I was in Center-Minami the other day to visit an acquaintance who uses a wheelchair. The area around the station is pretty accessible for people in wheelchairs, but it was hard to find a place to have some coffee in the late afternooon that had enough space for four people and a wheelchair.
This morning on the news, I heard a segment about a “barrier-free app” for smart phones. I wasn’t paying attention, so I’m not sure if this is what they were talking about, but it looks promising:
Bmaps: barrier-free information sharing
Here’s more information from the Nippon Foundation (from July)
And if you plan to do a little research on this topic in English, you’ll find more information if you also use the search terms “universal design” and “inclusive design” and “wheelchair accessible” than if you limit your search to “barrier-free” which is not used as much in English-speaking countries.
Sure, people invent things because we need them, but just as often, says Steven Johnson in this short TED Talk,
“New ideas come into the world simply because they’re fun.”
What do flutes and computers have in common? Watch and find out:
He ends with this:
“You’ll find the future wherever people are having the most fun.”
So, where does the future lie?
Even if you only have the time to read the first few paragraphs of this article, it’s worth it. It’s about karaoke, and the guy who “invented” it (students in some classes will remember the name Daisuke Inoue from our Nobel/IgNobel activity, I hope). The reason he did so is pretty funny.
“Sing to Me” (from Real Life)
This video of the IgNobel prize ceremony is cued to the part where Mr. Inoue starts singing (it will open in a new tab).
I categorized this in “peace” too, because of the IgNobel he won “for inventing a machine which teaches people to bear the awful singing of ordinary citizens … and enjoy it anyway.”
The Japan Series and the World Series are both going on right now. As of this morning, it’s 2 games to 2 (Hiroshima Carp and Nippon Ham Fighters) in Japan and 1-0 (Cleveland Indians leading Chicago Cubs) in the MLB.
Here’s the story of the baseball player who “invented” the high-five. He also happened to be the first openly gay MLB player.