Archive for March, 2011

What if we cured Asperger’s?

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

I was reading Pejman’s post (other interesting links) and found this from the UK Mail:

A 12-year-old child prodigy has astounded university professors after grappling with some of the most advanced concepts in mathematics.

Jacob Barnett has an IQ of 170 – higher than Albert Einstein – and is now so far advanced in his Indiana university studies that professors are lining him up for a PHD research role.

***

Jake was diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome, a mild form of autism, from an early age.

His parents were worried when he didn’t talk until the age of two, suspecting he was educationally abnormal.

It was only as he began to grow up that they realised just how special his gift was.

He would fill up note pads of paper with drawings of complex geometrical shapes and calculations, before picking up felt tip pens and writing equations on windows.

By the age of three he was solving 5,000-piece puzzles and he even studied a state road map, reciting every highway and license plate prefix from memory.

What if Autism and Asperger’s gets cured? Worse, what if the genetic make-up was discovered and “fixed”. Worse, what if they’re diagnosed and destroyed via abortion? What if we have no more socially awkward geniuses around to solve problems?

Not all kids on the Autism spectrum are savants, of course. Many, in fact, require services. But these gems have to more than tip the cosmic balance the other way. And anyway, our definition of contribution to society can be so mangled and utilitarian as anyone blessed with a “special” child knows.

We need the extremes to define the norm for one thing. And we need the unconventional to create novel insights to seemingly insurmountable challenges. Further, we need different perspectives.

In a world dominated with the base and banal, I hope that a child such as this will never be “cured”. Humanity would be worse off for it.



Spring Cleaning & Spring Colors

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

So, I’ve been wanting to change my website for some time, but haven’t had time to do it. I worked with Ali Akbar for months on and off when we had a chance to chat talking colors and ideas to make my blog look more like “me”. Turns out, I’m rather difficult to pin down.

Finally, though, with the push of another designer, we got here. The guts of the website design are the same and we’re going to add a few things here and there in a bit.

Still, I’m very curious about what you guys think. The colors are very daring. Well, as daring as a website can be. But let’s just say that according this Gender Color Theory, the colors are all wrong. And yet, when I asked people what colors they thought of when they thought of me, they said orange (go figure) and a golden yellow. Many also said pink. These colors are not traditional political colors. They’re not traditional anything colors.

We’ll see.

Also, I’ve been rather quiet here mostly because I’m blogging all over the place and don’t like duplicating content. I’ve decided to make this site more personal and kind of a page where you can see everything I’m up to lately and then go to the links if you’re interested.

Many thanks to Ali Akbar and the designers at Vice & Victory. They do great work. Check them out for political consulting, online stuff and online fundraising.

Thanks also to Daniel J. Summers my long-suffering tech guy. He has been a constant help for two years. I am extraordinarily blessed by the people I’ve met online. Daniel and I have never met in person and yet I trust him completely. New media world, baby! If you need work on your site, you won’t find anyone more knowledgeable, resourceful and reliable.

Your feedback is welcome! Please share your thoughts on the New Look. It was time for some spring cleaning around here.