Blog - Links to other blogs: August 2005 Archives

This is one for the students in my fall Japanimation and Manga class. A movie theatre just outside of Tokyo is offering discounts to customers who declare themselves 'otaku' or nerds (well, nerd isn't quite the right translation). From the Mainichi Daily News:

Theater offers otaku cheap tickets

Declaring you're an otaku might get you strange looks in some places. But a Japanese movie theater is offering outspoken nerds something positive: a discount....

Otaku culture has become a legitimate field of research in Japan, and a study last year estimated that sales generated by goods targeted at the country's 2.8 million nerds totaled 258 billion yen.

"Densha Otoko" takes so-called geeks into a genre they're not usually associated with: romantic love. The 22-year-old otaku hero turns to a favorite geek refuge in search of girlfriend advice -- the Internet.

Anindya Bhattacharyya has a story in the New York Times about his travels as a deaf-blind man in the U.S.:

WHEN you are deaf-blind, technology is an ever-present companion. I travel with a laptop for e-mail, phone and Internet access. I use a G.P.S.-equipped Braille Note note-taker to get information about my surroundings. To communicate with others, I have a Screen Braille Communicator with two sides: one in Braille, which I can read; the other an L.C.D. screen with a keyboard, for someone who is sighted.

Back when I was first comparing mobile phone internet service providers, T-Mobile was $20/month for their slow 40-80kbps GPRS service while Verizon was $80/month for their blazing fast 400kbps EVDO service. Since I'm cheap frugal, I decided to go with T-mobile and I'm happy with that decision. Apparently other people have been too, since Verizon has been feeling the heat and will drop the price of their EVDO service to $60/mo. I'm still sticking with T-mobile, though. I need internet on the road only occasionally, so I can put up with the slow speed and use that extra $40/mo for better things.

Link: CMOS Image Sensors

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Micron has a rather informative article on CMOS image sensors, comparing features with CCD sensors and highlighting their advantages. The article also shines light on the complex development process of CMOS sensors:

Does culture affect how we see the world? Researchers from the University of Michigan think so, according to this AP article reproduced on
Asians and North Americans really do see the world differently. Shown a photograph, North American students of European background paid more attention to the object in the foreground of a scene, while students from China spent more time studying the background and taking in the whole scene, according to University of Michigan researchers.
There's a really good interview with disability activist Norman Kunc, titled ""The Stairs Don't Go Anywhere!" A Self-Advocate's Reflections on Specialized Services and Their Impact on People with Disabilities. In the article, Kunc links disability with racism and sexism in quite an interesting way. A must read for all.
If you think about it, from the age of three until the age of twelve, three times a week, women who were older than I was, who were more powerful than I was, who had more authority than I had, brought me in to their room, their space, their turf. They took off some of my clothes. They invaded my personal space. They gripped me and touched me, manipulating my body in ways that were painful -- it hurt. Some of the exercises that were done in physical therapy were very painful, others were threatening. For example, there was the one where you are sitting or kneeling on the floor and the therapist kneels behind you and pushes you in different directions forward and sideways. The stated purpose of that activity is to improve reactive balance responses, but when I do this with nondisabled people as a training activity they find it enormously threatening when a person behind them is shoving them, especially when they never know what direction they were going to get pushed. When I was in school, I didn't know I had any other choice than to go along with it. So when you think of it, what did I have from the age of three up? People, women, who had more power than I did, took me in to their space, they took some of my clothes off, touched me in ways that were painful, and I felt that I had no choice in it. To me it's a form of sexual assault even though it was completely asexual. It's the power and domination that's is part of the abuse. It's important for professionals to understand and acknowledge the power differential that exists between themselves and the children with disabilities they are supposed to be serving.

Youth Advisory Committee Recruitment

**Accessibility information at bottom**

August 9, 2005 Recruiting Announcement

Youth Advisory Committee for the National Council on Disability

Washington, DC-The Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) for the National
Council on Disability (NCD) is announcing the opening of a nationwide
search for new members. The YAC, a 12 member advisory committee ranging
in age from 16-25, is recruiting members from cross disability sectors,
diverse cultures and in under represented areas of the country.

Photographers are occasionally called upon to photograph paintings, prints, documents, or artwork. It's a bit more difficult to set up the lighting and artwork correctly without getting flare, reflections, or distortion. Paul Hill on the Hasselblad list recently posted some excellent tips on how to photograph artwork (or other photographs, documents, etc.) accurately:

Hasselblad's linear mirror unit has not been produced in a long time. Occasionally you can find a used one, but the price is usually above $200 US. has a
tutorial for achieving flatness with a simple mirror. has some diagrams for
lighting setup. Polarizing gels and a polarizer for the lens doesn't hurt
either. This is important for works covered by glass. The use of polarizers
may make your color balance more difficult, however, if you shoot a
calibration card at the start of the roll, or even in the same frame, you
should be able to achieve good results.

Another tutorial can be found at

The same considerations (distortion and reflections) are true when
documenting ceramics and porcelains.

I have some tips on photographing archival material that I'll post separately.

In case you were wondering if the US needs to beef up its domestic human rights record for people with disabilities, The Washington Post reports that D.C. Settles With Wrongly Imprisoned Man:

"Heard — who is described as deaf, mute and mentally impaired - was jailed in 1999 on a trespassing charge from a year earlier, although a D.C. Superior Court judge had freed him, declaring him mentally unfit to stand trial, Moustakas said.

Prison officials then lost track of his records and he was not released until 670 days after his arrest, when officials were processing a transfer of prisoners to a federal facility.

Heard's case alleged that the city violated his civil rights by falsely imprisoning him, and neglected to supply him with an interpreter or teletype machine to allow him to communicate with his jailers. His case against the medical contractor, the Center for Correctional Health Policy Studies, alleges that the firm administered psychotropic drugs to him without his consent, Moustakas said."

Lost in the prison system for 670 days???????? That's almost two years. His settlement is for $1.1 million + lawyers fees. I think DC got off easy. (Via TalkLeft.)

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This page is a archive of entries in the Blog - Links to other blogs category from August 2005.

Blog - Links to other blogs: July 2005 is the previous archive.

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