Out-Of-Sight News and Views

Issue #19
July 1, 2014

In This Issue

Greetings from Our President
Guess Who Took another Trip around the Sun
Member Spotlight
Out-Of-Sight Gathering
Toronto author inspires Archie Comics’ first disabled character
I am blind but don\'t need a wheelchair to board a train
Walgreens Launches Nationwide Program Offering Talking Prescription Devices
Being cynical can lead to dementia
JHU Biologists Identify New Neural Pathway in Eyes that Aids in Vision
The Bookshelf -
The 10 most corrupt states in the U.S
Flick, Swipe, and Tap - Ten New Accessibility Features in iOS 8
7 ways to get SIRI to work harder for you
Accessible iPhone Apps That Help Me Manage Work, Life, and Travel as a Blind Professional
Currency Readers for the Blind
Don\'t let blind tech loyalty outweigh logic
Making 3D models of childrens picture books for visually impaired children
AMI-Audio Special Focuses on the Accessibility of Some of the USA’s Most Famous Monuments
Healthy Choice, Healthy Living - 10 Tips to Staying Healthy
Protein Map May Help Uncover Secrets to the Human Body
Why Beats headphones are banned from the World Cup
And Survey Says
The Recipe Box -
Dear Betty Blunt
Think Tank
Words to Live By
A Round of Applause
What is happening on Out-Of-Sight

Greetings from Our President

It appears that summer has descended upon us with a vengeance and a lot of us are engaged in summer time activities.

We here at Out-Of-Sight are always looking forward to what lies ahead. It is not too early to start thinking about our annual fall fund raising auction which is scheduled for Saturday September 27, at 3 p.m. eastern.

We hope that everyone will take a look around your home and see if there are any items that you would like to donate for this years auction.

Whether we are donors of items for the auction, bidders for the items or just there to observe the activity, it is a time enjoyed by all so be sure to mark it on your calendar.

We trust that you will enjoy reading this issue of the news letter as much as those in the past.

Remember we are always looking for new contributors of articles each month. Without help in providing material for the news letter it could no longer continue to exist.

If anyone has any contributions or ideas for any other items you would like seen included in this type of format, please send them to:

Best regards,
Lee Richards


To navigate quickly to the different articles in this newsletter using JAWS, System Access, or Window Eyes, press the letter H to move through the headings. For MAC users, press Control Option Command plus the letter H.

Guess Who Just Took Another Trip Around the Sun?

Help us celebrate our July birthdays!
Please help us build our birthday list, by sending your Username, first and last name, date of birth, (year optional), and where you live, to:

Member Spotlight

by: Karen Santiago

The spotlight is moving 558 miles southeast from Columbia, Missouri to Laughton, Oklahoma to shine brightly on Charles Rivard, who is the member spotlight for July. Charles was born in 1954 in Phoenix, Arizona, when, as he says, the good music was just coming out. He is the youngest, with 2 older sisters and an older brother. He was born three months premature along with his twin sister. Charles weighed less than one pound, while his twin weighed a bit more. However, his sister only lived for a few hours. Due to the prematurity, an increased amount of oxygen was administered causing the condition known as (RLF) retrolental Fibroplasia, which caused his blindness.

As you may know, Charles likes to cause trouble whenever he can. Well, he apparently started this at a very early age. While in his incubator, he was to be lying on his back, but he was found several times on his side. The doctors would reprimand the nurses for moving him onto his side. However, the nurses stated that they were not the ones moving him. Well, finally they caught him in the act. Apparently, little Charles would push his foot up against the side of the incubator and end up on his side. He then received the nickname Little Hercules. What a troublemaker!! However, his aunt gave him the nickname Little Skeeter. Charles may have started out little, but he is 5’11’’ and over 200 pounds. So, now he is known as just Skeeter, which is still used today by his family and others who have known him for a long time.

Charles attended a public school for the first four grades of his education. His parents felt as though the public school education was not good enough for their son. Therefore, for fifth grade, Charles was sent to a blind school in Tucson. His parent said it was his decision, that after one year, he could make the decision to return or not. Charles absolutely loved this school for the simple fact that they had multiple copies of braille text books, meaning that he did not have to share or wait to read. In addition, they had a library filled with lots of braille books. This was all he needed to see to know that it was the right place for him. He was going to continue to pursue his education at the blind school.

At the end of eighth grade, 1968, a friend of his showed him his guitar and taught Charles a couple of chords to play. Charles had previously taken piano lessons, but did not seem to catch on. However, he seemed to grasp the guitar, and he liked it. He got a rhythm guitar and started to take lessons that summer. During high school he played in a rock band. They would play for dances and junior/senior proms.

They were asked to play at other locations, and they did. Whenever they played a gig, each member would get $100.00…he liked that, who wouldnt?

After graduating from high school in 1972, Charles floated around; his words not mine. He worked for the Arizona State Industries for the Blind. He worked on an assembly line cutting wooden handles used for mops and brooms. He worked there for a couple of years at 50 cents an hour. That is way longer than I would have lasted.

Charles gave guitar lessons for three years at the same place where he learned to play. One day while he was there he overheard people talking, singing, and playing music. He thought it sounded a lot like Neil Diamond. He went to investigate. He told the person that he sounded a lot like Neil Diamond. Well, that person said that it was in fact him. Charles did not believe this. It was then that they all, including Charles had a jam session. Well although Charles had egg on his face, because it was indeed Neil Diamond, it was well worth it!

Charles took an accelerated computer programming course in COBOL with Good Will Industries. This was moving along well. That is until his reader had to leave due to family issues. Unfortunately, he had to withdraw from the program because it was taking too long to find a suitable replacement reader and he was falling behind. It was shortly after that experience that Charles went to Lions World Services for the Blind, in Little Rock, Arkansas. He was evaluated and judged as to whether or not he would be suitable for computer work, and, he was! So, he then worked for Discovercard back in Arizona. He worked as a credit card terminal troubleshooter. He would take calls from merchants and help to resolve computer issues related to the processing of credit card transactions. Then new management took over and wanted to make changes that included closing down the troubleshooting department. They offered those employees a job; however, they would have to relocate to Columbus, Ohio. Charles said thanks, but no thanks.

In May of 2005 he started to train with the Center for Disease Control (CDC). His job was to take calls from people seeking medical advice. Such advice could be anything from the common cold to sexually transmitted diseases. Hmm, Charles for medical advice? Charles would type in the condition(s) that the caller was describing, and read the possible diagnosis. While he was paid for the 2 months of training, he and 11 other newly hired employees were released due to low call volumes in the call center. Really, the management couldn’t tell that this was not going to be the case?? Surprising!

In July of 2006, Charles got the opportunity to visit Wee1 in Oklahoma. He had known Katie for 2 years from another online site, where they were both moderators. He liked Oklahoma, and needless to say, he also liked Wee1. But it was back to Arizona for Charles, although he wanted to stay in Oklahoma. It was a great big surprise when his sister and her husband offered to drive Charles and his things to Oklahoma so he could move there. And, that is where Charles remains.

Some things that interest Charles are computers, chess, I phone, music, and reading in braille. Charles is on his fifth guide dog. He received his first dog in 1977 and his latest dog in 2011. He currently has a yellow lab named Purdue. Purdue is his first lab, as all of his other dogs were German Shepards. He got all of his dogs from Guide Dogs for the Blind in Northern California.

Charles heard about Out-Of-Sight from a friend of his. He has been on this site for about five years. He says he likes the people as they seem more open. He also says that this is the site he regularly frequents the most because he agrees with its policies. He loves to cause and start trouble. Of course, he says that it is all in rotten harmless fun.

Charles favorite games to play are word burst and ghost. He also enjoys playing zilch and jeopardy, and listening and performing in On Stage. You will always find him in iPhones anonymous, or in any learning presentation.

Charles currently host chess chat; everything you wanted to learn and know about the game of chess. He had been hosting Zilch and game chat but that is on hold for now as he needs to get his desktop computer working or get it replaced with one that has an appropriate sound card. He also writes and submits articles for the monthly newsletter; He thinks the newsletter is a cool addition to the site. As he says, you never know what you are gonna get!

