Sunday, December 31, 2017

On this date.. at the South Pole

(image from NASA)
Ian Berry become the first deaf man to walk to the South Pole on this day (Dec. 31) in 2009. The UK native dragged a sled across 112 miles of ice to raise more than $40,000 for the National Deaf Children's Society. The 43-year-old reached the pole on New Year's Eve as part of a five person team. Read more about his adventure here.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Complaint: Fort Myers doesn't provide captioning of online meetings

A south Florida man has "filed a complaint against the city of Fort Myers for failing to provide closed captioning for the hearing impaired," reports WINK-TV. Here is a video report from the TV station.

A proposed law to punish fake service animals

An Arizona State Senator is introducing a bill that would punish anyone who claims their pet is a service animal-but only if the owner confesses to faking it. KPNX-TV (News 12) in Phoenix has a video report.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Driver's License Test for Deaf in Korea

South Korea has developed a driver’s license test for the deaf. The Korea Road Traffic Authority exam "projects navigation information onto the windshield," according to The Korean Herald. Read more here.

What Video Game Subtitling Got Wrong In 2017

Has your gaming experience been ruined by poor subtitles? If so, you are not alone. Max Deryagin, a professional audiovisual translator, subtitler and captioner based in Russia has posted a list of what he found lacking in the video game subtitling of 2017. Take a look at some of the ridiculous examples he gathered here.. like microscopic subtitles, extremely long lines of text, and poor contrast.
the teeny-tiny font in Star Wars Battlefront II

Thursday, December 28, 2017

A Look at a Deaf Studies Journal

The editor of the "Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education" sat down to speak with the The Oxford University Press blog "to discuss her background, the developments in deaf education, and the challenges scholars face in the field." Read the Q&A here.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

At rural MN hospitals, deaf people struggle for interpreters

We told you yesterday about the Minnesota hospital that had settled a complaint with a deaf man. Minnesota Public Radio has a report on his case-and about the "dozens of complaints filed against Minnesota hospitals in recent years." Read the story here.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Hospital agrees to settlement over Terp Refusal

Fairview Health Services has agreed to a pay a deaf man an undisclosed amount of money for failing to provide him with a sign language interpreter while his infant daughter underwent medical tests at Hibbing hospital in Hibbing, Minnesota. Matthew Svatos wasn't able to take part in the decision because the hospital refused to pay for an interpreter. Read more about the case in the Star-Tribune here.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Deaf NFL Player Honored

image from
The first deaf offensive player in the NFL is having a great season. Falcons fullback Derrick Coleman was selected as a first-team alternate for the Pro Bowl, according to the Tennesseean.

Deaf man robbed, shot in San Antonio

A 39-year-old deaf man was shot and robbed last night at a Church's Chicken in San Antonio. My San Antonio has more information here.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Hospital Refuses to Provide Interpreter during Brain Surgery

A deaf man went into brain surgery this past weekend-and the hospital refused to provide an sign language interpreter for the mother. Prince George’s Hospital Center administraters did offer video relay, but the family says the VRI service wasn't working properly. ADA law clearly states that VRI is an acceptable substitute for an in-person interpreter only when it is working properly. The hospital refused to address the situation with Fox-5 DC, which has a video report below. The closed captioning on the video isn't very good, so here is a link to the story in text.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Deaf History.. Artist William Agnew

Amateur artist William Agnew died on this day (Dec 21) in 1914. The deaf painter created a series of pictures (none of which survived) which made him famous, showing Queen Victoria using finger spelling to communicate with a deaf woman on the Isle of Wight. Educated at the Glasgow Institution where he took a leadership role as an adult, Agnew opposed the oral system in favor of signing.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Gene-editing restores hearing loss in mice

Scientists say a gene-editing technique that has successfully restored the hearing of animals could be used in humans. The CRISPR injection causes damaged hair cells to grow back. The tool only works with genetic form of deafness. Details of the study are in the journal Nature. The LA Times has an article about the research here.

Suit: Discrimination by NJ Cops

Deborah Mendola is suing a New Jersey town for discrimination. She was arrested after police arrived in response to a call about dispute between neighbors. They did not bring an interpreter and did not request one even after they were unable to settle the situation. Read the full story at here.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Protests over Police Shooting of Deaf Man

Protesters gathered at the City Hall in Oklahoma City Sunday in support of Magdiel Sanchez. The deaf man was shot and killed by police in his own front yard. The officers face no criminal charges. KFOR-TV has a video report.

