Mahatma Gandhi - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "On January 30, 1948, on his way to a prayer meeting, Gandhi was shot and killed in Birla House, New Delhi, by Nathuram Godse. Godse was a Hindu radical with links to the extremist Hindu Mahasabha, who held Gandhi responsible for weakening India by insisting upon a payment to Pakistan. Godse and his co-conspirator Narayan Apte were later tried and convicted, and on 15 November 1949, were executed. Gandhi's memorial (or Samādhi) at Rāj Ghāt, New Delhi, bears the epigraph, (Devanagiri: हे ! राम or, H�Rām), which may be translated as 'Oh God'. These are widely believed to be Gandhi's last words after he was shot, though the veracity of this statement has been disputed by many"
Tuesday, 30 January 2007
Monday, 29 January 2007
Sunday Times - Article: "Gang kills legendary SA war expertThis is such sad news. South Africa has lost a hero; we are all robbed by his murder. I have his audio tapes of the Battles at Isandhlwana & Rorke’s Drift; it is impossible to listen to them with a dry eye. He was a great ambassador for South African culture and tourism, and he brought communities together by the way he passionately portrayed our collective histories. Rest In Peace ubhuti
Legendary tourism personality and Anglo-Zulu War expert David Rattray has been killed by a gang at his home near his Fugitive’s Drift Lodge
Legendary tourism personality and Anglo-Zulu War expert David Rattray’s killer entered his house and fired a single shot before being ordered to re-enter the building to fire another two rounds, according to a source close to the scene."
The Employers Forum on Disability
I found out about this organization through my research, as it stands out amongst the multitude of different organizations involved in the same field as us of Disability Integration. they have a remarkable record, and are led by a remarkable lady - Susan Scott-Parker.
I first met them 2 years ago and we are in the process of setting up an affiliate organization here. I must admit that I expected the process to be much easier than it turned out to be; in fact it became quite a nightmare at times. However, I do believe that we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Certainly, I cannot take credit for the work that has been done, & my colleague, Lisa, together with Susan have been real stars. The process did teach me valuable lessons though (even though they were tough to learn at times). I did feel really badly let down at several stages in the process - and I must admit that the process has made me more cynical and less trusting of colleagues (not Susan or Lisa though!).
Another subject to post more on at a later date!
Wednesday, 24 January 2007
Human rights and disability - The Wire - July2003 - Amnesty International: "Human rights and disability
The second meeting of the UN Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities took place in New York on 16-27 June 2003. AI talks to Bengt Lindqvist, former UN Special Rapporteur on Disability, to find out more about disability and human rights.
Why has it taken so long to put the rights of people with disabilities on the human rights agenda?
A paradigm shift of this radical nature always takes time. For the last hundred years disabled people were mainly viewed as objects of charity and care. The International Year of Disabled Persons, 1981, made the breakthrough for the concept of rights for people who happened to live with a disability. A process was started, which has now, at last, resulted in the recognition that disability-related problems are a responsibility for the human rights monitoring system within the UN.
In the future, disability will not be accepted as a basis for depriving people of their voting rights, property rights, family rights, the right to education and even the right to life itself.
Separation of Religion and State in America | International Humanist and Ethical Union: "Separation of Religion and State in America
Submitted by admin on 20 September, 2005 - 07:33. United States of America | IHN 2005.3 August | Religion & state | International Humanist News
United States of America
In 1787, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to his nephew Peter Carr. Jefferson never had a son of his own, and his nephew often played that role. In this letter, written while Jefferson was living in France, Jefferson offered advice for a young man just beginning to make his way in the world. He discussed the intellectual and cultural attainments such a young man should strive for.
In the section dealing with religion, Jefferson wrote, 'Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear'.
It is with great shame that I tell you that any politician who said something like that today in my country could not be elected to public office. Note that Jefferson did not advise his nephew to stop believing in God - merely to have the courage to doubt. That would be enough to sink his political career today.
It is ironic that I am here at a time when the wall of separation of church and state in America is under sustained and relentless assault."