Out-Of-Sight Gathering

Hello Out-Of-Sight members, family, and friends,

We have been tossing around the idea lately of having another Out-Of-Sight Gathering, and would like to know your thoughts about it. It would be great for us to meet each other and share fun and laughter for a few days, and get to know each other a little better. What do ya say? Sound like a good idea? Please fill out the below survey, and let us know your thoughts.


Toronto author inspires Archie Comics’ first disabled character

By Jesse Tahirali, CTV News
Submitted by Roger Khouri

The timeless town of Riverdale is now a little more modern thanks to Harper, a disabled teen based on a real-life Toronto author.

Wednesday’s issue of Archie Comics features a visit from Veronica’s cousin, who gets around using a pink wheelchair and elbow crutch. Harper, a character inspired by Canadian children’s book author Jewel Kats, is the first disabled character in the comic’s more than 70 years of history. Kats, who also uses a wheelchair, hopes Harper can be a role model to readers. Toronto children’s author and disability advocate Jewel Kats was the inspiration for the latest Archie Comics character Harper, June 19, 2014. Harper, she’s just amazing. She teaches people that you can achieve your dreams, Kats told CTV News Channel. You can be anybody you want to be, even if that means reaching for the stars differently.

The idea was born in 2013 when Kats confronted veteran Archie author and illustrator Dan Parent at Toronto’s Fan Expo comic book convention. Kats was running her own booth at the convention, and upon realizing Parent was in attendance, knew she had a bone to pick with him. I wheeled up to him, looked at him square in the eye and went, Why isnt there a character with a disability in Riverdale? How is that possible? Though the character took some time to create, Parent and Kats exchanged contact information at the convention and eventually fleshed out a fashion-savvy girl who, as explained in the comic, was in a car accident as a child.

Kats, who is given special thanks on the first page of the issue, said Riverdale is becoming more representative of reality. Everybody knows someone with a disability, whether it’s a co-worker or a student in your class or your neighbour, she said.

In 2010, Parent also introduced Archie fans to the franchise’s first openly gay character, Kevin Keller. Kats said with these changes, Riverdale is becoming more inclusive, something Archie Comics Co-CEO Jon Goldwater was aiming for when he first announced the introduction of Harper. Harper is the latest in a long line of characters we’ve introduced to make Riverdale feel like a city in today’s world, Goldwater said in a May press release. The fact that she is disabled is only one part of her story, and we are excited to welcome her to Riverdale and Archie Comics.

I am blind but don\'t need a wheelchair to board a train

By Kathleen Hawkins - BBC News
Submitted by Rich DeSteno

Quote, It is bad enough losing one area of independence without having another snatched away,, end quote, says Red Szell. He complains that, when travelling, \"well-meaning souls\" provide the wrong kind of help for him. Often staff arrange assistance more appropriate for someone who is mobility impaired not visually impaired, and if you don\'t book ahead this can often take longer as it involves getting equipment or vehicles.

Recently I turned up to an airport having navigated my way there unaided, on time, and with a rucksack full of climbing gear ready to tackle an Italian rock face. All I wanted was a bit of guidance through the gloom to the departure gate - but oh no, instead my arrival initiated quote, a procedure, end quote. The minutes ticked by ... the train left without me.

Szell was taken to a seat and then asked to wait. Resistance was futile, he says. I had entered the Health and Safety zone. Forty minutes later, with his flight being called for the final time, a wheelchair was produced and he only just made it on board before the doors were closed.

But it is not just airports, says Szell, train stations can sometimes have the same procedures. At one station the guard asked whether he was travelling alone and on replying yes, Szell was then held there while the guard radioed for help from a colleague. The reason? There was, the guard said, a danger that he may fall down the gap between the train and the platform. When Szell explained he was in a hurry the guard told him he was unable to assist because he must not leave his post. The minutes ticked by and I considered vaulting the barrier, says Szell. The train left without me. An electric buggy then pulled up next to him, waited an hour for the next train, and carried Szell just 15m so he could board.

They said the buggy had been summoned to facilitate the journey, says Szell. I should not be surprised, he says. It is the same impulse that has hosts at parties steering me to the nearest chair. I do not want to sound churlish, an offer of genuine assistance is a joy to receive but being subjected to a one-size-fits-all risk assessment solution is like being labelled a liability for daring to set foot outdoors.

I know the airport and railway staff have a duty of care and the host has every right to take charge at his or her party, but I am the one living with my condition and a good doctor always talks to his patient before dispensing treatment.

Train stations and airports advise disabled people to book assistance in advance of their journey to avoid complications. For trains, it is advised to book 24 hours ahead, and airports will require 48 hours notice.

Walgreens Launches Nationwide Program Offering Talking Prescription Devices

Submitted by Debi Chatfield

Walgreens, the nation\'s largest drugstore chain, today announced the launch of a nationwide program offering talking prescription devices to customers with visual impairments. The initiative introduces a new service that complements other accessible prescription information Walgreens currently provides.

Walgreens is the first in the industry to offer this exclusive talking prescription device, called the Talking Pill Reminder, at its retail locations chain wide. The device attaches to prescription containers and will be provided free of charge with prescription medications that Walgreens dispenses to its pharmacy customers who are blind or who have visual impairments. The Talking Pill Reminder can be recorded to speak the information on the customer\'s prescription medication label, and also has an audible alarm to remind patients when to take a medication.

The Talking Pill Reminder is available to customers of Walgreens retail pharmacies across the country and through Walgreens prescription mail service. The devices also are available in Walgreens drugstores for purchase for a retail price of $9.99.

Adherence to medication can be critical in treating illness today, and this is an innovation that will help our visually impaired customers correctly identify and take medications as prescribed. As part of our mission to help customers get, stay and live well, we are proud to have worked closely with other leading organizations to make the Talking Pill Reminder available across all of our more than 8,100 stores nationwide. Jeff Koziel, Walgreens group vice president of pharmacy operations.

The initiative is the result of a collaboration between Walgreens, The American Council of the Blind (ACB) and the ACB affiliates in California and Illinois. All partnering organizations praised the Walgreens announcement.

Accessible prescription information is critical to people who are blind, and with todays announcement, Walgreens assumes a significant leadership role in serving its customers with visual impairments.

Illinois Council of the Blind representative Ray Campbell commended Walgreens initiative, saying, So many of our members and ACB members across the country value Walgreens excellent customer service. The company\'s rollout of the Talking Pill Reminder gives them yet another reason to make Walgreens their pharmacy of choice.

California Council of the Blind President Donna Pomerantz said, Standard prescription labels put customers who are blind at risk for mixing up medications or taking them incorrectly. For this reason, Walgreens initiative is a matter of basic safety, and we congratulate the company on its efforts in this important area.

In addition to providing the Talking Pill Reminder, Walgreens also offers large print patient information sheets to customers who have visual impairments.

Walgreens accessibility initiative will help people with visual impairments who have difficulty or are unable to read a standard prescription medication label.

Being cynical can lead to dementia

By: Zoe McKnight - The Toronto Star
Submitted by Geoff Eden

Highly cynical people are more likely to develop dementia, according to a new study out of Finland published in next month\'s Neurology journal.

People who self-report high levels of cynical distrust are three times more likely to develop dementia, according to the study. They were also found to have unhealthier lives and less education. Cynicism was determined by ranking belief in such statements as \"I think most people would lie to get ahead\" and \"It is safer to trust nobody.\" This is the first study making the link, said Anna-Maija Tolppanen, lead researcher and professor of analytic epidemiology at the University of Eastern Finland.

No one has looked before whether cynical people have a higher risk of dementia as well, she said in a phone interview. Dementia has been studied in relation to cardiovascular disease and higher mortality, and to other personality traits. Data were derived from participants in the Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging and Dementia Study conducted in the 1970s and 1980s in Finland; those who were still alive in 1998 and 2005 were targeted for the study.

In the Finnish health survey data, people with higher levels of cynicism also had a greater body mass index, higher blood pressure and blood glucose levels and were more likely to smoke. They also had less education and poorer self-reported health.

