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March 2nd, 2013

Park Slope Boy Blinded by Acid in 1973: An Amazing Man

He is a forty-year-old man now. When he was only 4 in 1973, his insane next-door neighbor threw hot acid on his face and he's been blind ever since. This heartbreaking crime happened on President Street in Park Slope. The perpetrator Basilio Bouza (24) was found not-guilty on grounds of insanity. The story by Wendell Jamieson is in the New York Times today.

Josh Miele is now  president of the Lighthouse for the Blind in San Francisco and he lives in Berkeley, California with his wife and two children.

The story is sad and unbelievable. But the portrait of Joshua Miele that arises out of Wendell Jamieson's article is inspiring and beautiful.

Josh has a degree in physics and a Ph.D. in psychoacoustics from the University of California at Berkeley. He took several breaks, years long, while getting his undergraduate degree, and worked full time for the technology company Berkeley Systems on software to help blind people navigate graphics-based computer programs.

He worked for NASA on software for the Mars Observer. He is the president of the board of directors of the San Francisco LightHouse for the Blind. He plays bass in a band. And he works as an associate scientist at the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, a nonprofit research center. “It’s not that I don’t want to be written about,” he said. “I’d like to be as famous as the next person would, but I want to be famous for the right reasons,for the work I’ve done, and not for some stupid thing that happened to me 40 years ago.”

Photo of Joshua for the NY Time by Jim Wilson


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