From the Link Cellar This Week (plenty)

Fresh, resurrected, or newly discovered links from across the internet and the dusty reaches of Shift Journal’s archives.

via Steve Silberman on Twitter:

Dawn Prince:  Cultural Commentary: The Silence Between: An Autoethnographic Examination of the Language Prejudice and its Impact on the Assessment of Autistic and Animal Intelligence

The difficulties we have had describing what language means to us in the midst of this possible unfolding dialogue are now being bridged. I hope that autistic people, and others that have been beyond understanding until recently, will be the natural interpreters of an important patois. The world that words are making whole for us will no longer be rent asunder, and our attempts to share our experiences of language in ways that are very different will not cut. It will be a softer fact, corrected, setting things on a wider and more sustainable path. We will be connected with ear and spirit; what people often forget is that listening is the superior half of speaking.

Business Insider:  Startup Is Looking For People With Asperger’s To Test Software

Founder Brenda Weitzberg said in an interview that “their ability to focus, good memory, their high intelligence, their strong technical skills, their ability to detect details and also to stay focused over lengthy periods, really makes them ideal for software testing work. People with Asperger’s can become ideal software testers.”

The Scientist - Magazine of the Life Sciences:  Researchers are punks

Both punk and science also value individualism and are not always embraced by society, notes Lane Pederson, a clinical psychology researcher and drummer in the punk band Dillinger Four. “In that sense, I think both of them have a subcultural aspect to them.”

Scott Standifer:  Autistic Fixation Shapes Photographer’s Unique Images

The photographer, who uses the online name “Luna” to protect her privacy, has been quietly posting her haunting, evocative images in the Flickr photo sharing website for the last two years. With oddly vibrant colors, they show entrancing and disorienting scenes of overlapping images which trap one’s eye in layers of meaning.

Caryn Sullivan:  Temple Grandin — different, but not less

I met with Temple Grandin on Wednesday, seeking insights from a woman who professes no interest in chitchat. Sporting her trademark western-style blouse and bolero, she was engaging, articulate and direct. She worries about people with ASD becoming fixated on the label. “To me, autism is secondary to who I am. I am what I do more than what I feel,” she said. “It’s hard for a lot of social people to understand that. We need to get past the ASD label and focus on the person’s abilities.”

Angie Dickinson as told to Ed Leibowitz:  A Struggle in Black and White

People talked about my legs, but Nikki had legs more like her daddy’s—shaped great and very strong. As a kid she was wonderful at gymnastics, horseback, ballet, scuba diving, and swimming. When she was only four, she could play piano like a prodigy. She’d make up songs with fast rhythms and notes that all went together. Once when Nikki’s paternal grandfather was out here, we sat listening while she played for us. When she finished, he said, “I know this sounds silly, but I haven’t heard any wrong notes.” There were none. Funny, but neither one of us considered that Nikki might have inherited some musical ability from her daddy as well. One of the original songs she played for us was called “I Can’t Cope with My Purple.” How interesting, since not having the ability to cope is the key to her disease.

Scientific American: The Huffington Post and the ongoing fear that vaccines might cause autism

To state as fact that the children of these “friends, family and business associates” had “an adverse vaccine reaction” is irresponsible and untrue. What is true is that there are many parents who believe that their children had an adverse reaction. What is also true is that in many cases in which there is actual evidence—contemporaneous medical records, videotapes, etc.—as opposed to the anecdotes that Kirby is referring to, what parents remember occurring and what actually occurred are two different things.

Pythia Peay:  America and the Shift in Ages:  An Interview with Jungian James Hillman

That’s an example that broadens our current limited idea of freedom: that I can do any goddamn thing I want on my property; that I am my own boss and don’t want government interference; that I don’t want anybody telling me what I can and can’t do; that we’ve had too much regulation, and so on. This is the freedom of a teenage boy.