And what I believe might be one very feasible explanation is they engage less in social activities, and we know that all these factors are related to our cognitive status, Tolppanen said, adding a cluster of factors are likely to contribute to dementia. Although the study sample size, 46 people who developed dementia out of 622, was small, it is proportionate to the population at large, Tolppanen said. This is just the first study, she said. No clinical cut-off yet exists to indicate what level of cynicism could be harmful to human health.

But other studies have linked cynicism to inflammation and heart disease. And one U.S. psychologist has said cynicism is a life-threatening condition. Isolation is just deadly for us, said Lisa Firestone. We are such a social species that even when we think we want to be isolated, it does not do us any good, especially when we are in a cynical or negative state. It grows in that state.

Certainly isolation is a factor in dementia, that withdrawing from the world. On the other hand, a resilient attitude can help people see problems as challenges rather than overwhelming stress, which can help when making a lifestyle change such as diet and exercise, Firestone said from California.

A cynical attitude can also hurt performance in the workplace, said Kristyn Scott, a psychologist and Ryerson University professor who studies organizational cynicism and teaches at the Ted Rogers School of Management.

JHU Biologists Identify New Neural Pathway in Eyes that Aids in Vision

By Johns Hopkins University
Submitted by Roger Khouri

A type of retina cell plays a more critical role in vision than previously known, a team led by Johns Hopkins University researchers has discovered.

Working with mice, the scientists found that the ipRGCs – an atypical type of photoreceptor in the retina – help detect contrast between light and dark, a crucial element in the formation of visual images. The key to the discovery is the fact that the cells express melanopsin, a type of photopigment that undergoes a chemical change when it absorbs light.

Quote. We are quite excited that melanopsin signaling contributes to vision even in the presence of functional rods and cones, End Quote, postdoctoral fellow Tiffany M. Schmidt said.

Schmidt is lead author of a recently published study in the journal Neuron. The senior author is Samer Hattar, associate professor of biology in the universitys Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. Their findings have implications for future studies of blindness or impaired vision.

Rods and cones are the most well-known photoreceptors in the retina, activating in different light environments. Rods, of which there are about 120 million in the human eye, are highly sensitive to light and turn on in dim or low-light environments. Meanwhile the 6 million to 7 million cones in the eye are less sensitive to light; they drive vision in brighter light conditions and are essential for color detection.

Rods and cones were thought to be the only light-sensing photoreceptors in the retina until about a decade ago when scientists discovered a third type of retinal photoreceptor – the ipRGC, or intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cell – that contains melanopsin. Those cells were thought to be needed exclusively for detecting light for non-image-dependent functions, for example, to control synchronization of our internal biological clocks to daytime and the constriction of our pupils in response to light.

Quote. Rods and cones were thought to mediate vision and ipRGCs were thought to mediate these simple light-detecting functions that happen outside of conscious perception, End Quote, Schmidt said. Quote. But our experiments revealed that ipRGCs influence a greater diversity of behaviors than was previously known and actually contribute to an important aspect of image-forming vision, namely contrast detection. End Quote.

The Johns Hopkins team along with other scientists conducted several experiments with mice and found that when melanopin was present in the retinal ganglion cells, the mice were better able to see contrast in a Y-shaped maze, known as the visual water task test. In the test, mice are trained to associate a pattern with a hidden platform that allows them to escape the water. Mice that had the melanopsin gene intact had higher contrast sensitivity than mice that lack the gene.

Quote. Melanopsin signaling is essential for full contrast sensitivity in mouse visual functions, End Quote, said Hattar. Quote. The ipRGCs and melanopsin determine the threshold for detecting edges in the visual scene, which means that visual functions that were thought to be solely mediated by rods and cones are now influenced by this system. The next step is to determine if melanopsin plays a similar role in the human retina for image-forming visual functions. End Quote.

Other co-authors on the Neuron paper are Nazia M. Alam and Glen T. Prusky from Burke Medical Research Institute, Shan Chen and Wei Li from the National Eye Institute at the National Institutes of Health and Paulo Kofuji from the University of Minnesota. This research was funded by the National Institutes of Health grants GM076430 and EY022543, the NIH Intramural Research Program and the Burke Foundation.

The Book Shelf -

Book Number 1:
Tales from Margaritaville: fictional facts and factual fictions
Written by: Jimmy Buffett. Read by: Christopher Hurt. Reading time: 5 hours, 43 minutes.
Genre: General, Bestsellers
Description: Singer, guitarist, songwriter, and band leader Buffett creates a grab bag of lighthearted fun. The eight short stories introduce characters such as rock and roll singer Freddy Fishstick; cowboy Tully Mars; and Angel Beech, named for her father\'s favorite fishing spot. Buffett\'s nonfiction pieces describe his love for sailing and his world travels. Some strong language. Bestseller.

Book Number 2:
Total recall: my unbelievably true life story
Written by: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Peter Petre. Read by: Jack Fox. Reading time: 21 hours, 50 minutes.
Genre: Stage and Screen, Government and Politics, Bestseller
Description: Austria-born Schwarzenegger describes winning six Mr. Olympia titles, starring in such movies as the Conan and Terminator series and Total Recall, marrying and raising children with Maria Shriver, and being the Republican governor of California. Discusses his return to acting and his marital woes. Strong language. Bestseller. 2012.

Book Number 3:
Top Secret 21 - A Stephanie Plumb book
Written by: Janet Evanovich
Description: In this outstanding chronicles of Stephanie’s prowess as a bounty hunter working for her cousin Vinnie, Stephanie finds herself the unwitting bodyguard to Randy Briggs, the midget accountant extraordinaire who was in the middle of an illicit sex trade scandal with a prominent car salesman who is now on the run from Stephanie and the police, all while bumping off loose ends. Problem is, Randy is one loose end that is proving harder to cut off then the others in the gang. Now, Stephanie must balance her protective duties trying to keep Randy alive, while using him as bait to capture the car salesman. Did I mention Stephanie is not too fond of Randy?

The 10 most corrupt states in the U.S

by  Chris Matthews
Submitted by Rich DeSteno

New research takes a look at decades of corruption convictions to find the crookedest states in the union. When we think of government corruption (as one tends to do),  our biased minds often gravitate to thoughts of military juntas and third world governments. But, of course, corruption is everywhere, in one form or another. And it’s costing U.S. citizens big time.

A new study from researchers at the University of Hong Kong and Indiana University estimates that corruption on the state level is costing Americans in the 10 most corrupt states an average of $1,308 per year, or 5.2% of those states’ average expenditures per year. The researchers studied more than 25,000 convictions of public officials for violation of federal corruption laws between 1976 and 2008 as well as patterns in state spending to develop a corruption index that estimates the most and least corrupt states in the union.

Based on this method, the the most corrupt states are:
1. Mississippi
2. Louisiana
3. Tennessee
4. Illinois
5. Pennsylvania
6. Alabama
7. Alaska
8. South Dakota
9. Kentucky
10. Florida

That these places landed on the list isn’t exactly surprising. Illinois, which has gain notoriety for its high-profile corruption cases in recent years, is paired with states like Mississippi and Louisiana, which are some of the least economically developed in the country. The researchers also found that for 9 out of the 10 of the most corrupt states, overall state spending was higher than in less corrupt states (South Dakota was the only exception). Attacking corruption, the researchers argue, could be a good way to bring down state spending without hurting services that people need.

Researchers also found that spending in these states was different than their less corrupt counterparts. According to the report, states with higher levels of corruption are likely to favor construction, salaries, borrowing, correction, and police protection at the expense of social sectors such as education, health and hospitals. The paper explains that construction spending, especially on big infrastructure projects, is particularly susceptible to corruption because the quality of large, nonstandard projects are difficult for the public to gauge, while the industry is dominated by a few monopolistic firms. Corrupt states also tend to, for obvious reasons, simply have more and better paid public servants, including police and correctional officers. The researchers argue that the need for correctional officers is greater in corrupt places too because the overall extent of corruption will be higher in states with higher numbers of convictions of public officials.

Of course, it is not all bad news, as the study also found the least corrupt states too.

Citizens of these states–Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Vermont, Utah, New Hampshire, Colorado, and Kansas - can take solace in the fact that they are not getting ripped off as badly as the rest of us.

