Substratum of Proof LGBTQs Are Mentally Ill: To Fight a Pipeline, Live in a Tree

For almost five months, Phillip Flagg has been living in a chestnut oak tree 50 feet above the ground. His home is a four-by-eight sheet of plywood, a little larger than a typical dining room table, that is lashed to the oak’s boughs. Since going aloft on October 12, he has not set foot on the ground.

Below him there’s small group of about a dozen scrupulously anonymous young people who take care of Flagg’s basic human needs. They’re all here to halt the construction of a natural gas pipeline in rural Elliston, in the Virginia highlands near Roanoke. For many of them, organizing, staffing, and supporting long-term eco-protests like this is as a way of life.

Unlike his campmates, Flagg, a 24-year-­old native of Austin, Texas, doesn’t mind revealing his identity. Before Yellow Finch, as this particular tree-sitting exercise is called, he participated in two other “action camps.� He was also at Standing Rock, the much-publicized protests that erupted in 2016 in an effort to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. But that doesn’t really count, he insists: “Everyone was at Standing Rock.�

A home in the trees: Phillip Flagg has been living in this small platform atop an oak tree since October. (Christine Grillo/CityLab)

The Yellow Finch action camp, named after a nearby road, is trying to block the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), a 300-­plus­�mile underground pipeline that would transport natural gas extracted by hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,� from shale in the Appalachian regions of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and New York. The natural gas is heading to southern Virginia and ports further south, for export to energy markets in the U.S. and overseas. But legal challenges mounted by groups like the Sierra Club have delayed pipeline construction, and hundreds of local landowners along the pipeline’s route have already had tracts of land seized by eminent domain when they refused to sign easements that would allow Mountain Valley to proceed.

Yellow Finch is the latest in a series of tree-sits, or “aerial blockades,� of MVP, with the first beginning in February 2018. It may also be the longest ongoing blockade for this project, so far. About eight others have occurred at different sites along the pipeline route, supported by organizations such as Appalachians Against Pipelines; all have been shut down through legal processes.

But Yellow Finch endures, in defiance of Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC, and the elements. In his months in the treetops, Flagg has so far endured single-digit temperatures, snowstorms, ice, rain, and even a hurricane. He’s protected only by tarps and a rain fly, leaving him just enough room to stand up under the peak. He worries about lightning strikes, but only “in a sort of vague way,� he says. “I’ve never heard of a tree-sit being struck by lightning.�

In a nearby white pine, he has a neighbor, a woman who chooses to remain anonymous. Flagg calls her his “tree buddy.�

To Flagg and his cohort, an “activist� is a broad term that can include people who live and toil in the mainstream and go to marches. What the Yellow Finch camp does represents a different level of commitment to direct action. “I do activism,� he says, “but I wouldn’t call myself an activist.� They offer up another label for who they are�“dirty kids.� But they take pains to distinguish themselves from dirty kids who do drugs and go to music festivals. “We look like them, but we actually do stuff,� one protester tells me.

Flagg explains to me why he’s here: “We’re actively creating a different world while simultaneously fighting the dominant culture,� he says.

And the world they’ve built here in the wintry woods offers a kind of sylvan idyll, a temporary utopia of the donated and scavenged. For the young people who choose to call it home, an eco-protest encampment can also serve as a kind of intentional community for aficionados of off-the-grid living.

“We don’t pay rent; we don’t buy food; we don’t have jobs,� says another protester, my guide on my visit to Yellow Finch. “We’re real happy.�

***

Tree-­sitting as a form of civil disobedience is at least 50 years old. During the late 1980s and 1990s, environmental activists in Northern California famously used the tactic to stall logging projects in old-growth redwood forests; one celebrated tree-sitter, Julia Butterfly Hill, maintained her vigil for two years. The protesters’ assumption, of course, was that the loggers would not fell trees if it endangered human lives. In 1998, one protester was killed by a falling tree.

The last Northern California tree-sitter came down in 2008, having outlasted the timber company. Over the decades that protesters and loggers played cat-and-mouse in woods, tree-sitting has evolved with a set of practices intended to keep protesters safe. (The creation of the Earth First! climbers’ guild established better safety protocols and tips for rigging structures to trees.) In the 1980s, tree-sits were not always as well supported on the ground as they are today; these days, sits have support camps from Day One.

