Math + Biology

Moving Newsletters From Print to Web

Digital Headaches, Possible Solutions

Feng Shui: Decorate For Success?

Interactive Media

Corrections or additions?

These articles by Michele Alperin, Lynn Robbins, and Vivian

Fransen were prepared for the November 8, 2000 edition of

U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Disabilities Compliance: Does It Work?

Passed 10 years ago in the face of pervasive

discrimination

against people with disabilities, the Americans with Disabilities

Act (ADA) requires employers, state and local governments, and public

businesses and institutions to provide reasonable accommodation for

disabled persons. Although there are some lapses in compliance, John

Sarno, president of the Employers Association of New Jersey,

believes

that "the ADA is a truly great civil rights law that is a

reflection

of how far we have come as a society in integrating people with

disabilities

into the mainstream."

The ADA covers anyone with a disability that limits one or more major

life functions, such as walking, seeing, hearing, working, or caring

for oneself. The law also covers persons who are considered by others

to have a disability, explains David Lazarus of the Community

Health Law Project, "for example, persons who have been mentally

ill and have recovered, but whom peers now perceive as having a

disability."

Sarno and Lazarus will speak at a free conference entitled "Civil

Rights for Persons with Disabilities: 10 Years After-Reality or

Illusion?"

This discussion of the Americans with Disabilities Act and its real

impact takes place on Friday, November 10, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30

p.m., at the Community Health Law Project, New Jersey Law Center,

1 Constitution Square, New Brunswick. For information, call

973-275-1175.

Register by fax only to 732-828-0034.

Employers are required by Title 1 of the ADA to act in particular

ways in order to prevent discrimination against disabled persons:

Inquiries into a job applicant’s disability are

prohibited.

Employers may not ask about medical or disability information in a

job interview, although job applicants themselves may disclose the

existence of a disability. Employers may require a medical examination

only after they make a "real job offer" but may not withdraw

an offer simply because a disability is revealed by the examination.

Reasonable accommodation must be provided to a disabled

person, unless it imposes "undue hardship" on the employer.

Says Sarno: "The employer has to consider ways to help the

employee

with a disability perform the essential functions of the job."

The employer is released from the obligation to reasonably accommodate

only if there is undue hardship, meaning that an accommodation would

be too costly, disruptive, or onerous. For example, says Sarno,

whereas

transferring a disabled employee to a vacant job for which he or she

is qualified would be reasonable, creating a whole new position for

the person would impose undue hardship.

Employer and employee must engage in an "interactive

process," a conversation in which, says Sarno, "the

employer

and employee discuss alternatives and options and the best way to

meet the needs of the disabled employee."

Sarno, whose organization advises member employers on complying with

the ADA, is very enthusiastic about the effects of the mandate for

interactive process: "The great untold story about the ADA is

the thousands of conversations that take place on a daily basis in

workplaces around the country between employees and employers on the

best way to accommodate the employee with a disability." As a

result of these mandated conversations, he says, "only a tiny

percentage of disputes arising out of the ADA ever reach the point

of litigation."

Employers may not withdraw a job offer from a disabled

person unless they can demonstrate there is a "business

necessity."

A business necessity is when the disabled person is unable to meet

the physical requirements of the job or poses a threat to him or

herself.

For example, suppose an employer offers someone a job to work in a

warehouse, where requirements include lifting heavy packages and

climbing

ladders to stock shelves. If the medical examination reveals severe

heart or pulmonary disease, the employer can withdraw the offer as

a business necessity.

Employers may not discriminate in terms of health

insurance

coverage, but an insurer may offer different insurance to different

classifications of disabilities, for example physical versus

psychiatric.

Under Title 2 of the ADA, state and local governments

must assure that all of their programs and services are accessible.

They are required to have self-evaluation and transition plans,

explains

Lazarus, "meaning that you take a look in the mirror and see what

you are delivering and whether it is accessible to persons with

disabilities."

Lazarus claims that compliance of municipal governments in New Jersey

has been wanting, particularly in terms of the self-evaluation and

transition plan requirements. In a survey of about 50 municipalities

in Bergen County, the Community Health Law Project found that they

were very sparsely compliant; most did not have self-evaluation or

transition plans. ADA regulations for state and local governments

also require all new public buses and commuter trains to be

accessible.

Title 3 of the ADA mandates that public accommodations, like shopping

malls, hotels and motels, and sports arenas, cannot deny goods or

services because a person has a disability, cannot offer only unequal

or separate benefits, and must offer services in the most integrated

setting possible. Compliance to Title 3 in the state of New Jersey

varies, depending on whether a facility is new or already existing:

All new facilities must comply with both the ADA and with New Jersey’s

longer-standing barrier free sub-code to its Uniform Construction

Code. The barrier-free sub-code covers architectural and access

requirements,

for example, accessible routes of travel, handicapped parking,

appropriate

sidewalk grades, cut curves, restroom access, and necessary turning

radiuses. "Before a store or commercial facility can be

opened,"

says Lazarus, "a local inspector inspects the premises."

For existing facilities where physical barriers to disabled persons

need to be removed, compliance is entirely complaint-driven. "The

problem is that no government entity exists that requires compliance

for facilities built before the ADA and the barrier-free subcode,"

says Lazarus. "For example, if a place was built before these

laws, but could be made accessible with a ramp, there is no one to

ask whether this can be accomplished without exceptional cost and

expense."

Lazarus has been involved in public interest law since he

graduated

from Brooklyn Law School in 1969. After law school he worked for the

Legal Aid Society of the City of New York, then moved to the Legal

Services Corporation in New Jersey, and, finally, in 1976, to the

Community Health Law Project, which serves primarily the disabled

and the elderly. Lazarus received a bachelor’s in business from Penn

State University in 1966.

Sarno became involved with the disabled through the helping

professions.

He graduated with a B.A. in psychology from Ramapo College in 1977

and received a master’s in counseling and a law degree, both from

Seton Hall University. Sarno spent nearly 10 years working as a

counselor

to people with disabilities and then practiced general law for about

10 years. Since 1995 he has been using his expertise in disabilities

as president of the Employers Association of New Jersey.

Sarno believes that "the ADA has been an unequivocal success and

that it will continue to evolve." As evidence of possible future

directions for the ADA, he cites a national committee that is studying

whether the use of genetic information is something the ADA should

cover or whether a new law is required.

Lazarus raises a potentially less positive development for the ADA:

a major case on disability law that is now before the U.S. Supreme

Court, which, he says, "will directly impact whether states are

bound by the ADA." Although the course of the ADA’s evolution

cannot be predicted, its effects on disabled Americans living today

are measurable and clear, he says: They are living more normal and

productive lives and contributing more effectively to their families

and communities.

— Michele Alperin

Top Of Page
Math + Biology

@BIG LETTER = Scientists and researchers working in central New

Jersey’s

pharmaceutical labs might pass over notice of an upcoming lecture

by a professor whose credentials combine mathematics and biology.

But people with a passion for science are apt to be challenged and

perhaps enlightened by a topic that draws upon the latest advances

in mathematics, biology, and physics.

Arthur T. Winfree of the University of Arizona comes to Princeton

University to give a lecture entitled "Total Eclipse of the Heart:

Electrical Vortices and Fatal Heart Attacks." Sponsored by

Princeton

University’s Graduate School Centennial Series, which features

distinguished

alumni of the graduate school, this lecture is open to the public

at no charge on Sunday, November 12, at 4 p.m. at the Frist Campus

Center. A reception follows the lecture. For more information, call

609-258-2742.

"My presentation has a catchy title, but it is not going to be

about human interest topics so much as about the mathematical physics

of waves in heart muscle," says Winfree during a telephone

interview

from Tucson, Arizona, where he is completing a sabbatical year. He

adds that anyone looking for practical tips, such as what changes

in diet promote heart health, will not find such information as part

of his remarks.

"I’m not a medical doctor," says Winfree, who has worked with

some of today’s most brilliant cardiologists and medical researchers.

"My focus is on basic biology and mathematical constructs to

better

understand the peculiar dynamics of electrical waves."

Highly regarded as both an experimental mathematician and theoretical

biologist, Winfree has a reputation for looking deeply into a

physical,

chemical, or biological phenomenon and extracting a mathematical gem.

For example, his work on the three-dimensional waves of electrical

potential that control the timing of heart muscles has shown that

they can have a mathematical shape that leads to cardiac arrhythmias.

Winfree was born in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1945, and he had two

brothers and one sister. The family moved up and down the East Coast

as his father pursued a career in life insurance. "I knew from

an early age that mathematics would be an important part of my life’s

work," says Winfree, who speaks highly of the excellent teachers

who introduced him to the intellectual stimulation of geometry and

biology in the 10th grade.

After completing his bachelor’s degree in engineering physics at

Cornell

University, he went on to earn a PhD in biology from Princeton

University

(Class of 1970). He taught at the University of Chicago and Purdue

University before arriving at the University of Arizona to serve as

professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, teaching both graduate

and undergraduate courses. He has done stints as a visiting scholar

at such institutions as the University of Montreal, the Center for

Nonlinear Studies in Los Alamos, New Mexico, the Oxford University

Mathematics Institute in England, Osaka University in Japan, and the

University of California.

Winfree’s honors and awards are legion, including recognition as

winner

of the Norbert Wiener Prize of 2000 to 2004 for innovations related

to biological rhythms and the Einthoven Award conferred by the

Netherlands

Royal Academy of Sciences InterUniversity Cardiology Institute. In

1982 he received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, and

in 1984 the coveted John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Prize.