Flick, Swipe, and Tap - Ten New Accessibility Features in iOS 8

Last week at Apples annual developer conference, the company announced the launch of its new mobile operating system, iOS 8. Over the years, Apple has strived to make its products as accessible as possible for all users.

With the said mission in mind, though both OS X and iOS platforms currently offer many accessible features, Apple continues to improve their current features as well as add new ones. During the conference, they gave an overview of features that may benefit those with disabilities. Some of the enhanced or new accessibility features offered in iOS 8 include:

  1. 1.Grayscale
  2. 2.Improved zoom
  3. 3.Spotlight
  4. 4.Braille Keyboard
  5. 5.QuickType
  6. 6.Multi device support for MFi (Made For iPhone) hearing aids
  7. 7.Touch ID improvements
  8. 8.Alex voice
  9. 9.In Case of Emergency Card
  10. 10.WiFi calls

1. First up is the Grayscale feature, which is comparable to the Invert Colors feature introduced in iOS 7 as it aids individuals with vision problems to better see content on the device. The new Grayscale option is activated by a toggle switch found under quote, Accessibility Vision end quote. Upon activation, the phones content will turn from custom, bright colors to shades of gray, creating a greater contrast for users with low vision or other visual problems; users will be able to better view the iOS Home screen, built in first party apps, and third party applications downloaded from the App Store.

2. Next, Apple improved its Zoom feature(s) by giving users the option to zoom in on everything except the keyboard. This option is especially useful for individuals with low vision upon entering information into web fields. With the new enhancements, users can now zoom in on tiny labels and textfields-all while being able to use the keyboard.

3. Spotlight search already exists in iOS 7, but is arguably more accessible for users with communication impairments in iOS 8. Spotlight in iOS 8 will give meaningful Sirilike answers, but unlike Siri, it uses text input, giving users the ability to type instead of speak, and get meaningful results.

4. One of the most exciting, highly anticipated new features available on iOS 8 is the six key Braille entry keyboard. After years of waiting, third party keyboards and Braille are coming to iOS, allowing individuals to use Braille to write texts directly into the Messages app, or Fleksy to type out an email or perform a search on iTunes or the App Store.

5. A second keyboard feature being offered is QuickType, which is context sensitive predictive typing. This allows individuals to respond in a more ergonomic, productive way. This is ideal for individuals with mobility impairments or who often get fatigued typing out things on their devices.

6. With the update, Made for iPhone hearing aids will gain multi device support.

7. Touch ID is already great for individuals who are blind as it offers secure authentication without having to use VoiceOver to type, which can be a slow process. In iOS 8, in addition to unlocking their device or make iTunes purchases, users will also be able to unlock information in third party apps with the touch of a finger.

8. 8. Users can now use the higher quality, much more natural sounding Alex voice already offered on OS X platforms on their iOS devices.

9. 9. There is a Health app added to iOS 8, and within this app is the In Case of Emergency Card. This may seem rather insignificant, but in the event of an emergency-or even for those with communication challenges or struggle to remember medical details, this card will be useful. The card contains important personal medical details such as existing conditions, current medications, allergies, and emergency contacts.

10. Users will now be able to make calls and send texts over the internet on Macs and iPads. WiFi calling is great for individuals who may have dropped or cannot reach their phone, and need assistance; this may also be terrifically convenient for those who prefer working on larger devices. In the event that cellular network signal is weak, users will still be able to make phone calls as long as there is a connection to the internet.

The above is just a brief list of potential accessibility features, iOS 8 will not be available until this fall.

7 ways to get SIRI to work harder for you

Submitted by: Charles Rivard

SIRI is getting better and better! Here are a few neat things you can have SIRI do for you:

1. Find settings

Siri can not only \"turn off Bluetooth\" but will also help you find a setting if you don\'t know where it\'s located. Try asking to \"change the font size\" or \"adjust the screen brightness\" or \"edit Safari settings,\" and Siri will direct you to the right options page, with no need for you to search through screens yourself. Call up the app if you want to reconfigure your iOS gadget but aren\'t sure where the option is (or don\'t want to go through multiple taps to find it).

2. Passing planes

Ask Siri \"what planes are above me right now?\" and you\'ll quickly get the results back thanks to data pulled from the FAA\'s database and Siri\'s integration with Wolfram Alpha. Unfortunately, it only works in the US for the time being, but it\'s a handy option to have if you\'re wondering where a passing plane is heading to or coming from.

3. Setting power naps

You can tell Siri to \"wake me in 40 minutes\" and your iDevice\'s alarm will be set accordingly. This is in addition to the standard alarm clock commands that let you set an alarm for a specific time and date. If you\'re so jetlagged that you\'re not sure what time it is but you know you need an hour\'s shut-eye, Siri has you covered.

4. Movie reviews and times

Siri pulls in data from the Rotten Tomatoes review site, so you can ask it \"how good is The Dark Knight Rises?\" and get a response based on hundreds of reviews. You might have to pick from a shortlist of potential options if Siri finds several matches, but the process is still pretty painless. You can also ask \"how long is The Lego Movie?\" just before you sit down in your seat, and get a quick response.

5. World Cup data

If soccer isn\'t high up on your list of priorities, tune out now, but Siri can tap into all kinds of information about the 2014 World Cup in Brazil in addition to its prowess at covering other sporting events. Ask \"when is England v Italy?\" or \"when does the World Cup end?\" to find out when the next match starts or when you can finally escape from the wall-to-wall coverage. Try \"who will win the World Cup?\" to get the current state of play in the tournament.

6. Find some food and drink

Not only can you search for restaurants and bars nearby, you can also look for specific types of food or beverages, whether that\'s sandwiches, steaks, coffee or beer. Ask Siri to \"find a whiskey\" and you\'ll get back the nearest bars and restaurants where \"whiskey\" is mentioned in the description or reviews. It\'s a handy feature to have if you\'ve got a hankering for a particular dish or drink.

7. What is Gizmodo saying?

Twitter and iOS are best buddies these days and you can leverage this in all kinds of useful ways. As well as asking \"what\'s trending on Twitter?\" you can also ask what specific people, accounts and handles are saying right now. Of course you\'ll need to give Siri permission to access the Twitter account on your iOS device if you haven\'t already done so.

Bonus: Great App deal you might find useful

Weather Radio by WDT, formerly iMap Weather Radio, has dropped in price to $4.99. Weather Radio was recently redesigned and includes very good VoiceOver support. It also includes an option for a $4.99 per year lightning alerts subscription--allowing one to be alerted via push notifications when lightning is within 6 miles of your current or any saved locations, as well as when lightning has exited the area.

Accessible iPhone Apps That Help Me Manage Work, Life, and Travel as a Blind Professional

By Joe Strechay
Submitted by Roger Khouri

I wanted to take the time to write a little bit about how my iPhone allows me more access. I could say to my life, work, but it is so much more than that. I know my wife might argue that I am a bit too much in love with my iPhone, but it provides access through one device that fits in my pocket like I did not have prior. You might say this post is five years too late, but the fact is the apps and access has changed since that point. I know many people who are blind would agree with me or provide their own insight into the access created. I use Voiceover on my iPhone, and I truthfully wish I could increase the verbosity of it past the current high end. Apple, if you are reading this, get on it (please)!

I travel a good amount for my job as AFBs CareerConnect Program Manager, and my iPhone comes in quite handy, as I access my email, phone, and much more. I use the TapTapSee app (2014 AFB Access Award winner) to figure out which bottle is shampoo and conditioner in my hotel room. I know not to take the picture with the mirror in the background or else I might get a warning, Quote, put some clothes on, buddy! End Quote. I use Tap, Tap, See to access a lot of things, from figuring out what is in front of me to the color of a shirt.

I use my accessible Comcast app, TV Go, to access the latest television programs from my cable provider. Thank you, Comcast, for creating an accessible app that allows me to access my guilty pleasures while traveling. Next, work on a way to get video description on that programming through the app and I might give you a big hug. I think you all know that I love video description. But for now, I will get back to HBOs Boardwalk Empire.

I use my LookTel Money Reader to identify my cash prior to folding it. It has not failed me yet. I think it costs about $1.99 and it was found to be the most accurate of the money identifier apps a while back. I use my Chase Bank app to monitor my cash flow or lack of it at times — my love for food, apps, and iTunes can make a real dent in my available cash.