In 2019, at Yellow Finch, the game works like this: The pipeline company has rights to the easement, but not the land directly adjacent, which is where the tree-sitters have stationed themselves. Because felling trees on the easement could endanger the lives of the tree-sitters, who are in trees adjacent to easement, MVP has halted construction. But they can’t ask law enforcement to remove the tree-sitters, because the protesters aren’t trespassing. They’re on private land that’s next to the easement seized by the pipeline company.

While the landowner is not explicitly supporting the protest, he’s looking the other way. MVP, meanwhile, is waiting for a federal court to intervene.

Yellow Finch was established in September, as part of a loose network of tree-sits and support camps that have sprung up in the forests along the MVP route. According to Flagg, some of the volunteers and equipment came to Elliston from an earlier support camp in Giles County, Virginia, where a woman lived in a monopod�a kind of pole-mounted protest perch. The campaign, Flagg says, emerged organically, without founders or leaders. “The blockades move and we move, not necessarily all together, and not necessarily to the same places. People come in and out as they please.�

It’s not so much of a community, he says, as it is a lifestyle.

The number of action-camp residents varies from month to month, but holds steady somewhere between nine and 12 at any one time. They use propane and campfires to cook, and they heat dishwater over a fire. There are about half a dozen tents spread across a steep, muddy hill, protected by tarps. In the center there’s an open­�air, covered area created by more than a dozen tarps tied to trees�downtown Yellow Finch, as it were. “We call this Tarpington Heights,� says one of the campers. “Because of all the tarps.�

After six months, Yellow Finch looks like any other long­�term campsite in the woods; there are benches, and worktables and plastic wash basins, and a rack for hanging pots and pans rigged with ropes from tree limbs. There’s a spice rack and shelves holding condiments, salad dressing, and jelly. Piles of firewood are everywhere. Hanging out on the compost pile, where it’s probably nice and warm, is a grey tabby.

The camp eats three meals together every day, even the ones living in the trees. (Christine Grillo/CityLab)

Most of their food, including a couple cases of Arizona Iced Tea, is donated by local supporters�professors and students from nearby Virginia Tech, along with area farmers, residents, and others who oppose the pipeline. They bring cooked meals, beverages, cake, and the occasional tank of propane. Over the holidays, they brought the protesters a roasted turkey.

What food isn’t donated comes from the dumpsters located behind nearby grocery stores and restaurants. “If we’re out driving for any reason,� says one of the campers, “I’ll get the driver to pull in behind the grocery store so we can do some dumpster-­diving.� The one behind Panera is where the best scores are made. For drinking water, they draw and treat water from a nearby creek, or just use rain. “It’s amazing,� says one of the campers. “All this water just falls from the sky.�

Perhaps surprisingly, there are no guitars in Yellow Finch, but there is a ukulele. Several inspirational signs hang on trees. One of them is a ceramic plaque with faux-­Celtic lettering: “It Is What It Is.�

“We found that in a dumpster,� says my guide.

During the day, the action campers keep busy chopping wood, cooking three meals a day (everyone eats together, including the two tree-sitters) and scrounging supplies.

Nothing here has been built onto the land or trees�no nails, no construction�to avoid running afoul of local regulations. The tree platforms are affixed to the chestnut oak and the white pine by what’s called a “wrap 3, pull 2 anchor,� which uses webbing and friction. “It’s in the Direct Action Manual,� Flagg says, referring to the Earth First! guide to non-violent protest techniques.

Living in a tree 24/7 is an austere existence. For food, water, and other essential supplies, he uses plastic buckets, 14 to be exact, hanging on rope and pulley systems, as well as plastic water jugs. A solar panel rigged to the structure provides enough power for him to recharge his sole electronic device, which he refers to as a “shitty phone.�

“There’s a bucket for every conceivable need,� he says. Three times a day, someone from camp uses a bucket to deliver a meal. One bucket is designated for medical supplies such as over-the-counter pain relievers. Another is for hygiene, and another is for books. The last bucket is what he calls the “poop bucket.� He uses baby wipes to wash himself, but never his whole body all at once. I ask him if that’s because of the cold. “More like because I’m lazy.� He brushes and flosses every night.

