[Blindmath] UEB again (was Braille code urgency)

Sina Bahram sbahram at nc.rr.com
Sun Dec 4 16:14:34 CST 2011


I agree, but I also think that dismissing such straight forward approaches as simply trying to gather a statistically significant
sample size and trying it out, might also not be the best approach.

Furthermore, there seem to be, as you pointed out, emotional involvements, not only with systems, but actually specific particular
techniques or subproblems such as dropped numbers, for example, and so it would be nice to perhaps rephrase this problem away from
such use cases, and instead maybe consider a governing set of first principles from which to derive a braille code? I'm thinking an
optimal representation would be easy to parse, both forwards and backwards, by a computer and also by a human. Furthermore a Huffman
or other kind of statistically driven encoding can be used to optimize cell usage, in short bandwidth. In addition, one could
examine existing data on K-12 topics covered to determine if maybe the concept of namespaces would be applicable? For example,
Algebra code versus Calculus code.

Take care,
Sina


Website: www.SinaBahram.com
Twitter: @SinaBahram


-----Original Message-----
From: blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Steve Jacobson
Sent: Sunday, December 04, 2011 4:34 PM
To: Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics
Subject: Re: [Blindmath] UEB again (was Braille code urgency)

John and Sina,

I do not personally have much faith that research is ever going to yield definitive results where a braille code is 
concerned.  For one thing, I believe there are several distinct groups of readers that will yield conflicting results.  You 
have the new braille reader who learned as an adult and you have the group who learned braille as kids.  You have 
the reader who primarily reads literary braille and you have those who deal with a lot of scientific materials.  If you then 
add into the mix that people have emotional attachments to various codes and perspectives, it just makes it difficult to 
see a clear path forward.  I think we also have to acknowledge that transcribers and developers of braille translators 
have a stake in this as well.  A perfect reading system that is too difficult to produce won't serve us well, either.  In the 
end, I don't think we're going to find a perfect solution, but we have to move ahead with something, and we need to 
find a means to develop enough of a concensus to do that.

John, I am curious to get your perspective on a couple of things.  Let me say clearly that I have looked at both UEB 
and NUBS samples and I can't say that I see a clear winner.  You said that people would not accept dropped 
numbers because punctuation occurs more often.  I think that there is some truth to this, but I find that position to be 
inconsistent with the dot 6 numbers that would have to replace many signs.  What am I missing?  Please understand 
I'm not saying that dot 6 numbers are necessarily a bad idea, only that it is an example of why I don't see a clear path 
forward.  You mentioned 95 ASCII symbols, but Unicode raises that number, too.  I'm not sure how that affects the 
braille code but it certainly adds challenges and increases the urgency of doing something with literary braille.  That, of 
course, adds pressure to do something about math and science.

Best regards,

Steve Jacobson

On Sun, 4 Dec 2011 12:25:31 -0500, Sina Bahram wrote:

>John, I'm going to assume you're either A. speaking tongue and cheak, or B. just venting/frustrated about the 
situation, since my
>email was quite serious, and sincere.


>Website: www.SinaBahram.com
>Twitter: @SinaBahram


>-----Original Message-----
>From: blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of John Gardner
>Sent: Sunday, December 04, 2011 11:51 AM
>To: 'Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics'
>Subject: Re: [Blindmath] UEB again (was Braille code urgency)

>Sina, please do be serius.  There are not even any fully reliable studies
>comparing the effectiveness of contracted vs non-contracted braille.  But
>there are plenty of people who will assure you that contracted braille is
>much more efficient.  What evidence there is points to the opposite
>conclusion.  The NFB has been making noises about studying this question but
>thus far has not.  

>There was an attempt early in the 20'th century to develop a uniform math
>code, but representatives used it as a platform to proclaim that their
>particular math code was the best and should be adopted.  Reminds me of the
>UEBC in some ways. 

>Even if there was a fully reliable study of such braille questions, I doubt
>that everybody would happily follow the recommendations.

>John


>John


>-----Original Message-----
>From: blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
>Behalf Of Sina Bahram
>Sent: Sunday, December 04, 2011 8:10 AM
>To: 'Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics'
>Subject: Re: [Blindmath] UEB again (was Braille code urgency)

>I also don't understand why the problem has to be trivialized into
>complaints such as the letters of the alphabet can't represent
>numbers. Is there research about the cognitive load on users of Nemeth, for
>example, versus another code? Are there cognitive models
>built which are based upon actual perceptual psychology, store/recall, or
>other experimentally validated data that support such a
>claim?

>A real mathematician, I feel, would balk at signing a petition when so many
>general claims exist. As a researcher, I find myself
>asking, where's the how/why of it? where's the science to back up one over
>the other? Where's the actual research that shows how a
>system for mathematics should be designed based on first principles instead
>of on anecdotal common wisdom?

>Take care,
>Sina

>Website: www.SinaBahram.com
>Twitter: @SinaBahram


>-----Original Message-----
>From: blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
>Behalf Of Steve Jacobson
>Sent: Sunday, December 04, 2011 2:27 AM
>To: Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics
>Subject: Re: [Blindmath] UEB again (was Braille code urgency)

>I think many of us realize that something has to change, even if we're not
>sure which route should be followed.  Blind 
>kids will have no way to deal with many of the texts in education if we cant
>bring more of the variations of print to 
>braille.  They will get the extra information with screen readers instead
>even if it is less effective.  This isn't a simple 
>issue and the future path isn't clear, but just clinging to the past won't
>work, either.  Send opinions to BANA if you 
>have obvious solutions, but the world is changing, print is changing, and we
>have to find a way for braille to change in 
>an organized and reasonable way.  I'm not saying I know which code is best
>because I truly don't know, but we have 
>to take this on as a challenge to our ingenuity and not just kick and scream
>and wish that the world stopped changing 
>in 1960.  

>Best regards,

>Steve Jacobson

>On Sat, 3 Dec 2011 15:53:35 -0500, Susan Mooney wrote:

>>I don't understand why the consumers don't revolt and put their feet firmly
>>down.  Where's the rally from the braille readers themselves?

>>SM

>>On Sat, Dec 3, 2011 at 3:39 PM, Susan Jolly <easjolly at ix.netcom.com> wrote:

>>> Those of us who oppose the UEB have tried many tactics and written many
>>> words explaining its problems. None of these have worked.
>>>
>>> I'm wondering if the best tactic is to enlist sighted mathematicians and
>>> math teachers to create some sort of manifesto.  One need know nothing
>>> about Braille or tactile reading to clearly state that one cannot
>>> effectively either understand or do mathematics with a writing system
>that
>>> uses same characters for the decimal digits as for certain letters of the
>>> alphabet.  Adoption of the UEB would mean assuming that Braille users
>have
>>> no need to understand mathematics.
>>>
>>> Sincerely,
>>> Susan Jolly
>>>
>>> Sent from my wonderful iPad
>>> _______________________________________________
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>>-- 
>>Experience is a brutal teacher, but you learn. My God, do you learn. --CS
>>Lewis
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