[NFBOK-Talk] Fwd: [Brl-monitor] The Braille Monitor, April 2017

Audrey Farnum atfarnum at icloud.com
Wed Mar 29 13:30:06 UTC 2017

The Braille Monitor, April 2017
> Reply-To: buhrow at nfbcal.org
> Vol. 60, No. 4   April 2017
>                             Gary Wunder, Editor
>      Distributed by email, in inkprint, in Braille, and on USB flash
> drive, by the
>      Mark Riccobono, President
>      telephone: (410) 659-9314
>      email address: nfb at nfb.org
>      website address: http://www.nfb.org
>      NFBnet.org: http://www.nfbnet.org
>      NFB-NEWSLINE® information: (866) 504-7300
>       Like us on Facebook: Facebook.com/nationalfederationoftheblind
>                      Follow us on Twitter: @NFB_Voice
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> Letters to the President, address changes, subscription requests, and
> orders for NFB literature should be sent to the national office. Articles
> for the Monitor and letters to the editor may also be sent to the national
> office or may be emailed to gwunder at nfb.org.
> Monitor subscriptions cost the Federation  about  forty  dollars  per  year.
> Members  are  invited,  and  nonmembers  are   requested,   to   cover   the
> subscription cost. Donations should be made payable to  National  Federation
> of the Blind and sent to:
>      National Federation of the Blind
>      200 East Wells Street at Jernigan Place
>      Baltimore, Maryland 21230-4998
>                                 OURSELVES.
> ISSN 0006-8829
> © 2017 by the National Federation of the Blind
>      Each issue is recorded on a thumb drive (also called a memory stick
> or USB flash drive). You can read this audio edition using a computer or a
> National Library Service digital player. The NLS machine has two slots-the
> familiar book-cartridge slot just above the retractable carrying handle and
> a second slot located on the right side near the headphone jack. This
> smaller slot is used to play thumb drives. Remove the protective rubber pad
> covering this slot and insert the thumb drive. It will insert only in one
> position. If you encounter resistance, flip the drive over and try again.
> (Note: If the cartridge slot is not empty when you insert the thumb drive,
> the digital player will ignore the thumb drive.) Once the thumb drive is
> inserted, the player buttons will function as usual for reading digital
> materials. If you remove the thumb drive to use the player for cartridges,
> when you insert it again, reading should resume at the point you stopped.
>      You can transfer the recording of each issue from the thumb drive to
> your computer or preserve it on the thumb drive. However, because thumb
> drives can be used hundreds of times, we would appreciate their return in
> order to stretch our funding. Please use the return envelope enclosed with
> the drive when you return the device.
> [PHOTO CAPTION: Palm-lined drive leading to front entrance of Rosen Shingle
> Creek Resort]
>                     Orlando Site of 2017 NFB Convention
>      The 2017 convention of the National Federation of the Blind will take
> place in Orlando, Florida, July 10 to July 15, at the Rosen Shingle Creek
> Resort, 9939 Universal Boulevard, Orlando, Florida 32819-9357. Make your
> room reservation as soon as possible with the Shingle Creek staff only.
> Call (866) 996-6338.
>      The 2017 room rates are singles and doubles, $83; and for triples and
> quads $89. In addition to the room rates there will be a tax, which at
> present is 12.5 percent. No charge will be made for children under
> seventeen in the room with parents as long as no extra bed is requested.
> The hotel is accepting reservations now. A $95-per-room deposit is required
> to make a reservation. Fifty percent of the deposit will be refunded if
> notice is given to the hotel of a reservation cancellation before June 1,
> 2017. The other 50 percent is not refundable.
>      Rooms will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
> Reservations may be made before June 1, 2017, assuming that rooms are still
> available. After that time the hotel will not hold our room block for the
> convention. In other words, you should get your reservation in soon.
>      All Rosen Shingle Creek guestrooms feature amenities that include
> plush Creek Sleeper beds, 40" flat screen TVs, complimentary high-speed
> internet service, in-room safes, coffee makers, mini-fridges, and hair
> dryers. Guests can also enjoy a swimming pool, fitness center, and on-site
> spa. The Rosen Shingle Creek Resort has a number of dining options,
> including two award-winning restaurants, and twenty-four-hour-a-day room
> service.
>      The schedule for the 2017 convention is:
> Monday, July 10  Seminar Day
> Tuesday, July 11 Registration and Resolutions Day
> Wednesday, July 12     Board Meeting and Division Day
> Thursday, July 13      Opening Session
> Friday, July 14  Business Session
> Saturday, July 15      Banquet Day and Adjournment
> Vol. 60,  No.  4                                                       April
> 2017
>      Contents
> Illustration: Cleaning Where No Human Has Cleaned Before
> Walking a Mile: The Possibilities and Pitfalls of Simulations
> by Mark Riccobono
> Progress on the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act: The Regulations, the
> Law, and What They Will Mean for the Blind
> by John Paré
> Aira, the Next Technology Revolution in Devices for Blind People
> by Michael Hingson
> What Do We Really Think of Sight?
> by Eric Duffy
> There's a List for That
> by David Andrews
> The Urgency of Optimism
> by Marc Maurer
> Dots from Space!: Voices from the Past
> by Amy Mason and Anna Kresmer
> David Young is a Champion for Blind Iowans
> by Jim Omvig
> Independence Market Corner
> Recipes
> Monitor Miniatures
> [PHOTO CAPTION: A view of the unspoiled wilderness and clear atmosphere of
> Mars.]
> [PHOTO CAPTION: The picture taken by the Mars Rover shows the pristine
> Martian vista marred by tracks left by the Rover.]
> [PHOTO CAPTION: NASA missions to the Moon have left not one but three of
> these Lunar Rovers abandoned to deteriorate without care on the surface of
> our closest celestial neighbor.]
>                 Cleaning Where No Human Has Cleaned Before
>      April is the month when we celebrate Earth Day, a tradition started
> back in the early 1970s when we realized the vulnerability of our planet
> and the need for humans to exercise some care for it. Many in that original
> movement hailed from California, a state long known for its progressive
> attitudes and the willingness to tackle big problems.
>      Always on the forefront of change, Californians, particularly members
> of the National Federation of the Blind of California, have turned their
> attention to other parts of the universe, creating the first-of-its-kind
> Mars Day. Why Mars, you might ask? The answer is best summed up by Ever Lee
> Hairston, the president of the affiliate. "Well, we know what we have done
> to our own planet, but what is more disturbing but less well known is what
> we have done to other bodies near us. We went to the Moon, walked on the
> Moon, and even golfed on the Moon. What did we leave: a sign saying we came
> in peace for all mankind-that's good, but think about the trash. We sent
> Ranger Seven to the Moon, admired its pictures as it soared toward the
> lunar surface, but we didn't land it-no, we crashed it. Any thoughts about
> picking it up: not on your life. That first lunar module that carried
> Armstrong and Aldrin: when we were through with it, what did we do? We
> crashed it into the Moon, and after observing the seismic impact, we
> haven't given it a single thought. We simply must be better neighbors in
> the solar system and in the universe at large, and if we don't start it
> here, who will?"
>      Brian Buhrow, a man with a technical background, good literary
> skills, and a keen sense of fairness and justice goes further: "At this
> point Mars is a pretty pristine place. It has a few foreign bodies on it
> and a rover whose warranty is about to run out, but it's never too late to
> start reclaiming our trash and disposing of it in a manner befitting of at
> least one intelligent species in the universe. All of us want good American
> jobs and to build infrastructure, so why not create and deploy the first
> trash truck capable of interstellar travel? Perhaps we'll have to work on
> revising overtime rules for the waste disposal engineers, but we can do
> this in a way that creates good, well-paying, and meaningful jobs for
> Americans and at the same time dispel the myth that there are some dirty
> jobs Americans just won't do. There can be no better project to demonstrate
> America's commitment to hard work and the harnessing of technology and
> being for the world that city on the hill made so popular by Former
> President Ronald Reagan."
>      Not surprisingly there are some Federationists who gently offer some
> cautionary advice. Lisamaria Martinez, the former president of the Sports
> and Recreation Division, worries that the gravity on Mars will be so much
> less than that of Earth that those who work there will become accustomed to
> the lower energy required to move about and heft objects into the space
> receptacles that will carry the trash away. "The gravity on Mars is about
> .376 that of Earth. This means it will take just over one-third the energy
> from our muscles to do on Mars what we do on Earth. Just how we will keep
> muscle tone when working, eating, and sleeping will be so radically
> different. Unless exercise is a part of our ambitious plan, I don't think
> our division can really get behind this, but I am confident that the
> Federation, given its tradition of negotiation in getting along with
> interstellar beings as evidenced by multiple incarnations of Star Trek, is
> up to the job."
>      For more information about Mars Day, call (111) MARSDAY or 627-7329.
> Because of the intense effort in planning and advertising this event,
> please use only the number above. Members of the California effort are too
> preoccupied to take calls for general information and have contracted with
> the publicist for the dissemination of further information.
>                                 ----------
> [PHOTO CAPTION: Mark Riccobono]
>        Walking a Mile: The Possibilities and Pitfalls of Simulations
>                              by Mark Riccobono
>      From the Editor: Since a central tenet of the National Federation of
> the Blind is to change the way people think about being blind and by
> extension to increase the opportunity for those who are, we must think
> seriously about the tools we have to bring about this transformation.
> Simulating blindness has for some time now been a way in which we and
> others have sought to increase the public's understanding of what we need
> from it in order to enjoy lives that are as rich and productive as those of
> people who can see. In this article our President discusses the subject of
> blindness simulation, how it is used, the reasons for its use, when it is
> effective, and when it serves as a stumbling block that comes between blind
> people and our dreams. Here is what he says:
>      One of the highest aspirations of human beings is to understand one's
> fellows, to know the world as they see it, and to share empathy without
> judgment or condemnation. Long before I heard the word empathy I was
> familiar with the adage, "You can never really know a man until you have
> walked a mile in his shoes." Since we don't all have the same size feet,
> what is the practical way to take this journey? Traditionally we have tried
> to do this by spending some time learning about and reflecting on another
> person's life situation: What is it like to have money? What is it like to
> be without it? What is it like to have a disability?
>      For the past few decades the attempt to understand another person's
> life has been to try simulating it. Some of the most popular simulations
> have involved letting a nondisabled person spend some time as a person with
> a disability. The motives behind these simulations are as varied as the
> ways in which they are conducted, and here I'd like to look at what they
> are, how well they work, and specifically what a simulation is intended to
> communicate.
>      Given the complexity of life, a reasonable question to ask is whether
> simulations not meant to train but to inform can ever serve a purpose. They
> can, but making sure they communicate what we want them to takes
> considerable thought, a clear definition of what we want to communicate,
> and an understanding of how much a person can absorb at one time.
>      Let's look at a common disability simulation that seems to work, one
> in which a person is asked to spend some time in a wheelchair. If I am a
> user of a wheelchair and want the public to understand the lack of access I
> face, putting someone in a chair and showing him how impossible it is to
> reach a doorknob, walk a flight of stairs, or cross a street at which there
> is no ramp works quite well. I have not asked him to function without one
> of his senses; I have only asked that he sit in a chair and observe how
> many things are beyond his reach because we have failed to make simple
> environmental changes that will benefit everyone in a wheelchair and
> everyone who is a pedestrian. The problems become obvious and so do the
> solutions, ones society can implement with minor physical changes.
>      If I spend an hour in a wheelchair, do I really understand the life
> of the man who uses one? I do not. I have to take his word for the way it
> feels when people talk down to him, stand behind his chair to converse, or
> show the pity they feel for him when they define his existence as being
> confined to that chair. To the extent that I am able to understand, that
> understanding comes through observation, conversation, and through the
> building of a personal relationship.
>      Of course the goal of his simulation is not to get me to understand
> the condition that requires his use of a wheelchair, but to glimpse the
> environmental changes to make dealing with it easier. I come away
> understanding why my city taxes go for ramps and why we require all public
> facilities to have elevators.
>      Before discussing the simulation of blindness, let's distinguish
> between simulations to help blind people function without sight and getting
> sighted people to understand blindness. We actively encourage blind
> students to do some or most long-term training under learning shades. If
> one has some vision, we encourage training that does not rely on it but
> relies on alternative techniques. In a society that is overly interested in
> visual cues, most people are quickly conditioned to subconsciously believe
> that vision is a requirement for success. Through our intensive training
> programs we break down the misconception that vision is the requirement for
> success and build the understanding that a variety of techniques including
> a robust set of nonvisual techniques can empower a blind person to live the
> life they want regardless of their level of vision. At the end of training,
> one's unreliable vision is no longer at the core of what he or she can do
> but serves as a supplement, and the individual can make an informed
> decision about which technique (nonvisual or visual) or combination of
> techniques is most effective. The loss of more vision due to age or
> deterioration through disease will be uncomfortable, but limited vision
> will not determine whether one can independently learn, travel, cook,
> clean, handle money, and a whole host of other things for which sighted
> people use vision. What is key in training is that students are allowed to
> proceed slowly in what they do under learning shades. There is time to
> explain the underlying philosophy in their use, they have the time to
> observe blind people doing what they will be asked to do, and the message
> is always that the students can and will be able to do what they need
> without vision. More importantly, the student has the opportunity to build
> an understanding of how to counteract the misconceptions and
> misunderstandings that come from interacting with a public who does not
> understand blindness.