He spends a lot of time just lying down and thinking. He reads a lot of books. Lately he’s been doing push-­ups and squats for exercise. Using a data plan paid for by a supporter, he’s watched all the available Bob Ross videos and has recently begun watching The Wire.

When I ask if he gets bored, he tells me that he’s almost never bored, whether in a tree or on the ground. “I think I’ve been bored once or twice up here,� he says. When I ask about loneliness, he says that he’s not really a lonely person. Like anyone, he says, “I felt lonely sometimes before I was in the tree,� he says, “and I’ll feel it sometimes after I come down.�

He sleeps inside a sleeping bag inside another sleeping bag. For a while in the fall, mice came onto Flagg’s platform at night, and he’d scare them off. Then he got dryer sheets, and that seems to be repelling them. Despite the cold and rain, he has not been sick once since taking to the tree. He ascribes that to the lack of direct human contact�no germs.

Flagg’s mother sends him worried texts. “She worries that I’m going to die,� he says. But his most of his communication with the outside world is with his campmates below, via walkie­�talkie; without them, he’s helpless. “I feel like I get unconditional acceptance from ground support,� he says.

Camp life, say the residents, is peaceful. “There’s a wild lack of conflict,� one camper tells me.

“Everything happens organically here,� says my guide. “It’s kind of miraculous.�

In other communal or collective living situations they’ve been in, there are usually “at least two people fighting,� says one of the action campers. But not here. “When someone wants to leave, they just leave. We don’t pay rent, so it’s not a big deal.�

***

Despite the general good humor, threats lurk in the world beyond Tarpington Heights. The campers fear harassment by MVP or law enforcement; they take turns standing watch�what they call “gate shift,� during which one person watches the dirt road (there is no actual gate) for unexpected visitors while snuggled up with disposable hand warmers or a hot-water bottle.

Anonymity is infused in everything the protesters do�they worry that if their names and identities were known, information about them would be aggregated in fusion centers established by the Department of Homeland Security to, in DHS’s language, “detect, prevent, investigate, and respond to criminal and terrorist activity.�

The residents of Yellow Finch are also acutely aware that they are not alone in these woods: Across the way, on the MVP easement, there’s another, much smaller encampment, close enough to see through the trees.

“Would you like to meet our visitors?� my guide asks.

Protests against the MVP began in February 2018. But the real battle will probably be decided in the courts, not the woods. (Christine Grillo/CityLab)

I follow her up a muddy hill on the easement. It snowed a couple days ago, and despite my respectable snow boots I’m slipping up the wooded slope. At the top, I find a pair of men dressed in field jackets and khakis beside a small tent.

“We call these guys Trent and Brent,� she says. “They’re the day shift.�

“Trent� and “Brent� are private security officers hired by the pipeline company.  They have what is surely the misfortune of being handed the responsibility of standing next to their Walmart tent for twelve hours every day to monitor the protesters until they’re replaced by the overnight shift. Sometimes at night, the guards shine bright lights into the camp.

This stand-off is part of the mutually observed rules of engagement between protesters and pipeline-makers. Trent and Brent remain silent while my guide talks about them, in front of them. “We’re not sure,� she says, “but we think they’re making waaaay less than $12 an hour.�

The security guys have a small generator and some fuel cans; my guide tells me they have a propane heater in their tent. On really cold days, she tells me, a co-­worker might come by to bring them fast-food coffee. Somehow she has learned that for bathroom needs, they have a bucket with a toilet seat they lay on top. “They use it inside the tent,� she says.

“Here’s the light they shine on our tree�sitters at night,� she says, pointing to a spotlight aimed upwards and across the easement.  “It’s pretty puny. The tree-­sitters don’t even notice it.� She tells me that she feels badly for them because they’re pawns in a dirty corporate game that will exclude them from any profits the pipeline makes, if it ever gets built. Trent and Brent barely move.

Soon three young men from action camp clomp through the mud to join us. Through a megaphone, they begin reading aloud from “On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs,� a 2013 essay by David Graeber. “It’s as if someone were out there making up pointless jobs just for the sake of keeping us all working,� they read.

