Friday, January 25, 2013

Discovery Channeled

Nature and adaptability.

Two themes pervade my research for the sequel to Every Time I Think of You.
So many new developments in each area promise a great future for the duo in this 1980s-set story. But unfortunately, I can't include them, because they wouldn't have happened yet.

But I can share them now.

On the anniversary of his birth, Lawrence Carter-Long shares a vintage 60 Minutes interview with disability activist pioneer Ed Roberts. Among the many disability history books I'm reading, Ed Roberts gets mention in each of them. The pioneering activist pushed for accessibility on campuses and elsewhere. His legacy lives on at the Berkeley Ed Roberts Campus, a wonder of sustainable accessible architectural ingenuity.

At upper left, one of a few pics I took at the Center's lobby in 2012:

So many developments have advanced mobility, such as these robotic walkers.

But do wheelchair users want to become so cyborgian? I'm curious. It's also curious to find someone who can afford the €52,500 it costs. (What's that in dollars? Too much for anyone but millionaires.)

On a more realistic scale, schools now have to provide sports activities for disabled students.

Sports Illustrated/CNN reports that "The order is reminiscent of the Title IX expansion four decades ago of athletic opportunities for girls and women and could bring sweeping changes to school budgets and locker rooms for years to come. Students with disabilities who want to play for their school could join traditional teams if officials could make "reasonable modifications'' to accommodate them."
This is crucial, because a new study shows that disabled people and teens are more likely to be bullied than other people.Exclusion from recreation is just one of many isolating situations that lead to such discord.
"According to the federal government's Stop Bullying website, children with physical disabilities such as epilepsy or cerebral palsy are at a greater risk for being bullied. Children with learning disabilities are also a target, such as autistic children. One study found 83 percent of adults who stuttered as children said they were teased or bullied. 'Having a disability alone can cause socialized isolation, self-esteem problems,' Ventura said."
But there is hope. A new line of children's books showcase disability in a variety of sweet understandable illustrated ways. The next generation should be even better.

And finally, a world full of deforestation, planetary disturbances and depletion, is, in some lands, countered by wondrous growth.

National Geographic's feature shows the daunting task of measuring a Giant Sequoia tree.
"It’s not quite the largest tree on Earth. It’s the second largest. Recent research by scientist Steve Sillett of Humboldt State University and his colleagues has confirmed that the President ranks number two among all big trees that have ever been measured—and Sillett’s team has measured quite a few. It doesn’t stand so tall as the tallest of coast redwoods or of Eucalyptus regnans in Australia, but height isn’t everything; it’s far more massive than any coast redwood or eucalypt. Its dead spire, blasted by lightning, rises to 247 feet. Its four great limbs, each as big as a sizable tree, elbow outward from the trunk around halfway up, billowing into a thick crown like a mushroom cloud flattening against the sky. Although its trunk isn’t quite so bulky as that of the largest giant, the General Sherman, its crown is fuller than the Sherman’s. The President holds nearly two billion leaves."
 So, growth and change, adaptability continue.

Among the many huge parties in Washington, the Disability Ball brought more than 400 people together to celebrate Obama's staying in the White House.
The disability ball was hosted by the American Association of People with Disabilities and Disability Power & Pride and has support from The Arc, United Cerebral Palsy and the National Council on Independent Living, among other groups.

I mean, who doesn't love service dogs featured in the presidential inaugural parade

Here is Matt Trott's USA Today feature on his experience participating in the parade.

It's a great new era, which unfortunately, cannot be portrayed in my past-tense fiction. Things were very different then. Still, it's great to see these changes.

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