>      Unless simulations are well planned in terms of what we ask people to
> do, what we tell them about blindness, and how long we have to work with
> them under shades, the experience is likely to be more negative than
> positive, reinforcing everything they have felt about the world of darkness
> in which they believe we live.
>      I submit that, in most cases, understanding blindness by one who is
> sighted is better communicated through observation than personal
> experience. Ask a newly blindfolded person to travel the streets so she
> comes to understand the value of traffic sounds, and her predominant
> emotion will be fear. Without understanding how blind people travel and
> having the confidence that she can do so safely, the experiment will scare
> rather than inform. How then can we make a case for modifications that are
> necessary for our continued independent travel? The answer is for us to do
> the traveling and for the person we are trying to influence to observe us.
> When I am observed walking with my cane and run into a guidewire hanging
> over a sidewalk at chest level, the person watching me understands the
> function of my cane, what it can and cannot detect, and how the problem I'm
> experiencing can be solved if the guidewire did not pass over the sidewalk
> or did so at an angle that wasn't impossible for a cane to detect. Now it
> becomes clear that the challenge is one for an engineer, and the work done
> will benefit everyone who walks that sidewalk be they blind or sighted.
>      Suppose I want someone with influence to understand the difficulty
> when I try to use an inaccessible program. If he is blindfolded and made to
> sit at a computer, what simulation can we do? He may understand the concept
> of a screen reader, but will he know that most programs say a line when the
> insert and up arrow keys are pressed? Will he understand that movement
> between programs is done by pressing the alt and the tab keys and that
> determining which program has focus is accomplished by pressing the insert
> key with the letter t? The answer is that he won't. His initial impression
> will be that using the computer as he knows it is impossible and that a
> number of complicated key presses is difficult when compared with the point
> and click methods that constitute the majority of his navigation.
>      On the other hand, suppose he observes me using a computer with a
> screen reader and a Braille display. When he watches the screen, hears what
> I hear through computerized speech as I navigate, and listens as I read
> what is presented under my fingers in Braille, he is likely to understand
> the problem that exists when I encounter graphics that aren't labeled,
> buttons that aren't identified, and programs that will not respond to
> keyboard presses. He will understand that navigation in addition to what is
> provided by a mouse is required and can see how easily arrow and tab keys
> can be used to efficiently navigate when I show well-designed programs.
>      I have talked with many sighted people about the difficulties posed
> by misguided individuals we encounter in airports and the extra stress it
> puts on blind people. The physical travel through airports is mostly
> straightforward, even if getting information generally posted on signs is
> not. Although I have talked with people about the problems we encounter,
> there is no better simulation than traveling with a sighted person and
> letting them observe for themselves. As they watch the looks on people's
> faces; have the opportunity to tell people that they are not my caretaker
> but rather just a friend; witness me being grabbed, pushed, and pulled; and
> overhear the difficulty of my getting a simple question answered they
> understand in a meaningful way things that it was hard for them to believe
> when I first told them.
>      I think the question we really need to address is this: Do I want the
> general public to know what it is like to be blind? Not really. In the
> first place I don't think they can. Many sighted people are convinced the
> blind see darkness; the reality is that some blind people do not see
> anything while many others see some unreliable combination of light,
> shadow, and color (that often varies from day to day). The understanding of
> blindness is only complicated by people who have some usable vision and the
> obsession of the sighted in understanding what those people see,
> particularly when that vision varies from day to day. Those who can see
> think I live in a world which is dominated by the absence of light, a world
> that deprives me of much that is meaningful. I contend my world has all the
> elements that make life worth living: the ability to experience love, to
> know the joy of happiness, and to raise my family. I know both the joy and
> the stress of being needed, the imperative of making a living, and what it
> is like when my children look to me in their attempt to understand the
> world. In short, the important things in my life are the same as for the
> person who sees, with variations that are sometimes difficult but which
> never obscure the joy of being human.
>      I want the public to understand those parts of blindness that pose
> obstacles they can help me overcome. I want them to see how training can
> make all the difference and is deserving of their private and public
> support. I want them to understand that for training to be meaningful it
> must be followed by opportunity. True opportunity means more than failing
> to say no; it aggressively embraces the journey to determine how to say
> yes. I want people to understand that independent travel is crucial and
> that one important element that makes it possible is an environment in
> which cars make enough sound that I can hear and respond to them. I want
> people to understand that living in my own home is important and that my
> home is just as much a castle for me as theirs is for them. To live
> independently means being able to do the things they do: cook, clean, and
> enjoy the entertainments found in most homes. A challenge for me is that
> most new home appliances use visual displays that make no allowance for
> those who cannot see. Adding a function to make stoves, ovens,
> refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers talk is not only
> possible but inexpensive and beneficial to all, including senior citizens.
> I want the public to understand that the internet presents great
> opportunities for access to information as long as the websites are built
> with equal access in mind. Otherwise, I need to spend twice as much time
> trying to book an appointment at the doctor, find information about city
> services, read the calendar for the school our children attend, report
> crime information, or dozens of other things people take for granted. These
> are areas in which the general public can help, creating a community
> standard that considers unthinkable leaving out people whose inclusion
> could so easily be accomplished through inexpensive design and
> manufacturing techniques, of which there are many examples.
>      To restate, in time I believe I can change people's perspective about
> the meaningfulness I find in life, but that belief about living in a world
> of darkness may be something they take with them to their graves. Perhaps
> they can't really walk a mile in my shoes, but they can help me get to the
> place where I can purchase those shoes and enjoy my journey through days of
> adventure, activity, and living life to the fullest.
>      Even if we can effectively provide experiences to teach sighted
> people about the artificial barriers we face in the physical and digital
> environments we encounter, we cannot fully get them to understand the
> emotional experience of facing low expectations in society every day. A
> couple of years ago I was in a leadership program in Baltimore City. During
> that program we spent a morning in a "walk a mile" activity where we
> simulated the experience of navigating the struggle of a low-income family
> attempting to meet the demands of life. The activity helped me understand
> the barriers that poorly designed social services, lack of reliable
> transportation, and burdensome supports put on a family with limited means.
> However, my real understanding has come from interacting with and knowing
> people who live that experience daily and who can share all of the social
> bias they face. In other words, I think we need to be completely honest
> that any simulation activity does not impact some of the most important
> understandings we want the sighted to know in their heart and their head-
> that blindness is not the characteristic that defines us, that the
> misunderstandings and low expectations about blindness are our biggest
> obstacle, that those misunderstandings create artificial barriers that
> prevent us from fully participating, and those false limitations build into
> something that holds us back.
>      Short of training blind people to be blind, are there simulations we
> can do that will let sighted people glimpse how we do what they do? I
> believe the answer is yes. We must make it clear that they are not
> experiencing blindness but that we are giving them a taste of the way we do
> some of our daily tasks. Having them sit in a chair, covering their eyes,
> and handing them coins can show how we identify them by touch. Dropping a
> coin on a hard surface and helping them learn the denomination by sound
> provides them another clue about how we manage money and adds to the
> message that we have quality alternative techniques that serve well in our
> daily lives.
>      The tasks we give should not be threatening. If we want them to spend
> some time using a cane, explain that they will not be encountering steps
> and that their job is to find the wall in front of them. Tell them their
> task is to navigate around a chair and how the cane is used to detect it.
> Get sighted people to measure something with a click rule and mark a
> precise spot. Teach them how blind people effectively pour liquids without
> spilling, and give them an opportunity to practice. In a short amount of
> time I have been able to teach sighted people under learning shades to
> pour, and when I have given them the option of using the same technique to
> pour a cup of coffee for themselves many do so and have little trouble.
> There are dozens of other examples, and we should find ways to share
> information about the activities that work best. The activities must be
> supported by meaningful dialogue with blind people in an environment set up
> to facilitate honest communication. When those going through these
> experiences have an opportunity to engage blind people around some of the
> questions we know they are thinking about, a new avenue of understanding is
> created.
>      So far we have not touched on one critical facet that determines
> whether a simulation of blindness is helpful or harmful, that being the
> motivation for performing it. This is further complicated by the fact that
> simulations are often paired with fundraising. This incorporates all of the
> baggage and emotional strings that come with the typical charity model-
> people participate to help those less fortunate than they are. The biggest
> problem with simulating blindness is that it all-too-easily plays into the
> sense of loss and ineptitude that people believe to be our lot in life and
> the lives they would live were vision to disappear. This benefits
> organizations whose goal is to reverse or eliminate blindness, the recent
> activities of the Foundation Fighting Blindness being a prime example. If
> the idea is to eradicate blindness by raising money for research, scaring
> people is a powerful motivator. As much as all of us support research to
> preserve or perhaps restore sight, raising that money must not make living
> more difficult for we who are blind. Preserving sight should be supported
> on the many merits of vision and not on the portrayal of its absence as a
> significant barrier to the enjoyment of life.
>      So each of us must ask the question: At what cost is the way money is
> raised to do research too high? When we fight for the right of blind people
> to be parents and an organization suggests that the sighted try being a
> parent for one minute with their eyes closed, the experience can only serve
> to emphasize the danger when a young child is not observed, a situation
> bordering on leaving her unattended. The cost to blind people is too high!
> When one is encouraged to dine in the dark without first learning how to
> serve oneself, cut one's meat, or have the experience of finding one's
> mouth with a fork, how can the mess and the message be reconciled with
> blind people leading lives of independence in which we can feed ourselves,
> teach our children, and represent our employers without embarrassment when
> the job calls for us to attend lunches and dinners? Again, the cost to
> blind people is just too high! The potential to raise money through fear
> and pity is enormous, but so is the toll on the lives of blind people and
> the efforts we make to convince others we are capable of living in the
> world as competent human beings.
>      Everyone has freedom of speech, but with that freedom comes the
> responsibility to speak truth, to do no harm, and to advantage rather than
> disadvantage the people about whom one is speaking. Because we in the
> National Federation of the Blind are the authentic voice of blind people-
> representing the broad diversity of people who experience blindness
> firsthand-we must raise expectations and lead the way regarding best
> practice for simulation activities. We must also honestly evaluate what we
> do and whether it meets our goals, the test of our philosophy about
> blindness, and ensure that it is authentic to the experience of a blind
> person who has had training and opportunity. We must make certain that the
> simulations we do meet this standard and should demand that others do the
> same. These should be our guiding principles as we teach the world what it
> means to be blind, and these should be the standards to which we hold other
> organizations who would diminish our lives and opportunities in the
> misguided belief that a quality life can only be achieved if one is
> sighted.
>                                 ----------
> [PHOTO CAPTION: John Paré]
>   Progress on the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act: The Regulations, the
>                 Law, and What They Will Mean for the Blind
>                                by John Paré
>      From the Editor: John Paré is the executive director of strategic
> initiatives for the National Federation of the Blind, and he is the staff
> member who has put in the most time, energy, and intense concentration on
> the issue of silent cars. He shares the concern for the safety of
> pedestrians that all of us carry in our hearts and in our heads, but he is
> the person who has translated that concern into responses which distinguish
> the National Federation of the Blind by acknowledging our early work on the
> issue, our innovative ways to bring it to the attention of people capable
> of doing something about it, and riding herd over the process to make sure
> that it did not stall or go astray. Here is what John has to say about the
> fight to get a bill enacted, the challenge of getting that act into a
> proposed rule, and the difficulty in getting the Obama administration to
> publish a rule that the blind, other pedestrians, and the auto makers could
> accept as reasonable, doable, and in the interest of all involved:
>      Much of what we do in the National Federation of the Blind focuses on
> enhancing the quality of life for blind people through creating
> opportunities and raising expectations. Anything that comes between blind
> people and living fruitful and fulfilling lives is something we target. But
> on rare occasions we are called on to do more than work on quality of life
> issues and deal with the preservation of life itself. This was the case
> when we found that something essential to our independent travel was
> changing in a way that could take it away and could easily result in injury
> or death.
>      In 2005 the buzz was all about hybrid electric cars. They were coming
> to market, and many things about them were appealing: they used less fuel,
> emitted less pollution, and generated less noise. All of us were excited;
> all of these things we viewed as positive. But when we learned that less
> noise translated to no useable sound, a real issue of safety emerged for
> blind and sighted pedestrians alike that we could not ignore. Silent
> vehicles are essentially stealth vehicles to blind people, and although it
> is less obvious, they are nearly as dangerous for people who can see. This
> is because a pedestrian who can see is often alerted about where to look
> based on what he or she hears. For an in-depth discussion about how the
> Federation came to identify the problem of nearly silent vehicles, the
> denials that a problem existed, the work to find allies, and the struggle
> to get a bill passed and signed by the president to address the issue, I
> urge you to read an excellent piece written by Debbie Kent Stein entitled
> "Belling the Cat: The Long Road to the Passage of the Pedestrian Safety
> Enhancement Act," which appeared in the June 2011 issue of the Braille
> Monitor. On January 4, 2011, President Obama signed into law the Pedestrian
> Safety Enhancement Act, requiring that the United States Department of
> Transportation write regulations to implement a minimum sound that vehicles
> must make when traveling the streets of this country. The signing of the
> act represented a big step forward in recognizing that it is desirable that
> vehicles be quiet, but that they be no quieter than safety will allow.
> Throughout this article I will simply refer to this as the act. Even in our
> most optimistic moments we realized that writing the regulations would take
> time, getting them reviewed would be painfully slow, and the phase-in
> period would leave us unprotected far longer than we wished. Even so, few
> of us believed it would be 2016 before the final regulations were published
> and probably 2020 before the act is fully implemented.
>      In drafting regulations, four distinct issues had to be addressed:
> safety, stakeholder agreement, conducting and interpreting the research,
> and embracing the global trend that would set the direction of carmakers.
> Although we tend to think of American legislation as something that
> primarily involves Americans and American policy, the automobile industry
> is one of the few uniquely global marketplaces. In September 2009, before
> the passage of the act and certainly strengthening the case for it, a
> report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said
> that hybrid electric vehicles were twice as likely to be involved in
> accidents with pedestrians than their internal combustible engine
> counterparts. In a second report issued in October 2011, using a much
> larger sample size, the same agency said that there was a 35 percent
> greater likelihood of accidents involving hybrid electric vehicles and
> pedestrians. It also found a staggering 57 percent greater likelihood in
> accidents involving quiet cars and cyclists.
>      In all, NHTSA produced three research reports that together totaled
> more than 900 pages. Separately and together, all pointed to the undeniable
> conclusion that sound and safety are inextricably bound together.
> Guidelines for the industry had previously stressed the reduction of sound
> through the establishment of a maximum noise emission standard. Noise was
> the enemy of the automotive engineer, a word so vile that there was no way
> to use it with these professionals and communicate anything hinting at
> something positive. "You will undermine your case for a minimum sound
> standard if you say you want the car to make noise. You do not want noise.
> You want usable sound, not noise." This was the message from one of the
> more vocal members at a meeting of the Society of Automotive Engineers back
> in 2008, and his vocabulary lesson was one we took to heart.
>      What the reports issued by NHTSA made clear was that safety would
> require a minimum sound standard so that pedestrians would be aware of
> vehicles in their vicinity and take reasonable precautions to avoid
> contact. What was needed was an addition to the law governing sound
> emissions by vehicles, a law that called for vehicles to be as quiet as
> they could safely be, but no quieter.
>      When the law was passed, it called for the issuance of a Notice of
> Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to be issued no later than eighteen months after
> its passage. The purpose of an NPRM is to alert interested parties about
> what the regulations for new laws will look like, offering a chance for
> those with an interest to comment on and influence how the final
> regulations will be crafted and the law enforced. But NHTSA did not issue a
> proposal by July 1 of 2012. That meant that the final rule that should have
> been issued by January 4, 2014, did not come out. The NPRM wasn't published
> until January 10, 2013, the agency arguing that the complexity of the issue
> and the research required meant that the time frames in the law for
> implementation could not be met. The NFB made our response to the NPRM in
> March 2013, and it wasn't until December 2016 that the final rule, the one
> which was supposed to be published in January 2014, was issued. In the
> interim the United States Department of Transportation commissioned a study
> to determine how many hybrid electric vehicles were being sold in this
> country, and that study concluded that, on average, 1,563 are sold each
> day. These cars are not yet covered by the act or its regulations; luckily
> some manufacturers have seen the writing on the wall and have implemented
> systems to provide sound alerts. Although they may not comply with the
> regulations that have now been published, their presence is welcomed by
> those of us who regularly place our faith in safely crossing streets on
> what we hear.
>      So which vehicles are covered by the law and which by the
> regulations? What are the key points of each? We make a distinction between
> the law and the regulations because the regulations are not just a detailed
> prescription of how to implement the law, but differ from it in some
> significant ways. We are left to speculate as to why, but the rumor has
> been floated that differences exist because of insufficient data to support
> detailed regulations as envisioned in the law and that when such data
> becomes available the regulations may be modified accordingly.
>      Here are the main points you should know about the act as it will be
> implemented: only four-wheeled vehicles weighing less than 10,000 pounds
> are covered, meaning commercial trucks and motorcycles have been excluded.
> They are part of the law but not the regulations.
>      Fifty percent of vehicles produced after September 1, 2018, and 100
> percent of vehicles produced after September 1, 2019, must meet the sound
> standard.
>      One issue that sparked significant debate even among allies for the
> law was whether there should be a switch that the driver could use to
> disable the audible alerts it mandates. We were opposed to what in the
> industry is called a pause switch, but what has come to be called a kill
> switch by the blind. For us the issue is simple: the ability to hear a
> quiet car should not depend on the judgment of the driver as to whether or
> not a usable sound should be emitted by his vehicle. This would be
> equivalent to allowing a driver to make his car invisible simply because he
> believed he wouldn't encounter pedestrians, animals, or other cars along
> his journey.
>      In the current regulation there is no selectable sound from which a
> car owner may choose, though the law clearly allows for a set of selectable
> sounds so long as those sounds are provided and certified by the
> manufacturer to meet the minimum sound standard. Although research
> indicated that duplicating the sound of a standard internal combustion
> engine would be the most identifiable sound by the greatest number of
> pedestrians, it also demonstrated that the sounds were not the most
> effective in penetrating the noise found in most rural and urban
> environments. Both pedestrians and automobile manufacturers were concerned
> that leaving the sound that a vehicle would make to the discretion of
> automobile owners could lead to situations in which a vehicle would not be
> identified as a danger to be avoided. Discussions on blogs indicated that
> if owners were allowed to select their own sound, some would choose the
> sound of a carousel, some an ice cream truck, and some the clatter of
> horseshoes. An arbitrary sound just would not do to provide certainty in
> identification. But a second concern was from the manufacturers. It was
> that a sound provided by a driver might be considered offensive, and the
> result would be the rejection by the public of all sounds. This would
> reflect negatively on the manufacturers, the law, and the pedestrians it
> was designed to protect.
>      In the law provisions were made for vehicles to come with several
> selectable sounds from which the driver of a quiet car could choose, but
> the regulations make no provision for these other than to say that a 2020
> Toyota Prius will sound like every other 2020 Toyota Prius. The same is
> true for a 2019 Chevrolet Volt.
>      One point of contention between pedestrians and car manufacturers was
> whether a vehicle should emit some sound when not in motion. The car
> companies contended that where there was no motion there was no danger. The
> Federation took the strongly held position that knowing of a car's presence
> at a traffic light, a four-way stop, or any other kind of intersection was
> essential whether that car was moving or at rest. An informed decision to
> cross requires that one be aware not only of vehicles on the move but
> vehicles that are waiting for the opportunity to move. Both the law and the
> regulation make it clear that a vehicle is to emit a sound while stopped,
> but the regulation does provide that no sound need be made if the vehicle
> is in park.
>      Although most hybrid electric vehicles do not use a manual
> transmission, those which do must make sound any time the key is on and the
> parking brake is off. While we would have preferred that a quiet car make
> some sound when the driver's seat is occupied, we have gotten most of what
> we wanted in this section of the regulation, and it is a far cry from what
> some of the manufacturers were demanding, provisions which, had they been
> adopted, would have done much to negate the safety issues spawning the
> creation of the law.
>      How loud must a vehicle sound be? From stationary to less than ten
> km/h [kilometers per hour], it must create a sound that is at least forty-
> four decibels. A moving vehicle going from ten km/h up to less than twenty
> km/h must generate a sound of at least fifty-one decibels. From twenty to
> less than thirty km/h, the vehicle must generate a sound of at least fifty-
> seven decibels. At thirty to thirty-two km/h the sound emitted must be
> sixty-two decibels. For vehicles traveling in reverse, a sound of forty-
> eight decibels is required. These figures were based on significant testing
> by NHTSA, and only time will reveal whether the published levels are
> appropriate to provide an adequate and reliable warning for pedestrians,
> particularly those who are blind.
>      With traditional internal combustion engines most of the sound
> generated by a slow-moving vehicle comes from the engine itself. At some
> point, no matter how a vehicle is powered, the majority of the sound comes
> from wind and tire noise. This is defined in the act as the "crossover
> speed." With quiet cars the issue that had to be negotiated was when the
> artificial sound could be stopped, and the sound from the movement of the
> vehicle would be sufficient. The rule as it stands today says that the
> electronically generated sound must continue until a vehicle reaches thirty-
> two kilometers, or 19.88 miles, per hour. From the perspective of the NFB
> this is good news, a lower crossover speed would have been preferred by the
> car companies. What complicates arriving at any fixed number is the
> commendable attempt by the industry to reduce tire friction and wind
> resistance to increase how far a vehicle can travel with a specific amount
> of energy. When tire friction and wind resistance change, so too does the
> sound generated. Numbers that are used today may be irrelevant tomorrow, so
> again we may have to reevaluate these sound levels as we gain experience
> with new cars coming off the assembly line.
>      In negotiating what sounds a vehicle should make, blind people were
> committed to the idea that pitch shifting should be part of the car's sound
> emission. Pitch shifting is an easy way to detect acceleration and
> deceleration, and it is commonly heard with internal combustion engines.
> Although this provision was a part of the NPRM, it is not found in the law
> or the final regulation. Experience will again be required before we can
> say definitively whether the change in volume/amplitude will be sufficient
> to tell us what a vehicle is doing. If it is, the law can stand as is. If
> not, this may be something for which we press in future legislation.
>      The car companies have filed a petition for reconsideration to extend
> by one year the time by which they must fully comply with the law. Their
> argument is that the law envisioned a longer time in which to comply than
> does the regulation. If their petition is granted, it will be 2020 before
> full compliance is required. While we understand the need for protection
> and the frustration of having watched as six years have passed, and knowing
> that every day we extend that compliance date is one more day in which
> vehicles are manufactured which make blind and sighted pedestrians
> vulnerable to stealth vehicles, we must freely admit that the law did offer
> a three-year timeframe for compliance. We have to acknowledge that if we
> were on the other side and the regulations suggested a longer period for
> implementation than the law states, we might be the ones appealing for a
> change.
>      As complicated as all of this is, some points stand out clearly and
> require little explanation: we are the organization that brought this to
> the attention of the press, the industry, the public, and finally those who
> exercise the levers of power in the government. We have worked to turn a
> two-page law, which necessarily speaks in broad, guiding generalities, into
> a 375-page rule that seeks to be specific enough that manufacturers know
> precisely how to do what they must to make the streets safer for
> pedestrians. We have first sought to do this in the United States but are
> working to get standards that apply worldwide for pedestrians, no matter
> where they may live. No issue so clearly demonstrates our commitment to
> safe and independent travel, and no issue has tested our perseverance more
> than this one. At first we had no allies. The quiet car enthusiasts wanted
> less noise pollution, so they dismissed our concerns in favor of a quieter
> environment. The car companies started by denying there was a problem but
> eventually came to work with us. Bloggers asked why blind people would be
> so negligent as to attempt traveling by ourselves, and some even suggested
> that if we had no more common sense than this, it might be better for the
> intelligence of the world if we were no longer a part of it. But we know
> who we are, we will never go back, and we knew that with persistence,
> ongoing education, the goodwill of the public, and the dogged determination
> to see this through from start to finish, we would prevail. Keep following
> these pages for further details, but take some time to celebrate what it
> means to be a vital part of the National Federation of the Blind.
>                                 ----------
> [PHOTO/CAPTION: Michael Hingson]
>      Aira, the Next Technology Revolution in Devices for Blind People
>                             by Michael Hingson
>      From the Editor: Michael Hingson is a man who can boast of many
> accomplishments and who has made significant contributions in advancing the
> cause of blind people while keeping his Federation philosophy and active
> participation front and center. There aren't many blind people who are
> electrical engineers, but Michael is one. There aren't many people who are
> financial experts capable of making their living in the heart of New York's
> financial district, but Michael is one. There aren't many blind
> Californians who understand the techniques espoused by the National
> Federation of the Blind to lead active and independent lives and who are
> open to the positive changes that new technologies may bring, but Michael
> is one. Here is what he has to say about a new service being offered to the
> blind which harnesses the power of technology, joins it with the humanity
> of a highly-trained professional to relate what he or she sees, and merges
> these in meeting the infrequent but difficult challenges that blind people
> face when the blindness techniques we use aren't quite enough. Here is what
> he says about Aira [pronounced I-rah]:
>      It isn't often that any of us can be involved with the birth of a
> technology that will significantly change our lives. Helping in that birth
> is an even rarer occasion. I had such an opportunity in 1976 when our
> president at the time, Dr. Kenneth Jernigan, asked me to accept a job with
> the Federation to coordinate the day-to-day operation of a joint project
> between the National Federation of the Blind and Ray Kurzweil and his
> company, Kurzweil Computer Products Inc. to test and to bring the Kurzweil
> Reading Machine to market. Out of our joint project, blind people
> throughout the world gained access to a technology that brought the
> personal reading of print into our lives.
