Category Archives: News

APTOPIX Massachusetts Gas Explosion

A hole in the Columbia Gas explosion story

The hole in the ground where the Scores strip club used to be isn’t the only hole in Springfield this morning.

Media reporting has left a gaping, unexplained hole after Columbia Gas admitted the cause of the explosion on Worthington Street was human error.

Here’s a basic timeline of what happened Friday, November 23:

  • potential gas leak reported
  • 4:05pm Columbia gas shows up
  • 4:20pm Columbia gas punctures the pipe
  • Columbia gas reports the puncture and evacuation proceeds
  • 5:25pm explosion

Okay, why/how did Columbia Gas originally show up? It wasn’t for the puncture that happened at 4:20.

In fact, there have been reports of natural gas smells at Scores for some time:

On Friday night, a dancer at the club told the Globe that she had smelled gas in the building over the past four months. She said the club’s owner used deodorizers to mask the scent.

Besides, the puncture happened out on the street, at the building foundation. In one hour how does an overpowering gas smell move from outside to inside the building on the second floor?

Lastly, except for one story in the Boston Globe, media members seem to be afraid to speak with strippers that worked at Scores.  It might upset some sensibilities, but talking to the strippers might push this story along.

Photo from WBUR/AP.

Thrill seeking disabled people

A few years ago, for a few years, I worked in human services. In my case, that means I worked with people with some kind of mental retardation (mostly, though I also worked with deaf people, sex offenders, and mentally ill people too). The work could be satisfying, though it could also be very stressful, and always underpaying.

Depending on the client I was working with, when the opportunity presented itself I used to like to give my clients a thrill. My experience was that a lot of disabled people weren’t allowed to do any fast, daring, or risky behavior, sometimes for no real reason at all. For example, in many cases there was no rule at all that said a client couldn’t go to a strip club. I found it a shame that we didn’t recognize that these people had sexual desires, would probably never have a partner, and that we stopped them from even looking at pretty girls (or guys).

Ben Carpenter, daredevil I used to take my clients on all the fast, scary amusement park rides I could; the rides that make you feel like you’re almost out of control, those are the ones they loved the best. That’s why this story about Ben Carpenter, a young dude with muscular dystrophy who was caught in the grill of a big truck, sounded pretty cool to me. Yeah, he says he was scared, and he probably was when it was happening, but I know he’s going to be telling that story about being pushed by a semi-trailer truck at 50 mph for years to come. It was a thrill, I’m sure.

European Union Votes For An Accessible Web

The European Union, 34 countries in all, voted to work towards making the Internet accessible to all. The press release states:

A pan-European drive to use information and communication technologies to help people to overcome economic, social, educational, territorial or disability-related disadvantages was endorsed by ministers of 34 European countries in Riga (Latvia) today. “e-Inclusion” targets include halving the gap in Internet usage by groups at risk of exclusion, boosting broadband coverage in Europe to at least 90%, and making all public web sites accessible by 2010.

As this is a netcast blog, this news inspired some thinking about podcasting and accessibility, namely, does podcasting make the Web a more accessible place? I would like to hear from people that have accessibility issues and listen to podcasts. Please describe your experiences using podcasts. Continue reading

The Queen does a podcast

Queen Elizabeth II According to MacWorld News, Queen Elizabeth II’s Christmas speech is being podcast. The Royal podcast is going to be posted on the BBC’s Web site, available when the speech is broadcasted.

Westminster Digital
, a company that provides the U.K. governement with other media streaming services, is hosting the podcast.

On the one hand this isn’t really a big deal. Do you think the Queen even knows that her speech is being podcast? Probably not. I don’t picture the ol’ girl listening to herself on an iPod; and I don’t think she is going to down mix or sweeten her own audio. But, this does indicate how podcasting is becoming ubiquitious. Another note in podcasting history.