Educating Autistics

Asperger’s dropped from revised diagnosis manual | General Headlines | Comcast

Asperger’s will be dropped from the next revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the book that standardizes diagnostic criteria for mental illness.

Brilliant. By eliminating an autism spectrum, the psychiatrists will be encouraging discrimination against “Aspies” (their word for themselves) who have higher IQs and marginally better social skills, i.e. are more capable of working.

All in all, it’s looking as if the DSM-V is categorizing the mentally ill by the DRUGS used to treat their illness. Dangerous.

It’s not that Aspies are at risk losing services, it’s that in order to get services they are at risk being treated – both in the medical and the social sense – as if they are sicker than you really are.

Simplify, Leslie… I mean the high-functioning autistics will have to prove every day that they are indeed high-functioning. Autism is not one-size-fits-all. I suspect, however, that the Aspergers diagnosis was invented when the shrinks realized that they could throw a net over shy, introverted children who are technically inclined. In the old days we called them “geeks.”

The DSM-V also gets rid of pediatric bipolar disorder, or so I’ve been told. It took YEARS for the shrinks to admit that some children were experiencing psychotic manias from the stimulants given to children with ADHD because they didn’t have ADHD! The seminal book on the topic is The Bipolar Child: The Definitive and Reassuring Guide to Childhood’s Most Misunderstood Disorder, Third Edition

Another thing that is STILL missing is an anosognosia specifier. It is my nightmare to be trying to convince some evil bastard that I am not insane.

Anosognosia means you are unaware that you are exhibiting the symptoms of your illness. Self-awareness, i.e. the ability to be objective about yourself, isn’t a guaranteed just because you’re human, but when a mentally ill person doesn’t have it, they can get in extra trouble.

The DSM-IV has specifiers for “last episode depressive” or “with psychosis” but there isn’t one for “painfully aware that she is batshit insane.”

It’s not enough to stay calm and not talk about space aliens. The powers-that-be ASSUME you’ll be on your best behavior. Once on a psych ward even a sane person would be hard-pressed to get back out. There was an experiment a few years ago in which psych grad students feigned hearing voices to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital. Once in, they behaved normally and tried to be released. In all cases the students had to submit to the will of their captors and admit they were mentally ill before being allowed to leave.

“The uniform failure to recognize sanity cannot be attributed to the quality of the hospitals, for, although there were considerable variations among them, several are considered excellent. Nor can it be alleged that there was simply not enough time to observe the pseudopatients. Length of hospitalization ranged from 7 to 52 days, with an average of 19 days. The pseudopatients were not, in fact, carefully observed, but this failure speaks more to traditions within psychiatric hospitals than to lack of opportunity.”

Anyway, back to autism. Aspergers have poor social skills. However, they are often brilliant in other areas. My fear is that Apergers will get thrown into social skills classes, never taught math and science, and held back by a curriculum intended for severely impaired students. You know, because autistics are usually not very intelligent.

Dr. Temple Grandin has some strong opinions about educating autistic children.

She is autistic herself and has a PhD in Animal Husbandry. She is probably the number one designer of humane slaughterhouses due in part to the fact that she thinks in pictures rather than in words. I draw the line before “because she thinks like an animal.” The powers-that-be love to say that autistics are like animals, a statement that is always used to dehumanize and to justify abuse.

Dr. Grandin’s book Thinking in Pictures, Expanded Edition: My Life with Autism is enlightening. Ms. Grandin is unable to conceptualize an abstraction such as long-term goals, so she concretized with the metaphor of a flight of stairs leading to a door that represented the goal of graduation.

Dr. Grandin has written a number of excellent books on the topic of educating autistics, including one called Developing Talents: Careers for Individuals with Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism.

All-in-all Dr. Grandin has made some startling statements about how autistic children are being mishandled in our schools. The powers-that-be think they know better than her. After all, autistics think like animals. :-(

Goodbye, Dewey Decimal

I’ve discovered that the Dewey Decimal System is too exact for what I am doing here. I’ll be changing the categories to something simpler and deleting some tags too.


Cthulhu: Genetic risk and stressful early infancy join to increase risk for schizophrenia
Me: Dr. Fuller Torrey says schizophrenia caused by cat shit. Pfffft!
Cthulhu: Ah, the Toxoplasmosis link? Yeah, I’m a little wary about that myself. I’d have to see more data on that published than has been.
Me: Empirical data shows that sometimes antipsychotics work. Therefore antipsychotics must kill T. gondii. So UNSCIENTIFIC.
Me: Same prevalence of T.gondii in Europeans but less schizo. Sad part is, this doc the head of a major bipolar research org.
Me: I think it turns people into cat ladies. LOL!!
Cthulhu: Yes, that does reek of pseudoscience. It reminds me of quack claims of the “one cause of all disease.”


Me: There was graffiti on a bridge abutment that stayed for YEARS. “God creat disease.”
Me: Some bitter old drunk thought he was being profound. “God creat disease.”
Cthulhu: I think one of humankind’s greatest faults is the tendency to overestimate ourselves, especially our deepitudinosity of thought.
Me: The odd thing was, after they removed the graffiti the words stayed with us.
Cthulhu: Hmmm.
Me: Hmmmmmmmmm….
Me: Truthfully, read Alan Watts “The Value of Psychotic Experience.” Medicate a spiritual crisis?
Cthulhu: I remember having an epiphany of sorts myself in 2007, I thought about my own mortality for months, then accepted it afterward.
Me: I confronted that one in 1979, AND it can be unexpected, AND fairness does not apply.
Cthulhu: Agreed. Mine happened after an accident I had. I remember thinking for days afterwards while recovering.
Cthulhu: After I looked the Reaper in her bony eye-sockets that first time, I thought, “Sorry dudette. We dance some other time, not now.”
Cthulhu: “Dudette”… What a weird thing to call death, but also weird how unfrightening it seemed at the time.
Cthulhu: I decided that I had no inclination to go back to theism, even afterward, since I now think eternal life conceptually horrific.
Cthulhu: At some point, whether 100 years, 1,000 years, or 10,000 years, I’d just want it all to end.”
Me: Sorry, eternal life is obligatory. Here’s your harp.

breastbone harp


Me: You might get a kick out of this. Need to focus and end it with another mind parasite.
Me: Hmmm, that shit would make a great opener for a really scary book.
Me: Mine was after an accident. Had closed head trauma. When you aren’t sure you’ll survive the night you come to terms with things.
Me: Oh, right, yes. Went to the ER and they wouldn’t see me because I didn’t have insurance. Now even the irresponsible get treated.
Me: That, and was tripping when I was in the accident. (I was in the bed of a pickup.) So I had several hours to go when I got home.
Me: In the space of a year I had 3 concussions. The accident one left me with a migraine that subsided after a month and visual effects that didn’t. I think they are called scotoma. They come and go, usually when I’m tired.
Me: They have certain uses but I don’t want to get into it right now.
Cthulhu: After the thing in 2007, I started reading Sagan a lot, especially “Billions & Billions.” & “Varieties of Scientific Experience.”
Me: In 1980 I was in an accident that left me with a vicious migraine for a month, and occasionally thereafter and that’s when I discovered Sagan at the local library. I didn’t get to see all of the TV show because I didn’t have a TV.
Me: Or I had one but it wasn’t working. Or something. I just gave away a couple of his books but I see at least one on the shelf.
Me: I thought it bizarre that his spaceship looked like a dandelion?
Cthulhu: Cosmos! That show was so cool, and though some of the science is dated, much is still valid.
Me: I like that science is self-correcting.


Photo Credits:
Flower Power


Death Panels

Your private insurance company decides when you die, not the government.

Lamento Di Arianna by Monteverdi

Lamento Di Arianna by Monteverdi (1608)

Arianna has been abandoned, left to die on the island of Naxos by her lover Theseus. Arianna’s despair is conveyed most eloquently. The opera itself has been lost to time but this achingly beautiful aria has survived and is still performed.

This lament reshaped the nascent genre of opera to include more emotion in the music. It is said that Monteverdi had experienced personal tragedies whose deep pain was his muse.

Turn back, my Theseus
turn back Theseus, oh God!
Turn back to gaze on her
who abandoned
her country and kingdom just for you,
and who will leave her bare bones
on these sands as food for fierce and merciless animals.

Mouse Song

Male mice sing ultrasonic songs. I’d like to hear them.

