Thursday, July 11, 2019

Plan to prevent deafness in gene-edited babies

image by XhenetaM
A Canadian bioethicist says a plan to edit human embryos to prevent deafness is "offensive." Françoise Baylis is criticizing the efforts of a Russian molecular biologist who told the New Scientist he "has recruited five couples with genetic deafness who wish to conceive a child who can hear." Denis Rebrikov says he will edit the GJB2 gene to eliminate the possibility of deafness based on the couples' genetics. Baylis told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, "What's interesting and controversial about this is that many people in the deaf community think that this is a misguided perspective. And that's because they don't see deafness as a disability. They just see that as diversity." You can listen to the story or read the transcript here.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Deaf Printers at the WaPo

Many of the Washington Post's printers have been deaf and recently more than a dozen of them got together at Gallaudet University. The Post quotes history professor Brian Greenwald as telling the group, "If I’ve done my math correctly, you represent more than 350 years of experience." Read the full story here.

On this Date: Sentenced to Life in Prison

It was on this date (July 10) in 2002 that a District of Columbia judge sentenced Joseph Mesa, Jr. to six life terms without the possibility of parole for the murders of two Gallaudet classmates. The 22-year-old from Guam was convicted of first beating Eric Plunkett to death in September of 2000 and then stabbing Benjamin Varner to death in February of 2001. Both attacks took place in Gallaudet dorm rooms. Mesa took money from both victims but turned himself in to police a few days after killing Varners. Pleading not guilty by reason of insanity, Mesa told jurors he saw hands wearing black gloves telling him in sign language to kill the 19-year-olds. Mesa's defense attorney suggested that the attack on Plunkett was prompted by rage over an unwanted homosexual advance. Mesa was convicted on all 15 counts. Mesa is now serving time at the United States Penitentiary in Atwater, California near San Francisco, a high-security facility.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

DC is getting a new deaf-owned Pizzeria

A San Francisco pizzeria owned by a deaf couple is expanding to Washington, D.C. Just like Mozzeria west and the second Mozzeria in Austin, the new restaurant will be staffed by deaf employees and located just down the street from Gallaudet University. The new Mozzeria will open next spring. Read more about Russ and Melody Stein's new venture here or watch the announcement below.

Monday, July 8, 2019

How the Brain Links Gestures, Perception & Meaning

Neuroscientists say gesture guides our perception of the world and how we assign meaning to what happens around us. Read more in Quanta magazine here.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Life and Deaf

image from MarleeMatlin.net
Oscar-winner Marlee Matlin has developed a new comedy series that may be picked up by Disney. It's called Life and Deaf and is based on the life of Matlin's long-time interpreter, Jack Jason. The show is set in the 1970s and tells the story of a kid growing up with deaf parents. Read more about it at Deadline Hollywood.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Deaf Umpire Calls ‘Em Like He Sees ‘Em

Jon Breuer went from working on the New York Stock Exchange to a career as a deaf high school umpire in New Jersey. CBS New York has a video report (you can read the story here).

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Getting to Know: Cochlear Limited

You could have bought stock in Cochlear Limited at the turn of the century for about $10. A few days ago the stock was worth more than $140 a share.  Cochlear Limited is the biggest of the three companies that dominate the cochlear implant market with about two-thirds of the market. More than a quarter of a million people have a Cochlear implant. Based in Australia, Cochlear Limited does most of its business in Europe and the U.S. through more than a dozen subsidiaries. Its net revenue ios about $220 million. With brands like Nucleus and Baha, more than a quarter of a million people have one of its implants. It employs more than 2800 people.

Monday, July 1, 2019

A Florida First

Bethany Baker is the "first deaf person admitted to the University of North Florida’s post-baccalaureate nursing program." Get to know her in an article from FristCoastNews here.

On this day in history: 26 year ago

It was 26 years ago today (July 1, 1993) that the FCC requires all U.S. analog television receivers with screens 13 inches or larger to include built-in decoder circuitry that could display closed captioning.

Friday, June 28, 2019

This day in history: 115 years ago

Helen Keller graduated with honors from Radcliffe College on June 28, 1904, 114 years ago today, becoming the first deaf and blind person to graduate from college with a B.A. Radcliffe was a women's liberal arts college in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a part of Harvard University.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

On this date in 1889

The statue of Thomas Gallaudet that greets visitors to the university in the nation's capital that bears his name was unveiled on June 26, 1889. The work of sculptor Daniel Chester French, the bronze statue shows Gallaudet teaching a little girl, Alice Cogswell. She holds a book to her heart, with the alphabet running across the page. They are practicing the letter “A” of American Sign Language. She was a neighbor of the Gallaudets in Connecticut. Thomas noticed Alice did not play with the other children and inquired about her. After discovering she was deaf, Thomas Gallaudet asked to become her first teacher, which he did. This was the first in a series of events that lead to the founding of the first permanent school for the deaf in America and the establishment of what is now Gallaudet University.

Some believe there are mistakes on the statue, but university officials say this is not the case. The chair has only one arm and one straight leg. This was a type of chair common in Gallaudet's day. The chair is not hollow underneath, in order to support the weight of the statue's plaster model. However, the statue was delivered late because French found several mistakes he wanted to correct, including making Gallaudet's legs too short. The text on the statue includes a reference to the "United-States." It was not uncommon for a hyphen to be used at the time, though was considered old fashioned, even in 1889. However, the statue is not consistent because the phrasing on the other side does not include a hyphen. Also, there are periods included in some of the text that is not included on other parts of the statue.

Happy Birthday, Signmark

Deaf Finnish rap artist Signmark (Marko Vuoriheimo) was born on this day (June 26) in Helsinki, Finland in 1978. The child of deaf parents, Signmark stumbled into Hip Hop music while translating songs into sign. He felt a connection between the rappers hand gestures and sign language. He now works with other artists who sing as he signs, becoming the first deaf rapper to sign with a major label. His first album was released in 2006. Signmark came in second in the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest.