Archive for December, 2008|Monthly archive page

Demands On Governing New Technologies In Sports Increase

In Ableism and general human performance enhancement;, Ableism Ethics and Governance and Science and Technology governance on December 9, 2008 at 5:55 pm

Gregor excellently outlined in his article on Oscar Pitorius how new and emerging science and technology products enable the body to go beyond its species-typical boundaries and the challenges of this development for sport regulations. New developments of sports equipment or of food products constantly push the boundaries of adding human abilities or of going beyond human abilities. Performance enhancements raise governance questions : most sport activities need a special equipment but when is the line of ‘necessity’ crossed? Currently, LZR racing swimming suits that apply nanotechnology are discussed. The debate does not stop short with swimming but reaches from bowling or biking to golf.  Often, questions of justice are at the forefront of the discussions: not everybody has access to these new and expensive equipments. However, this discussion does not go far enough. What has to be questioned critically is the attitude of ‘winning at all costs’ which demands for ever increasing outcomes that again have to be supported by technological means because human beings have natural limits. Apart from that, discussions on ‘nanotechnology screening systems’ seem to be naive regarding all the problems of identifying nanoparticles and engineered nanostructures.

Article: Nano helps win gold – Clothing to experiment: Nanotech is changing the sports arena http://www.nanomagazine.co.uk/readArticle.php?id=33

Third International Conference on Design Principles and Practices

In Ableism and design, Conferences on December 8, 2008 at 1:18 am

For Our design stream

Dear Colleague,

On behalf of the Conference Organising Committee, we would like to inform you of the:

Third International Conference on Design Principles and Practices
Berlin, Germany
15-17 February 2009

This conference is a place to explore the meaning and purpose of ‘design’, as well as speaking in grounded ways about the task of design and the use of designed artifacts and processes. The conference is a cross-disciplinary forum which brings together researchers, teachers and practitioners to discuss the nature and future of design. The resulting conversations weave between the theoretical and the empirical, research and application, market pragmatics and social idealism.

In professional and disciplinary terms, the Conference traverses a broad sweep to construct a transdisciplinary dialogue which encompasses the perspectives and practices of: anthropology, architecture, art, artificial intelligence, business, cognitive science, communication studies, computer science, cultural studies, design studies, education, e-learning, engineering, ergonomics, fashion, graphic design, history, information systems, industrial design, industrial engineering, instructional design, interior design, interaction design, interface design, journalism, landscape architecture, law, linguistics and semiotics, management, media and entertainment, psychology, sociology, software engineering, technical communication, telecommunications,

As well as an impressive international line-up of main speakers, the Conference will also include numerous paper, workshop and colloquium presentations by practitioners, teachers and researchers. We would particularly like to invite you to respond to the Conference Call-for-Papers. Presenters may choose to submit written papers for publication in the fully refereed International Journal of Design Principles and Practices. If you are unable to attend the Conference in person, virtual registrations are also available which allow you to submit a paper for refereeing and possible publication, as well as access to the Journal.

Whether you are a virtual or in-person presenter at this Conference, we also encourage you to present on the Conference YouTube Channel. Please select the Online Sessions link on the conference website for further details.

The deadline for the next round in the call for papers (a title and short abstract) is 25 December 2008. Future deadlines will be announced on the Conference website after this date. Proposals are reviewed within two weeks of submission. Full details of the Conference, including an online proposal submission form, may be found at the Conference website – http://www.Design-Conference.com.

We look forward to receiving your proposal and hope you will be able to join us in Berlin in February.

Yours Sincerely,

Marianne Wagner-Simon
For the Advisory Board, International Conference on Design Principles and Practices

Able Rapists, Disabled Victim

In Ableism and Law, Disability on December 3, 2008 at 10:37 pm

The police described the crime as gruesome and indicated that the perpetrators showed no sign of remorse. The victim ia now a young woman of 16, but she had been raped repeatedly, over a period of years, since she was much younger by her own grandfather and three of her uncles. All four men were convicted in a Korean Court, earlier this year in one of the worst cases of child sexual abuse on record.  

Judge Oh Jun-keun handed down his sentence to shocked court room. All four men were given suspended sentences. In explaining the sentence, the judge expressed sympathy for the “able” men who been caregivers for this “disabled” child, and suggested suspended sentences were in order so that they could continue to provide care for her. Again, it appears that disabled equals devalued.