Singing Mice, Songbirds, and More: Models for FOXP2 Function and Dysfunction in Human Speech and Language

Although the most widely appreciated vocalizations of mice are audible, it has been known for several decades that mice and other rodents also vocalize at ultrasonic frequencies. In the Holy laboratory, we recorded and analyzed the vocalizations of a sizable population of adult males. When the recordings were computationally shifted into the range of human hearing, these vocalizations were found to be subjectively reminiscent of bird songs.

Photo credit:
Source Flickr
Author patries71

“middle income” vs. “the middle class”


Romney says “middle income,” $200K-250K.
Obama says “the middle class,” $19K to $91K.

They aren’t even speaking the same language!


TFTD: Shark Week


Live every week like it’s shark week.

Photo credit:

Source: Flickr

Author: WIlly Volk

My 1990s Reading List

Found an partial list of books I read in the late ’90s to early ’00s. In some cases I had read earlier books in a set and included them in the same year.

In the interest of actually publishing the blog entry, many entries have no Amazon link yet.

  1. 4/1997, J. Frøyland, Introduction to Chaos and Coherence
  2. 4/1997, James Gleick, Chaos: Making a New Science
  3. 4/1997, Benoit Mandelbrot.The Fractal Geometry of Nature
  4. 5/1997, Houp, Kenneth W.; Pearsall, Thomas E.; Tebeaux, Elizabeth, Reporting Technical Information 8th edition
  5. 5/1997, Timothy Ferris ed, The World Treasury of Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics
  6. 5/1997, Chris Keledjian ed, Ports of Entry: William S. Burroughs and the Arts First edition
  7. 5/1997, Dr. Andrew Weil MD, Spontaneous Healing: How to Discover and Enhance: Your Body’s Natural Ability to Maintain and Heal Itself
  8. 5/1997, Steven Foster, James A. Duke, A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants: Eastern and Central North America (Peterson Field Guide Series, 40)
  9. 6/1997, D. Michael Denny, How to Get a Cat to Sit in Your Lap: Confessions of an Unconventional Cat Person
  10. 6/1997, Patricia Curtis, The Indoor Cat
  11. 6/1997, Stanley Schuler, Gardens Are for Eating.
  12. 6/1997, Poul Anderson, Harvest of Stars
  13. 6/1997, Alexander Jablokov, Nimbus
  14. 7/1997, Heather Busch and Burton Silver, Why Cats Paint: A Theory of Feline Aesthetics
  15. 7/1997, Daniel J. Boorstin, The Discoverers: A History of Man’s Search to Know His World and Himself
  16. 7/1997, Daniel J. Boorstin, The Creators: A History of Heroes of the Imagination
  17. 7/1997, Daniel J. Boorstin, The Seekers: The Story of Man’s Continuing Quest to Understand His World 1ST edition by Boorstin, Daniel J. published by Random House Hardcover
  18. 7/1997, Frederik Pohl, The Voices of Heaven 1st edition
  19. 7/1997, Mary Stewart, The Saga of Merlin and Arthur: The Crystal Cave
  20. 7/1997, Mary Stewart, The Saga of Merlin and Arthur: The Hollow Hills
  21. 7/1997, Mary Stewart, The Saga of Merlin and Arthur: The Last Enchantment
  22. 7/1997, Mary Stewart, The Saga of Merlin and Arthur: The Wicked Day
  23. 8/1997, John Milton, Complete poetry and Selected Prose of John Milton
  24. 8/1997, Jack Kerouac, Mexico City Blues (242 Choruses)
  25. 9/1997, Wilson Bryan Key PhD, The Clam-Plate Orgy and other subliminal techniques for manipulating your behavior
  26. 9/1997, Vance Packard, The Hidden Persuaders
  27. 9/1997, Edward T. Hall, The Hidden Dimension
  28. 9/1997, Edward T. Hall, The Dance of Life: The Other Dimension of Time
  29. 9/1997, Edward T. Hall, Beyond Culture
  30. 9/1997, Edward T. Hall, The Silent Language
  31. 9/1997, Colin M. Turnbull, The Mountain People
  32. 9/1997, Colin M. Turnbull, The Forest People
  33. 9/1997, Oliver Sacks, Awakenings, A leg to Stand on, the Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales, Seeing Voices (W ith a New Preface By The Author)
  34. 9/1997, Beatrice Trum Hunter’s Fact/Book on Food Additives and Your Health
  35. 10/1997, Phil Farrand, The Nitpicker’s Guide for Next Generation Trekkers
  36. 10/1997, Phil Farrand, The Nitpicker’s Guide for Next Generation Trekkers, Volume II
  37. 10/1997, Phil Farrand, The Nitpicker’s Guide for Classic Trekkers
  38. 10/1997, Irving Ribner Ed, The Complete Plays of Christopher Marlowe

