Louis Braille

Louis Braille (January 4, 1809 – January 6, 1852) was the inventor of braille[1], a world-wide system used by blind and visually impaired people for reading and writing. Braille is read by passing one's fingers over characters made up of an arrangement of one to six embossed points. It has been adapted to almost every known language.

Biography

Braille was born in Coupvray near Paris, France. His father, Simon-René Braille, was a harness and saddle maker. At the age of three, Braille injured his left eye with a stitching awl from his father's workshop. This destroyed his left eye, and sympathetic ophthalmia led to loss of vision in his right. Braille was completely blind by the age of four. Despite his disability, Braille continued to attend school, with the support of his parents, until he was required to read and write.

At the age of ten, Braille earned a scholarship to the Institution Royale des Jeunes Aveugles (Royal Institution for Blind Youth) in Paris. The scholarship was his ticket out of the usual fate for the blind: begging for money on the streets of Paris. However, the conditions in the school were not much better. Braille was served stale bread and water, and students were sometimes beaten and locked up as punishment.

Braille, a bright and creative student, became a talented cellist and organist in his time at the school, playing the organ for churches all over France.

At the school, the children were taught basic craftsman's skills and simple trades. They were also taught how to read by feeling raised letters (a system devised by the school's founder, Valentin Haüy). However, because the raised letters were made using paper pressed against copper wire, the students never learned to write.

In 1821, a former soldier named Charles Barbier visited the school. Barbier shared his invention called "night writing," a code of twelve raised dots that let soldiers share top-secret information on the battlefield without having to speak. Although the code ended up being too difficult for the average soldier, Braille picked it up quickly.

"Louis Braille" in braille

That year, Braille began inventing his raised-dot system with his father's stitching awl, finishing at age fifteen. Braille's system, "braille", used only six dots and corresponded to letters, whereas Barbier used twelve dots corresponding to sounds. The six dot system allowed the recognition of letters with a single fingertip apprehending all the dots at once, requiring no movement or repositioning which slowed recognition in systems requiring more dots. The Braille system also offered numerous benefits over Valentin Haüy's raised letter method, the most notable being the ability to both read and write an alphabet.

Braille later extended his system to include notation for mathematics and music. The first book in braille was published in 1827 under the title Method of Writing Words, Music, and Plain Songs by Means of Dots, for Use by the Blind and Arranged for Them. In 1839 Braille published details of a method he had developed for communication with sighted people, using patterns of dots to approximate the shape of printed symbols. Braille and his friend Pierre Foucault went on to develop a machine to speed up the somewhat cumbersome system.

Braille became a well-respected teacher at the Institute where he had been a student. Although he was admired and respected by his pupils, his braille system was not taught at the Institute during his lifetime. He had always been plagued by ill health, and he died in Paris of tuberculosis in 1852 at the age of 43; his body would be disinterred in 1952 (the centenary of his death) and honored with re-interrment in the Panthéon in Paris.

Legacy

The significance of the braille system was not identified until 1868, when Dr. Thomas Armitage, along with a group of four blind men, established the British and Foreign Society for Improving the Embossed Literature of the Blind (later the Royal National Institute of the Blind), which published books in Braille's system.

Today, braille has been adapted to almost every major national language and is the primary system of written communication for visually impaired persons around the world.


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Today, braille has been adapted to almost every major national language and is the primary system of written communication for visually impaired persons around the world. However, modern Jews prefer to play pranks on April Fools' day. Thomas Armitage, along with a group of four blind men, established the British and Foreign Society for Improving the Embossed Literature of the Blind (later the Royal National Institute of the Blind), which published books in Braille's system. In Judaism, the traditional day of pranks, hoaxes and mockery is Purim. The significance of the braille system was not identified until 1868, when Dr. It is believed that people should go out on this date in order to escape the bad luck of number 13. He had always been plagued by ill health, and he died in Paris of tuberculosis in 1852 at the age of 43; his body would be disinterred in 1952 (the centenary of his death) and honored with re-interrment in the Panthéon in Paris. This day is called "Sizdah bedar" (Out-door thirteen).