Monday, December 18, 2017

On this date: Long-time Gally prof killed

A former Gallaudet professor was killed on this day (Dec. 18) in 2013 when she was hit by a car leaving a parking garage where she lived in Washington, DC. Peggie Parsons was 90 years old and had spent her life setting up schools around the world that would teach sign and voice and wrote several books. She taught art history and retired from Gallaudet in 1988.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Happy Birthday, Curtis Pride

Image from Gallaudet University
Today is the birthday of Curtis Pride. He was born on Dec 17, 1968 in Washington, D.C. The only deaf player in the major leagues during the modern era, Pride played for 11 years in the majors as an outfielder and pinch hitter and a dozen more in the minors. He hit 20 home runs in his 421 major league games with such teams as the Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox,  Atlanta Braves,New York Yankees, and Los Angeles Angels.  He was mainstreamed as a child, played multiple sports in high school, and graduated with a 3.6 GPA. Pride now coaches the Gallaudet University baseball team. He told Parade Magazine in 1994, "I never let my deafness hold me back. I never feel sorry for myself. Never. I know I have a disability. I've accepted it. I can't worry about it. I want to make the most of my life. And I am."

The Ottoman Empire used a Secret Sign Language

Ottoman court signer from a  17th-century
costume book (via Wikimedia Commons)
"In the 1600s, the court of the Ottoman Empire employed some 40 deaf servants," professor Sara Scalenghe writes. "They were chosen not in spite of their deafness, but because of it. The deaf servants were favored companions of the sultan, and their facility in nonverbal communication made them indispensable to the court, where decorum restricted speech in the sultan’s presence." Scalenghe tells the facinating story of the deaf servants here

Saturday, December 16, 2017

A Mother's Letter to her Deaf Child

The Guardian has printed a letter written by a mother about the difficult decision of whether to give her deaf child a cochlear implant. She writes in part:
It is not an easy decision, a cochlear implant, and I hope you will forgive us for our decision. Giving a cochlear implant to a child who has never heard sound is a controversial and sensitive subject. The surgeons advise against implanting them after the age of four, as the likelihood of being able to interpret and make use of the sound is greatly diminished. We can’t wait until you are older to ask what you want, we have to choose for you.
Read the entire letter here.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Football is Helping Deaf Students to Grow

Phoenix Day School for the Deaf is prepping students for life through its football program. Athletic director Jesse Bailey tells The Arizona Republic:
Sports gave us a way to learn to fight, and it absolutely helps us in the real world. I played football, basketball and ran track for four years, and these sports taught us that we have to communicate and trust each other. All those qualities help you grow as a person and improve your social skills.
Read the full article here.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Teens attack Deaf Student at School

Atlanta teens have been caught on camera beating a deaf classmate. The group face suspension for attacking Jaqueline Flournoy at Maynard Jackson High School. Flournoy says they made derisive comments about her speech and boyfriend. WSB-TV has a video report.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Deaf-owned Restaurant Expanding

When Mozzeria opened in San Francisco's Mission District six years ago, it became the city's first deaf owned restaurant. "The entire staff at Mozzeria is deaf and nearly everything in the restaurant was created by people who are deaf, including restaurant’s artwork," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Now, owners Russell and Melody Stein plan to franchise their business in a unique way. Read more about it here. Below is a commercial for the restaurant.

Standardizing Astronomy Signs

The International Astronomical Union has just released a list of 47 common astronomy terms, according to The signs are offered in a number of different languages. The team of scientists and educators says it's the "first international comparative compilation of its kind for this particular subject matter." Read more about it here.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Multiple Suits for Lack of Captioning

A deaf man is suing a dozen media outlets for not having closed captioning on their videos in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Represented by CK Lee, several companies have already settled out of court. Some are calling it a shakedown. Read more from Forbes here.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

No charges for Police who Killed Deaf Man

The Oklahoma City police officer who shot and killed a deaf man for not following the officer's command will face no chargess. We told you about what happened back in September: Magdiel Sanchez was shot outside his home. Officers say they did not hear witnesses yelling, “He can’t hear you." Read more from the Associated Press here. Below is a video report about the shooting from CBS News.

On this date: the fake interpreter at Mandela’s memorial service

During Nelson Mandela’s memorial service in Johannesburg on this date (Dec. 10) in 2013, a man pretending to interpret for the dignitaries that spoke was declared a fraud by South Africa's deaf federation. U.S. President Barack Obama was among the heads of state attending the service at the 95,000-seat football stadium when Thamsanqa Jantjie took to the stage. The incident raised security concerns and is an embarrassment for the South African government, Bruno Druchen, the National Director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa, posted a statement on its Facebook, which reads in part:
The so called “interpreter” who interpreted at the Official memorial service for late former president Nelson Mandela at FNB stadium has been dubbed the “fake interpreter” and the Deaf community is in outrage. This man is not in fact a recognised, professional South Sign Language Interpreter. He is not known by the Deaf Community in South Africa nor by the South African Sign Language interpreters working in the field... This ‘fake interpreter’ has made a mockery of South African Sign Language and has disgraced the South African Sign Language interpreting profession. The organisers of the memorial service, and indeed any event, should have contacted organisations who coordinate South African Sign Language interpreting services to secure a professional, trained experienced interpreter.
It turned out that Thamsanqa Jantjie was once charged with murder, according to a eNCA TV network that also said he has a history of lying and fraud. Jantjie admitted to being violent and claimed to have been "hallucinated during the memorial service as he was gesturing incoherently." Here's a early SkyNews report (with captions).

