What American Sign Language Looked Like 100 Years Ago

American Sign Language has a long history in the United States. It goes back almost 200 years, to 1817, when a minister named Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet brought Laurent Clerc, a teacher of the Deaf* (who was also Deaf himself) from France to the United States to found the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Conn.

Clerc brought French Sign Language, which had been developing at schools for the Deaf there since the 1760s, and in Hartford it mingled with various home signs the students brought with them, as well as the sign language of Martha’s Vineyard (where there was a high proportion of genetic deafness). Within a matter of decades, ASL had evolved into a rich, full language, capable of handling all the educational and social needs of students at a network of Deaf schools all over the country.

The situation for ASL changed in 1880, when the International Congress on Education of the Deaf resolved that speech training and lip reading were to be the new, preferred method of education. Most deaf schools switched to the oral method, though there was some resistance at schools in the United States. Even at oral schools where signing was forbidden, students continued to use it among themselves and in this way it was passed, surreptitiously and often under threat of punishment, from generation to generation.

By 1913, sign language had been pushed so effectively out of the realm of education that the Deaf community feared for its survival. They decided to take advantage of a new technology, motion pictures, to do what they could to preserve it for posterity. In the film “Preservation of the Sign Language” (above), George Veditz, teacher and former president of the National Association of the Deaf, stresses the importance of documenting “our beautiful language of signs” as much as possible for the benefit of Deaf people around the world, and claims that “50 years from now these motion pictures will be priceless.”

He was right about that. The films made during this time have been invaluable in helping researchers understand how ASL has changed over time. For example, at 3:37 he makes the sign for “jealous” with the tip of his finger between his teeth. It is now produced at the corner of the mouth. Many signs, over time, have moved from a more central to a more peripheral location on the body.

The films have also been invaluable in establishing a place of pride for ASL in American history. The Library of Congress put “Preservation” in its National Film Registry, a list of “works of enduring importance to American culture,” reflecting “who we are as a people and a nation.”

Over the last few decades ASL has slowly regained the status it had once enjoyed in the world of education. In 2010, 130 years after the resolution that cast signing out of the schools, the 21st International Congress on Education of the Deaf officially repudiated that resolution and acknowledged the harm it had done. Sign language had survived and flourished despite it all.

See a translation of Veditz's speech here.

*The capital D in Deaf signifies a cultural identity, rather than just a condition of hearing loss.

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The Most Searched Shows on Netflix in 2017, By State

Orange is the New Black is the new black, at least as far as Netflix viewers are concerned. The women-in-prison dramedy may have premiered in 2013, but it’s still got viewers hooked. Just as they did in 2017, took a deep dive into Netflix analytics using Google Trends to find out which shows people in each state were searching Netflix for throughout the year. While there was a little bit of crossover between 2016 and 2017, new series like American Vandal and Mindhunter gave viewers a host of new content. But that didn’t stop Orange is the New Black from dominating the map; it was the most searched show in 15 states.

Coming in at a faraway second place was American Vandal, a new true crime satire that captured the attention of five states (Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin). Even more impressive is the fact that the series premiered in mid-September, meaning that it found a large and rabid audience in a very short amount of time.

Folks in Alaska, Colorado, and Oregon were all destined to be disappointed; Star Trek: Discovery was the most searched-for series in each of these states, but it’s not yet available on Netflix in America (you’ve got to get CBS All Access for that, folks). Fourteen states broke the mold a bit with shows that were unique to their state only; this included Big Mouth in Delaware, The Keepers in Maryland, The OA in Pennsylvania, GLOW in Rhode Island, and Black Mirror in Hawaii.

Check out the map above to see if your favorite Netflix binge-watch matches up with your neighbors'. For more detailed findings, visit

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Monthly Internet Costs in Every Country

Thanks to the internet, people around the world can conduct global research, trade tips, and find faraway friends without ever leaving their couch. Not everyone pays the same price for these digital privileges, though, according to new data visualizations spotted by Thrillist.

To compare internet user prices in each country, cost information site created a series of maps. The data comes courtesy of English market research consultancy BDRC and, which teamed up to analyze 3351 broadband packages in 196 nations between August 18, 2017 and October 12, 2017.

In the U.S., for example, the average cost for internet service is $66 per month. That’s substantially more than what browsers pay in neighboring Mexico ($27) and Canada ($55). Still, we don’t have it bad compared to either Namibia or Burkina Faso, where users shell out a staggering $464 and $924, respectively, for monthly broadband access. In fact, internet in the U.S. is far cheaper than what residents in 113 countries pay, including those in Saudi Arabia ($84), Indonesia ($72), and Greenland ($84).

On average, internet costs in Asia and Russia tend to be among the lowest, while access is prohibitively expensive in sub-Saharan Africa and in certain parts of Oceania. As for the world’s cheapest internet, you’ll find it in Ukraine and Iran.

Check out the maps below for more broadband insights, or view’s full findings here.

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site

[h/t Thrillist]


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