>      I never thought I would have a chance to help steer another great
> advance that offered as much potential for change as the Kurzweil Reading
> Machine. However, in early 2015 I received an email from Mr. Lawrence Bock
> asking me to join the technical advisory board of a start-up company, Aira
> Tech Corp. Through conversations with Mr. Bock and the company's founder,
> Suman Kanuganti, I learned that Aira had developed a system that could
> provide blind people always-on information anywhere at any time. Far-
> fetched? Perhaps, but as I delved into the company's operation and saw its
> product in action, I realized that indeed the claims of its founders could
> be true.
>      Here is how Aira works. The user puts on what is called a "wearable
> device," which in this case is a pair of glasses that contain a high
> definition digital camera, miniaturized sensors, and the ability to connect
> to the internet using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections. The system also uses
> an app which resides on an iPhone or Android smartphone.
>      When the user wishes to use Aira, he or she activates the app, which
> in turn establishes a Wi-Fi connection with the wearable device. Once this
> connection is established, the user can press a button within the app to
> contact an Aira agent. As soon as the agent comes online, they see images
> transmitted by the glasses. The agent also sees geographical information
> and information about the user's surroundings on their special software
> dashboard. The user has two-way voice contact with the agent through the
> smartphone and can request whatever information they require. The agent,
> through their dashboard, can access the internet, use the user's visual
> surroundings, and incorporate other tools to provide answers to the user's
> needs.
>      The information requested by users can be anything from asking for
> help with finding something in a store to requiring assistance while
> traveling through an airport to seeking assistance in assembling a product
> he or she has purchased. Literally agents can help with any task by
> providing visual descriptions and information wherever eyesight is needed
> to create access for blind people.
>      I became involved as an advisor with Aira because I saw the potential
> of the product and also to ensure that the technology, when brought to
> blind customers, would be provided in the most effective way possible. The
> most significant concern I had about Aira was how the agents presented
> information to customers. Given all my years in the NFB and from all my
> experiences with assistive technology, I know that good products and
> services work best when their feature sets consider what we who are blind
> want and need. Aira can either be a contributor to our independence and
> self-determination or it can be a barrier. If the agents, for example, are
> trained not only to provide information but to interpret that same
> information, then the product would be little more than the kind of service
> we presently get from untrained sighted people. For example, if I were
> using Aira to get information about a street intersection and the agent
> told me that it was now "safe to cross the street," then the agent would be
> drawing a conclusion that I should be making for myself based on my
> mobility skills. If, on the other hand, the agent said that the light had
> turned green and that they did not see any cars traveling across my path,
> then the agent would be giving me information I could use to determine on
> my own when to cross. This example is a simple one, but the point is that
> the agent should be charged only with providing information and leaving all
> decisions up to me, the user. One of my main tasks has been to help set the
> philosophical tone for how the agents operate. To date fifteen agents have
> joined the Aira staff. Its hours of operation are from 7 AM Eastern time to
> 7 PM Pacific time seven days a week. Over the course of this year Aira
> expects to offer 24/7 service.
>      Aira has had a visible presence at the National Federation of the
> Blind national convention for the past two years and will be in Orlando
> again this year signing up users and showing any interested attendee how
> the product works. Aira is also gaining visibility with other organizations
> and agencies. Recently, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Aira Tech
> Corp was chosen by PC Magazine as the best new startup company at the show.
>      The one drawback to Aira for many blind people is the same one that
> faced Ray Kurzweil in the 1970s, although not to the same degree. There is
> a cost to using Aira. At present, there are two pricing plans. Users can
> have unlimited access to Aira for a price of $199 per month. A lesser price
> of $129 per month will give users eight hours of access, and Aira
> anticipates a lower price plan in the next month. Aira is exploring ways to
> lessen the cost challenge by securing insurance coverage as well as looking
> for government agency subsidies for some of the Aira services. Aira is also
> working on rolling its free autonomous functionality through its artificial
> intelligence engine which is constantly learning. The National Federation
> of the Blind has partnered with Aira not only to help make the product the
> best it can be, but also to help find ways to make it available to all
> blind people.
>      Aira is only at the beginning of its existence. I am certain that
> over time the cost of the product will drop significantly. The cost aside,
> Aira offers any blind person the most full and complete access to whatever
> information he or she might need. I personally have used Aira to move
> through airports, malls, and shops. While on a speaking trip I used Aira to
> explore a three-story guest house provided to me by an event sponsor. An
> Aira agent assisted me in assembling a laundry cart I purchased and
> received in the mail. I assembled the cart independently, with assistance
> from Aira after I discovered that the instructions were only pictures with
> no text at all. I know of others who have used it to read the contents of
> computer screens and kiosks. At least one person has used Aira while
> bowling and when experiencing Disneyland, just to name a few; Aira's uses
> are only as limited as our imaginations.
>      You can learn more about Aira by visiting www.aira.io. On Aira's
> website is a link to a page you can visit to become an Aira Explorer and
> begin exploring the world around you in a way never available before. I
> truly believe Aira is the next revolution in technology that will help us
> further take our place as blind first-class citizens. I also believe that
> Aira will grow to provide services outside the specific needs of blind
> people, but Aira's core purpose and philosophy will always start with the
> needs of the blind.
>                                 ----------
>                      What Do We Really Think of Sight?
>                                by Eric Duffy
>      From the Editor: Eric Duffy currently works for the New Jersey
> Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired as a technological support
> specialist. He is a former affiliate president, having recently served as
> the president of the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio.
>      Many of us have come from backgrounds in which we were more dependent
> on vision than we now consider comfortable or necessary. We value the
> alternative techniques that give us independence, still realizing that from
> time to time we need the help of people with sight or, as is becoming more
> and more possible, the use of visually aware devices to help us. For some
> people this creates an internal conflict-how dependent must I be on vision?
> When am I using vision when I could rely on the nonvisual techniques I've
> worked so hard to master and to offer to other blind people as a way to
> become independent.
>      In this article, Eric Duffy discusses the extreme emphasis that was
> placed on sight by the family who loves him, his own journey to learn and
> use nonvisual techniques, and his awareness that in a balanced life there
> must be a merging of alternative techniques and visual ones to live the
> life he wants. Here is what he says:
>      At times in our lives many of us have had to consider how much we
> value sight. Sometimes we ask ourselves this question because of an
> experience we have had, and sometimes we ask because of a development in
> the medical or technology fields. Most recently I have found myself
> pondering this question because of a visual interpreting service offered by
> Aira.
>      Through a special pair of glasses or the camera on a smartphone, one
> can connect to a live agent who is looking at a computer screen and who can
> see exactly what the camera on the glasses or phone can see. During an Aira
> session the agent also has access to GPS on the user's phone, Google maps,
> and more.
>      Shortly before sitting down to work on this article, I went to a
> store that I had not been to before. I bought some storage bowls for my
> home and a coffeemaker for my son. That was the first time I have gone to a
> store and shopped without the assistance of a family member, friend, or
> store employee. How did I do it? I did it with the help of an Aira agent of
> course.
>      I first heard about Aira at the 2016 National Convention of the
> National Federation of the Blind, where I saw a demonstration of the
> service. At that point I asked myself what I would be saying about me and
> blindness in general if I began using such a service. How would using it
> fit into my own beliefs about blindness and my understanding of the
> philosophy of the National Federation of the Blind, which are very much one
> and the same? These two questions and the questions of several of my
> friends forced me to examine closely my attitudes about blindness.
>      So I asked myself how much I value sight. In large part the answer
> defines how I feel about blindness. I was one of eight children and the
> only one with a disability. I had very limited functional vision as a
> child. I did what I could to learn colors and to identify as many things as
> I could using that vision.
>      When I accurately identified colors, my parents were happy because I
> could see. When I misidentified colors or objects, I could hear the
> disappointment in their voices. They weren't disappointed with me; they
> were disappointed because I couldn't see. That told me how much they valued
> sight. I went to an endless series of specialists in Philadelphia,
> Baltimore, New York City, New Orleans, and too many cities to remember in
> Ohio, which is where I grew up. Although my mom didn't like to drive in big
> cities, she would do it if she had to in order to get me to an eye doctor.
> That told me how much she wanted me to see. Sight was quite valuable to
> her.
>      As a child I loved McDonald's. If I got close enough, I could see the
> McDonald's Golden Arches. One night as we were traveling in the car, my
> little sister asked if we could stop at McDonald's. My parents said they
> might stop at the next one they saw. My sister was quick to point out the
> next one that she saw, but my dad did not stop. I told my sister just to
> elbow me gently the next time she saw a McDonald's sign, and she happily
> agreed. When she not-so-gently elbowed me, I excitedly said, "There, I see
> it. I see McDonald's!" We stopped at that McDonald's.
>      On more than one occasion as a child, I found my mother crying. She
> told me that she was sad because I couldn't see. She said that she often
> prayed and asked God to let me see even if she had to sacrifice her sight
> so that I might see. I learned how steep a price she would pay in order for
> me to see.
>      In junior high school I lost the little bit of vision I had. A doctor
> told my parents and me that he could remove a cataract and perform a cornea
> transplant and that I would get some vision back if he did so. My mom
> thought that the eyes were too close to the brain to take such a risk, so I
> learned that she feared my losing my life or something else happening to me
> and that her desire to keep me safe was greater than my having sight.
>      What did I think? I wanted to have the surgery. I knew what my
> parents thought about blindness. I knew that even at the Ohio State School
> for the Blind those who had some vision were expected to do things and
> allowed to do things that the totally blind students were not. I knew how
> valuable sight was.
>      How does all of this relate to Aira? When walking into a crowded
> room, most blind people I know don't think twice about taking directions
> from someone with sight when looking for an empty seat. Getting assistance
> from someone with sight is the only practical way to do shopping. How many
> of us take the elbow of a sighted person (or for that matter even a blind
> person with usable vision) when walking through a noisy and crowded room?
> How many of us are willing to accept sighted assistance when going through
> a buffet line? Most of us need sighted assistance when at a restaurant that
> does not offer Braille menus. Many of us have at one time or another paid
> readers.
>      Many of us use apps on our smartphones to identify currency. There is
> an app that will let us know if the lights in a room are on or off. Working
> with our friend and colleague Ray Kurzweil, the National Federation of the
> Blind has developed an app that enables us to read the printed word, the
> KNFB Reader. To do these things we rely on the cameras on our phones and
> artificial intelligence. In short, we rely on artificial vision. Yet none
> of us question whether or not we should use these apps, and I think that is
> the way it should be.
>      Recently I called Aira and asked them to perform a relatively simple
> task on the internet for me. A friend asked me why someone with my
> technology skills would use Aira to do something that simple. My answer was
> immediate: "Because I could." I said we both know that we have the skills
> and confidence to walk to some of the places to which we wish to travel,
> but we also have the ability to use buses and trains. We could ask someone
> to drive us. We could in fact hire someone to drive us in a taxi. In fact
> we usually find it more convenient and less expensive to use one of those
> new-fangled ride-sharing services such as Lyft and Uber. All of these
> solutions insert sighted people and technology between us and walking to
> our destination.
>      After completing my shopping trip today, I told my son and Claire,
> the Aira agent, how happy I was to do my shopping without assistance from
> those around me. However, after discovering that I had left my iPhone in
> the Uber vehicle, I was delighted to have my sighted son go and retrieve it
> for me. I could have done it, but it was more convenient and less expensive
> for him to do it.
>      Aira provides sight assistance only when you request it. It is
> available when you need it, and there is no waiting until later when it is
> more convenient for someone to provide the visual information you have
> requested. Aira has not made me more dependent on sight; rather, it has
> changed the way I do some things. As far as I am concerned, this is a
> change for the better.
>                                 ----------
>                           There's a List for That
>                              by David Andrews
>      From the Editor: David Andrews occupies one of the most active roles
> in our organization but with little visibility to members who are not a
> part of a Federation list. He has the unenviable task of reading almost
> every message that goes across our lists, and he does what he can to keep
> messages on topic and to deal with the most egregious of them when someone
> unfamiliar with or hostile to our mission tries to cause problems for list
> members. Our lists are a tremendous resource, and so too is our friend,
> colleague, and Federationist David Andrews. Here is what he says:
>      Those of you who have read the Braille Monitor for a while will
> remember that in the 1990s and early 2000s we used to publish articles
> talking about new lists on nfbnet.org. However, with the growth of
> technology and its use, the proliferation of our lists, and the increased
> use of social media, this is no longer feasible. Consequently, we are going
> to publish short monthly columns that talk about mailing lists in one area.
> That area can be geographic, such as a state, or it can be a topic, such as
> technology or blind kids. We will alternate between geographic and topical
> presentations.
>      As you may know, the site http://www.nfbnet.org offers hundreds of
> lists that discuss specific topics. These vehicles are often called
> listservs or listserves, make your choice. Technically, Listserv is a
> software package, not a list, like Kleenex is a brand, not a generic term
> for facial tissue. Personally, I prefer to call them "internet mailing
> lists."
>      A list is something you subscribe to or join. It has a specific
> purpose and can be public or private, announce-only or open for discussion.
> Once you subscribe, your email address is on the list, along with that of
> everyone else who has joined. If it is an open list, anything you or anyone
> else who is subscribed writes is sent to all the other members. And if you
> reply to a message, it automatically goes to everyone else who is
> subscribed to the list. If it is an announce-only list, the number of
> people authorized to post is limited, and the list is only used for
> announcements, not discussions or questions. Overall, internet mailing
> lists are an easy, efficient, and quick way to get information out to
> thousands of Federationists and others in the blind community. It is a good
> way for local chapters, state affiliates, committees, divisions, and others
> to communicate and hold discussions. Who doesn't have email?
>      An alphabetical list of all our public internet mailing lists can be
> found at http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/. There are approximately
> 240 lists on the page, so finding something can be a little overwhelming-
> hence this monthly column. As you can see from the webpage, each list has a
> list name and a short description. The list name is also a link and takes
> you to an info page from which you can subscribe. You can go directly to a
> list's info page with the URL
> http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/listname_nfbnet.org, where
> "listname" is the aforementioned list name. You can also go directly to a
> list's archive with the URL
> http://www.nfbnet.org/pipermail/listname_nfbnet.org. Finally, you can
> subscribe directly to a list using email by sending an email to listname-
> request at nfbnet.org and put the word "subscribe" in the subject line by
> itself.
>      The NFBNet.org server also contains three lists to which you cannot
> subscribe, but you are probably receiving an occasional email from them.
> They are NFBNET-Members-List, NFBNET-Master-List, and NFBNET-Students-list.
> These lists are generated dynamically as needed. Their membership is
> automatically taken from the other lists on NFBNET.org. The Members List is
> composed of those lists concerned with the NFB and its business. The Master
> List is composed of everybody on all lists on the server-there are a few
> non-NFB lists that others may be on-generally dedicated to a specific
> topic, and the Students List is composed of people from all our student-
> related lists. We used to send important messages to all the lists that
> might be interested. This was time consuming for me and resulted in a
> person getting multiple copies of a message if she was subscribed to
> multiple lists, as many people are. This way you just get one message. You
> can ask to be excluded from these lists; however, they are the best way to
> keep up with what is happening in the Federation and with breaking events.
> We sometimes need to contact legislators on short notice, and other things
> frequently need immediate attention, and this is the best way to inform
> thousands of Federationists easily and quickly.
>      The NFBNET server also supports approximately forty-five websites for
> state affiliates, local chapters, and divisions of the NFB. There are also
> approximately eighty private lists that support various affiliates,
> chapters, divisions, and projects run by the Federation. These are private
> spaces where people can openly discuss things only of interest to them.
> Membership on these private lists is by invitation only, and their archives
> are not public.
>      Next month we will get started by telling you about the lists for the
> state of Maryland. Our lists are valuable resources, and the more we know
> about them the better able we are to make full use of them.
>                                 ----------
> [PHOTO CAPTION: Marc Maurer at the 2008 National Convention]
>                           The Urgency of Optimism
>                           An Address Delivered by
>                                 Marc Maurer
>                at the Banquet of the 2008 Annual Convention
>                   of the National Federation of the Blind
>      Much has been written about the balance between optimism and
> pessimism-as if these two approaches to living were opposite, mutually
> exclusive but equally viable methods of thought.
>      McLandburgh Wilson said:
>           Twixt the optimist and the pessimist
>           The difference is droll:
>           The optimist sees the doughnut
>           But the pessimist sees the hole.
>      Frederick Langbridge said,
>           "Two men look out the same prison bars:
>           One sees mud and the other stars."
>      However, some imaginative thinkers have suggested that optimism is
> not simply a way of looking at a set of circumstances, but a positive
> element of power.
>      William James said, "Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power."
>      Nicholas Murray Butler said, "Optimism is essential to achievement,
> and it is also the foundation of courage and true progress."
>      Colin Powell said, "Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier."
>      For optimism to be an element in the acquisition of power, it must be
> more than a cheerful cast of countenance. Rather it must consist in a
> commitment to bringing into being a future containing elements of
> possibility that have not been a part of the past. Optimism and reality may
> (properly understood) be inseparable. If reality signifies all that has
> currently been created, this measure of existence is frozen in time. If, on
> the other hand, reality denotes both that which has been built and that
> which can be brought into being, the potential for growth encompasses a
> much more magnificent formulation of life than would otherwise be
> comprehensible. In other words, the grandest understanding of reality
> incorporates the optimistic anticipation of innovative thought, and it also
> implies commitment and effort.
>      Anaïs Nin said, "Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the
> actions stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the
> highest form of living."
>      Douglas Everett said, "There are some people who live in a dream
> world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who
> turn one into the other."
>      Although a goodly number of Americans have been pessimistic (Henry
> David Thoreau said, "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the
> grave with the song still in them."), ours is an optimistic nation. We have
> traditionally held the view that we could conquer the frontier, govern our
> futures, or invent the tools for our own success. There is even an American
> expression for this faith-Yankee ingenuity.
>      Just as individuals have a life cycle, the theorists tell us that
> organizations do. They are established; they grow; they mature; they
> prosper for a time; and they cease to exist. At least a part of the reason
> for the continued existence of an organization depends on its optimism.
> Every organization must possess a purpose and the faith that the purpose
> can be achieved. When that faith dissipates, the organization dwindles,
> becomes dormant, and ceases to be.
>      As we have observed in the National Federation of the Blind,
> leadership is one vital element of progress. As an organization must have
> faith in its future, the leaders of the organization must be optimistic.
> Pessimism signifies atrophy. Operating the same old program in the same old
> way will not encourage growth. Optimism and an openness to imagination must
> be a part of the leadership. Every organization is faced with the same
> imperative: build or wither, grow or die. The openness to imaginative
> thought and the faith to believe that better, more effective programs can
> be created are part of the spirit of the National Federation of the Blind.
>      Reflections on optimism and discussions about blindness are rarely
> found in the same place. People who write or speak about blindness often
> grieve, sometimes weep, and frequently employ the most dismal descriptive
> words to signify the potential for blind people. It is extraordinarily rare
> for somebody to write or think, "Oh good, a whole bunch of blind people!"
> In fact, a convention of blind people is, in the minds of many, an anomaly-
> almost a contradiction in terms. At conventions people are supposed to have
> fun. But, if most of the people at the convention are blind, how ineffably
> dismal could this be? Adding one miserable life to another in thousands of
> iterations simply magnifies the horror of it all. Blind people who are
> optimistic about their future-they must be deluded or liars. How could any
> substantial group of people wake every day facing the disadvantages that
> blindness brings and at the same time maintain optimism in their hearts? Is
> there any group so naïve as to take this position?
>      Well, one group of this character does exist. We have created it. It
> is the most powerful force ever established in the field of work with the
> blind in the United States, and it has a purpose that will not be abridged
> or thwarted or denied. That purpose is hard to achieve but simple to
> proclaim-it is that the blind will have recognition, that we will be known
> for the vital human beings we are with all of the talent, the energy, and
> the joy that we possess-that equality must and will be ours. The
> organization we have created, the organization that carries this banner,
> the organization with the optimistic drive to change our lives for all time
> is the National Federation of the Blind.
>      Some people depict the blind as unemployed, isolated, frequently
> uneducated, and beset with characteristics denoting inability. The
> assertion that this summation is reality is made by some of those dealing
> with programming for the blind. A senior official of the Department of
> Education responsible for rehabilitation of the blind said within the last
> few years that the 70 percent unemployment rate for blind people has
> remained unchanged for decades.
>      Why, I wondered, has this figure remained so high? Do blind people
> not want to work? Are blind people lazy, lackadaisical loafers who are
> turning down good jobs so that they can continue to receive government
> benefits, or has the system failed? Are rehabilitation programs unequal to
> the challenge? Are the programs conducted by the Department of Education
> unproductive? Is the 70 percent unemployment rate for blind people an
> indication of a lack of leadership?
>      "Not on your life," said this high official in the Department of
> Education. "This rate of unemployment is an indicator that blind people
> cannot achieve success unless they are among the most talented 30 percent
> of the blind in society. Continuing to spend money on programming for the
> blind," he said, "is a waste of state and federal resources."
> Rehabilitation for blind clients costs more than rehabilitation for those
> with other disabilities. Therefore specialized programs for the blind
> should be eliminated because they cost too much. Never mind that these
> programs produce positive results, create tax savings by limiting the
> number of people receiving federal and state support, and bring trained and
> talented blind people into the workforce. They should be eliminated because
> they cost too much, he told me. This federal official in the Department of
> Education gave up on 70 percent of the clients assigned to the programs he
> is expected to supervise. He thinks that handing out government benefit
> checks to blind people is better than training them to work for their own
> lives. With such an attitude, with such a failure of optimism, with such a
> lack of faith in the clients the Department of Education is expected to
> serve, it is not the least bit surprising that the programs of this
> department are failing.
>      Sometimes it appears that certain officials of the Department of
> Education are seeking to punish the blind for demanding equality. Sometimes
> it appears that these officials are saying, "You can demand equality if you
> want to, but if you do, we will cut funds from your programs. If you do as
> we say-if you behave as we require-if you are docile, subservient, properly
> grateful blind people-we will grant you a modicum of support. However, if
> you want to be pushy, obnoxious, and uppity; if you want to be demanding
> and insistent, you will be sorry."
>      Fortunately, though the Department of Education is responsible for
> making policies regarding programs it conducts, it has no power to make
> policy for the blind. We of the National Federation of the Blind determine
> our own policy and create our own destiny. Those who serve in government
> are responsible to the people who put them there, not the other way around.
> The blind of the nation have a right, perhaps even a duty, to examine the
> performance of the officials who are selected to conduct the programs to
> serve us. Those public officials are responsible to us to demonstrate that
> they have served well enough to continue to remain in office, and we demand
> an accounting.
>      At the time of the founding of the National Federation of the Blind
> in 1940, almost no blind people in America were employed. By the late 1950s
> estimates were that 3 or 4 percent of the blind of the nation had jobs. By
> the mid-1970s this estimate had increased to 30 percent. In certain
> programs the number of blind people who receive employment after training
> is above 80 percent, and some approach 90 percent. What makes these
> programs successful? They listen to the blind; they are responsive to the
> needs and wishes of blind people; they learn from the organized blind
> movement; they form partnerships with the most powerful entity dealing with
> blindness in the nation. Do officials in the Department of Education know
> these facts? Do they care? Have they studied the factors that are part of
> the success for the most productive programs?
>      Those who believe that inability or isolation or dismal despair
> describe our lives do not know us and cannot speak for us. We are the
> blind, and we will make our own way and live our own lives. We will do it
> with the support and encouragement of those who understand the reality we
> face. We will welcome partners from government or private programs for the
> blind who have the faith to believe in us. We will conduct our activities
> with the fundamental faith that blindness cannot inhibit our progress and
> with the optimism to know that we can face whatever obstacle may come. But
> above all else we will build our own future, and nothing on earth can stop
> us!
>      One of the elements necessary to the public acceptance of the blind
> as equals in society is a correct understanding of what blind people are.
> How are the blind perceived almost a decade into the twenty-first century?
>      A report circulated by Fox News in May of this year describes an
> incident in which a blind man was refused the opportunity to ride on a
> roller coaster because of blindness. The report says that the blind man had
> already ridden the roller coaster three times that day. When the owner of
> the amusement park discovered that the blind man was seeking a fourth ride,
> management refused. Management personnel said that safety requires a person
> to assume certain positions during a roller coaster ride. These positions
> can be anticipated only by those who can see well enough during the course
> of the ride that they can anticipate the twists and drop-offs before they
> happen. Furthermore, if the roller coaster were to malfunction, management
> said, a blind person could not easily escape from the contraption without
> danger.
>      The denial of the opportunity to participate in the experience of
> riding a roller coaster is an example of the idiocy that blind people often
> face. The blind man in question had already ridden the roller coaster three
> times without incident or injury. The owner of the amusement park ignored
> the evidence. He had already decided that blind people were not welcome.
> Evidence was irrelevant.
>      Of course evidence is not required from the sighted. If sighted
> people need not provide any evidence of their capacity to ride, blind
> people should not be expected to provide it either. Nevertheless, the
> evidence was there. Consequently, this is a case in which double
> discrimination has taken place. I am pleased to say that we in the National
> Federation of the Blind assisted in giving this case the publicity it
> deserved, and the amusement park owner has changed his mind. The blind are
> welcome to ride.
>      In 1997 the Portuguese Nobel Prize winning author José Saramago
> released the English version of his novel, entitled Blindness. The premise
> in this book is that the members of society become blind unexpectedly,
> totally, irreparably, and instantly. The description of society as an
> increasing number of its members become blind is one of filth, greed,
> perversion, and vice. Blind people are depicted as unbelievably incapable
> of everything, including finding the way to the bathroom or the shower.