Although he was admired and respected by his pupils, his braille system was not taught at the Institute during his lifetime. In Iran, people play jokes on each other on April 3, the 13th day of the Persian calendar new year (Norooz). Braille became a well-respected teacher at the Institute where he had been a student. The Flemish tradition is for children to lock out their parents or teachers, only letting them in if they promise to bring treats the same evening or the next day. Braille and his friend Pierre Foucault went on to develop a machine to speed up the somewhat cumbersome system. This custom also exists in certain areas of Belgium, including the province of Antwerp. In 1839 Braille published details of a method he had developed for communication with sighted people, using patterns of dots to approximate the shape of printed symbols. In Spanish-speaking countries, similar pranks are practiced on December 28, the Day of the Holy Innocents.

The first book in braille was published in 1827 under the title Method of Writing Words, Music, and Plain Songs by Means of Dots, for Use by the Blind and Arranged for Them. The April 1 tradition in France includes poisson d'avril (literally "April's fish"), attempting to attach a paper fish to the victim's back without being noticed. Braille later extended his system to include notation for mathematics and music. They told the truth on the following week's show, where outtakes of Redknapp messing up his lines were also shown. The Braille system also offered numerous benefits over Valentin Haüy's raised letter method, the most notable being the ability to both read and write an alphabet.
. The six dot system allowed the recognition of letters with a single fingertip apprehending all the dots at once, requiring no movement or repositioning which slowed recognition in systems requiring more dots. The advent of the Internet as a worldwide communications medium has also assisted the pranksters in their work.

Braille's system, "braille", used only six dots and corresponded to letters, whereas Barbier used twelve dots corresponding to sounds. Even normally serious news media consider April Fools' Day hoaxes fair game, and spotting them has become an annual pastime. That year, Braille began inventing his raised-dot system with his father's stitching awl, finishing at age fifteen. Many media organizations have either unwittingly or deliberately propagated hoaxes on April Fools' Day. Although the code ended up being too difficult for the average soldier, Braille picked it up quickly. Children born on this day will experience good luck in most matters, except when it comes to gambling. Barbier shared his invention called "night writing," a code of twelve raised dots that let soldiers share top-secret information on the battlefield without having to speak. It is believed that marriage on April Fools' Day is inadvisable for a man, for he will be permanently ruled by his wife.

In 1821, a former soldier named Charles Barbier visited the school. It is said that one fooled by a pretty girl will later marry, or at least become friends, with her. However, because the raised letters were made using paper pressed against copper wire, the students never learned to write. Anyone who fails to respond with a sense of humor to the tricks played on them is also said to be liable to suffer bad luck. They were also taught how to read by feeling raised letters (a system devised by the school's founder, Valentin Haüy). This stipulation may have been contrived by annoyed parents and school teachers wanting a respite from a full day of pranks. At the school, the children were taught basic craftsman's skills and simple trades. Those done afterwards are supposed to bring bad luck to the perpetrator.

Braille, a bright and creative student, became a talented cellist and organist in his time at the school, playing the organ for churches all over France. Traditionally, pranks are to be performed before noon. Braille was served stale bread and water, and students were sometimes beaten and locked up as punishment. A far more natural explanation would seem to be that the April fish would be a young fish and therefore easily caught. However, the conditions in the school were not much better. This has been explained from the association of ideas arising from the fact that in April the sun quits the zodiacal sign of the fish. The scholarship was his ticket out of the usual fate for the blind: begging for money on the streets of Paris. In France the person befooled is known as poisson d'avril.

