You probably haven't thought about curb cuts recently, but you've almost certainly used one. Curb cuts were originally introduced to benefit mobility impaired people in wheelchairs, but they're used by nearly everyone. This is an example of the curb cut effect: accommodations are often initially developed for disabled people but prove to make everyone's lives a little easier. The philosophy of inclusive design incorporates building accommodation for disabilities into products and architecture as a way to improve the product for everyone who might use it.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law by George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990. [more inside]
It's been over 100 years since the common cup for public water fountains was banned, reducing their health risks. But we don't trust drinking fountains anymore—and "it’s making us poorer, less healthy and less green." [more inside]
For most of us, the internet is functionally a necessity, with much of our lives lived on or enabled by the Web. But for the disabled, the internet is too often an unfriendly, inaccessible place, with many sites and services not being designed to support accessibility. But Web accessibility needs to be for everyone, in our ever more connected world, not only from the standpoint of letting the disabled into an increasingly important public accommodation, but because accessibility is just good design. (SLSlate)
The Department of Justice has postponed its NPRM on the accessibility requirements of websites for places of public accommodations under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, from March 2015 to June 2015. The NPRM for accessibility requirements of government websites was due in December 2014. [more inside]
Yesterday, twenty three Columbia University students filed a federal lawsuit, alleging that the school "allows accused perpetrators of sexual assault to remain on campus, has too-lenient sanctions for perpetrators, discourages victims from reporting assault and denies accommodations to students with mental health disabilities (which they say result from their attacks)." The complaint is the first of its kind, linking Title IX and Clery complaints with alleged violations of Title II, part of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which provides that schools must provide accommodations based on disability status. [more inside]
Following a media report (and subsequent investigation) last May that wealthy guests of Disneyland and the Walt Disney World resort were abusing the Guest Assistance Card system, Disney announced this week that it will replace the card with a new Disability Access Service Card, beginning October 9th. [more inside]
The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit yesterday (after a long investigation) against the state of Florida alleging the state is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in its administration of its service system for children with significant medical needs. [more inside]
The Hathi Trust, a partnership between 66 universities and 3 higher education consortia, is breathing a little easier now that Judge Harold Baer, Jr. of New York's Southern District has found that the Trust was within its fair use rights to allow Google to scan member library holdings, and then making the resulting files available for the reading impaired, and for use in search indexing and data mining. While this is excellent news for the educational institutions involved, it doesn't completely exonerate Google's role in the scanning project. It's notable that just last week Google abandoned it's own fair use claim in settling a different case involving the same book scanning project. Of the four factors used when considering fair use cases, Judge Baer ruled on the side of the Hathi Trust on all four.
O'Brien is tryin' to learn to talk Hawai'ian / To his Honolulu Lou / He's sighin' and cryin' / And all the time he's tryin' / Just to say "I love you true" / He's sighin' and lyin' in Irish and Hawai'ian / To his wife and Lulu, too . . Meanwhile, another gent from the Emerald Isle was indulging in blissful fantasy: Sure the shamrocks were growing on Broadway / Every girl was an Irish colleen / And the town of New York was the county of Cork / All the buildings were painted green / 'twas only an Irishman's dream. Happy St. Patrick's Day! [more inside]
Unanimous SCOTUS ruling: Anti-discrimination laws (such as the ADA) do not apply to church employees with religious duties. Full ruling: PDF, HTML
What do you mean the building codes require us to install handicapped-accessible crosswalk? Fine. Here's your fucking crosswalk. [more inside]
Ada Day appreciates and commemorates women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics with events all over the globe. A few links to start the celebration: Ada Lovelace, The Origin. Women@NASA (previously). Ladies Learning Code. Rear Admiral Grace Hopper explaining nanoseconds to David Letterman. AstronomyCast with Dr. Pamela Gay. Hedy Lamarr and other female inventors.
20 years ago, an amazingly comprehensive piece of civil rights legislation was passed in the United States. The law addresses several key pieces of rights and standards for people with disabilities, and laid the groundwork for inclusion as a federal protected class. [more inside]
The owner of Segway, James Heselden, has died, after accidentally driving his Segway over a cliff. This, only two months after the Department of Justice, which implements the American Disabilities Act, addressed Segway as a mobility device for disabled persons.
Greece in 1823 and 1824; being a series of letters and other documents on the Greek revolution — the life of Mustapha Ali: [more inside]
The New York Times called it "a great work of art" (NYT login required). Martin Amis called it "a waterlogged corpse at the stage of maximal bloat". You can judge for yourself by reading an annotated, hyperlinked edition. This timeline and this geography might help. (For extra credit, here are texts mentioned in the story.)
Working on ADA compliance? Wondering how readers for the blind parse your webpages? Feed them into WebAnywhere, an online screen reader. Unlike other solutions, it is not a browser plugin and is free.
A creepy info minute from the ADA concerning “mice teeth in a dish.” Please don’t watch “mice teeth in a dish” if you think there’s some kind of dentist/alien connection. You won’t like it. Try “the barbaric history of the toothbrush” instead.
The 2005 Annual Survey on Choice of Law in American Courts. [pdf] The survey on Choice of Law looks at the recent controversial Supreme Court ruling dealing with conflict of laws. See Spector v. Norwegian Cruise Line, Ltd., 125 S.Ct. 2169 (2005). (Kennedy, J., writing the opinion of the Court) (Ginsburg, J., concurring) (Scalia, J., dissenting) (Thomas, J., concurring in part, dissenting in part). At issue in Spector was whether disability statutes applied to ships that depart from Texas and travel through domestic waters but fly under the flag of the Bahamas. Other 2005 Supreme Court conflict of laws cases included Small v. United States and Pasquantino v. United States.
Sometimes, the Americans with Disabilities Act makes us do funny things. Faced with mental patients who speak nothing but Klingon, an Oregon county department for human services scours the county/state/country/world/universe for Klingon-English interpreters.
Supreme Court gives golfer Casey Martin the keys to the cart. Can a private organization be forced to allow something it says is against the spirit of the rules of it's competitions? Will we see Casey play anytime soon? Who else will benefit from this ruling in golf and other sports?