Winfree has generated scores of publications and journal articles

since 1970, as well as being the author of three books: "When

Time Breaks Down: The Three-Dimensional Dynamics of Electrochemical

Waves and Cardiac Arrhythmias" published in 1987, "The Timing

of Biological Clocks" published in 1986. (Note: For those who

want background reading for the November 12th lecture, check your

library or local bookstore selling used books for "The Timing

of Biological Clocks" (published by Freeman and Sons in 1986),

which is now out of print.)

"The conceptual and factual advances in this field are enormous

over the past 20 years," says Winfree, who has devoted a

significant

part of his life during this sabbatical year to updating the third

edition of "The Geometry of Biological Time," originally

published

in 1980 with a third edition due early next year. This book, according

to promotional materials, "describes periodic processes in living

systems, and in non-living analogs, in the abstract terms of systems

theory . . . emphasizing such topics as phase singularities, waves,

and mutual synchronization" and is rich in technical graphics.

For those who are left somewhat baffled with such scientific jargon,

Winfree offers the following explanation on his work relating to

electrical

vortices and the way the heart functions: The heart is an organ with

muscular walls that pumps blood through the circulatory system.

Contractions

of the heart are triggered by moving electrical waves. When

well-behaved,

the rate of this action is once per second. . . To understand the

role of electrical vortices, it’s helpful to picture electrical

activations

that spin on the surface of the heart, in a sense chasing their tails

in circles within a very short period. Complete rotations occur 10

times each second. The use of the term vortices communicates the

rhythms

of these rotations, which are akin to the action occurring in the

eye of a hurricane. Understanding these dynamics helps one begin to

unravel the mysteries when an organism suffers a fatal heart attack.

While a thorough appreciation for the complexities of Winfree’s work

requires solid knowledge of the fine points of mathematical theory,

his work may help hold the key for researchers to better understand

the role of mathematics in leading us further down the road to

enlightenment

about the inherent rhythms of how our bodies work.

— Vivian Fransen

Top Of Page
Moving Newsletters From Print to Web

@BIG LETTER = The key to creating an Internet-based newsletter is

to give contributors ownership of their published content. "Get

the publishing team to make the E-newsletter theirs," says Lori

Martinsek, vice president of Publication Services in Champaign,

Illinois.

On Tuesday, November 14, at 11:30 a.m. at the Doral Forrestal,

Martinson

will show how to create a website that is easy for the publishing

team to launch and update, and inviting for clients to read. She will

discuss the need for initial web planning sessions where you identify

the key content providers and create enthusiasm and confidence within

the publishing team.

The New Jersey Communications Advertising & Marketing Association

luncheon is entitled "Launching the E-Communications Center

Solution:

Reinventing the Newsletter." Cost: $40. Call 609-799-4900.

Martinsek

can be reached at 217-398-2060, extension 230.

With Martinsek’s approach, each content provider becomes a publisher.

He or she defines his topic of focus and its title. This title becomes

a hot button on the web site, which will link to his content. You

empower him by giving him ownership of the information that is

published,

and the software tools to post it on the date and time he decides.

A graduate of Framingham State College of Massachusetts, Class of

1977, Martinsek grew up in a family-owned printing business. She later

developed the content, delivery, and database for Microsoft Computer

Dictionary 3/e for print and Web use.

"The problem with a lot of printed company newsletters and

policies

is that they are out of date before they are published," says

Martinsek.

Another problem is that the E-newsletter does not enough information.

The employee or client doesn’t have a way to get more in-depth content

specific to his individual needs. The solution, says Martinsek, is

to give him access to a website with hot links and an interface to

a relevant database that can provide reports and statistics.

To keep readers coming back, Martinsek suggests making the

E-newsletter

interactive and personalized. Newsletter editors should encourage

the reader to identify his topics of interest. Then, whenever new

information is published, that reader can receive an E-mail alert.

Better yet, says Martinsek, include a link to the updated content.

Another technique is to post a bulletin board on the website that

answers frequently asked questions with E-mail access for readers’

contributions.

A good interactive web-based publication can, in some cases, do away

with printed policy manuals and replace meetings, says Martinsek.

At the CAMA meeting, Martinsek will introduce Publication Services’

"E-Communications Center," a tool for publishing and managing

information on the web. With this system, says Martinsek, "a new

website can be posted within 48 hours with a splash screen and button

links, as well as administration tools. The content providers do not

need programming experience. They will just type their material

directly

onto customized templates. The process is similar to using Microsoft

Power Point."

The CAMA presentation is geared for anyone looking to launch an

electronic

newsletter or website, or streamline the production process of a

current

publication within a company.

Says Martinsek: "Giving the members of your newsletter team

independence

is the key."