> Saramago wants a world view that serves to offer an allegory for the worst
> description he can possibly imagine. He selects blindness as his metaphor
> for all that is bad in human thought and action. He describes the blind as
> having every negative trait of humanity and none of the positive ones. He
> argues that this is an allegory for a picture of the reality of the world
> today. The book was used as the basis for a movie of the same name, which
> has been shown at the Cannes film festival this spring. The only positive
> element to the release of this film is the almost universal reaction of the
> critics that it is a failure.
>      The depiction of the blind in this movie is fundamentally flawed for
> two reasons. First, blindness does not denote the characteristics the
> author attributes to it. The capabilities of those who become blind remain
> essentially the same after they lose vision as they were before they lost
> it. Although the loss of any major asset (including vision) will bring a
> measure of sadness to some and despair to a few, it will also stimulate
> others to assert their will. Blindness can be a devastating loss, but it
> also has the power to galvanize some to action. The reaction to blindness
> is not the least bit one-dimensional. Therefore the description is false.
>      In addition to this, the viciousness attributed to the blind is
> inconsistent with the assertion of incapacity. Viciousness demands both
> venality and ability-at least organized viciousness does. To say that the
> blind are completely incompetent and to assert that they have the ability
> to organize for the pursuit of vice is a contradiction in terms.
>      But leave the internal inconsistency. The charge that loss of vision
> creates a personality alteration of sordid and criminal character is in
> itself sordid and defamatory to an entire class of human beings. To give a
> man who writes such foolishness the Nobel Prize for Literature belittles
> what has often been regarded as a prestigious award. For as long as I can
> remember, certain comedians have thought it good sport to make fun of the
> blind, and as pernicious as this may be, most authors have not sought to
> make us objects of fear and revulsion.
>      The description in Blindness is wrong-completely, unutterably,
> irretrievably, immeasurably wrong. That such falsity should be regarded as
> good literature is revolting and amazing. We know the reality of blindness,
> we know the pain it can bring, we know the joy that can come from
> correcting the misinformation about it, and we are prepared to act on our
> own behalf. We will not let José Saramago represent us, for he does not
> speak the truth. He does not write of joy or the optimism of building a
> society worth calling our own. We do, and we will.
>      On November 13, 2007, an article appeared in USA Today entitled,
> "Blinded by War: Injuries Send Troops into Darkness," which describes the
> incidence of eye injuries to military personnel facing enemy combatants in
> Iraq and Afghanistan. This article indicates that current conditions for
> combat cause a higher proportion of injuries to the eye than in previous
> conflicts. Though the article is quite sympathetic to the troops who are
> blinded, it contains a reiteration of many of the myths and stereotypes
> that have inhibited progress for the blind during the course of recorded
> history. Brief portrayals of the lives of three soldiers are part of this
> writing.
>      Here are excerpts from the article: "About 70 percent of all sensory
> perception is through vision, says R. Cameron VanRoekel, an army major and
> staff optometrist at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. As a
> result the families of visually impaired soldiers wrestle with a
> contradiction: The wounded often have hard-driving personalities that have
> helped them succeed in the military. Now dependent on others, they find it
> difficult to accept help."
>      I interrupt to say that though the army major may not know it, blind
> people do not necessarily lead lives of dependency, some blind people have
> hard-driving personalities, and the old story about visual perception being
> the primary method of learning is a myth of long standing but little
> credence. However, there are other pieces to the article.
>      "Even now, more than a year after her husband's return from Iraq,"
> [the article continues] "Connie Acosta is taken aback to find her home dark
> after sunset, the lights off as if no one is there. Then she finds him-
> sitting in their Santa Fe Springs, California, house, listening to classic
> rock. Sgt. Maj. Jesse Acosta was blinded in a mortar attack twenty-two
> months ago. He doesn't need the lights. That realization often makes Connie
> cry. 'You kind of never get used to the fact that he really can't see,' she
> says. 'He has no light in his life at all.'"
>      Again I interrupt. If the article is merely reporting that this
> soldier is blind, I would have no argument with the fact. However, more is
> implied than the fact of blindness. The meaning is much broader and much
> more devastating. The spiritual, the poetic, the inspirational, the
> romantic aspects of life are no more for this combat victim, implies USA
> Today. Of course USA Today is only a newspaper. Its reporters have no
> extensive experience with blindness, and its editors have not studied in
> this realm or learned what reality is for the blind. Personnel at the
> newspaper have lived with the myth of deprivation, and this is what they
> report. They cannot comprehend that something else might be at least as
> important.
>      Is it really fair to say for those of us who are blind that we "have
> no light in our lives at all" with all of the unspoken implications
> contained in this phrase? Is sight essential for poetry? Can there be no
> inspiration without the visual sense? Is romance a thing of the past? Is
> the song of the spirit only a faint echo in the lives of blind people when
> compared with that robust clamor which thrills the inner being of the
> sighted? When blindness comes, does it invariably signify meaningless
> emptiness? This is what the article would have us believe. Consider what
> the reporter says. "Nothing in the house can be moved [the article
> continues]; he's memorized the location of every chair and table."
>      The final segment of the article poignantly sums up the grief. This
> is what it says: "The only good news for now is when he sleeps, Castro
> says. 'I've had dreams where I know I'm blind and, guess what? I've
> regained my vision,' he says. Reality floods back each morning. 'There's
> not a night that I don't pray and ask God, when I wake up, that I wake up
> seeing.'"
>      This is the report from USA Today about the prospects for blinded
> veterans. The only good news is the dream of waking up seeing; everything
> else is bad. To imagine a life consisting in its primary elements of
> waiting from the time of each waking moment for the next hour when sleep
> can be coaxed to disguise the reality of daily existence with a dream world
> is to accept despair. What we say to this soldier, to USA Today, and to all
> human beings who have become blind is: "Don't you believe it!" Your
> reporter has missed the good news. Blindness is indeed a loss, but it is
> the loss of sight only, not the loss of the ability to live. Nobody can
> give us hope unasked, and nobody can create for us the kind of spirit that
> will give meaning to what we do or who we are. However, the hope is
> abundantly available for those who seek it; the joy is part of the world we
> can build; and the future is as bright with promise as any imagination that
> exists or has ever existed. This is what our experience has demonstrated;
> this is what we know; and this is the story that should have been reported.
>      Incidentally, I get a little tired of the argument that 70 percent or
> 80 percent or 83 percent or 90 percent of all information comes through the
> eye. The implication is always that, although blind people have some
> information, we have only 30 percent or 20 percent or 17 percent or 10
> percent of that which all other people have. This is false, and I find
> myself annoyed with the necessity of responding to this idiotic notion
> repeatedly.
>      I am told that the beginning of this argument came from an
> advertisement in 1923 put together by Thomas Edison. He was trying to sell
> film projectors to school systems. In an effort to sell his projectors, he
> said that "83 percent of all knowledge comes through the eye." I wish he
> had found a better way to sell projectors. Though I presume sighted people
> might learn 70 percent of all they know by using their eyes, I also
> recognize that this is not the only way to learn. All of us learn through
> such senses as we have, and we learn through using such mental capacity as
> we possess. Sense impression is necessary for learning, but it is only one
> element in the process. Identifying and manipulating information involves
> pattern recognition. Sometimes visual observation helps in recognizing
> patterns, but other ways to recognize them also exist, and imagination is
> at least as valuable.
>      Even though I have been thinking seriously about the subject of
> blindness for almost forty years, I am still amazed by some of the things
> that people believe about blindness. When I read articles like this one, I
> think to myself, "Did you say that, did you really say that, how could you
> say such things about the blind?" Can you really think that our lives are
> meaningless, or empty, or without romance or poetry or passion? Have you
> observed any of us for more than a moment? Do you know the struggle that we
> face to gain recognition for our talent? Have you heard the ripple of our
> laughter or the cadence of the song we sing? If you believe that romance
> and passion are possible only through the eye, your experience lacks
> perspective and imagination. Love, joy, a fascination with the arts and
> sciences, exploration of the unknown, and the unquenchable determination to
> build a better life for ourselves and for others-these we claim as
> belonging to us, belonging to the human spirit which is ours. In your
> reporting you have not included these factors as a part of our lives, but
> we know that we possess capacity, and we will not let you forget it.
>      To give perspective to the thought of blind people and romance,
> consider the testimony of a Federation member who, as a college project,
> decided to find out how blind people fall in love. Here is a portion of the
> notice that this student distributed to a number of blind people in the
> Northeast:
>            This year I am a senior, and I will be working on an honors
>      thesis investigating the attraction and courtship process for
>      individuals without sight. The purpose of this project is to explore
>      ways in which blind individuals use senses other than sight in
>      choosing partners and in maintaining intimate relationships.
>            It is argued that sight is the most important factor in how
>      people fall in love. What about those of us who lack the benefit of
>      eye contact and visual cues? I want to explore the roles of other
>      senses in the process of falling in love. This question is of great
>      personal interest to me because I was able to experience 'love at
>      first sight' when I met my future husband, despite the fact that I
>      could not rely on my sense of sight. I am very interested in
>      investigating the variety of ways that visually impaired individuals
>      fall in love.
>      These are statements from the notice created by the student. She
> takes for granted that blind people have romantic interest, and she seeks
> less to know whether it exists than how it operates. I suspect that the
> research has already been concluded. However, if more evidence is required,
> I will let you know.
>      The National Federation of the Blind receives unsolicited proposals
> to support, endorse, or help to promote individuals, books, films, or
> projects about blindness on a very regular basis. Some of these make sense
> and get our support, but others have no redeeming social importance.
>      A few months ago we received a proposal that the National Federation
> of the Blind become a promoter of a project known as "Charlesville," a
> housing community to be built in Georgia adapted to the specialized needs
> of the blind. The slogan of Charlesville, which gives an idea about the
> project, is: "A Community Where the Blind Can Really See." The promoters
> plan to construct 164 homes for the blind in a housing development along
> with a theater, places for other small businesses, a supermarket,
> playgrounds, and a "work facility." The proposal, laid out in a substantial
> notebook, contains statements such as, "Homes...will have Voice
> instructions to assist the Blind in being able to see in their homes, as
> well as in their outside yards," and "The streets will be designed to have
> Voice controls to assist the Blind in seeing where their neighbors live,
> their playgrounds are, as well as their work facility." One other statement
> in the notebook is, "Our firm has been given the 'Vision of Creating Home
> Ownership, and Employment' in Charlesville where the Blind can see
> themselves become normal independent citizens of our great country."
>      Such are statements from the planners of Charlesville. And you
> thought you were normal; you thought you were independent-not unless you
> live in Charlesville. Move to Charlesville or you're not even a citizen of
> this great country of ours, according to the movers and shakers of
> Charlesville.
>      I spoke with the people who sent this proposal to the Federation.
> They told me that they understood the problems of blindness; they
> sympathized with the plight of blind people; and they wanted to construct a
> living community in which the blind could have an experience of home as
> close as possible to that which is experienced by the sighted. With this in
> mind they imagined that specialized technology would be installed which
> would explain to the blind the interiors of their houses. Other technology
> would explain what was in the neighborhood. The explanations would include
> audible descriptions of where each neighbor lived and where each
> nonresidential building could be located. Special blind-friendly technology
> to control the streets would be one of the features of the community,
> though what this technology would do had not yet been completely planned.
>      The mind boggles at what might be incorporated in the audible
> descriptions of the neighbors. It is tempting to try to offer certain
> imaginative examples, but those that you have already constructed are no
> doubt equally good. I confess that I found myself intrigued by the notion
> that the streets themselves could be controlled. What would a human being
> want the streets to do? Although I did not express these thoughts to those
> visiting the National Federation of the Blind, I wondered if they meant
> that control gates would be installed at street crossings similar to those
> used for railroad crossings. When a blind person planned to cross the
> street, the press of a button could bring down the control arms, halting
> traffic and providing a tactile railing or fence for the blind person to
> follow from one side of the street to the other. Indeed, the concept of
> controlling the streets tickled my fancy. I wondered if I should suggest to
> these planners that they build their community so that a blind person
> stepping out for a walk could instruct the streets to go downhill. Maybe
> the new slogan for Charlesville could be, "The Community for the Blind:
> Where All the Streets Go Downhill."
>      Those creating the community thought that having sighted people to
> assist the blind with their medications might be useful as well as having
> individuals dedicated to leading the blind from place to place. The
> planners wanted to know if I had any suggestions for other specialized
> technologies or services, and they asked for a grant of more than a million
> dollars.
>      I doubt that it will come as a surprise that I decided not to get the
> checkbook. I was polite, but I wondered if the people making the proposal
> had read any of the Federation's literature. We do not recommend that the
> blind be segregated from society. We do not believe that specialized homes
> are required for the benefit of the blind. We do not recommend that
> communities be built to isolate the blind even with voice-controlled
> streets, whatever this might mean.
>      The concept of a segregated community is not merely offensive but
> also dangerously socially irresponsible. Some years ago in Japan, Dr.
> Kenneth Jernigan, who was totally blind, and Mrs. Mary Ellen Jernigan were
> walking along the sidewalk. A bicyclist almost struck Dr. Jernigan. In the
> brief heated discussion that followed the near-accident, the bicyclist said
> that a portion of the sidewalk had been set aside with tactilely raised
> identifying marks for the blind. This is where the blind should be, the
> cyclist said. Implied in the statement is the further thought that blind
> people should not be permitted outside the specialized areas designated for
> the blind.
>      Some people have advocated for a special college for the blind. The
> argument is that the needs of blind students are sufficiently different
> from those of other students that a college designed to serve the blind
> would be a significant advantage. Books could be provided in Braille or in
> recorded form. Blind people could have assurance that the lectures, the
> handouts, and the laboratories would be designed to ensure accessibility in
> nonvisual ways. However, we in the National Federation of the Blind have
> never endorsed such a concept; we have actively opposed it. No matter how
> useful it would be to have Braille books and tactilely labeled laboratory
> equipment, a college for the blind would segregate and isolate the blind
> from society rather than integrate us into it. We want to be a part of the
> society in which we live. We want to attend the colleges and universities
> of our own choice. We want our intellectual capacity to be recognized for
> the value that it has. We want all colleges to understand the necessity of
> making their educational curricula accessible to us and useable by us. We
> will fight for our right to be included in all aspects of community life.
> We oppose segregation for the blind, we oppose all schemes that would
> isolate us from the communities in which we live, and we promote full
> integration of the blind into society on the basis of equality. We demand
> equality of opportunity for all blind people, and we will settle for
> nothing less.
>      Sometimes people ask me how I approach blindness. It is as much a
> part of me as dozens or hundreds of other characteristics. I don't forget
> it, but I don't concentrate on it either, most of the time. Other people
> often magnify this one characteristic out of all proportion to what seems
> reasonable to me.
>      In the early 1980s I was conducting a law practice in Baltimore,
> Maryland. Each business day I traveled to my office, very often by bus, and
> each evening I returned home, using the same method of transportation. One
> summer evening I was standing at a bus stop in downtown Baltimore. I was
> dressed in a suit, which is my customary work attire. I had a briefcase
> with me, which is almost always a companion of my travels. I was also
> carrying a can of coffee. I had run out of coffee at home, and I needed
> this can, which, fortunately, I had on hand at the office. The evening was
> warm, and the bus was late. Because I had remained in my office to complete
> some work, the rush hour had already passed, and I was feeling weary. The
> breeze came off the hot asphalt and did little to dissipate the warmth. I
> was the only one at the bus stop, which suited me because I could review
> the events of the day without having to worry about fellow bus passengers
> or other distractions. A person came up to me and peered at me from one
> side. Then the person walked around to my other side and peered again. I
> was standing next to the pole that had the bus stop sign on it. My
> briefcase was sitting on the ground next to my left leg, I was leaning on
> my cane, and I had the can of coffee in my hand. After I had been examined
> from both sides, a man's voice said to me, "Where's the slot?"
>      "What?" I asked.
>      To which my companion responded, "Where do you put the money?"
>      Although I was startled by these questions, I realized suddenly that
> he wanted to put some change into the canister I was holding. He thought I
> was begging. What else would a respectably dressed blind man with a
> briefcase and a coffee can be doing?
>      "This is my coffee," I said, and my companion left.
>      Sometimes we let others make us believe that blindness matters more
> to us than reality would suggest. Sometimes we let fear of the unknown
> control us, and we attribute the fear to blindness.
>      One of the presentations that I have made as president of the
> National Federation of the Blind deals with the topic of getting lost. I
> have been lost many times, and I expect to be lost many more. In my younger
> days I thought that being lost was bad. However, I have learned that
> accepting the uncertainty of being lost means that I can find new places,
> meet new people, have new experiences, and expand my horizons. I also tell
> other people it is perfectly all right to be lost. How different is this
> attitude from the one that I found on the Internet recently. Here is what
> one blind person said:
>            If I don't know a state, I won't take buses anywhere. Why on
>      earth would I wish to get lost? I wouldn't even know how to tell the
>      transportation where I wanted to go. I would ask others if they are
>      going the same way I wish to go. If not, there isn't any reason to go
>      there then. I would just stay home where I know I could get help if
>      needed and not feel afraid of getting lost.
>      Many of us may have faced this kind of fear as part of learning who
> we are, and many of us may face it again. Nevertheless, with the support of
> one another we know that we can solve the problems that come to us, large
> or small, dramatic or mundane. Though I sometimes find myself in unfamiliar
> surroundings, I never find myself without capacity, and I never encounter a
> day in which my colleagues in the Federation are not willing to help me if
> I need it. I realize that I have the ability to learn what I need to know
> to get from the place where I am to the place where I need to be.
> Furthermore, I will always want to know what we can do to build a brighter,
> more productive future. I will always want to know what is around the next
> bend in the road or over the summit of the next hill. I will always want to
> know what I can do to bring joy to my friends. I will always want to know
> how I can show them that there is excitement in being lost.
>      Optimism is an element in the acquisition of power, and the power
> once derived fosters optimism. The power of optimism stimulates the
> optimism of power. Optimism is one element of our faith. It is inherent in
> all that we say and all that we do. Because it has come to be such an
> integrated part of our thought process, we sometimes fail to recognize the
> urgency of optimism.
>      For all time blind people have been regarded as dependent,
> incompetent, and subnormal-some would even describe us as subhuman.
> However, we know better than to accept such a description of us, for it is
> false. We have decided to correct the error of the authors who tell us that
> we are base and unhuman, of those rehabilitation officials who write off 70
> percent of us as fundamentally incompetent, of the newspaper reporters who
> tell us that our lives are empty and meaningless, and of the amusement park
> operators who believe that we can't even ride a roller coaster. We have
> made this decision because we know the strength which is within us, we
> share the spirit that is part of us, and we feel the determination to
> create the factors that will shape the future.
>      Who can tell us what our lives will become? Nobody can do this except
> us. There are those who would like to dismiss us, but we will be heard.
> There are those who would like to instruct us, but from our experience we
> have gained more information than they can hope to accumulate. There are
> those who would like to control us, but if they try, they will do so at
> their peril. Partners we seek from every aspect of public and private life,
> but those who would seek to dictate to us what our lives should be will be
> tolerated not at all.
>      As we face the struggles of the time to come, we know with absolute
> certainty that we will take whatever action is necessary to confront those
> who would stop our progress or belittle our ambitions. We will make
> whatever sacrifice is necessary; we will pay whatever price is required. We
> will demand the equality that must and will be ours, and we will never
> cease our efforts until we have it. We have the will, we have the strength,
> we have the optimism. The future belongs to us; we will make it our own!
>                                 ----------
> Leave a Legacy
>      For more than seventy-five years the National Federation of the Blind
> has worked to transform the dreams of hundreds of thousands of blind people
> into reality, and with your support we will continue to do so for decades
> to come. We sincerely hope you will plan to be a part of our enduring
> movement by adding the National Federation of the Blind as a partial
> beneficiary in your will. A gift to the National Federation of the Blind in
> your will is more than just a charitable, tax-deductible donation. It is a
> way to join in the work to help blind people live the lives they want that
> leaves a lasting imprint on the lives of thousands of blind children and
> adults.
> With your help, the NFB will continue to:
>    . Give blind children the gift of literacy through Braille;
>    . Promote the independent travel of the blind by providing free, long
>      white canes to blind people in need;
>    . Develop dynamic educational projects and programs that show blind
>      youth that science and math are within their reach;
>    . Deliver hundreds of accessible newspapers and magazines to provide
>      blind people the essential information necessary to be actively
>      involved in their communities;
>    . Offer aids and appliances that help seniors losing vision maintain
>      their independence; and
>    . Fund scholarship programs so that blind people can achieve their
>      dreams.
> Plan to Leave a Legacy
>      Creating a will gives you the final say in what happens to your
> possessions and is the only way to be sure that your remaining assets are
> distributed according to your passions and beliefs. Many people fear
> creating a will or believe it's not necessary until they are much older.
> Others think that it's expensive and confusing. However, it is one of the
> most important things you will do, and with new online legal programs it is
> easier and cheaper than ever before. If you do decide to create or revise
> your will, consider the National Federation of the Blind as a partial
> beneficiary. Visit <www.nfb.org/planned-giving> or call (410) 659-9314,
> extension 2422 for more information. Together with love, hope,
> determination, and your support, we will continue to transform dreams into
> reality.
>                                 ----------
>                              Dots from Space!
>                            Voices from the Past
>                        by Amy Mason and Anna Kresmer
>      From the Editor: This is episode four from our monthly serial "Dots
> from Space!" If you missed any of the earlier episodes, refer to the
> January, February, and March issues.
>      Drawn ever onward by the mysteries left behind by the previous
> inhabitants, the team rolls through the maze-like corridors, paneled in
> smooth wood, to the far side of the empty building. At long last they reach
> the end of another seemingly endless hallway and discover that they are
> standing on the remains of a large deck. Watery sunlight shines down on the
> explorers as they spread out to examine the debris strewn across the deck,
> while the soft breeze brings the sounds of water in the bay to them.
>      "There's nothing here but dirt and rocks, ma'am," Lieutenant Commander
> Jot calls out, as she forms a trowel and eagerly begins to shove some of
> the detritus away.
>      "Wait! There's something over here! You'd better come take a look at
> this everyone." The triumphant urgency in Counselor Mote's voice leaves the
> entire team with little choice but to clamor to see what she has found.
>      "Report, Counselor," Captain Dottie commands.
>      The counselor rolls a few feet to the side to reveal the twisted metal
> remains of a large charcoal grill lying on its side on the ground. Putting
> her trowel to good use, the lieutenant commander begins to sweep away the
> dirt to reveal grilling tongs, now long rusted, and a heavy-duty grilling
> glove riddled with holes.
>      Eager to show off, the counselor quickly explained. "It appears to be
> the remains of a rudimentary cooking method, Captain. Unlike our species,
> which can simply absorb nutrition from the materials we come into contact
> with, I surmise that the inhabitants of this world burned their food with
> fire and then ingested it."
>      "A most inefficient system indeed," mused Doctor Spot.
>      Young Bean, curious as always, reaches into the pile of rusty metal
> utensils and pulls out the crumbling remnants of a pair of sleepshades.
> "What do you suppose this was used for? And why would they need it for food
> preparation?" he asks.
>      The crew all ponder this question for a moment, but it is Counselor
> Mote, rolling her rotund body in a small circle on the ground in her haste
> to be first, who beats them to the punch. She pulls the sleepshades from
> the ensign's appendage and plasters the mask to the surface of her body,
> the impression of a nose and mouth appearing below it. "Isn't it obvious?
> This is a ceremonial mask used to ask their deities to bless their food!"
>      "Interesting theory Counselor, however, I think there is a simpler
> explanation. Their mission was to teach others that there were alternatives
> to using sight to complete everyday tasks. I believe that this device was
> meant to discourage the use of sight during educational activities."
>      "Sight, Doctor?" asks Lieutenant-Commander Jot.
>      "From the evidence that we have gathered on this planet so far, we
> have discovered that most of the inhabitants used the perception of light
> to interact with their environment. However, not everyone used this method.
> Those that did, used what was called 'sight.' While those who did not or
> could not rely on this sense used alternative techniques and called
> themselves 'blind.'"
>      "And what are you basing this theory upon, Doctor?" Captain Dottie
> inquires.
>      "Simple, Captain. I read it in this article I found in the hallway."
> [Note: Link to "The Hierarchy of Sight", by Eric Guillory, Future
> Reflections, Volume 33, Number 2,
> https://nfb.org/images/nfb/publications/fr/fr33/2/fr330211.htm]
>                                 ----------
> [PHOTO/CAPTION: Iowa Congressman David Young]
>                 David Young is a Champion for Blind Iowans
>                              by James H. Omvig
>      From the Editor: James Omvig is a man with a long history of work on
> behalf of blind people and whose mantra has long been "Let's go build the
> Federation." This he has done in every part of the country in which he has
> lived and in every part he has visited on behalf of the organized blind of
> America. Jim has spent more than eight decades on this earth and has more
> than his share of health issues, but he still manages to put the work of
> the National Federation of the Blind as one of his highest priorities.
>      Jim did not attend the 2017 Washington Seminar, but he felt an
> obligation to carry forward the issues highlighted there. Here is an
> article which appeared in the Des Moines Register on March 2, 2017. Hats
> off to you, Jim, and thank you for writing:
>       National Federation of the Blind of Iowa, Letter to the Editor
>      Through the National Federation of the Blind, the world's oldest and
> largest educational and civil rights organization of blind people, the
> blind of America are working continuously to achieve security, equality,
> and opportunity for the blind. As we advance, many challenges still lay
> ahead. One of the most significant is the barrier the blind face with
> accessible technology. In the ever-changing market of computers, tablets,
> and phones, keeping devices accessible is always a work in progress for the
> NFB.