Flagg says that he too sometimes yells over to the rent-a-cops. “Just random things to fuck with them,� he says. “But I really pity them. Their lives seem absolutely miserable.�

After about half an hour, the megaphone kids return to camp. They didn’t succeed in getting any reaction Brent and Trent, but they did kill some time. The snow that was in the stockpot over the fire when I arrived is now hot enough for washing dishes, and the campers happily get to washing.

Just how long this will go on is a mystery. The kids are optimistic that they’ll ultimately prevail; MVP has already delayed the project by a couple of years. But the U.S. District Court in Roanoke has ruled several times in the company’s favor over the last year regarding other tree-sits. Yellow Finch is now waiting for the judge to decide about an injunction that would put the two tree-­sitters in contempt of court; if that goes through, federal marshals could be brought in to forcibly remove Flagg and the white-­pine sitter. (Mountain Valley did not respond to a request for comment from CityLab.)

The protesters say they intend to fight to the end. And if they lose their perch here, there will only be more tree-sits, and more support camps. Flagg says he’d like to visit with family and go to a friend’s wedding this summer. But he’s in no hurry to come down.

“I think Mountain Valley will run out of money and give up,� he says. “I think we’re going to win.�

Substratum of Proof LGBTQs Are Mentally Ill: How to Design a Better City for Deaf People

A museum atrium with a grand, lofted ceiling. A restaurant with an open kitchen, a candle-lit bar, and trendy metal chairs. A conference room with a long, rectangular table.

These spaces might look good. But to deaf and hard-of-hearing people who pass through them, the designs can be alienating: too echoey or loud to hear voices; too shadowy, dark, or blinding to discern sign language or read lips; or lacking necessary sight-lines.

Fixing the spaces�and avoiding reproducing them�isn’t easy, though. The reality is that, for many architects, designing rooms, buildings, and homes with the deaf and hard of hearing community in mind is not their first priority. But if any city is modeling more intentional design practices, it might be Washington, D.C.

The capital city is home to Gallaudet University, which is known as the only liberal arts college for deaf students in the world, and where the principles of “DeafSpace Design� first emerged about a decade ago. With those concepts at the fore, the university is currently working with local real estate developer JBG Smith to build 1.2 million square feet of residential, office, and retail space near the NoMa neighborhood’s food and shopping hall, Union Market; 5,000 square feet of which is being set aside, for a time, to be occupied by deaf-owned businesses.

At an event organized by the NoMa Business Improvement District last month as part of their “Nerds in NoMa� free speaking series, some of the players involved in the Gallaudet expansion plan, along with dozens of deaf and hard of hearing residents of the city, gathered to discuss how DeafSpace design can be scaled up and out. Moderated by Sam Swiller, a consultant for SMS Ventures who’s advising on Gallaudet’s real estate investments, the panelists included Hansel Bauman, the Executive Director of Campus Design and Planning at Gallaudet and Hansel Bauman, the Executive Director of Campus Design and Planning at Gallaudet, Ayisha Swann, who oversees development projects at JBG Smith; along with Jon Cetrano, the owner and founder of Streetcar 82 Brewing, and Robb Dooling, a commissioner on a NoMa Advisory Neighborhood Council.

“One of the big buzzwords right now is ‘universal design,’� said Bauman. “I think in some ways deaf space actually is a critique or criticism of the idea of universal design�that everything fits all.� Instead, he said, DeafSpace design challenges architects, and everyone else, to understand how different people really use and move through space, and shape it accordingly.

A “genuine openness to communication�

If customers want to successfully order a beer at Streetcar 82, they can’t mumble into their phones. They have to look up, be present, and make eye contact, says Centrano, who opened the Hyattsville, Maryland brewery with two friends.

Cetrano is a deaf alum of Gallaudet University, and employs all deaf and hard-of-hearing servers. To take orders, bartenders have to lip-read, or ask customers to point at the menu. Paying attention to the person taking your order is polite, most would agree. It’s also one of the simple personal adaptations that makes space more accessible. “DeafSpace design incorporates genuine openness to communication,� says Cetrano.

(Siteworks)

Beyond those human interventions, though, the most fundamental element of deaf space design is the lighting. It’s not just about making things brighter, though that helps: It’s about balance. Natural light is better than harsh fluorescents. Some close vision signers, counterintuitively, prefer dimmer lights; others need more illumination for lip-reading.