It’s said, for instance, that we’re in a change of age. And as the ages change, those old things that seemed to be great virtues suddenly become vices. The 2000 years that preceded this was the great expansion of the West, and the age of the great monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Yet these three salvational prophecies with their tremendous aesthetic accomplishments and enormous civilizing effects have turned into monsters in their self-absorption with their righteousness and orthodoxies. They lack insight; all three claim to be “the one.”

Colo__kea via Twitter:

@stevesilberman’s like a kid running around on beach gathering shells & showing everybody what cool stuff he found

Shift Journal February/March 2010:

Lifting Veils

Last spring, a series of additional revelations regarding estrogen emerged.  The whole theory began to lean in the direction of an estrogen dynamic when it occurred to me that there was a relationship between my stepdaughter’s difficulty with entering puberty (her diabetes wouldn’t let her put on fat) and estrogen as a possible force that controlled the timing of maturation.  This implied that heterochronic theory, already deeply integrated into the thesis, might offer further illumination by interpreting testosterone as controlling the rate of maturation while estrogen controlled the timing.

A one-sentence explanation of evolution.

An immediate implication was that autism was impacted by the mother’s testosterone and estrogen level.  In addition, the child’s hormone levels would impact maturation rates once out of the womb, particularly as regards estrogen levels.  Synapse pruning results in a reduced left hemisphere in most normal right-handed people.  This may be managed by estrogen levels, just as fat levels in adolescents determine the timing of the testosterone surges that occur at puberty.  Autistic brains are often characterized by having had no pruning of synapses as young children.

I wrote Simon Baron-Cohen.  On 6/25/09 he replied that I ask a bunch of great questions but that he doesn’t think researchers have the answers yet.  Baron-Cohen said he’d discuss my conjectures with his colleagues.  Dr.  Baron-Cohen had responded positively to an emailed introduction to my work in autumn of 08, providing me permission to quote his positive response.

related:  The Autism Gene: Maybe Not So Scary

Speed of Information

The split, modern consciousness is encouraged by a small corpus callosum size with an inhibition of hemispheric communication, along with a right cerebral hemisphere reduced in size.  Light moves at 186,000 miles per second.  The speed of information transfer between cerebral hemispheres varies depending on the structure of the bridge.  The smaller the bridge, the more inclined that individual is to experience himself or herself as split, self aware, surrounded by a community of ideas.  That is my hypothesis.

Whereas the speed with which information passes between the hemispheres influences the emergence of a separate self, there is a second level of information transfer that deeply influences physiology, personality and behavior.  This is the passing of information between generations.  That this seems slow may be a result of our focusing on an individual as the primary unit in evolution.  Assuming that evolution unfolds as part of a process characterized by environmental influences on those that are genetically predisposed to modify ontogeny in response to those environmental influences, then we might consider that examining evolution from any specific level of experience, including the individual, makes little sense.

Uncharted Territory of Autism

Most likely, your child has improved, because autistic children will learn and grow anyway, just as other children learn and grow, though on their own schedule.  You might even credit the treatment you’ve chosen, and write a glowing testimonial to persuade other parents.  This will give you the satisfaction of having found “the answer”, and assuage the sinking feeling in the back of your mind that you’ve just been played for a sucker.  I wouldn’t blame you, because nobody, and I mean nobody ever wants to feel that way.  It’s human nature.  We all do it, to some extent anyway.

Cost Accounting

That’s still more of an understatement than I’d expected to close with, but it will do for now.  Keep in mind that when I characterize the costs of pretending to be normal as staggering, I’m speaking about those costs in the aggregate, taking into account millions of swans’ feet paddling madly away in order to fend off needless, manufactured fears, and to coddle the pretensions of resolutely “normal” enforcers of pointlessly conventional, mindlessly social behavior.  There are far better uses for such energy.  It’s long past time for it to pass back into the hands of those who produce it.

Elsewhere on the Internet:

‘What Is Internet, Anyway?’ - An Urlesque Compilation of Early Internet Clips

Mimi and Eunice:  Spectrum Disorders

on 02/28/11 in Art/Play/Myth, featured | No Comments | Read More

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