Monday, October 24, 2011

New York Mayor Says Wheelchair Users Not Welcome

Mayor Bloomberg says new handicapped-accessible taxis wouldn't just be inconvenient for able-bodied riders - they'd be downright hazardous to their health.

Bloomberg said the modified suspensions and larger interior spaces of disabled-friendly cabs would cause injuries and spur lawsuits against taxi owners.

"The suspension is a lot worse, and it's harder to get up and pay the cab driver and get in and out and that sort of thing," Hizzoner said during his weekly radio show on WOR.

"I think you're going to see [lawsuits] about people getting up, trying to get to the front, across the divide. You know, there's so much more space between the backseat and the divider, you're going to have people getting hurt," he said.

Bloomberg drew the ire of disability advocates Wednesday when he complained that accessible cabs would be uncomfortable and inconvenient for able-bodied riders.

He was pushing back against efforts by the U.S. attorney's office and other advocates to make cabs more accessible.

Champions for the handicapped ripped Bloomberg's remarks yesterday.

Assemblyman Micah Kellner, a Manhattan Democrat who was born with cerebral palsy, called them "preposterous."

"He seems to be floundering here, literally making things up as he goes along," Kellner said.

"Clearly, the mayor is living in his own world," Kellner added. "The Americans with Disabilities Act is very clear: Everybody gets service, and this is public transportation."

Gov. Cuomo has warned that the push by the feds to expand handicapped cab access could doom Bloomberg's livery cab bill, which would authorize 30,000 livery cars in upper Manhattan and in the other boroughs to pick up street hails.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Wheelchair Video Game Available Free

A Spanish company has created the first, that I know of, video game that puts the gamer in a wheelchair.  Would this be fun?  Maybe...

You can download a copy here and try it for free.



Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Spinal Cord Injury Cure Takes Another Step Forward

Scientists reported Wednesday that for the first time they used cloning techniques to coax human eggs to generate embryonic stem cells containing the genes of specific patients.

The step, published in the journal Nature, marks a long-sought, potentially pivotal advance toward the goal of creating genetically matched embryonic stem cells that could be used to treat many major diseases.

The scientists so far have only managed to produce genetically abnormal cells useful for research, but they were confident they could overcome that hurdle.

“This work for the first time demonstrates that the human egg has the ability to turn a specialized cell into a stem cell,” said Dieter Egli of the New York Stem Cell Foundation, who led the research.

The research sidestepped fears that scientists had moved closer to human cloning by producing the cells with non-viable embryos. But the experiments nevertheless have raised a new set of ethical concerns in a field already rife with ethical, moral and political quagmires.

The research was possible because for the first time scientists paid women for their eggs for human embryonic stem cell research, stirring worries about women being exploited and putting their health at risk. At the same time, the researchers made the cells by producing and then destroying mutant embryos, whose moral status immediately became a matter of sharp debate.

The researchers who conducted the work and others hailed the advance as an ethically defensible, potentially highly significant advance that could lead to producing large numbers of patient-specific cells that could cure widespread suffering.

“Cell replacement therapy would dramatically change treatment and potentially even cure debilitating disease and injuries that affect millions of people suffering from these diseases,” said Susan L. Solomon, who heads the foundation. “There really is a moral imperative to alleviate suffering.”