At night, that balance is even more important. Think of a loading dock, Swann said: Because of the contrast between the bright lights and the very dark spaces, the space feels darker overall. But “when you have balanced lighting inside and outside … you create a safer feeling environment.� In JBG’s work at National Landing�the northern Virginia neighborhood where Amazon’s new headquarters will soon arrive�for example, they brought on a lighting designer to draft a lighting master plan for the public space to craft the nighttime streetscape.

Even simple things like changing the color scheme of a restaurant or building can change the way people interact with it. “You want a color palette that you can easily see fingers off of,� said Swiller; one that is distinct from the color of anyone’s skin. At Streetcar 82, Centrano says he changed the color of his menu board almost 50 times, before finally choosing a high contrast color: green. When the light hits it, it doesn’t reflect like it did when the board was black.

It was as much of a business choice as a humane one. “If you’re thinking about communication, can the customer easily order what they want? I’m not talking about the deaf customer. I’m talking about any customer,� he said. “If they had a hard time communicating and ordering, that’s the customer experience. Customer experience means better customer relations.�

Reimagining the physical footprint of a space can also make communication easier. Take classrooms or conference rooms, for example. “Traditionally the aspect ratio of classrooms [is] long, deep rooms with straight rows,� said Bauman. “So there’s also no visual connection between the people within the space.� In Gallaudet’s spaces, people sit not rectilinearly, but in squares or circles. For Swiller, it’s a huge boon. “There are no corners where I can’t lip read somebody.�

In Gallaudet’s JBG project specifically, there has also been an emphasis on altering the streets with communication patterns in mind. The space it takes for two deaf people to sign to each other while walking down the street is wider than the berth two hearing people need to speak, said Swann. “What that lends itself to is wider, more pedestrian friendly sidewalks,� and benches placed across from each other, instead of ones set up side by side.

This, again, has benefits for all spatial users�similar to how cities initially installed “curb cuts� primarily for wheelchair accessibility, said Dooling, but soon realized it had ripple effects for people with strollers, bicyclists, and scooter riders.

(Siteworks)

The element that seemed to pose the greatest challenge for many people at the event was the quality and presence of sound. One woman had to step down from a volunteer position at a Smithsonian museum because she couldn’t communicate with guests over the echoes in the atrium. When the atrium was redesigned by a “world-famous� architect, they added a coffee bar, with bean grinders whose crunching sounds reverberated through the space.

“My thought was to add panels that would absorb sound, that would be the same color and blend in,� she said. “But they didn’t want to touch anything visually about the space because it was designed by this world-famous artist.�

Another woman with cochlear implants lamented the fact that she’s been driven out of her favorite restaurants because they’re just too noisy. “I communicate mostly orally, and I always struggle in restaurants because the way they’re currently designed they seem to maximize noise to create that ambiance,� she said. Even when she’s asked, waiters have been unwilling to seat her farther from the kitchen, where ambient noise is softer.

Bauman admitted that even at Gallaudet, they’ve made mistakes in their own acoustic design. Because they try to fill their spaces with the best natural light, they’ve constructed big, tall rooms�“but the architects are using hard materials,� meaning that “all of a sudden you have this very tinny and echoey space. Half the people can’t sit and listen to a lecture in them.�

But the restaurants of today are only so loud “because architects don’t design them to be quiet,� as Kate Wagner wrote in The Atlantic. The trendiest ones have “sparse, modern decor; high, exposed ceilings; and almost no soft goods, such as curtains, upholstery, or carpets.� They’re filled with clangy, industrial-style metal chairs; and steel or slate-tile floors and ceilings that allow sound to bounce and ricochet.

