphrey will sign the National Anthem and “America, the Beautiful.” Pumphrey lives in Detriot where he works as an anchor at sign language channel DPAN-TV, but he considers Seattle his hometown. WJBK-TV has more on his background here, NTID has a news release here, and the National Association of the Deaf here.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Ruling on Firing of Deaf School Teachers

A judge has overturned a decision by an arbitrator about the firing of two teachers at the Iowa School for the Deaf over what administrators said was poor performance. Read the full story from Associated Press here.

The Good Vibrations Music and Arts Festival

Organizers of a Texas music festival set for the summer claim it will be the first to be completely accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing community. KHOU-TV has a video report.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Man pleads guilty for Gallaudet Univ. burglary

"A former employee of Gallaudet University’s food service department pleaded guilty Monday to holding deaf workers at gunpoint during a burglary" at the school, according to the Washington Post. Just days after he had been fired, Donald Williams wore a mask and used a gun to force his way into the kitchen. Read the full story here.

On this date: A deaf man helps to stop a bank robbery

A deaf bank customer helped stop a bank robbery on this day (Jan 30) in 2003. A bank teller in Rochester, New York tipped off the man as he was going through the drive-through. The robber had entered a branch of HSBC yelled that he was robbing it, then jumped on a counter and pistol-whipped a teller. Another teller at the drive-up window just happened to be helping a deaf customer at that moment. She mouthed the words "we are being robbed." The lip-reading customer then drove to a nearby liquor store and called 911. Police nabbed the robbery suspect not far from the bank as he was trying to wash dye off his hands after a dye pack in the money bag had exploded. The injured teller suffered only minor injuries.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Getting to know.. audiologist Marion Downs

image from Marion Downs Hearing Center 
One of the people most responsible for newborn hearing screening in the U.S. was born this day (Jan. 26) in 1914. Audiologist Marion Downs published two books and over 100 articles on the topic during her lifetime. The Marion Downs Hearing Center opened nearly a decade ago at the University of Colorado Medical Center. WVXU radio in Cincinnati has more on this remarkable woman here. She was 100 years old when she died on Nov. 13, 2014.