— Lynn Robbins

Top Of Page
Digital Headaches, Possible Solutions

You will know we are truly in the digital age when

everybody

believes an image sent by E-mail is more dependable than an envelope

sent by Federal Express. Until that time, the Art Directors Club of

New Jersey has scheduled a technology expo entitled "Harness the

Power of Digital Files" on Tuesday, November 14, 4 to 10 p.m.

It will be at L’Affaire Hall, 1099 Route 22 East, in Mountainside.

Cost: $60 including a buffet dinner and workshops. Register online

(www.adcnj.org) or call 201-997-1212.

Among the 20 exhibitors are Adobe Systems, Agfa, Epson America,

Graytor

Printing Co., Gravity Systems, Polaroid Graphics Imaging, Fotocare,

and Fujifilm.

Educational seminars start at 6:45 p.m. Bruce Wade of Innovative

Folding Carton will discuss proofing, which he believes is the most

important issue between designers, clients, and printers. "The

ability to convey expectations accurately is crucial to a successful

end product," says Wade.

Joe Zugcic, who has a commercial photography studio, will discuss

producing digital job master files, the effect of Newton Rings, and

how to use channels to examine a raw scan. He will also show how to

retouch large files.

Glen Russen of ChromeWerk Graphics will identify effective ways

to create images for direct-to-print or direct-to film reproduction.

Brian Yeats, of Quality Graphics Center, will talk about the

effects of PDF files — their cost, speed, and color accuracy —

and what effect this format will have on the printing industry.

Look for a 36 percent increase in responses to direct mail ads, say

David Marfiewicz and Pam Conover of Digital Xpress. They

present the new generation of printing-on-demand digital offset

printing

with variable data — inserting people’s names in direct mail

letters,

which produces the better response.

Top Of Page
Feng Shui: Decorate For Success?

Position your furniture according to the ancient Chinese

principles of Feng Shui and you will prosper, promises Jade

Dressler,

who gives a seminar on the subject on Wednesday, November 15, from

6 to 9:30 p.m.

Dressler, owner of 108.OM Public Relations in Wrightstown,

Pennsylvania,

entitles her seminar, "Feng Shui in the Business Environment:

Position Yourself for Success." Her clients have included Macy’s,

Aveda, and New Jersey state government division headquarters. The

$50 seminar — included a take-away packet and a $40 gift

certificate

towards Dressler’s follow-up, onsite consult — will be at

Lambertville

House, 32 Bridge Street in Lambertville. Call 215-598-9231.

Use Feng Shui in your office, and your work space will work better,

says Marion H. Zukas of MHZ Designs, on Main Street in Cranbury

(609-655-5050). She will present a similar program, "Feng Shui

on the Job: Work Spaces that Work," for the Hightstown/East

Windsor

Business & Professional Women on Tuesday, November 14, at 6:15 p.m.

at the Coach & Four. Cost: $17.50 for dinner, but the program itself

is free. Call 609-426-4490.

Though Feng Shui dates from 5,000 years ago, modern companies like

Coca Cola are turning to Feng Shui experts. The soda pop company

consulted

Feng Shui experts for the design of its Atlanta headquarters. Closer

to home, the Holistic Health Association of Princeton had employed

the services of a Feng Shui consultant when it moved to its new space

on Nassau Street.

Some of the principles seem obvious: Unclutter your desk. Clean up

the trash at the entrance to your office. Put a green plant in just

the right spot. Who needs an expert to figure this out?

Less intuitive is the rule saying that the top honcho in the office

should have the office located as far away from the door as possible,

in the left hand corner. And that you should put a spot of yellow

in just the right place.

Does it work? Maybe. But a Feng Shui-d space all by itself will not

guarantee success, and it didn’t protect the Holistic Health

Association

of Princeton. After moving to its Feng Shui-d office — for

whatever

reason, and after more than 20 years in existence — the HHAP went

defunct.

Top Of Page
Interactive Media

Is there one tried and true way to structure content

and write for interactive media? A panel will address that topic for

Moving Images Professionals (ITVA) on Wednesday, November 15, at 6:30

p.m. at the Olive Garden. Cost. $10. Call 609-987-9207.

Panelists are John Loven, Victor Davis, Lena Lattanzi and Robert

Gengerke. Loven designed his first interactive program for

Strawbridge

and Clothier stores in 1983. Davis is a veteran writer/producer who

has made the successful transition from video to interactive media;

he has worked at NBC and NJN and been a corporate video producers

for such firms as GE and Lucent.

Lattanzi is an interactive industry veteran who has worked

successfully

with writers to create engaging programs for many Fortune 500

companies

including GE, Lockheed Martin Delta Airlines, Prudential and

PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Gengerke, a writer/producer/director, is owner of New York-based Magic

Box Communications and co-produced Sperry’s first interactive

videodisc

series.


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