I suggest iBooks, BARD Mobile, Bookshare, Bleo, and NFB Newsline to access books and periodicals through your iPhone. I love grabbing my books in an e-text format, as I dig the synthesized speech for reading versus a human voice. It does not distort as much with higher speeds. There are many options via pay per book, subscription, or registration.

Obviously, I use my iPhone to access my work and personal email, as I can stay on top of my projects and correspond with my colleagues. I look for flight alerts in my email and gate changes at the airport. I can not see the signs, but I tent to know the gate changes prior to any announcements.

I also make sure to stay up to date with the latest news on the New York Yankees through the MLB at Bat app (2012 AFB Access Award winner). It is important to have your priorities straight. I also stay up to date with the East Carolina University Pirates and Florida State University Seminoles through apps.

I use TuneIn Radio to access different radio stations around the United States. I have the NPR News app to keep up with my favorite public broadcasting. I listen to various podcasts via the Podcast app from Apple. I use my Marriott Hotels app to keep track of my hotel stays on trips and such. It is not perfect, but I get access to the information I need. I may forget on a long trip to have the full list of my hotels, and this provides the access I need.

I use the US Airways app to keep track of my flights. I use the GPS and direction features to keep my cabs on track. I used it twice in New York because my cab driver did not know where a street was in Brooklyn. I was like, Quote, I got this, bam! End Quote. I had created the route and got us to the location. He wanted to take me to Manhattan, and I was like you are on the wrong track. I use Around Me to check out what is in area and check out the blocks around me.

For access to food in my area, I use FourSquare to access close restaurants and their menus. If I am in a restaurant, this can provide a more accurate menu than a braille menu from five years ago or longer. I use urban spoon when traveling to figure out the local restaurants and possibly which deliver.

I use Text Detective and ZoomReader to access small amounts of print text, neither is perfect or great. I was just taught how to use Uber to get cabs and cars. It seems fully accessible, but the wording at times is not perfect in the labeling of buttons and requests. It works, though. When I really have the need to make the \"whip\" sound, I break out the Pocket Whip app. You never know when a good whip sound will come in handy, especially when you add the music from Indiana Jones.

When in meetings, I use the AFB AccessNote app to take and keep track of my notes. It syncs with my Dropbox account, and it has a really great search on it. I read the latest and past issues of AFBs AccessWorld® Magazine through the AccessWorld App. I want to keep up with all of the changes in technology and accessibility through the free monthly online technology magazine. And stay tuned, you can look for more information on AFBs CareerConnect App coming soon to the Apple App Store.

These are just a few of my thoughts on the apps I use while traveling around the United States. Make sure you are not caught without your Pocket Whip app. You do not want to be the one saying, Quote, Oh, I really meant to download that app. End Quote. Let me know the the apps that you use while out and about.

Currency Readers for the Blind

By Anne L. Kim

While a $1 bill means something entirely different than a $100 bill, they might not feel too different to the visually impaired. The government is ready to do something about that challenge, though.

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing expects to distribute between 100,000 and 500,000 currency readers to the blind and others who are visually impaired, says Larry R. Felix, director of the bureau in written testimony for a House Financial Services Committee hearing today.

In a report last year, the Government Accountability Office described the gizmos as portable electronic devices capable of speaking the denomination of a bill out loud.

The effort is part of a response by the Treasury Department to a court ruling several years ago that directed the department to provide the blind and visually impaired with meaningful access to currency.

quote, We plan to launch a pilot program this summer and roll the program out nationally in 2015. The project plan is under joint development and will be operated by the BEP an the LOC/NLS, end quote Felix said in his statement. LOC/NLS is the Library of Congress service for the blind and physically handicapped. Felix said the office helped to develop the readers.

Don\'t let blind tech loyalty outweigh logic

By: J.J. Rosen, For The Tennessean
Submitted by Geoff Eden

I am officially submitting a request to the publishers of Merriam-Webster\'s dictionary to add the following word:

tech-no-li-gious adjective: scrupulously and conscientiously faithful to a specific technology, technology company and/or technology brand.

I admit that my request has a high chance of being ignored or at best denied, but I am confident that there are many out there who will recognize what my made-up word \"technoligious\" describes.

There are those among us (mainly geeks like myself) who are as passionately loyal and faithful to a specific operating system, programming language, search engine or brand name as a religious person is to their religion. Hardcore computer geeks are often religious about what technologies they love and equally as fervent about what technologies they hate.

If your company has an IT department or an outsourced IT consultant, you have probably heard the following phrases:
iPhones are much better than Androids.
Androids are great; iPhones are horrible.
Linux is awesome and Microsoft is the devil.
Office365 is so much better than Google Apps.
I will never use a PC. Apple is the best company ever.
The list goes on.

Just as there have been many religious wars throughout history, there are thousands of technology battles happening in companies across the world on a daily basis. While these technical battles may seem harmless, they can actually lead to make-or-break decisions at the executive level that have direct effects on both individual careers and company profits. In my day job as a computer consultant, I often encounter clients who have \"drunk the Kool-Aid\" of one particular technology. However, in my experience, there is rarely only one technical solution to a business problem. Subjective factors like ease of use, resource availability, scalability and supportability are often matters of opinion rather than certain facts. Additionally, there can often be disadvantages to being devoutly brand-loyal to any one technology. Extreme brand loyalty can limit choices in finding solutions to technology problems.

It can also possibly mean unnecessarily paying higher costs, and can even cause users to ignore the negatives such as bugs in new products or customer service that takes its brand fanatics for granted. Much like the argument over Pepsi or Coke, the difference between technologies that are both popular and proven, e.g. iPhone vs. Android, is often simply a matter of subjective opinion. In fact, they\'re both great products. Popular technologies like Linux, Windows, Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, MySQL, PHP, .Net, iOS, Android, all have their good and bad. IT professionals who preach only one right way are more prevalent than those with a technology-agnostic approach, but the end user should be wary of such techno-extremists.

Loyalty can be a great thing, but when it comes to technology in a business setting, it is important to have an open mind. There are often multiple \"right tools for the job\" with each tool having true pros and cons. Techies that have an agnostic, or even moderate perspective on what technologies to use to meet a business objective reduce the risk of painting a company into a technical corner.

J.J. Rosen is the founder of Atiba, an IT consulting, programming, networking and web development firm located in Nashville.

Making 3D models of childrens picture books for visually impaired children

By Medical News Today
Submitted by Roger Khouri

Quote. Goodnight room, goodnight moon. Goodnight cow jumping over the moon... End Quote.

A childrens classic that already is a candidate for the all-time best feel-good book, Quote. Goodnight Moon, End Quote, has gotten a boost: A University of Colorado Boulder team printed the first 3D version of it, allowing visually impaired children and their families to touch objects in the story - like the cow jumping over the moon - as it is read aloud.

The story by Margaret Wise Brown of a bunny in bed wishing good night to his surroundings, Quote. Goodnight Moon, End Quote, was a logical first choice for CU-Boulders Tactile Picture Books Project - there are more than 40 million copies in print and it has been translated into at least a dozen languages. CU-Boulder computer science Assistant Professor Tom Yeh and his team now are using the same techniques to print several other highly popular childrens books in 3D, including Quote. Harold and the Purple Crayon, End Quote, and Quote. The Very Hungry Caterpillar. End Quote.

Quote. When my son was born three years ago we got five copies of ---Goodnight Moon--- as gifts, an indication of how popular it is among small children and adults End Quote, said Yeh. Quote. It seemed to me to be the ideal book that would lend itself to our new research effort. The idea of tactile picture books is not new, End Quote, said Yeh. Quote, What is new is making 3D printing more accessible and interactive so parents and teachers of visually impaired children can customize and print these kinds of picture books in 3D, End Quote, he said. Yeh gave a presentation on the subject at the annual Association for Computing Machinerys CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems held in May in Toronto.

Graduate student Abigale Stangl (right), a CU-Boulder doctoral student and a volunteer at the Anchor Center for Blind Children in Denver, shows Isabella Chinkes and her mother, Linda, a 3D version of ---Goodnight Moon.

