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In Memorium: Wayne Shorter

SHORTER_190Wayne Shorter is generally acknowledged to be jazz’s greatest living composer. Jimmy Wayne Shorter, age 55, passed away Friday, Jan. 4, 2013 at Healthmark Regional Medical Center in DeFuniak Springs.

Mr. Shorter’s mastery is in knocking down the wall between jazz and classical. His music not only makes references to the Miles Davis Quintet of the mid-1960s, of which Mr. Shorter was a member, but also shows the stylistic influences of John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins. Then, too, he helped create jazz/fusion, founding Weather Report with Joe Zawinul in 1970.
Life is “the accumulation of the unexpected,” he says. Grab it, and take the ride: “You’re put in a place where you’re going to do it or not, where you’re going to go for it or not. But if you back away, if you find excuses to disappear from a situation, if you strategize so that the spotlight is not on you, because you want to be in your Sunday suit all the time — that’s not how it goes.”
 
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Your Phone Will Celebrate Diversity (y) :)

fadfadA division of African mobile manufacturer Mi-Fone, Oju Africa, has launched a set of “afro” emoticons. This happened after the recent debate over a lack of diversity of emojis.

In an article by MTV journalist Joey Parker, he flagged the fact that there are no (or very few) non-white emojis in the basic range within most text-message apps used by Apple, Google, and Microsoft. After Parker contacted Apple’s CEO Tim Cook about the issue, he received a reply. It was from Katie Cotton, VP of worldwide corporate communications for Apple.

She told Parker: “Tim forwarded your e-mail to me. We agree with you. Our emoji characters are based on the Unicode standard, which is necessary for them to be displayed properly across many platforms. There needs to be more diversity in the emoji character set, and we have been working closely with the Unicode Consortium in an effort to update the standard.”

You can see the standard Unicode list of 800 emojis here. Only two seem to be non-Caucasian: “man with gua pi mao” and “man with turban.” The list is looked after by the Unicode Consortium to ensure consistency and interoperability between mobile devices and carriers.

Since the article was published, a petition has been launched on DoSomething to get Apple to update its default emojis in iOS7. It reads: “Of the more than 800 Emojis, the only two resembling people of color are a guy who looks vaguely Asian and another in a turban. There’s a white boy, girl, man, woman, elderly man, elderly woman, blond boy, blonde girl, and, we’re pretty sure, Princess Peach. But when it comes to faces outside of yellow smileys, there’s a staggering lack of minority representation.”

” Apple has introduced same-sex couple emojis and should therefore diversify the range to include “people of color” according to the petition.

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An unlikely spokesperson throughout this debate has been Miley Cyrus, who talked about the need for an “emoji ethnicity update” way back in 2012, and Cyrus’ hashtag #EmojiEthnicityUpdate has been trending on Twitter.

Oju Africa has stepped in  launching its own range of black emojis (Oju translates as “faces” in Nigeria’s Yoruba language). Although yhe new emojis have been designed for Android, they will also be released on iOS.

Creative director Eserick Fouché says, “We follow global trends but we are differentiated by our authentic African voice. So as a brand we wanted to do something that only Africa could pull off, something that could become so iconic that it would have the world talking. I believe what we have created will ensure that every African on the planet won’t be able to help but love it!”

This article originally ran on Wired.co.uk, and that outlet is now concerned about the over representation of bald, perfectly round bright yellow people.

 
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Presenting: Lt. Uhura!

Happy Women’s History Month to Nichelle Nichols, one of my “Sheroes”!

In this video, the always beautiful and gracious Ms. Nichols talks to a “young’in”….

 

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Today in Black History: Mark Dean

Born in Jefferson City, Tennessee, in 1957, computer scientist and engineer Mark Dean helped develop a number of landmark technologies for IBM, including the color PC monitor and the first gigahertz chip. He holds three of the company’s original nine patents. He also invented the Industry Standard Architecture system bus with engineer Dennis Moeller, allowing for computer plug-ins such as disk drives and printers.

