Donations From Inmates

In Texas, inmates got together and donated almost $54,000 towards the relief of hurricane Harvey. That is not the first time. After Katrina and Rita inmates collected $44,000. What makes these donations truly laudable is that they come from the trust funds of the inmates, money used for them to buy snacks or things they may otherwise not have.  In about one month 6,663 inmates donated $53,863, all the more impressive since most of the inmates had $5 or less in their account.  It may sound commendable when a celebrity donates millions, but these donations seen as a percentage of total assets stand out far more. These are small donations, and in some instances the larger ones the Continue reading “Donations From Inmates”

The Deaf in Prisons

Every so often a neglected group comes to our attention, a group that deserves our compassion. Imagine being deaf and incarcerated. How would you communicate? Being disabled in prison is difficult and each disability has its own challenges, I was so touched by the challenges of deaf prisoners in this article. Some are essentially condemned to communication solitary confinement.  The TTD system is 50 years old and if the prison has it, the family of the inmate may have switched to a more modern video system, Continue reading “The Deaf in Prisons”

Rendering Aid

An 83 year old man went to the ATM in Essen, Germany, and surveillance cameras show he made three attempts but couldn’t reach it. He would fall. After the third attempt he couldn’t get up and stayed on the floor. The cameras further show that 4 people went by,  ignored him and went around him to the ATM.  The 5th person finally called for an ambulance. The man died a week later.  The courts have just fined 3 of the people who ignored the man. The fourth, said the NYT article, was deemed unfit for trial. The incident may be striking in Germany since they have a strong civic culture, but it could happen Continue reading “Rendering Aid”

Kids and Robots

I was in the car this morning with a seven year-old when a text announced the prospect of a play date. “Give me the phone,” the child asked, and she proceeded to use the Voice feature to answer the text using language she understood but was still beyond her capacity to spell out and write. Children are now growing up with technology, a lot of them with Alexa, Echo and other robotics aides. Researchers at the Personal Robots Group at MIT Media Lab are now looking at the consequences of their growing up relying on digital assistants. There’s of course the privacy issue—that the more one uses them, the more one needs to be connected and the more our privacy is compromised. But leaving aside the privacy issue, can these manifestations of AI help or Continue reading “Kids and Robots”