>      One recent issue the blind have encountered is the high cost of
> custom-made, accessible technology such as Braille displays, screen-reading
> software, and other technology that is specifically designed for the use of
> the blind. These necessary devices can be extremely costly, making it
> difficult for the average blind person to afford them. Leaders of the
> Federation have therefore developed the Access Technology Affordability
> Act, which will be introduced into the Congress soon. It would offer a
> refundable tax credit for blind purchasers of specialized technology to
> help defray cost and therefore help blind people have equal access to
> information.
>      At the Federation's recent Washington Seminar, hundreds of blind
> people from across America traveled to Washington, DC, to educate US
> congressmen and senators about this urgent need. After he learned of the
> problem of the exorbitant costs associated with this technology, Rep. David
> Young agreed to be our champion sponsor of the Access Technology
> Affordability Act. Congressman Young has repeatedly advocated for the blind
> and our causes and has sponsored legislation on our behalf several times
> now.
>      We wish to offer a public thank you to Young for his understanding,
> his help, and his support.
> - James H. Omvig, National Federation of the Blind of Iowa
>                                 ----------
>                         Independence Market Corner
>      The NFB Independence Market is the conduit through which our
> organization distributes our literature about blindness and how to adapt to
> living successfully with severe vision loss. Our members and friends use
> our literature to share our can-do approach to blindness to encourage other
> blind people and to educate the general public about the abilities of the
> blind.
>      Through the Independence Market the NFB also makes available some
> products, which enhance the independence of blind and vision impaired
> individuals. Perhaps the product which has the greatest impact on the
> independence of blind people is the long white cane. Once someone has
> learned to use the long white cane effectively, that blind person can
> travel safely and comfortably both in familiar and unfamiliar places. The
> freedom gained from such independent mobility has a tremendous effect on
> the self-confidence of blind people. It is, therefore, not surprising that
> the white cane has become a symbol of our independence and self-reliance.
>      Over the years the NFB promoted longer and lighter weight canes, as
> our members found the longer, lighter canes easier to use. The additional
> length provides users more advanced warning of obstacles in the
> environment, giving them the confidence and competence to walk at a faster
> pace. Knowing that one's longer cane will detect the top of a flight of
> steps with enough reaction time to approach the first step with ease
> contributes to a blind traveler's sense of safety and security. The NFB
> recommends that a cane is long enough that it reaches between the chin and
> the nose of the user. Some people who walk very fast prefer even longer
> canes. The NFB also pioneered the use of canes for young blind children,
> even toddlers. If young blind children already have canes in their hands
> when they start walking, then the cane becomes a natural tool to explore
> their environment. And once such early cane adopters reach the self-
> conscious teen years, they have already internalized the knowledge that
> using the long white cane enables them to move around safely and
> independently.
>      The NFB Independence Market sells several types of long white canes
> ranging from rigid ones to telescoping and folding ones for all ages and
> sizes from toddlers to tall adults. All our light-weight canes are hollow
> and made either from fiberglass or a carbon fiber composite.
>      The Care and Feeding of the Long White Cane, written by longtime
> member Tom Bickford, is a good introductory guide for those unfamiliar with
> using a long white cane as a mobility aid. This book gives good tips for
> using a long white cane in various everyday situations. The text is
> available on our website at
> https://nfb.org/Images/nfb/Publications/books/CFCANE/canetc.htm. The book
> can also be obtained in Braille or print from the Independence Market free
> of charge. Audio copies may be borrowed by NLS patrons from their local
> library for the blind.
>      For more information about the products and literature available from
> the Independence Market or to request a catalog in Braille or in print
> visit us online at https://nfb.org/independence-market. You may also
> contact us using email at independencemarket at nfb.org or by phone at (410)
> 659-9314, extension 2216, Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
> Eastern Time. Our staff will be glad to assist.
>                                 ----------
>                                   Recipes
>      Recipes this month were provided by the National Federation of the
> Blind of Florida.
>                               Corn Casserole
>                               by Sylvia Young
>      Sylvia Young has been a sighted member of the NFB for about six
> years. She now serves as the Tallahassee Chapter and state affiliate
> secretary. She and her husband James have been married for seventeen years
> and have nine children and thirteen grandchildren in their blended family.
> Ingredients:
> 1 can whole kernel corn
> 1 can cream style corn
> 1/2 cup sour cream
> 2 eggs
> 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
> 1 box Jiffy cornbread mix
> 1 stick of margarine (melted)
>      Method: Mix all ingredients together. Pour into a greased pan or
> dish. Bake for forty-five minutes to one hour at 325 degrees. Let stand for
> ten minutes before serving. You may slice it or scoop it out.
>                                 ----------
>                             Traditional Lasagna
>                               by Scott Wilson
>      Scott Wilson is a passionate cook, parent of two children, and a
> successful business owner for more than ten years. In his copious free time
> Scott enjoys learning new things, like languages. He currently speaks
> Irish, with more languages to follow.
> Ingredients:
> 1 pound ground beef
> 3/4 pounds bulk pork sausage
> 3 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
> 2 cans (6 ounces each) tomato paste
> 2 garlic cloves, minced
> 2 teaspoons sugar
> 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
> 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
> 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper
> 3 large eggs
> 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
> 3 cups (24 ounces) 4 percent small curd cottage cheese
> 1 carton (8 ounces) ricotta cheese
> 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese 
> 9 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
> 6 slices provolone cheese (about 6 ounces)
> 3 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
>      Method: In a large skillet over medium heat, cook and crumble beef
> and sausage until no longer pink; drain. Add next seven ingredients. Bring
> to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, one hour, stirring occasionally.
> Adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Meanwhile, in
> a large bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add parsley; stir in cottage cheese,
> ricotta and parmesan cheese. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread one
> cup meat sauce in an ungreased thirteen-by-nine-inch baking dish. Layer
> with three noodles, provolone cheese, two cups cottage cheese mixture, one
> cup mozzarella, three noodles, two cups meat sauce, remaining cottage
> cheese mixture and one cup mozzarella. Top with remaining noodles, meat
> sauce and mozzarella (dish will be full). Cover; bake fifty minutes.
> Uncover; bake until heated through, twenty minutes. Let stand fifteen
> minutes before cutting. Yields twelve servings.
>                                 ----------
>                           Yellow Squash Casserole
>                               by Alicia Kilby
>      Alicia Kilby is a homemaker. As a single, disabled mother of two
> young children, she tries to be creative and likes to explore new recipes,
> keeping in mind children's tastes are sometimes narrow and limited. She's a
> responsible, independent, part-time student working on a degree in social
> work. She is also a volunteer and mentor at a local elementary school,
> living every day for a better tomorrow because she can live the life that
> she wants.
> Ingredients:
> 8 medium yellow squash
> 16 saltine crackers
> 2 cups mozzarella cheese (or whatever you prefer)
> ½ cup milk
> 2 eggs
> 1 stick butter
> Salt and pepper to taste
>      Method: Slice squash and boil until tender. Drain, crush crackers
> until fine, and beat eggs. Put all ingredients into two-and-a-half-quart
> casserole dish and mix well. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Serves
> eight.
>                                 ----------
>                              Smothered Rabbit
>                              by Tinetta Cooper
>      Tinetta is a legally blind, diabetic mother who has been an NFBF
> member for ten years. She loves to cook and bake. She says, "The recipe
> I've submitted is unique and simple to prepare, and the results are
> delicious!"
> Ingredients:
> 1 rabbit, cut into small pieces
> Salt to taste
> Paprika to taste
> Flour
> 3 tablespoons butter
> 1 to 2 onions sliced
> 1 cup sour cream
>      Method: Season the rabbit with salt and paprika. Coat pieces with
> flour. Melt butter in a crockpot, add rabbit, and cover meat thickly with
> onion slices. Sprinkle onions with salt. Pour in the sour cream. Cover and
> simmer one hour or bake at 325 until tender.
>                                 ----------
>                    A Cup, A Cup, A Cup of Peach Cobbler
>                               by Sylvia Young
> Ingredients:
> 1 cup of canned peaches
> 1 cup of flour (self-rising)
> 1 cup of milk
> 1 cup of sugar
> 1 stick of butter
> 1 lemon
>      Method: Preheat oven 350 degrees. Place peaches in bowl, add 1/8 cup
> of sugar and squeezed lemon, stir and set aside. Melt butter in backing
> dish. Mix flour and the rest of the sugar and milk together. Pour into the
> pan with the melted butter. Add fruit on top (with some of the juice). Bake
> one hour. Serve with or without ice cream on top.
>                                 ----------
>                           Floating Peach Cobbler
>                               by Alicia Kilby
>      There's always room for variations in life, especially when it comes
> to delicious desserts.
> Ingredients:
> 1 cup self-rising flour
> 1 cup sugar
> 2/3 cup milk
> 1 29-ounce can sliced peaches in heavy syrup
> 1 stick margarine (not butter)
>      Method: Preheat oven 350 degrees. Melt butter then pour into a ten-by-
> ten-inch baking dish. Stir together flour, sugar, and milk until smooth.
> Pour into center of dish on the margarine (do not stir). Spoon the peach
> slices all over the batter gently (so you don't stir). Then add the syrup
> from can. Bake forty-five minutes until golden brown. Serve at room
> temperature.
>                                 ----------
>                         Florida Cracker Orange Pie
>                               by John Bailey
>      John is a sighted board member of the NFB of Florida Statewide
> Chapter and has been an NFB member for about five years. He got interested
> in the NFB because of his girlfriend Tinetta Cooper. He truly believes in
> the NFB and its philosophy.
> Ingredients:
> 6 large egg yolks
> 1 cup sugar
> 4 tablespoons flour
> 2 tablespoons sweet butter, melted
> 2 tablespoons grated orange zest
> 2 cups fresh orange juice
> 1 nine-inch deep dish flaky pie crust
>      Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put egg yolks in mixer bowl and
> beat until smooth. Beat in sugar, flour, butter, orange zest, and orange
> juice one ingredient at a time. Pour orange mixture into pie shell. Bake
> thirty minutes until set. Let cool completely. Top with whipped cream.
> Chill before serving.
>                                 ----------
>                             Monitor Miniatures
>      News from the Federation Family
> STEM Tutorials for Blind Students to be Offered at the 2017 NFB National
> Convention:
>      Are you a blind student interested in studying science, technology,
> engineering, or math? Do you feel daunted by the prospect of doing lab work
> in a chemistry class or producing visually readable results in a math
> class? Perhaps you're a professional in a technical field who finds it
> challenging to produce graphs and charts for sighted colleagues? If so,
> then come to the convention of the National Federation of the Blind and
> plan to arrive in time for Seminar Day on Monday, July 10. The NFB in
> Computer Science, the NFB Science & Engineering Division, and the NFB
> National Association of Blind Students Division will host the STEM tutorial
> workshop. STEM educators and technologists will come from around the world
> to help blind students and professionals learn to use a variety of tools to
> assist them in excelling in their chosen technical field. Best of all,
> individual tutoring sessions will be offered throughout the week for those
> folks who want one-on-one training from experts who are familiar with the
> access technology they're teaching, as well as the technical field it's
> being used for. The topics to be discussed and for which tutoring will be
> available include: access math in electronic materials directly or to
> convert it to Braille; write math in formats directly accessible to sighted
> people; read STEM graphs, charts, and diagrams, and create simple graphics;
> and participate in chemistry, biology, physics, and engineering labs.
>      There is no charge to attend either the seminar on Monday or the
> tutoring sessions throughout the week. The seminar on Monday will give an
> overview of the technologies to be taught, as well as an introduction to
> the tutors themselves. It is strongly recommended that folks who are
> interested in being a part of this invaluable opportunity plan to arrive at
> the convention in time to begin participating in events on the morning of
> July 10.
>      For more information, contact: John Gardner, STEM tutorial
> coordinator, at john.gardner at oregonstate.edu.
>                                  In Brief
>      Notices and information in this section may be of interest to Monitor
> readers. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the information; we
> have edited only for space and clarity.
> State Resource Handbooks Available for Purchase :
>      I have created twenty-three screen-reader-friendly resource handbooks
> containing resources pertaining to the blind and visually impaired for use
> by consumers and professionals. This handbook is for the residents of
> specific states and includes the many organizations for the blind and
> visually impaired covering areas such as employment, housing,
> transportation, and more. Currently the handbooks are for Alabama, Alaska,
> Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida,
> Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Texas,
> Oregon, Ohio, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Kansas, and South Dakota.
>      The handbooks include contact information on the local, regional, and
> national level. For more information on pricing, order form, and formats
> please contact Insightful Publications by email at insightfulpub at gmail.com,
> by phone at (808) 747-1006, or by visiting
> http://www.insightful.com/orderpage.html.
>                                 ----------
>                                 NFB Pledge
>      I pledge to participate actively in the efforts of the National
> Federation of the Blind to achieve equality, opportunity, and security for
> the blind; to support the policies and programs of the Federation; and to
> abide by its constitution.
> _______________________________________________
> Brl-monitor mailing list
> Brl-monitor at nfbcal.org
> https://nfbcal.org/mailman/listinfo.cgi/brl-monitor
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