Happy Birthday, Thomas Gallaudet!

Born - Philadelphia on December 10, 1787

Family - Oldest of 12 children

College - Attended Yale at age 14, graduating with highest honors at 17

Ministry - Ordained in 1814, sometimes preaching at church

Deaf Interest - Became interested in deaf issues when he met a 9-year-old deaf neighbor

School - Founded The American School for the Deaf during 1817 in Hartford, Connecticut

Travels - Learned the manual form of sign language used in France when he visited

Marriage - In 1821, he married a former student and had two sons

Edward - Gallaudet's son who founded Gallaudet University in Washington, DC

Thomas - Ordained as an Episcopal priest, working to provide religious services for the deaf

Friday, December 8, 2017

45 years in Prison

In October, we told you about a San Antonio woman convicted of murder for shooting a deaf man on her porch in 2016. Yesterday, Michelle Chase was sentenced to 45 years in prison. Read more about it here.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Getting to Know.. Dr House

It was on this date (Dec. 7, 2012) that Dr. William F. House died in Oregon at the age of 89. Dr. House is credited with installing the first cochlear implant in 1961. He was told by experts the electric current he was using would destroy the ear, but that didn't stop him. He believed in what implants could do to change someone's life. Here's a little about him.
  • Known as the "father of neurotology."
  • He recieved his dotorate in dentistry from the University of California at  Berkeley.
  • Practiced medicine in Newport Beach, California until 2000, when he moved to Aurora, Oregon, next door to his son.
  • His cochlear implant was approved by the FDA in 1984.
  • When he started performing the cochlear surgery on children some claimed he was just after money.
  • His half brother, Howard P. House founded the House Ear Institute which became the House Research Institute.
  • He completed some 3,000 implants throughout his career.
  • Developed a new approach to removing tumors on the nerve that connects the ear to the brain.
  • Created a new surgical procedure for Meniere's disease, an inner ear disorder contracted by Astronaut Alan Shepard, the first American in space. He couldn't have flown to the moon had it not been for House's surgery. He wrote a memoir called The Struggles of a Medical Innovator

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Looking Back... Kitty O'Neil

It was on this date (Dec. 6) in 1976 that professional stuntwoman Kitty O'Neil set a record for land speed by a female driver in Oregon's Alvord Desert: 512 miles per hour. Born deaf, she became a champion diver at a young age. Her work later as a Hollywood stuntwoman was featured in TV shows like Quincy, Baretta and The Bionic Woman along with movies like Smokey and the Bandit, The Blues Brothers and Airport '77. She set a record for the highest stunt fall by a woman (105 feet).  She has held as many as 22 speed records on land and water. A movie was made about her life in 1979 titled Silent Victory: The Kitty O'Neil Story. You can read more about her land speed record at a Sports Illustrated article here.  The article explains that she could have broken the men's record as well and why she didn't do so.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Fallout from Fake Interpreter

Why would Police in Tampa, Florida use a fake interpreter? How could the police not know she was a fake? That's what many in the community want to know, after an "interpreter" signed gibbersih during a news conference last week. WFTS-TV in Tampa has a video report.

Monday, December 4, 2017

On this Date: Dimarco Wins Top Model

Nyle Dimarco
(image from ANTM video)
Nyle Dimarco won America's Next Top Model contest on this date (Dec. 4) in 2015. He was the first deaf contestant to do so. Afterward Dimarco told People magazine, "Being a deaf person on a television show alone is pretty groundbreaking, so it felt incredible just to be on the show – but to win it was amazing!" Read more of that interview here. Top Model introduced him with this video.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Tampa Police use Terp who Signs Gibberish

The Tampa, Florida Police held a news conference this past Tuesday (Nov. 28) to inform the public about the arrest of a suspect in a series of killings. Anyone watching that news conference would have been confused by the "interpreter" because she was "signing" nonsense. That's according to Rachelle Settambrino who is deaf and teaches ASL at the University of South Florida. Settambrino told the Tampa Bay Times, "She waved her arms like she was singing Jingle Bells." A rap sheet for someone who has gone by the same name given by the interpreter and who lives in Tampa suggests the woman in question may criminal history. Read more about it here.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

You can now text 911 in LA

If you live in Los Angeles County you may be able to send a text to 911 when there is an emergency. The new service is being rolled out and it's already available in 170 communities including Long Beach and Glendale. If the message does not go through, the FCC requires all U.S. phone carriers to send a note to the customer saying the text failed. One significant limitation: It's not available during roaming and only texts using written English are accepted.
For a list of which communities in LA offer the service, click here.