  39. 11/1997, Scott Adams, The Dilbert Principle: A Cubicle’s-Eye View of Bosses, Meetings, Management Fads & Other Workplace Afflictions
  40. 1/1998, Anais Nin, A Spy in the House of Love
  41. 1/1998, Scott Adams, Dogbert’s Top Secret Management Handbook
  42. 1/1998, Gary Zukav, THE DANCING WU LI MASTER: : An Overview of the New Physics
  43. 3/1998, Julieta Ramos-Elorduy PhD, Creepy Crawly Cuisine: The Gourmet Guide to Edible Insects
  44. 4/1998, Naomi Wolf, Promiscuities: The Secret Struggle for Womanhood
  45. 4/1998, Philip Terpestra, Electric vehicle structures & components
  46. 6/1998, Herman Hesse, Siddhartha (Modern Library)
  47. 1998, Stella Kramrisch, Manifestations of Shiva
  48. 1998, Karlis Osis PhD Erlendur Haraldsson PhD, At The Hour of Death
  49. 1998, T. B. Pawlicki, How to Build a Flying Saucer: And Other Proposals in Speculative Engineerings
  50. 1/1999, John Donne, Donne: Selected Poetry (Poetry Library, Penguin)
  51. 1/1999, Daniel Odier, The Job: Interviews with William S. Burroughs
  52. 4/1999, Anne Sexton, Transformations
  53. 4/1999, A. Alvarez, Night
  54. 4/1999, Lewis Thomas, The Fragile Species. [1996,2nd Edition.]
  55. 4/1999, Lewis Thomas, The Others: How Animals Made Us Human
  56. 4/1999, Lewis Thomas, The Tender Carnivore and the Sacred Game
  57. 7/1999, Isaac Asimov, The Early Asimov, Book I
  58. 7/1999, Isaac Asimov, The Early Asimov Bk 2
  59. 7/1999, Isaac Asimov, Yours, Isaac Asimov: A Life in Letters
  60. 10/1999, Ben Catherine and John Still, A Field Guide to Little-Known and Seldom-Seen Birds of North America
  61. 12/1999, Paul Shepard, The Others: How Animals Made Us Human
  62. 1/2000, Walt Stoll MD, Saving Yourself from the Disease-Care Crisis
  63. 1/2000, Andrew Oram & Steve Talbott, Managing Projects with GNU Make (Nutshell Handbooks)
  64. 5/2000, Tom Clancy, Executive Orders (Jack Ryan)
  65. 5/2000, Harold Davis, Red Hat Linux 6
  66. 5/2000, Linux for Dummies 2nd ed
  67. 5/2000, Ferdinand P. Beer E. Russell Johnston Jr, Vector Mechanics for Engineers: Statics and Dynamics/Book and Disk
  68. 5/2000, Winona LaDuke, All Our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life [Paperback]
  69. 5/2000, Michelle Slung, National Geographic Cat Shots by Slung, Michelle published by National Geographic Hardcover