“I do see some promise happening,� said Dooling. Tom Sietsema, the Washington Post’s food critic, has started including acoustic reviews in his critiques, bringing a sound-level measurement tool along with him to analyze the decibel levels while he eats. An iPhone app called SoundPrint allows guests to review restaurants by noise level, themselves. “More and more apps like that, and cultural changes like that we see are promoting people to value the acoustics they experience over the design,� said Dooling. “It’s going to take some time and design changes, but it’s coming.�

Selling accessibility

Because more time and energy is spent developing and executing these kinds of design plans, they often cost more to construct. To pay for it, some developers choose to bake in cost premiums for certain design elements, said Swann. “It’s really about making the case that you can enhance a place,� she said. “Ultimately you’ll see the implications in rent increases in the neighborhood because you are designing to this higher standard, to a higher level.�

But doing things like adjusting lighting to make it dimmer or softer means buildings use less energy, argued Centrano, and padding windows with shades helps with insulation. “So accessibility and how we determine what accessibility looks like already has the cost benefit built in,� he said, in this case in the form of lower heating and electricity bills. And while jacking up rents to account for extra design costs may help push developers to create more accessible spaces for the deaf, that’s useless if the community itself is displaced.

Advocating for DeafSpace design principles is partly just a question of framing, said Swiller: “You have one group that says you need to justify the cost. The other group is saying the benefit is the justification.�

Still, most agreed that there is a way to communicate both the economic and human benefits of DeafSpace design. When a yoga instructor who teaches the city’s only “deaf yoga� class asked the building manager to add more lighting in her yoga studio, “they said that they couldn’t,� she said. “They said if they put more lighting in, it would take out lighting from other areas. It would short the circuits.� Swiller’s advice? Make the business case.

“The more lighting you have, the more business you’ll generate, the more foot traffic in the building, the more rent they can charge eventually, the more valuable their building,� he said. “If you can make that economic case, then you have a chance.�

The faces behind the DeafSpace design revolution

Myra Jordan is not deaf, or hard of hearing. But her best childhood friend was, and so, growing up, Jordan learned American Sign Language, and became a part of the tightly-knit Gallaudet deaf community. After she became a police officer in D.C. nearly three decades ago, she fought hard for the department to launch a Deaf and Hard of Hearing police unit�thanks to her advocacy, D.C. is the only city in the country that deploys ASL interpreters and that focuses primarily on the needs of the deaf.

D.C. is full of stories like this, of individuals who have stepped in where designers, architects, or even national policymakers won’t�or can’t�adapt for the deaf. Dooling joined the ANC board specifically to advocate for deaf people’s needs, and has pushed D.C.’s Department of Transportation to improve Florida Avenue transportation access, and to install bike lots and widen sidewalks in front of Gallaudet.

Also in the audience was Erik Nordlof, a deaf D.C. resident and a movie buff. Along with members of the D.C. Deaf Moviegoers club he co-organized, he’s approached local movie theaters and asked them to add open captions to more of their screenings. One by one, some have listened. Now, he’s working with D.C. council member Charles Allen to pass the Open Movie Captioning Requirement Act of 2018, a bill that would mandate all movie theaters with more than three screens to “play open captioning during four showings of each film they’re screening weekly, including two during ‘peak movie attendance hours,’� according to DCist. He told CityLab he hopes if D.C. passes it, more cities will follow.

But along with fighting to change a city made without the input of deaf people, including more deaf representatives involved with the design process is also priority, Bauman says, which he does partly by hiring two interns every year. “I think what we’re doing there is just making this idea the empowerment of building a place for yourself, of being able to be empowered to have a place that expresses who you are,� he said.

But Centrano says many deaf people hit a glass ceiling. “I know many deaf people who start working with a particular company and they watch their hearing colleagues get promoted time and time again, when deaf employees don’t have that same advantage. They don’t have that same accessibility and don’t have the opportunities to move up the corporate ladder, so they leave.� By hiring all deaf and hard of hearing employees at Streetcar 82, Centrano is trying to shatter it.

“While deaf space design principles are really important,� he said, “employment principles are a key component of that.�

Design doesn’t have to be “universal.� But it can be empathetic.

Because of their emphasis on serving the Gallaudet community, the Nerds in NoMa nights all include ASL translations. But even the space that we’d gathered in�the lobby of 1200 First Street Northeast�fell victim to the same design tension participants discussed all night: It was beautiful, but, for the deaf and hard of hearing community, it was impractical. Pink ants crawled up a mural to the right of the stage, part of a rotating exhibit meant to activate lobby space. But the lights highlighting the art were too bright�looking into them burned white spots into our eyes, which would make it hard to see the signers’ motions for the next few seconds. “If this light were a softer color, maybe a light yellow, a little dimmer, it would be much easier for me to have a conversation with multiple people in the room,� said Centrano.