At the age of ten, Braille earned a scholarship to the Institution Royale des Jeunes Aveugles (Royal Institution for Blind Youth) in Paris. In Scotland the custom was known as "hunting the gowk," i.e. the cuckoo, and April-fools were "April-gowks," the cuckoo being there, as it is in most lands, a term of contempt. Despite his disability, Braille continued to attend school, with the support of his parents, until he was required to read and write. Though the 1st of April appears to have been anciently observed in Great Britain as a general festival, it was apparently not until the beginning of the 18th century that the making of April-fools was a common custom. Braille was completely blind by the age of four. Well before 1582 when King Charles IX of France brought in the new Gregorian calendar, French and Dutch references from respectively 1508 and 1539 describe April Fool's Day jokes and the custom of making them on the first of April. This destroyed his left eye, and sympathetic ophthalmia led to loss of vision in his right. However, it is unlikely that this explanation of April Fool's Day’s origin is correct.

At the age of three, Braille injured his left eye with a stitching awl from his father's workshop. Thus the New Year's gifts and visits of felicitation which had been the feature of the 1st of April became associated with the first day of January, and those who disliked or did not hear about the change were fair butts for those wits who amused themselves by sending mock presents and paying calls of pretended ceremony on the 1st of April. His father, Simon-René Braille, was a harness and saddle maker. They were the first nation to adopt the reformed Gregorian calendar, Charles IX in 1564 decreeing that the year should begin with the 1st of January. Braille was born in Coupvray near Paris, France. It has been plausibly suggested that Europe derived its April-fooling from the French [1]. . The festival of the spring equinox is there termed the feast of Huli, the last day of which is the 31st of March, upon which the chief amusement is the befooling of people by sending them on fruitless errands.

It has been adapted to almost every known language. This view gains support from the fact that the exact counterpart of April-fooling is found to have been an immemorial custom in India. Braille is read by passing one's fingers over characters made up of an arrangement of one to six embossed points. What seems certain is that it is in some way or other a relic of those once universal festivities held at the vernal equinox, which, beginning on old New Year's day, the 25th of March, ended on the 1st of April. Louis Braille (January 4, 1809 – January 6, 1852) was the inventor of braille[1], a world-wide system used by blind and visually impaired people for reading and writing. The origin of this custom has been much disputed, and many theories have been suggested, e.g. that it is a farcical commemoration of Christ being sent from Annas to Caiaphas, from Caiaphas to Pilate, from Pilate to Herod, and from Herod back again to Pilate, the crucifixion having taken place about the 1st of April. .

The day is marked by the commission of hoaxes and other practical jokes of varying sophistication on friends and neighbours, or sending them on fools' errands, the aim of which is to embarrass the gullible. April Fool's Day or All Fools' Day, though not a holiday in its own right, is a notable day celebrated in many countries on April 1. There have been cases when a hoax in a newspaper caused many readers to send mail to a nonexistent address, causing problems at postal sorting offices. That prank, repeated across many people, causes serious problems for zoos' telephone exchanges.

Fant (or various others) at a number that turns out to be a zoo. E. L. Lion or Mr.

C. One type of April Fool's Day hoax is to leave a message telling someone to telephone Mr. 1 April, 2005. 1 April, 2004.

1 April, 2002. Redknapp was being 'interviewed' on the training ground where his goalkeepers were getting to grips with bigger goals. Using West Ham United manager, Harry Redknapp, the report claimed that the size of the goals would increase by two feet in height and four feet in length. The BBC's Saturday lunchtime show 'Football Focus' broadcast a piece centred on the upcoming change of the size of goals.

Seattle area TV program Almost Live! set up a phony broadcast room and dressed actors as TV anchors to pull an April Fool's joke of legendary proportions. The Space Needle collapsed in a windstorm on April 1st, 1989. It was later announced at the Sea FM dance party that it was a hoax. This left a huge number of under 21s angry and frustrated, and incited protests.

Change of drinking age: On the Gold Coast, Australia's biggest tourist destination (particularly amongst school leavers), radio station Sea FM announced the drinking age would be changed from 18 to 21. The station played pop songs until 7:00 am, when Stern came back on. Cancellation of the Howard Stern Show: The April 1st, 2004 show started off with an announcement by the station manager stating that due to increased pressure from the FCC, Viacom had cancelled the Howard Stern Show. Shuttle landing: In 1993, a San Diego radio station fooled many listeners into believing that the space shuttle had been diverted from Edwards Air Force Base and was about to make an emergency landing at a small local airport.

