Matthew Cioffi profile image from holiday festival.

President’s Message – Apr 2017

Finding the Cool and Unexpected!

Neil Harbisson Hearing Color

Ed Summers Hearing Graphs

Matthew Cioffi, Easton Lions President 2016-2017 at Holiday Festival (width 150)Have you ever set out in search of one thing, and end-up finding something really cool and unexpected?

Lately, for me, it seems to happen every week. The latest was at the SAS Global Forum in Orlando, April 1-5. Think geekiest conference ever; 6,000+ statisticians and data analyst coming together to learn, connect, and get pumped about what is possible! How many events have you gone to and got to make a picture out of LEGOS to help 2,000 less fortunate students to go on a LEGOLAND STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) field trip. This was an awesome event! It’s all about lifelong learning!

SAS Global Forum 2017 LEGO Picture with Pi

I learned a lot, not just for work, but for the Lions too; that is the cool and unexpected. On day one I met Ed Summers, the Senior Manager of Accessibility at SAS. He’s 100% blind and developed the Graphics Accelerator which allows people with visual impairments to access visual data on their terms. It’s not just a text-to-speech app. It uses interactive sonification, which allows the visually impaired to hear what a graph looks like. Sonification combines musical note frequency, volume, stereo location (i.e. left to right), and pitch modification to describe what is seen. View his YouTube video here, a bit geeky, but amazing.

On day two our keynote speaker was Neil Harbisson, a human cyborg artist. Neil is completely colorblind. About seven years ago he had an antenna implanted that allows him to hear colors as sounds. To hear his story was inspiring. For Neil, neither black nor white produce any sound at all, there is no difference. When he views humans, he hears only one color, orange! The pitch varies slightly from light to dark orange, but we are all on the same note. Listen to his TED Talk from 2012, it’s really very cool.

Finally, it was in a session about Data For Good. The speaker asked if any of us had used our analytic skills to do good, to volunteer, or found ways to make our communities better. That’s when I mentioned the Easton Lions and Lions International, talked about what we do, and how I’ve used our Auction and website data to help our club find new opportunities to do more good for Easton.

SAS Global Forum 2017 LEGO Picture

I look forward to ending the year strong. We still have many events coming to finish our year. Our next big event is Junk Day on April 22nd at the DPW from 8 to 12. Contact Henry Narsasian if you have any questions or can help do pick-ups for Junk Day. Otherwise, drop by the DPW between 8-12 and lend a hand. It’s a great event rain or shine. Joyce Tardito will be getting donuts and coffee from Dunkin, so all will be well fed! Other events are the Fishing Derby on May 13th, the Math Challenge on May 20th, and Legacy Art, Food Fun Festival on June 25th in conjunction with the Easton Shovel Town Cultural District

Matthew Cioffi

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