  70. 5/2000, Dan Gookin, C for Dummies, Volume One & Two Bundle
  71. 5/2000, William E. Mayo Martin Cwiakala, Schaum’s Outline of Programming With Fortran 77 (Schaum’s Outline Series)
  72. 5/2000, Steven Foster James A. Duke, A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs: Of Eastern and Central North America (Peterson Field Guides)
  73. 5/2000, Arthur Kroker, Spasm: Virtual Reality, Android Music and Electric Flesh (Culturetexts)
  74. 5/2000, Samuel French Morse Ed, Poems By Wallace Stevens
  75. 7/2000, Maurice Seltzer, Autobiography of a Creek: The Pennypack: A Creek’s Adventure with History
  76. 7/2000, Tom Negrino Dori Smith, Javascript for the World Wide Web (Visual QuickStart Guide)
  77. 9/2000, Anne Sexton: The Complete Poems
  78. 10/2000, Karen Pryor, Don’t Shoot the Dog!: The New Art of Teaching and Training
  79. 10/2000, Andrew Edney B.V.M, ASPCA Complete Cat Care Manual
  80. 11/2000, Richard Lederer, Anguished English: An Anthology of Accidental Assaults Upon Our Language
  81. 1/2001, Benjamin Hoff, Tao of Pooh and Te of Piglet
  82. 11/2000, Amy Zaffarano Rowland, Traditional Reiki for Our Times: Practical Methods for Personal and Planetary Healing
  83. 12/2000, John P. Uyemura, A First Course in Digital Systems Design: An Integrated Approach
  84. 12/2000, Bilal M. Ayyub Richard H. McCuen, Numerical Methods for Engineers
  85. 12/2000, John F. Lucas, Introduction to Abstract Mathematics: Second Edition
  86. 12/2000, Donald G. Newman Jerome P. Lavelle, Engineering Economic Analysis, Seventh Edition
  87. 1/2001, Eeyore S Gloomy Instruction Book (Winnie the Pooh)
  88. 3/2001, Kathleen A. Brehony PhD, After the Darkest Hour: How Suffering Begins the Journey to Wisdom
  89. 7/2001, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Barnes & Noble Leather Classic)
  90. 7/2001, Axel Madsen, The Sewing Circle: Hollywood’s Greatest Secret: Female Stars Who Loved Other Women
  91. 7/2001, Clayton E. Crooks II, Learning Visual Basic Through Applications
  92. 11/2001, Dan Millman, Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives
  93. 3/2001, Ted Andrews, Animal-Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great & Small
  94. 3/2001, Fay Joy Shannon, Manic By Midnight
  95. 4/2001, Mitzi Walsh, Bipolar Disorders: A Guide to Helping Children & Adolescents
  96. 6/2001, Arthur Furth, Anne Sexton: The Last Summer
  97. 8/2001, Mircea Eliade, Myth and Reality (Religious Traditions of the World)
  98. 9/2001, Apocalypse: Beauty and Horror in Contemporary Art
  99. 10/2001, Kay Redfield Jamison PhD, Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide 1st edition by Jamison, Kay Redfield published by Knopf Hardcover
  100. 11/2001, Stephen LaBerge PhD Howard Rheingold, Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming
  101. 11/2001, The Selected Poems of Li Po
  102. 3/2002, Aurealia Nelson, Musings of a Mad Madam
  103. 5/2002, Betty Lehan Harrigan, Games Mother Never Taught You
  104. 8/2002, Tara Elgin Holley, My Mother’s Keeper: A Daughter’s Memoir Of Growing Up In The Shadow Of Schizophrenia
  105. 2/2002, Diane Stein, Essential Reiki: A Complete Guide to an Ancient Healing Art
  106. 5/2002, Richard Rhodes, The Making of the Atomic Bomb: 25th Anniversary Edition
  108. 6/2002, Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition; Why It Can Matter More Than IQ
  109. 6/2002, Arthur Furst, Anne Sexton: The Last Summer
  110. 3/2002, Scott Adams, The Joy of Work: Dilbert’s Guide to Finding Happiness at the Expense of Your Co-Workers
  111. 7/2002, Denise Dellarosa Cummins Colin Allen, The Evolution of Mind
  112. 7/2002, Cynthia Olsen, Australian Tea Tree Oil Guide
  113. 8/2002, Alison Daniels, Feng Shui for You and Your Cat by Daniels, Alison published by Watson-Guptill Paperback
  114. 7/2002, Jim Meuninck, Basic Essentials Edible Wild Plants & Useful Herbs, 2nd (Basic Essentials Series)
  115. 11/2002, James Joyce, Finnegans Wake (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin)
  116. 12/2002, Helen J. Haberly, REIKI: HAWAYO TAKATA’S STORY
  117. 6/2002, Marc Okrand, The Klingon Dictionary (Star Trek)
  118. 7/2002, Joseph Campbell, Myths to Live By

Twitter: As for physics…

void57 As for physics, what does reality look like when one doesn’t know the first thing about math or classical mechanics? Oh, right, God.


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