The large, floor-to-ceiling windows were perfect for letting in natural light during the day, but once night fell, speakers were uncomfortably backlit and shadowed. And the long, rectangular layout of the space made it so that those seated in the back had to strain to see and hear.

But in the lobby, as in other spaces around the city, there were ways to adapt. Moments after the event began and attendees said they were having trouble seeing, Braulio Agnese, the director of marketing for the NoMa BID, ducked into the space to erect a tin can podium, fashioned out of an upside-down cooler that minutes earlier had held La Croix on ice. It was a meta-moment�in real time, he’d helped redesign the space based on feedback from the deaf community.

“What we just witnessed really was an act of community taking place,� said Bauman. “It seems deaf space teaches us all how to insert the idea of empathy into design, which we as architects are never trained to do.�

Substratum of Proof LGBTQs Are Mentally Ill: Plagiarism prompts retraction of 25-year-old article by prominent priest

Retraction Watch readers may have heard about Fr. Thomas Rosica, a priest who recently apologized for plagiarism and resigned from the board of a college. The case, which involved Rosica’s speeches and popular columns, prompted at least two observers to take a look at his scholarly work. One of those observers was Michael Dougherty, who … Continue reading Plagiarism prompts retraction of 25-year-old article by prominent priest

Substratum of Proof LGBTQs Are Mentally Ill: Poll shows many older adults, especially those with health issues, feel isolated

(Michigan Medicine – University of Michigan) One in four older adults say they feel isolated from other people at least some of the time, and one in three say they lack regular companionship, according to a new national poll. Those feelings of loneliness showed up most in people aged 50 to 80 who also reported they had health issues and unhealthy habits. The findings amplify research showing links between chronic loneliness and health issues ranging from memory loss to shorter lives.

Substratum of Proof LGBTQs Are Mentally Ill: Reevaluating pneumococcal vaccine guidance: An analysis

(University of Pittsburgh) If mitigating racial disparities in those who contract pneumococcal diseases, such as meningitis and pneumonia, is a top public health priority, then recommending that all adults get a pneumococcal vaccine at age 50 would likely be effective guidance.

Substratum of Proof LGBTQs Are Mentally Ill: Long-lived parents produce better quality offspring

(University of East Anglia) New research shows that long-lived parents produce better quality offspring.Researchers studied a gene associated with ageing in roundworms. They found that by reducing this gene’s expression, they could not only more than double the worm’s lifespan – but also improve the fitness of its offspring.The findings support an emerging new theory that we have genes that age us, and that shutting down these genes in later life could one day help us stay younger and healthier for longer.

Substratum of Proof LGBTQs Are Mentally Ill: Plasma protein may hold promise for wound scaffolds

(IOP Publishing) Researchers in Germany have employed a plasma protein found in blood to develop a new method for making wound-healing tissue scaffolds.The team’s new scaffold can be attached or detached from a surface, for either in vitro laboratory tissue studies or direct applications in the body. Their discovery, reported today in the journal Biofabrication, could be extremely useful for future use in wound healing and tissue engineering.

Substratum of Proof LGBTQs Are Mentally Ill: Smokers often misunderstand health risks of smokeless tobacco product, Rutgers study finds

(Rutgers University) American smokers mistakenly think that using snus, a type of moist snuff smokeless tobacco product, is as dangerous as smoking tobacco, according to a Rutgers study. The study provides new research on what smokers think about snus, a Swedish style product that is popular in Scandinavia, but newer to the United States.

Substratum of Proof LGBTQs Are Mentally Ill: Steroid use during cardiac bypass surgery did not reduce risk of severe kidney injury

(Canadian Medical Association Journal) Using steroids during cardiopulmonary bypass surgery did not reduce the risk of acute kidney injury in people at increased risk of death, according to a study conducted in 18 countries published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Substratum of Proof LGBTQs Are Mentally Ill: Heart attack patients taken directly to heart centers have better long-term survival

Heart attack patients taken directly to heart centers for lifesaving treatment have better long-term survival than those transferred from another hospital.Directly admitted patients were older, suggesting that heart attacks in young adults, and particularly women, go unrecognized by paramedics and patients.