Print edition page number(s) 387-387
If you are reading this editorial, you are by definition an avid reader of the Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness (JVIB). As a self-described member of this group, I will confess that I personally enjoy reading magazines that cover a wide range of topics in each issue. This past month, I especially enjoyed reading the June edition of Smithsonian (available: <www.smithsonianmag.com/issue/June_2011.html>). The articles covered everything from "extreme cuisine" to the first Indianapolis 500 automobile race, the world's largest shark to the estate in Devon where Agatha Christie spent her summers. Trying to decide why I enjoyed one issue of a magazine with such disparate topics, I concluded that it was because I obtained a little tidbit of new information, a new perspective, or perhaps a new term from each of these articles. For example, I learned about "molecular gastronomy," which is also known as modernist cooking. As I understand it, chefs who use chemistry in their kitchens tend to deconstruct a standard dish and reassemble it in ways never before tasted nor imagined. They might transform a bagel and cream cheese into foams and gels, for example, or they might take a piece of meat and prepare it sous vide, which is sealing the meat in plastic and immersing it in a warm bath of water at a fixed temperature until it cooks through. I also read about the first Indianapolis 500, which was covered by the trade publication Horseless Age. Given that the race was first run in 1911 and the title of the trade publication covering the event, it's possible to infer the frame of reference of automobile racing at the time. I will admit that I don't entirely understand the fascination with watching cars turning left lap after lap for endless hours (I'm told the excitement is in the wrecks), however learning about the Warner Horograph, the speedway's timing system, kept me reading the article to the very end. The Horograph, like all too many pieces of technology, was well engineered, but entirely inadequate for the job, creating more problems than it solved.
So what does my interest in last month's Smithsonian have to do with JVIB? The journal also publishes articles each month that offer all sorts of interesting tidbits of information and insight, but may not have any real connection to each other. Just as I don't remember all of the details of modernist cooking or the first Indy 500, by reading these articles I have learned the major talking points, which has expanded my horizons and stimulated my thinking. JVIB offers the same sort of opportunity. This month, for example, the journal features articles on learning to write in braille, preparation of math worksheets for tactile learners, adaptations for parents of children with visual impairments, and the relationship of social support to well-being. Although none of these topics is in my own area of expertise, during the years I have served as editor in chief, I have come to recognize that seemingly unrelated topics have had an impact on my thinking and behavior. For example, although we all know that social support systems are important elements of well-being, by reading this month's JVIB I recognized it is not only the external supports that have an impact on well-being, but the individual's own social skills, essentially his or her ability to engage in and facilitate meaningful social interactions.
As you hold this month's issue in your hands, whether it be in print or on the screen of your iPad, I hope that each of you will consider, if you aren't already, reading articles in the journal that are outside of your own specific areas of interest or expertise. I am certain, by reading something unfamiliar, you will find nuggets of information that will have a positive impact on you and the way that you perform your daily work.
Editor in Chief
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