Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Delta will be first to offer sign language bar for uniforms

Delta Air Lines is now allowing in-flight crew members' to include a language bar option on their uniforms to indicate whether they know a signed language. The option is already available for spoken languages like Spanish and Russian. Delta will be the first U.S. airline to do this. Delta CEO Ed Bastian shared the news with a video on his LinkedIn page.

BBC Tests New Audio Mix

The BBC is testing new technology that allows hard-of-hearing viewers to adjust audio levels in new ways. They can reduce background noise and make the dialogue crisper. Find out more about the technology on the BBC’s Taster website here.

Monday, July 29, 2019

A "tireless champion and advocate for the Deaf community" has died

Harlan Lane
PHOTO: Mary Knox Merrill/Northeastern University
Harlan Lane died July 13 at the age of 82 from Parkinson’s disease. A psychologist and linguist, Lane helped to found the ASL program at Northeastern University. But he will mostly be remembered as a "tireless champion and advocate for the Deaf community." Among the books he authored was The People of the Eye: Deaf Ethnicity and Ancestry. He argued in the book that deafness is not a disability but a unique community. Lane became interested in Deaf culture and ASL in the 1970s while teaching at the University of California, San Diego. He happened upon students who were signing to each other and wanted to learn more. He explained in an interview with the Northeastern in 2011 here. The interim co-director of the ASL Program at Northeastern, Angela Herbert, said:
Professionally speaking, he was decades before his time in terms of understanding the value of Deaf people and the Deaf community. There are so many books on ASL, Deaf culture, and the Deaf community now, but when Harlan was starting out, that just wasn’t the case.
People at Gallaudet University remember Lane as a professor in the 1980s who was an outspoken member of the “Deaf President Now” movement. Read more about Lane here.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

How Rochester Became a Hub for the Deaf

Rochester is home to one of the largest deaf and hard-of-hearing populations in the U.S. Read about how that came about in an article from the Daily Beast here.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Sainsbury’s turns store into signing supermarket

Sainsbury’s, one of the UK's largest supermarkets, turned one of its stores into a signing supermarket. It was renamed “Signsbury’s” for the three-day project. Read more about it here.

On this date: The ADA was signed into law

It was on this day (July 25, 1990) that President George H.W. Bush signed the American Disability Act into law. Senator Tom Harkin says the ADA law was inspired by his deaf brother. The Iowa Democrat says watching his brother, Frank, struggle against social barriers motivated him to push the ADA bill through the U.S. Congress. The law prohibits private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training and other conditions and privileges of employment. You can watch the signing in the video below.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Deaf man: Theater prevented him from seeing ‘Lion King’

A Tampa Bay, Florida deaf man says he tried to see The Lion King at a local movie theater but they couldn't find captioning equipment for him that worked. WFLA-TV has a video report.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Looking Back.. 16 years ago

On this date (July 23) in 2003, a revival of Big River opened on Broadway with a cast of hearing and deaf actors. Roger Miller's 1985 musical about Huck Finn was the first Broadway show to do so since the 1980's Children of a Lesser God. The show was a co-production of the Roundabout Theater Company and West Hollywood's Deaf West Theater.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Inventing sign language for deaf scientists

The BBC has a video report on Liam Mcmulkin, a deaf student who was frustrated by the lack of sign language for scientific terms—so he invented his own.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Keyless ignition leads to death of deaf woman

Connie Dotson died after accidentally leaving her car running in the garage while she slept inside her home. This is not the first time this has happened to someone who is deaf with keyless ignition systems. WKYT-TV has a video report from Kentucky (or you can read the story here).

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.