Not long after college, Dean landed a job at IBM, a company he would become associated with for the duration of his career. As an engineer, Dean proved to be a rising star at the company. Working closely with a colleague, Dennis Moeller, Dean developed the new Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) systems bus, a new system that allowed peripheral devices like disk drives, printers and monitors to be plugged directly into computers. The end result was more efficiency and better integration.

But his groundbreaking work didn’t stop there. Dean’s research at IBM helped change the accessibility and power of the personal computer. His work led to the development of the color PC monitor and, in 1999, Dean led a team of engineers at IBM’s Austin, Texas, lab to create the first gigahertz chip—a revolutionary piece of technology that is able to do a billion calculations a second.

In all, Dean holds three of the company’s original nine patents and, in total, has more 20 patents associated with his name.

 Click Here to purchase your copy of “Blacks and Science Volume Two: West and East African Contributions to Science and Technology AND Intellectual Life and Legacy of Timbuktu” by Mr Robin Walker

 
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Today in Black History: Patricia Bath

Doctor Patricia Bath, an ophthalmologist from New York, was living in Los Angeles when she received her first patent, becoming the first African American female doctor to patent a medical invention. Patricia Bath’s patent (#4,744,360) was for a method for removing cataract lenses that transformed eye surgery by using a laser device making the procedure more accurate.

Patricia Bath’s passionate dedication to the treatment and prevention of blindness led her to develop the Cataract Laserphaco Probe. The probe patented in 1988, was designed to use the power of a laser to quickly and painlessly vaporize cataracts from patients’ eyes, replacing the more common method of using a grinding, drill-like device to remove the afflictions. With another invention, Bath was able to restore sight to people who had been blind for over 30 years. Patricia Bath also holds patents for her invention in Japan, Canada, and Europe.

 Click Here to purchase your copy of “What Color Is My World?: The Lost History of African-American Inventors” by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar/strong>

 
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Today in Black History: David Crosthwait, Jr.

Born in Nashville, Tennessee, on May 27, 1898, David Nelson Crosthwaite Jr. studied mechanical engineering at Purdue University before taking a job with the C.A. Dunham Company (now Dunham-Bush, Inc.). At Dunham, Crosthwait conducted innovative research, and designed the heat system for Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall. He held 119 patents—39 in the U.S. and 80 internationally—all in relation to heating, cooling and temperature regulating technology.

Besides research, product development and HVAC system design, Crosthwait also advanced his field by writing articles and revising sections of several editions of American Society of Heating and Ventilation Engineers Guide. Crosthwait’s accomplishments were recognized by many in his field: He won a medal from the National Technological Association in the 1930s and was made a fellow of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers in 1971—making him the first African American to receive the honor.

 Click Here to purchase your copy of “African American Inventors (Black Stars)” by Otha Richard Sullivan

 
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Today in Black History: Frederick McKinley Jones

Frederick McKinley Jones was one of the most prolific Black inventors ever. Frederick Jones patented more than sixty inventions, however, he is best known for inventing an automatic refrigeration system for long-haul trucks in 1935 (a roof-mounted cooling device). Jones was the first person to invent a practical, mechanical refrigeration system for trucks and railroad cars, which eliminated the risk of food spoilage during long-distance shipping trips. The system was, in turn, adapted to a variety of other common carriers, including ships. Frederick Jones was issued the patent on July 12, 1940 (#2,303,857).

Frederick McKinley Jones was granted more than 40 patents in the field of refrigeration. Frederick Jones’ inspiration for the refrigeration unit was a conversation with a truck driver who had lost a shipment of chickens because the trip took too long and the truck’s storage compartment overheated. Frederick Jones also developed an air-conditioning unit for military field hospitals and a refrigerator for military field kitchens. Frederick Jones received over 60 patents during his lifetime.

 Click Here to purchase your copy of “I’Ve Got an Idea!: The Story of Frederick McKinley Jones Paperback” by Gloria Borseth Swanson

 
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