He invited his audience to jump in the air and experience "a strange floating sensation." Dozens of listeners phoned in to say the experiment had worked. that day. Defy Gravity: In 1976 British astronomer Patrick Moore told listeners of BBC2 that unique alignment of two planets would result in an upward gravitational pull making people lighter at precisely 9:47 a.m. Mainstream media (including Channel 9's Today Show) picked up the story.

New South Wales Premier Bob Carr was also in on the joke. Sydney Olympics: Australian radio station Triple J breakfast show co-host Adam Spencer announced in 1999 that he had a journalist on the line at the site of a secret IOC meeting and that Sydney had lost the 2000 Summer Olympics. This hoax can also be considered a parody of late 1990s media consolidations.). New Format: Radio station KFOG in San Francisco, claiming new corporate ownership, switched to a new format - the best 15 seconds of every song! All morning they mixed in bogus calls from perky listeners calling with compliments.

Both DJs were later jailed for creating a public nuisance. Several police were needed to deal with traffic gridlock and enraged listeners who threatened to harm the DJs responsible. Free Concert: Radio station 98.1 KISS in Chattanooga, Tennessee falsely announced in 2003 that rapper Eminem would be doing a free show in a discount store parking lot. The pair were fired shortly thereafter.

The rumor spread quickly across the city, eventually causing news stations to issue alerts denying the hoax. Menino happened to be on a flight at the time, lending truth to the prank as he could not be reached. Death of a Mayor: In 1998, local shock jocks Opie and Anthony reported that Boston mayor Thomas Menino had been killed in a car accident. Google's hoaxes.

April 1st RFC. "Uninventing the wheel" to counter the "EU ban" on right-hand drive cars. Marque-Wiper - mini-wipers for each exterior "BMW" logo coming as standard on all future models ,. SHEF ("Satellite Hypersensitive Electromagnetic Foodration") Technology, which sees the car's GPS systems synchronise with home appliances to perfectly cook a meal for the instant you return home ,.

IDS ("Insect Deflector Screen") Technology - using elastic solutions to bounce insects off the windscreen as you drive. MINI cars being used in upcoming space missions to Mars,. The "Toot and Calm Horn", which calms rather than aggravates other drivers, so reducing the risk of road rage,. Annual BMW Innovations see a new "cutting-edge invention" by BMW advertised across British newspapers every year , examples including:

    .

    China Decapitates Taiwan: In 2005, an undergraduate nicknamed SkyMirage, who was well-known in Taiwan for his humor, fabricated a series of news that China's airforce was bombarding Office of President, Taiwan. He was charged for this incident. The rumor, which was intended as an April Fool's prank, was started by a student by imitating the design of Ming Pao newspaper website. The Hong Kong government held a press conference to deny the rumor.

    Hong Kong supermarkets were immediately overwhelmed by panicked shoppers. SARS Infects Hong Kong: In 2003 it was rumored that many people in Hong Kong had become infected with SARS, that all immigration ports would be closed to quarantine the region, and that Tung Chee Hwa, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong at that time, had resigned. The Canadian news site bourque.org announced in 2002 that Finance Minister Paul Martin had resigned "in order to breed prize Charolais cattle and handsome Fawn Runner ducks." The Canadian dollar dropped to its lowest level in a month before Martin's office debunked the hoax. It should be noted that in Norway alcohol is relatively expensive and has limited availability due to government legislation.

    That morning staff were met by about 200 men & women with bottles, buckets, and other suitable vessels for carrying the prized goods. The inhabitants of Bergen were invited to the main store in town to receive their share of the goods, rather than spill good wine down the drain. Free wine for all:The Norwegian newspaper "Bergens Tidende" announced in 1987 that the state alcohol monopoly had 10,000 litres of confiscated smuggler-wine. VeryCD: This P2Pweb site, one of the largest in China, announced in 2005 that it had ceased operation without specifing a cause.