I am a wheelchair user, and unable to walk or stand unaided. It is a long (and mostly boring) journey that got me here, but to summarize it (as it could be useful for other people who may be starting out with a new disability or know someone who is):
I managed to fracture 3 vertebrae playing rugby in 1984. It did not hurt much at the time, and I played on to the end of the season in blissful ignorance.
Eventually, it was becoming apparent that all was not well (pain, and a loss of sensation). So I got checked out (another story for another day), and passed from one specialist to another. Eventually they had to operate and I have been really fortunate to always have good surgeon's for this (Mr. Maurice-Williams of the Royal Free Hospital in London), and subsequent operations. I had a fusion (T5-T10) and everything was fine for about 15 years.
Then the fusion collapsed, top and bottom, damaging both my spinal cord, and the bundle of nerves that look like a horse's tail which come out of the bottom of the cord (Cauda Equina).
I had a further 6 operations during 1999 and 2000, which managed to halt further damage (again, with having a fantastic surgical team - led by Dr. Daan Botes). However I was left with some spinal cord damage (T4-T12) and damage to the other nerves which led to a condition called Cauda Equina Syndrome. I also had some weird scarring in one of the protective larges around the spinal cord. This looks like a faint spider's web when it is viewed using a MRI scanner - this appearance gives it its name of (Adhesive, in my case) Arachnoiditis. It may look faint, but it can be really bloody painful! Anyway there is very little available information on either of these conditions, and I think it was searching for information on these that I really discovered the power of the Internet. I will try to collect some of the information I have on these two conditions and post them here sometime.
But I do need to mention one of the vital lifelines that saw me through the rough period. Number I has to be my wife and immediate family, but I also happened upon a fantastic support group - Cauda Equina Syndrome Support Group CESSG. The friends (Vickie, Sandy, Colette, Carlos, Gina, etc, etc) there saved my life on many occasions. I know I have not mentioned everyone there, as the mailing list was very well supported with hundreds of members, and the mutual support was tremendous. I know the mailing list has moved recently, and I shall try to find it again.
I heard on the radio this morning that London woke up to snow. It becomes difficult to imagine, as the temperatures here are so hot; the last few days the mercury has been over 40C. Sue (my gorgeous wife) recorded 45C in her car yesterday. If does become difficult to work when it is so hot (and no air con in my office).
Tuesday, 23 January 2007
Mr. Bush appreciates the potential benefit of embryonic stem cell research for curing various diseases and injuries. Nonetheless, he justifies his veto by his religious belief that retrieving stem cells from human embryo is destructive, resulting in the killing of a human being or, at least, a “potential” human being. Accordingly, so goes the argument, this act cannot be justified in spite of the possible therapeutic benefits. Mr. Bush’s conclusion is obviously not based on biomedical science but instead is an expression of his religious creed."
There! Voila! Bush Jr. deciding the future of millions, based on personal expression of his particular religious creed. He is happy to ignore congress, and the majority of Americans, who support wider stem cell research. It would not be so bad, if he didn't then try to impose his own narrow, right-wing, religious creed on the rest of us (through motions at the UN).
Posted by Guy at 13:30
BBC NEWS | World | Americas | US House backs stem cell research: "US House backs stem cell research
Embryo Opponents refuse to condone the destruction of any embryo
The US House of Representatives has passed a bill backing embryonic stem cell research, marking a major challenge to President George W Bush"
The stem cell bill was among the top priorities for the Democrats, who took control of Congress last week, but Mr Bush has vowed to veto it.
Advocates of stem cell research say it could lead to cures for diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
Mr Bush says the research would destroy human life in the name of science.
The bill was passed by 253 to 174, but fell short of a two-thirds majority needed to overcome the veto.
"Today, by passing legislation to expand stem cell research, the House gave voice to the hopes of more than 100 million Americans and their families," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
"With today's strong bipartisan vote, we now challenge President Bush to join members from both sides of the aisle in supporting the hope of stem cell research."
Mr Bush used his presidential veto to overturn a similar judgement by the Republican-controlled Congress last year.
It was the first time in his presidency that Mr Bush refused to sign into law a bill approved by Congress.