Perhaps the one positive aspect of this story is that the Korean public has been outraged by these sentences. Tens of thousands have registered their protest and are calling for impeachment of the judge. Prosecutors are attempting to appeal the sentence. 

To read more about this story, see 

Korean Outrage and

Thousands Protest Rapists Probation!

To register your opinion on whether suspended sentences are appropriate, see 

Suspended Sentences Poll

Killing people with disabilities as a lesser crime

In Ableism, Ableism Ethics and Governance and its intersection with Disability Ethics, Disability, Ethics, Law and public policy on December 3, 2008 at 8:41 pm

Is the killing of someone with a significant disability a lesser crime than killing someone considered to be fully able? “Mercy” Killing, euthanasia, compassionate homicide, and altruistic homicide are all terms that have been used to describe the killing of of one human being by another in order to  end suffering.  Thus they are considered justifiable or even heroic. Canada has considered a compassionate homicide law and Germany currently has a euthanasia or “mercy” killing law that limits the sentence of a convicted individual to five years if the motivation was to end suffering. 

Critics, however, suggest that such laws serve as the ultimate vehicle of ableism, by effectively making it a less serious crime for those considered to be able to kill those considered to have serious disabilities.  To try to answer this question, one might think of whether “mercy” killing or compassionate homicide might be extended to people without disabilities. Would society be willing to consider the killing of a homeless person to be motivated by compassion? Might a police officer who shot a criminal to death rather than make that individual suffer through disgrace and imprisonment be considered to have committed a mercy killing? Would an individual who kills an able bodied man, who asks to end his unhappy life, be considered compassionate?

Two recent mercy-killing trials in Germany and China, help provide answers. A German court ruled that the killing of Bernd Juergen Brandes could not be considered a mercy killing, even though he asked to be killed to end his miserable life, because he did not have a disability or illness. While a Chinese court freed a mother who killed her disabled daughter, who never asked to be killed because the daughter was “a “psychological burden.” 

These and other cases suggest that compassionate homicide simply makes killing people with disabilities into a less serious crime.

Invitation to Join GPDD Electronic Discussion On DISABILITY & CLIMATE CHANGE

In Climate, Environmental Security on December 1, 2008 at 10:48 pm

Invitation to Join GPDD Electronic Discussion On


8 – 12 December 2008

Sponsored by: The Global Partnership for Disability & Development (GPDD) and The World Bank (Human Development Network – Social Protection/Disability & Development Team)

The Global Partnership for Disability & Development (GPDD) is pleased to invite you to an e- discussion on Disability & Climate Change.

Climate change causes grave consequences for human well-being, development, and security, by increasing severe weather conditions that raise the risks of disease, food scarcity, loss of livelihoods, migration, violence, and conflict. Climate change threatens the effectiveness of development efforts by disproportionately affecting people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups in low- and middle-income countries. In the face of these imminent challenges, people with disabilities and their families require adaptation and robust systems that promote sustainable access to basic necessities, secure livelihoods, health care, and social and civic participation.

This e-discussion will be a week-long electronic exchange among all interested stakeholders to create a shared understanding of how climate change may impact the lives of people with disabilities in low- and middle-income countries, and summarize the major themes that must be addressed in future research activities.

The e-discussion will take place from 8 – 12 December, and be facilitated by Dr. Maria Kett, Assistant Director of the LCI Disability and Inclusive Development Centre of Leonard Cheshire Disability, and Valerie Sherrer, Emergency Coordinator of Christian Blind Mission. Discussion topics will center on two primary themes:

1. Disasters, Emergencies, Conflicts and Disability, and

2. Basic Necessities, Health, & Poverty Reduction.

The main objective of the e-discussion is to build on existing knowledge and exchange ideas on developing practical strategies to cope with the diverse effects of climate change, which will directly or indirectly impact the lives of people with disabilities and their families. The information and insight gathered in the discussion will be converted into a report for wide dissemination in multiple formats.

The discussion is open to all interested parties and participation is free. Please be sure to register asap to ensure inclusion in the entirety of the discussions.

To register, please submit an email in the following format:

To: listserv@listserv.syr.edu

Subject: GPDD-eDisc2008 [First Name Last Name Country]

*e.g.: GPDD-eDisc2008 Joe Smith Australia

Message Body: Subscribe GPDD-eDisc2008 [First Name Last Name]

*e.g.: Subscribe GPDD-eDisc2008 Joe Smith

For questions or further information regarding this event, please contact Kelly Hamel at kmhamel@law.syr.edu.

We very much look forward to having you join us!