05.14.2019 The Weekly Spark

Reflecting your mission IRL

While ThinkShout is all about tech and how it can be utilized to best serve our clients and communities, the heart of ThinkShout is in those communities themselves. This week we’re shifting focus to IRL solutions and stories that tie to the missions we’re passionate about: from accessibility, to hunger relief, to the carceral state.

Brought to you by Chelsea, Jules, Kate, Natania, Sarah L. and the rest of the ThinkShout team.

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(1) Legos for literacy

We’re all about accessibility these days, which is why this story on Legos with braille caught our eye. Turns out, these Legos can help improve literacy for the blind, which ultimately aids their success in the workforce. Here’s how. [The New York Times]

(2) Predictive text. How does it guess what you’ll write next?

Well, the short answer is algorithms. But this article from The Pudding breaks it down for us. [The Pudding]

(3) Accessibility & Universal Design

Universal Design is about creating things that are well designed for all users regardless of their abilities, orientation, or backgrounds (economic or racial). And unlike the guidelines, Universal Design is about bigger strategic design and planning, so it sets parameters while leaving room for creative exploration. [Universal Design]

(4) Big Brother is frighteningly alive in China

The New York Times Daily Podcast released a two-part series last week on how China is harnessing surveillance technology to suppress and disappear its minority-Muslim population. This technology is being courted by other authoritarian regimes around the world. If you haven’t heard about it, that’s because China is using aggressive fear-tactics to silence its population, but speaking out is the most important thing we can do. [The Daily]

(5) Facebook needs an intervention

An op-ed from one of Facebook’s original founders, Chris Hughes, says The Zuck has become too powerful, and it’s time for the company—in Hughes’s words, a digital monopoly—to be broken up and for Congress to create a new agency to regulate all tech companies. [The Daily]

(6) End ‘Lunch Shaming’

We know from our work with Feeding America that one in eight people in the United States suffers from hunger and food insecurity. Which is why we were outraged to learn a Rhode Island school district took a callous approach to dealing with kids that owed money to school lunches: lunch shame them (and limit them to only eating sun butter and jelly sandwiches). Well, Chobani founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya wasn’t having any of it. [NPR]

(7) The road from prisoner to citizen

Inmates transitioning back to life as a citizen face countless risks. As a company dedicated to working alongside social justice organizations, we were glad to see that reentry programs bridge the world of corrections to social services. Here’s how one of those programs is helping folks stay out of prison. [NPR]

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