Polls suggest most Americans back the research.
Opponents of the bill say their taxes should not fund research which involves the destruction of embryos.
Its supporters maintain that the embryos used for research, that come from multiple embryos generated by couples trying to produce a pregnancy using in vitro fertilisation, would otherwise be discarded.
Posted by Guy at 13:20
BUT we have (as a civilized society) to support the scientists and technicians working in these areas. One thing that we all need to do is to empower ourselves by reading up on the science involved, and then trying to get our mind around the ethics. I get quite angry with politicians (such as Bush Jr.) and their various 'ethics' advisors (such as the idiot Charles Krauthammer) who appear to assume that these leading scientists, some of whom will represent the most brilliant minds on our planet, will have NO morals or ethics themselves. Therefore, Bush and his cronies, try to impose their own restricted, rightwing, religious view on the world. And, yes, I do mean the world. The various underhand methods to put forward blanket bans and restrictions through UN resolutions is deplorable. I urge everyone to do some research on this important topic to enable each of us to reach an informed decision. I have been shocked at the lead of ignorance displayed by some of the most vocal objectors to Stem Cell Research. Read what Bush, Krauthammer, and cronies have to say about it too - but their make your own mind up.
Monday, 22 January 2007
You pass this way but once. There's no such thing as normal. There's you and there's the rest. There's now and there's forever. Do as you damn well please or you could end up being a pot-bellied, hairless boring fart!
BBC - Ouch! Disability Magazine - News, Opinion, Features, Humour: "Ouch Podcast #11
It's January, so it must be time for the first podcast of 2007. This month: guests Ade Adepitan and David Proud talk about their upcoming TV show, new quiz Disability Wars, Mat and Liz discuss the Ashley X debate, Miss Ability talks to us from Holland, and Rob Crossan is in the studio with a roundup of quirky disability news."
This is a great site, and a fantastically funny podcast goes with it!
It is always good to do site visits with clients, and even the architect joined us today. The architect was quite young and intelligent, and didn't fall into the usual mindset of thinking that, as an architect, he knew all about access and the issues involved.
However, both client and architect were falling into the usual trap of only considering wheelchair access (whilst not even thinking about emergency egress). I realise that I must use the statistic with caution, but it can be useful to point out to people, like this, that only 4% of People with Disabilities (PWD) actually own a wheelchair, and of that % only half of us need to are a wheelchair all the time. Sure, wheelchair access is often the most difficult and expensive to "fix" but all too often people forget to design to include other impairments.
Sunday, 21 January 2007
- I use a Tablet PC for 75% of my work.
- I really like using MS OneNote (2003), I just wish that all this software was not so damn expensive! But I like many of the new functions offered on 2007
- TEO 3.0 for Outlook
- Fire Fox, (and Opera on the Desktop).
- Brass, Mime, Outlooker
- then the usual MS office programs
- iPod, iTunes , iPod Agent, Anapod Explorer together with Giffin iTrip to enable me to listen through HiFi & in car
- Does anyone know of a good speed camera detector system, which works in South Africa?
I an a committed Tablet PC user (and completely mystified that this technology has not had more widespread use!). I stumbled across Amazing Brass - http://www.amazingbrass.co.uk/ Which is a really clever bit of kit for Tablet PC's, but I think that it also lends itself for some interesting uses for disabled people. 2 particular elements are particularly interesting for me: Mime (mouse gestures) and Outlooker (MS Outlook add-on).
I can See that mouse gestures could be useful for people with limited dexterity. And Outlooker could be adapted to provide a customizable, high visibility front end for Outlook, for people with visual impairments.
First post in this blog. I guess the about me gives you some information, and I shall be adding to that.
- A bit more detail then:
- Born Scotland
- Educated in England
- Now living and working in South Africa
- Happily married to the most wonderful woman in the world, and we have 2 sons; my pride, and my joy...
- I am co-founder and managing director of Disability Solutions; a South African company committed to the natural and unhesitant inclusion of Disability into mainstream society.
- I am also studying, through the University of Salford for my MSc in Accessibility and Inclusive Design