Yeh directs the Sikuli Lab at CU-Boulder, where his students conduct research on how computers can see better and interact with humans more naturally. Yeh, who received his doctorate in computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, also studies artificial intelligence with a goal of people using it to solve practical problems. This spring, Yeh assigned students in his rapid prototyping class to create four 3D pages each from the popular kids book Quote. Harold and the Purple Crayon, End Quote,published in 1955 by Crocket Johnson, in which a small boy creates his own world by simply drawing it. For the finished book, Yeh selected one page from each student in the class. Quote. The creative side of these students really came out, End Quote, he says.

Some of the 3D pages printed by Yehs students contained only a single object that dominated a particular page - like a boat Harold is climbing in, for example - objects that may be scaled to larger or smaller sizes so blind children can better feel its shape. The 3D pages for Quote. Harold and the Purple Crayon, End Quote, currently are on display along the stairwell wall of the Gemmill Library in CU-Boulders Mathematics Building.

Quote. The main idea is to represent 2D graphics in a 3D, tactile way on a scale appropriate for the cognitive abilities and interests of young children, End Quote, said Yeh. The team combines this information with computational algorithms - essentially step-by-step instructions for mathematical calculations - providing an interface that allows parents, teachers and supporters to print their own customized picture books using 3D computers.

Quote. Ideally a parent could choose a book, take a picture of a page, send the picture to a 3D printer, which would result in a 3D tactile book, End Quote, he said. Quote. We are investigating the scientific, technical and human issues that must be addressed before this vision can be fully realized. End Quote.

Yeh said hobbyists who already own 3D printers could be a huge help to the project. Quote. uote. If they could donate their creative minds and time to make something that benefits visually impaired kids, that would be great. End Quote.Another potential benefit? The cost of 3D printers - currently thousands of dollars - will likely drop significantly in the coming years, just as ink jet laser printers did a few decades ago, making them accessible to most people.

Quote. The global enthusiasm for 3D printing is off the charts, End Quote, said Yeh. Quote. People now are 3D printing aircraft engine parts, bikinis, pizzas, bicycles, artificial limbs and teddy bears - even all of the parts required to assemble another 3D printer. Yeh likened 3D printing to building an object with a tiny Lego set: Setting down nearly microscopic drops of material - often liquid plastic - then building them up into 3D objects, like a clock or a dinosaur, a drop at a time using the interface created by Yeh and his team.

Quote. I realized we could do something meaningful by interpreting pictures from these childrens books using mathematical diagrams, End Quote, he said. Quote. This project is much more difficult than I envisioned, but it also is much more rewarding. End Quote.

The Tactile Picture Books Project headed by Yeh was boosted last year by an $8,000 outreach grant from the university, which has helped his research team collaborate with the Anchor Center for Blind Children, a preschool in Denver, to better understand the needs of visually impaired toddlers and how parents can effectively engage them in reading. Quote. One big advantage to tactile 3D childrens books is that many blind children do not start learning Braille until they are about six years old, End Quote, said Yeh. Quote. Quote. The University of Colorado Boulder is the expert in technology and the Anchor Center is the expert in tactile reading, End Quote, said Anchor Center teacher JC Greeley. Quote. Together we are able to create a unified tact le reading tool that gives young visually impaired children immediate and equal accessibility to books, offering the whole family a way to experience the magic of reading together. End Quote.

CU-Boulder graduate student Abigale Stangl of the ATLAS program and the computer science department, one of Yehs students, volunteers at the Anchor Center. Quote. For the visually impaired, tactile development is important, End Quote, she said. Quote. I am interested in learning different ways we perceive the world and how we can help create interesting experiences through touch. End Quote. Another doctoral student, Jeeeun Kim, helped to create and refine the first Quote. Goodnight Moon, End Quote, 3D-printed book. Quote. We liked that the story is simple and all objects the little bunny says goodnight to are easily found in our daily lives, enabling children to imagine what those look like, End Quote, said Jeeeun. Quote. The 3D technology already was there, we had techniques we developed for image processing, you put them together and you have the means to print out 3D images from childrens books, End Quote, said Yeh. Quote.

The goal is to have parents, teachers and supporters of visually impaired children learn how to use software and 3D printers to make books of their own. Since each child generally has his or her unique visual impairment issues, the idea is to customize each book for each child. End Quote. Yeh, who also conducts research on Quote. big data, End Quote, and security issues, said it was a risky proposition to dive into the world of 3D picture books for vision-impaired kids. Quote. I took a chance and I am doing something very different, which is fulfilling. End Quote. he said. Quote. The engineering college has been very supportive of my work. Our goal now is to generate more interest in this project, End Quote, said Yeh. Quote. We will be putting on some workshops in the Denver-Boulder area this summer, teaching people how to make 3D models of childrens picture books and printing them. End Quote.

AMI-Audio Special Focuses on the Accessibility of Some of the USA’s Most Famous Monuments

By Accessible Media Inc.
Submitted by Roger Khouri

Note: while this is a Canadian broadcaster, you can use their audio stream at www.ami.ca to catch the program described in this article.

Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) announced today that it will air a two-part documentary exploring the accessibility of some of the most recognizable attractions in the capital of the United States.

AMI Goes to Washington captures the spirit of America’s capital and takes listeners on a detailed journey through the city as AMI-audio staffers Paul Daniel and Joe Lamanna explore many of D.C.s iconic monuments and experience first-hand how accessible they are. Quote. Washington is one of the most famous cities in the United States and home to some of the nation’s key landmarks, End Quote, says John Melville, Vice President of Programming and Production for AMI-tv and AMI-audio.

Quote. We wanted to create an experience for our audience and make them feel like they’re on the ground in Washington, while keeping a focus on accessibility. End Quote.

In part one, AMI goes inside The White House, The Capitol Building, The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Part two focuses on the accessibility of the Arlington National Cemetery, The Lincoln Memorial, Fords Theatre and The African American Civil War Museum.

Joe Lamanna, Manager of National Programming for AMI-audio, is eager to share his experience. Quote. We wanted to visit as many world famous sites as we could, End Quote, he says. Quote. Many of our audience members have only heard about or seen these amazing attractions in the news, and are unaware of the extensive details. Our goal is to bring them to life. Our experience at the White House was particularly memorable as we attended an event hosted by the President in the famous East Room. End Quote.

Do not miss part one of AMI Goes to Washington on AMI-audio Sunday, July 6 at 7 and 10 pm Eastern Time followed by part two on Sunday, July 13 at 7 and 10 pm Eastern Time. Check your local provider or visit AMI.ca for the AMI channels in your area.

Follow us on Twitter: @a11ymedia
About Accessible Media Inc.

Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) is a not-for-profit multimedia organization operating two broadcast services: AMI-audio and AMI-tv, and a website (AMI.ca). A third broadcast service, AMI-télé, will launch in December 2014. Serving more than five million Canadians who are blind, partially sighted, deaf, hard of hearing, mobility or print restricted, AMI’s mission is to make accessible media for all Canadians.

Healthy Choice, Healthy Living - 10 Tips to Staying Healthy

By Lawrence MacLellan

Hi everyone, here are 10 tips to staying healthy and I am including a link to Ty Bollinger’s program on preventing cancer. It’s full of great information and is over 8 hours long, very good information. Please enjoy.

1. ay vegetarian, weekend carnivore

Vegetarians generally suffer fewer degenerative diseases and cancers than their carnivore cousins. It\'s been estimated that a third of all cancer patients developed their disease as a result of insufficient whole plant fibre in their diets. However, you don\'t have to give up meat entirely to enjoy longevity -- limiting your intake or eating meat only on weekends is a perfectly balanced and healthy approach.

2. Stay alive: Stop eating dead foods

Ever wonder what Wonder Bread is really made of, or how many miles that head of limp lettuce has traveled? There\'s nothing like fresh, whole, organic foods to maintain your health and well-being. Farm-fresh produce and meats go directly from the source to your table, leaving little time in between for nutrients to be lost. Many foods at your supermarket have been picked or slaughtered weeks or even months before they make it onto the shelf. These items are preserved by nitrogen or other artificial means, making them appear fresh. Moreover, foods treated with pesticides and artificial fertilizers have lower nutritional value than foods grown organically.