    Another year, TVM announced that Malta would adopt the European continent convention of driving on the right-hand side of the road. National Television Station (TVM) in Malta: In 1995, TVM announced the discovery of a new underground prehistoric temple with a mummy. Several media outlets fell for the hoax. The original series is widely considered to be one of the worst sitcoms ever produced.

    The Trouble with Tracy: In 2003, The Comedy Network in Canada announced that it would be producing and airing a remake of the 1970s Canadian sitcom The Trouble with Tracy. The 1997 switch was particularly widespread. Cartoonists have done this sort of "switcheroo" in several years. In some cases, the artist draws characters in the other strip's milieu, while in others, the artist draws in characters from other visiting characters from his own.

    Comic strip switcheroo: Cartoonists of popularly syndicated comic strips draw each others' strips. White's position was filled by Sajak's wife Leslie. In addition to Sajak hosting Jeopardy!, he and co-host Vanna White appeared as contestants on the episode of Wheel hosted by Trebek. Wheel of Fortune/Jeopardy! Double Switch: In 1997, Pat Sajak, the host of Wheel of Fortune, traded hosting duties with Jeopardy!'s Alex Trebek for one show.

    Write Only Memory: Signetics advertised Write Only Memory IC databooks in 1972 through the late 1970s. Assassination of Bill Gates: Many Chinese and South Korean websites claimed that CNN reported Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, was assassinated. This kid, known as "Barefoot" Sidd[hartha] Finch, reportedly learned to pitch in a Buddhist monastery. Sidd Finch: George Plimpton wrote a 1985 article in Sports Illustrated about a New York Mets prospect who could throw a 168 mph fastball with pinpoint accuracy.

    Within a few hours, aluminium foil was sold out throughout the country. Wrapping Televisions in Foil: In another year, the Dutch television news reported that the government had new technology to detect unlicensed televisions (in many European countries, television licence fees fund public broadcasting), but that wrapping a television in aluminium foil could prevent its detection. Many shocked and even mourning people contacted the station. Tower of Pisa: The Dutch television news reported once in the 1950s that the Tower of Pisa had fallen.

    Many viewers reportedly contacted the BBC to report the trial's success. Smell-o-vision: In 1965, the BBC purported to conduct a trial of a new technology allowing the transmission of odor over the airwaves to all viewers. Metric time: Repeated several times in various countries, this hoax involves claiming that the time system will be changed to a one where units of time vary by powers of 10. FBI Crackdowns on On-line File Sharing of Music: Such announcements on April Fools Day have become common.

    Intrigued readers were later disappointed to learn that sans serif did not exist except as references to typeface terminology. San Serriffe: The Guardian printed a supplement in 1977 praising this fictional resort, its two main islands (Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse), its capital (Bodoni), and its leader (General Pica). Kremvax: In 1984, in one of the earliest on-line hoaxes, a message was circulated that Usenet had been opened to users in the Soviet Union. Weekly printed an entire page of fake things to do on April Fools day, which hundreds of people were suckered in by.

    Lies to Get You Out of the House In 1985, the L.A. Taco Liberty Bell: In 1996, Taco Bell took out a full-page advertisement in The New York Times announcing that they had purchased the Liberty Bell to "reduce the country's debt" and renamed it the "Taco Liberty Bell." When asked about the sale, White House press secretary Mike McCurry replied with tongue in cheek that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold and would henceforth be known as the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial. Left Handed Whoppers: In 1998, Burger King ran an ad in USA Today, saying that people could get a Whopper for left-handed people whose condiments were designed to drip out the right side. A lot of people wanted spaghetti trees of their own.

    Spaghetti trees: The BBC television program Panorama ran a famous hoax in 1957, showing the Swiss harvesting spaghetti from trees. Alabama Changes the Value of Pi: The April 1998 newsletter of New Mexicans for Science and Reason contained an article claiming that the Alabama state legislature had voted to change the value of the mathematical constant pi to the "Biblical value" of 3.0.

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