To Caption or Not to Caption

that is, no doubt, not THE question, but a question, one asked by Seek Geo in the captioned video appearing below the fold that shows its author signing a message that is also captioned. I would be curious to know if anyone with a screen-reader can read this (and those with them who cannot, which I suspect is most if not all, let us know)–and what they think about either the medium or the message (or both). And to know what deaf readers think about the same. And what sighted hearers also think. Continue reading


What sorts of fonts should there be?

For all those fascinated by fonts, and have secretly always wanted to wear their underpants on the outside of their tights, the following uncaptioned video beneath the fold. Let’s just put this down to Geeky Sunday, or whatever, ok? Continue reading

Job Title: Senior Infrastructure Coordinator at The American Journal of Bioethics

Company: The American Journal of Bioethics
Job Title: Senior Infrastructure Coordinator
Company Description: AJOB is the largest, most read, most cited journal in bioethics. It has been lauded by many newspapers, magazines, medical and science journals, and is home to, the most read and more importantly most authoritative (most cited) site in all of bioethics, ethics, philosophy, health services research (e.g., Academic Medicine is a competitor), and in dozens of medical areas. AJOB is part of Bioethics Education Network, or bene, a newly formed NYS LLC based in Albany. bene also includes the world’s only Editor’s Blog by the editors of a major bioethics journal, as well as tens of thousands of pages of information including the definitive lists of events and jobs in the fields associated with ethics in medicine and science (stem cells, cloning, etc.). The American Journal of Bioethics is read in the office of virtually every U.S. appellate court justice, member of Congress, and even the White House. It has caused FDA scandals leading to the reform of medicine in a broad way and introduced the nation to a number of new technologies like face transplantation. It is regularly featured in places like Oprah, New York Times, etc.
Pay: $0.00 – $0.00 Per Year
Pay Description: includes travel, benefits, academic cred
Job Description: This person will be responsible for the back end of,, and the interface between The American Journal of Bioethics and the above. They will interface with web designers and editors, and will be widely publicly known for their work. This internship position has been filled three times, and all three have gone on to outstanding positions that would never have been possible in an internship in a large computer corporation, even of the nature of Google. is, though, incidentally a partner of Apple and Google, and has relationships which this person would be able to access at every level. There simply are no internships in health policy and computing that would produce a greater yield per hour for good work. This position must be filled immediately so the first highly qualified applicant will be placed. One reference is required, but that can be by email or phone.

Triathlete? Ball Girl? Amputee? All of the Above.

Triathlete? Ball Girl? Amputee? All of the Above.


 Published: August 28, 2008

After every few dashes across Court 14, Kelly Bruno reached down to her right leg and flicked at something. It was a gesture so slight and so fleeting, she could have been swatting away a bug. It was also the only thing she did that was not in the protocol for a United States Open ball girl — nowhere does it mention popping the pressure valve on a prosthetic leg.
Kelly Bruno reaching down to grab a ball off the court. 
Bruno’s prosthesis is in full view because she is wearing shorts.
photo by G. Paul Burnett/The New York Times

Questioning Race-Based Medicine

Genomic Research Pioneer Argues Against Race-Based Medicine

This past week, Craig Venter told the New Scientist that “Race-based medicine doesn’t have any real basis in science.” I have no idea why this story seems to be of little interest to the majority of science journalists, as it has not been very widely reported, but it represents a major milestone in terms of understanding how humans vary biologically. The story stems from a comparison of Venter’s genome with that of DNA co-discoverer, James Watson.

Venter, who loves both competition and controversy, has set himself apart not only from Watson, whose shameful remarks about the intellectual inferiority of Africans severely tarnished his reputation, but also from his old foe, Francis Collins. Venter was the CEO of Celera Genomics when Collins was the director of the National Institutes of Health’s National Human Genome Research Institute. Both Venter and Collins desperately wanted to be the first to decode the genome as part of the Human Genome Project. Despite Collins’ subsequent arguments against the race concept, when the announcement was made in June 2000 that the Human Genome Project had completed an initial decoding of the DNA strand, he stated that the project researchers had used the genes of five different people, representing the major races of humans, and the racial diversity of humans. Even at that time, this seemed to me to be a confusingly narrow view of human population biology.

What Sorts of Candidates?

In the battle for the American Presidency, the question of “what sorts of people do we want?” needs top be asked of all candidates. Both major parties are reaching out to diverse sub-populations. Both claim to be advocates for people of diverse abilities, sexual orientations, and gender identities as well as all other minorities. However, Biden and Obama appear to go a lot further than McCain based on previous track records.

Obama was a strong advocate for the Matthew Shepard National Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act which would have extended federal protection to people with disabilities as well as gays and lesbians. McCain opposed it. Biden introduced the Crime Victims With Disabilities Act of 2007. Obama pledges to work to get the US to sign the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

McCain and his soon to be announced running mate should be asked what they are prepared to do. Hopefully, they are prepared to make the same commitments.

Gay Diver Makes a Splash

Cover picture from the gay magazine The Advocate of Matthew Mitcham

Cover picture from the gay magazine The Advocate of Matthew Mitcham

Ok, ok, ok, so I *haven’t* actually seen this headline in a tabloid of late, but given all the kerfuffle that my compatriot Matthew Mitcham’s gold medal in the 10 metre diving event has caused, I might well have. There’s a few stories to watch and sort through (and don’t give up until you’ve taken The Quiz, a special feature of today’s post, below the fold.)

Basic story 1: Australian Matthew Mitcham clinched the gold medal in the 10 metre dive with his final dive of the day, knocking off Chinese favourite Zhou Luxin by just under 5 points overall. Mitcham was the only non-Chinese athlete to score a gold in the diving, and also received the hightest score EVER for a diver in this event. Yay Matt!

Basic story 2: Matthew Mitcham, who won a gold medal in something watery, was the only openly gay male athlete at the Beijing Olympics. Of the roughly 11 000 athletes competing, 10 openly lesbian women have been identified (by strategically placed spies?). If at least half the athletes competing were men, that makes calculating the percentage of openly gay male athletes something that even I can calculate: 1 in 5500. (Women: 1 in 550). Let’s stick our necks out, and hazard a guess: that’s significantly lower than the base rate of openly gay people in the rest of society. Every society. Yay … society?

Basic story 3: NBC and other major US networks ignored Basic Story 2 in covering Basic Story 1. Sports and sexual orientation are just separate things, and they were just interested in covering sports. Yay, self-deception!

Basic Story 4: Basic Story 2 is of much more interest to many people than Basic Story 1. As is the ambivalence that Basic Story 2 creates in many people who share that interest. (And as conveyed by my sorry attempt at a punchline in Basic Story 2.) Three cheers for Matthew on all fronts, but really, which century are we living in? In addition, people who get worked up about Basic Story 3 should really get Out more. Continue reading