3. Ginger gives you snap

Best known in the West for its antinausea properties, ginger has probably been in the longest continuous use of any botanical remedy in the world. The Chinese use it for both medicinal and culinary purposes, frequently in cooking seafood, since it acts as a detoxifier to prevent seafood poisoning. Besides its popular application for digestive distress, ginger has been found to contain geraniol, which may be a potent cancer fighter. It also possesses anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve pain, prevent blood clots, and inhibit the onset of migraine headaches. Since ancient times, Chinese physicians have regularly consumed ginger tea to keep their vitality fired up.

4. Brown rice for long life

White rice begins as brown rice. Once the outer coating of rice bran is hulled off, however, not a lot of nutrients remain. A thousand years ago, Chinese physicians discovered that eating only refined white rice, devoid of the B vitamins in the bran, led to beriberi, a deficiency in thiamine (B1). Modern research has identified a wealth of nutrients in the bran coating of brown rice. It is remarkably effective in lowering high blood sugar and therefore serves as an excellent food for diabetics. Rice bran contains more than 70 antioxidants, including the well-known age fighters vitamin E, glutathione peroxidase (GPx), superoxide dismutase (SOD), coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ-10), proanthocyanidins, and inositol hexaphosphate (IP6). It is no wonder that rural farmers in Asia, who eat brown rice because white rice is too expensive, live longer and develop fewer health problems than their city-dwelling counterparts, who eat mostly white rice.

5. Eat your sea vegetables

Seaweed and marine algae are vegetables from the sea that have long been considered to possess powers to prolong life, prevent disease, and impart beauty and health. Common types of seaweed include nori (sushi wrap), kombu, kelp, dulce, and Irish moss. Containing more calcium than milk, more iron than beef, and more protein than eggs, seaweed is also a rich source of micronutrients. Traditionally, its healing properties are said to include shrinking goiters, dissolving tumors and cysts, detoxifying heavy metals, reducing water retention, and aiding in weight loss. So eat your sea vegetables! They have more concentrated nutrition than vegetables grown on land.

6. Sesame Seed and Sesame Oil

Same as a kidney and liver tonic, a blood builder, and a bowel protector and regulator. Sesame is rich in phytic acid, an antioxidant that may prevent cancer. The oil of one variety, lignan sesamin, was found to drastically reduce cholesterol levels in the liver and bloodstream of rats. To enhance flavours and improve health, sprinkle sesame seeds and oil in your food regularly.

7. The ultimate longevity food

In Asia, mushrooms are favoured for both their taste and their therapeutic value. Chinese legend is filled with stories of those who discovered the 1,000-year-old mushroom and became immortal. An underground stalactite cave museum outside of Kungming, China, displays a reishi or ganoderma mushroom that measures 4 feet in diameter and is estimated to be about 800 years old! There are more than 100,000 varieties of mushrooms, about 700 of them edible. Many mushrooms, particularly shiitake, maitake, reishi, and wood ear, have superb anti-aging properties. Depending on the type, they may contain polysaccharides, sterols, coumarin, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that boost immune function, lower bad cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, and protect the body from virus and cancer. And you don\'t have to dig for them in the mountains any longer -- they\'re readily available in your local health or specialty food store.

8. Sea salt for essential minerals

Before we were born, we spent nine months in a bath of amniotic fluid resembling the primordial saltwater from which life arose. No wonder the human body contains fluids closely resembling the composition of the ocean. Sea salt contains nearly 60 trace minerals essential for the formation of vitamins, enzymes, and proteins that keep our bodies going. Salt aids in general detoxification, and its alkaline quality helps balance the overly acidic pH environments that breed degenerative and cancerous conditions. Common table salt, however, is refined to nothing but sodium chloride and is devoid of all other essential minerals. I suggest using only unrefined sea salt such as that found in the salt beds of Brittany, which has a slightly grey hue. Of course, salt is to be used only in moderation, especially for those with hypertension. It is also important to balance salt intake with potassium to ensure proper nerve and muscle function; potassium-rich foods include leafy vegetables, soy, whole grains, potatoes, bananas, and most fruits.

9. You eat naturally -- does your food?

Conventional meat, poultry and dairy products contain high amounts of pesticides, hormones and antibiotic drugs that are harmful to your health. Add the risk that your meat comes from diseased animals raised in stressful, inhumane conditions, and you have a good case for converting to vegetarianism. Commercial feed for animals is full of growth-stimulating hormones, colouring agents, pesticides and drugs. And that\'s not all -- of the 140,000 tons of poultry condemned annually as unfit to eat, mainly due to cancer, a considerable amount is processed into animal feed! More than 40 per cent of antibiotics produced in the United States is used as animal-feed additives. The ecological result, after we urinate and defecate the antibiotics, is the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria strains that can sicken or kill us. Whenever possible, buy only organic and free-range animals for your health, peace of mind and well-being.

10. Sugar\'s side effects aren\'t so sweet

The average American consumes nearly 240 pounds of sugar per year. Most of the excess sugar is stored as fat in your body, which elevates cancer risk and can suppress your immune function. When study subjects were given sugar, their white blood cell count decreased significantly for several hours afterward. This held true for a variety of types of sugar, including fructose, glucose, honey and orange juice. In another study, rats fed a high-sugar diet had a substantially elevated rate of breast cancer compared to rats on a normal diet. To live long, draw sweetness from other aspects of your life.

Ty Bollinger’s program:

Remember, one healthy choice at a time.

If you have any questions for Lawrence, or would like a certain topic covered, please write to:

Protein Map May Help Uncover Secrets to the Human Body

Submitted by Geoff Eden

18,000 of these amino acid strings that drive physical functions More than a decade has passed since scientists completed the Human Genome Project, a worldwide effort to decode our DNA. That DNA sequence contains instructions for making all of the proteins that our bodies need to function.

Now researchers have catalogued the vast majority of those proteins, creating a dynamic map of the human body called the proteome. The findings, described in a pair of studies published this week in the journal Nature, identify the proteins encoded in roughly 17,000 to 18,000 of the estimated 21,000 human genes, including some proteins made by bits of DNA that were once considered junk.

These rough drafts of a protein map, which are publicly available online, could help scientists better understand how the body is supposed to work. It is a remarkable achievement, said Michael Washburn, a scientist at Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City, Mo., who was not involved in the research.

If DNA carries the blueprint for life, then proteins are the construction workers responsible for putting those plans into action. Built from strings of amino acids, they hustle around the body transporting molecules, facilitating chemical reactions, making repairs and carrying out a vast array of essentials. If it were not for proteins, there would be no life, Washburn said. That is why researchers set out to build a near-complete list of all the members in the human protein library.

Both teams of researchers, one based in Germany, the other made up of scientists from the U.S. and India, collected tissues from a variety of different sources. Between them, they analyzed proteins from blood, ovary, kidney, brain, heart and liver cells. They also looked at proteins found in fetal tissue and proteins extracted from cancer cells. They chemically snipped the long, complex proteins into smaller units called peptides. Then they analyzed the amino acids within the peptides using an instrument called a mass spectrometer.

Altogether, the team led by Akhilesh Pandey, a molecular biologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, found proteins made by about 84 per cent of the known protein-coding genes. The other team, led by proteomics scientist Bernhard Kuster of the Technical University of Munich, found 92 per cent. Because the two teams went about their work in slightly different ways, the researchers expect that the overall protein count will rise when they compare their data sets.

Pandey said the new maps would help scientists identify patterns in the body and perhaps, down the line, allow doctors to identify damaged tissues based on the proteins sloughing off them and washing into the bloodstream. Such a map might even help doctors come up with the best treatment for a cancer based on its particular protein profile. But to understand these biomarkers of disease or damage, researchers first will have to understand the protein makeup of a healthy person.

Although it may seem like very little of the proteome remains to be sequenced, that is far from the case, researchers said. The proteome map is far from static. In fact, it\'s more like a dynamic heat map that must keep up with changing conditions, Pandey said.

This means it will be a long time before researchers fully understand the human proteome, Pandey added. Amina Khan Los Angeles Times

Why Beats headphones are banned from the World Cup

Submitted by Rich DeSteno

A clear winner has already emerged in the 2014 World Cup: Beats Electronics.

First, the electronics company released a five-minute video that is all but guaranteed to give soccer fans gooseBumps. That video has garnered 12 million views on YouTube in less than two weeks.

But credit FIFA itself for giving Beats an even bigger boost. The governing body of the soccer world has banned players from wearing Beats high-end headphones during matches or media events. The ban stems from the licensing agreement that FIFA struck with Sony (SNE), a rival electronics company that also makes some pretty good headphones.

Sony even sent all World Cup players a set of its own headphones to take to the games earlier this month, Reuters reports. The ban, along with Beats viral video, sends a pretty clear message to fans. Players might be forced to wear Sony on the field, but when they\'re practicing on their own, talking to their parents or striking contemplative poses in the locker room, they\'re wearing the bulky, colorful Beats.

The commercial features such star players as Neymar of Brazil, Luis Suarez of Uruguay, Mario Goetze of Germany and Robin van Persie of the Netherlands. It also has cameos from Lebron James, Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj. Neymar was seen wearing Beats headphones as he got off the bus before Brazils match with Mexico on Tuesday, Reuters reports. And Suarez was wearing them during a break at practice.

Beats isnt an official sponsor of the World Cup. But it has cleverly used guerrilla marketing to make its headphones a must-have for many teens and millennials. It freely gives its expensive headphones to athletes, club DJs and other stars, for example. Beats was founded by hip-hop legend Dr Dre and music mogul Jimmy Iovine, two people who know a lot about marketing to younger people. The pair\'s savvy is a big reason Apple (AAPL) recently bought Beats for $3.2 billion.

Beats acquisition now pits Apple against Sony in future headphones wars. Both are savvy and deep-pocketed marketing machines, and both will fight for the cultural edge. But for now, hand an early World Cup trophy to Beats.

And Survey Says

By Roger Khouri

Last month, our attention focussed on the girls that were kidnapped in Nigeria from their school dormitory. Regretably, the news media no longer reports on this story, even though the girls are still being held against their will. Here is the Survey Question and results, including some of your comments. And, keep reading on for Julys Survey Question.

In Nigeria, Muslem extremists kidnapped over 300 girls on April 14th from their school dormitory. 53 of those girls have since escaped despite great risks. Assistance from many of the worlds countries to find the girls was offered to Nigeria, yet, to date, the girls are still held captive. The terrorist group is opposed to girls getting an education. So, if you were kidnapped in similar circumstances, would you try to escape? Please vote Yes or No. It is understood that the girls who escaped had a tremendous amount of courage while facing such a danger to their lives.

Survey Results: It was split right down the middle, 50% to 50%. Here are some of your comments.

1. In light of my visual impairment, it would make it tougher for me to successfully escape and make it out without being noticed. It is not like I could simply slip out the back door and run to safety. So, I would not chance the risks.

2. I would try to escape, but not before I made sure that Boko Haram knew that I thought that they were a bunch of cowardly, crazy, ignorant, disgusting, useless, God-forsaken, and worthless people that I had ever encountered, first. Then, I would tell them how much they had educated me about themselves, and how much I would love continuing my education towards receiving a BA in Psychology when I returned safely to my country. Then, I would gloat that I would forget my ordeal as soon as my fingers touched my university studies, because if I didn\'t, that would mean that they had power and control over me, and I do not negotiate with terrorists, nor do I let them effect me in any way. Then, I would assure them that one day, the world would take revenge on them for what they had done to me and my friends, because I was going to make sure that they knew about Boko Haram\'s crimes against humanity. Then, I would tell my friends to stay strong, that I would see them soon, and then, I would escape from those cowwardly specimens of humans!

3. Scientific studies on similar situations suggest that most don\'t try to escape or question authority. Also, one doesn\'t know what they would do in any given circumstances until faced with them, so I\'ll err on the side of probability for my guess.

4. Losing my life isn\'t worth the risk of trying to escape. I would just try to wait it out, however hard it would be, and hope that help would be soon on the way.

5. I would definitely take every opportunity to try to escape for despite the dangers and threats of death I may face in a jungle, I\'d rather take the chance instead of being sold as a sex slave.

Thanks very much for everyone who voted and for those who submitted a comment. Now, here is Julys Survey Question:

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, held captive for five years in Afghanistan by the Taliban was recently released in exchange for the U.S. releasing 5 Gitmo Taliban terrorist detainees. Was it worth it? This controversial swap has sparked a lot of political fallout. Please vote Yes or No, and your comments are welcome. Go to the following website to place your vote and the results will be published in Augusts newsletter.


The Recipe Box -

By Tim Reid

Company Potatoes

4 medium potatoes
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
Grated sharp Cheddar cheese
Peel and thinly slice potatoes.
Layer in baking dish, sprinkle each layer with salt and pepper.
Pour cream of chicken soup and milk on top.
Sprinkle with grated cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours, or until potatoes are tender.

Dear Betty Blunt

Please note:
This submission is not to be taken seriously. It is just for fun! If you would like to submit a question for Miss Betty Blunt to answer, please write to:

She may or may not answer your question seriously, and she may or may not give you the answer you were hoping for, but one thing is for sure, you will get a good laugh out of her witty, bold, and blunt advice. She will often make comments that we all wish we could say, but are just too afraid to make. So, send in your questions, and let us see if she can help you with your relationship issues. If you wish, your initials, city, and state will be altered to conceal your identity.

Dear Betty Blunt,

My hubby is like a little kid in the middle of summer. He is filling up his water gun and blasting people any chance he gets. At first, it was funny, now, it is getting dumb. Got any ideas on how to stop this madness?

Ida Bellenz
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Dear Ida,

Well, at first thought, most people will shrug this off and say, boys will be boys. Then, there are others who may say that your hubby has got way too much time on his hands so just ignore it and he may forget about it. Then, there is the smart lady in whom people like you have come seeking an answer to lifes quandries. I will not disappoint. Simply tell him that if he splats you again with the water gun, he will find himself sleeping with the fish. You live on an island and you will make darn sure to pummel him head first into the Atlantic. No, I do not mince words, and you should not either. It is often called tough love, but, from where I stand, I earn my reputation time in and time out of being a ball buster and I am darn proud!

Betty Mafia Blunt

Dear Betty Blunt,

Just curious, how come you have not included your photo with any of your replies? Are you embarrased with your looks?

Lenny D. Forbinski
West Linn, Oregon

Dear Polish Sausage,

If my photo was published in the paper, that newsprint would be worth way more than the Mona Lisa. No bashfulness here. Yet, if my mug resembled yours, it is no surprise why you never leave the house, staying home all day fantasizing about what I look like. Keep dreaming!

Betty Sexy goddess Blunt

Think Tank

By Debi Chatfield

Thank you to everyone who submitted answers to last months brain teasers. Many of you were very close, but close only counts in horseshoes!

Congratulations to Debbie Granger for getting both brain teasers correct!

In case you missed them, here are the June brain teasers and their answers:
1. Two trains are on the same railroad track. One is headed east, the other west. They both leave the station at 1:00, and are traveling at the same speed. Yet, they did not crash into each other. How can this be?
Answer: One left at 1:00 AM, and one left at 1:00 PM.

2. The more you take, the more you leave behind.
Answer: Footsteps

Now, here are the super duper brainteasers for July!
1. I am black when you buy me, I turn red when you use me, and I am grey when you throw me away. What am I?

2. If an electric train is traveling south, which way is the smoke going?

Please submit the answers to these brain teasers to:

We will let you know if you are correct, and if so, we will publish your name in the August newsletter. Have fun trying to solve these puzzles!

Words to Live By

Submitted by Karen Santiago

Men have always detested womens gossip because they suspect the truth: Their measurements are being taken and compared.
By Erica Jong

A Round of Applause

Thanks goes out to you, our extended family on Out-Of-Sight! You participate and spend your time getting to know one another on the site. Without you, there would be no need for programming, no need for special activities, and no need to even have a site. So, thank you very much! Thanks for making this community an Out of Sight place to be!

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