Neurodiversity Activists Creating Adult Autism Communities

Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN)

Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN)

It’s great to hear that autistic adults are able to create vibrant communities of like-minded individuals. The Washington Post describes how neurodiversity activists went about the task:

 Alanna Whitney was a weird kid. She had a strange knack for pronouncing long words. Anchovies on pizza could send her cowering under a table. Her ability to geek out on subjects such as Greek mythology and world religions could be unsettling. She drank liquids obsessively, and in her teens, her extreme water intake landed her in the hospital.

Years later, she found a word that explained it all: Autistic. Instead of grieving, she felt a rush of relief. “It was the answer to every question I’d ever had,” she recalled. “It was kind of like a go-ahead to shed all of those things I could or couldn’t do and embrace myself for who I am.”

So it came to be that Whitney, 24, was arranging strawberries and store-bought cookies on platters at the Queensborough Community Center for a celebration of “Autistic Pride Day,” her shoulder-length hair dyed mermaid green to match her purse and sandals.

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Self, Freedom, & Nothingness

shadow_man

What is the self? How does the self relate to consciousness, authenticity and moral responsibility? Philosopher Stephen Mulhall talks to four by three about the self’s non-identity drawing on Jean-Paul Sartre and Martin Heidegger’s conception of freedom, nothingness and finitude. 


 

What prompted you to write The Self and its Shadows, in which you argue that selfhood is best understood as a matter of non-identity, hence as an inescapable illusion? What is most problematic in conceiving of the self in contrary terms?

Stanley Cavell calls ‘Emersonian’ moral perfectionism, a version of perfectionist thinking that is not incompatible with democratic egalitarianism and may even be essential to its flourishing, but which envisions the self as split between its current or attained state and some unattained but attainable further state, and having to choose between attempting to realize that further state or maintaining its current state. It struck me that this idea of the self as essentially transitional resonated with the work of a variety of Post-Kantian thinkers, and that the moral issues that are rendered salient through its lens repeatedly recur in literature and other artistic media.… Read the rest

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Sanders and Corbyn: Socialism, Better Late than Never

DonkeyHotey CC By 2.0

DonkeyHotey CC By 2.0

After years of organisation and ground work, socialism has finally reappeared in western politics. It’s hard not to feel swept up by its arrival, to see it as some sort of homecoming. Though if one is honest, there is the awful feeling that it’s probably too little and 30 years too late. It is sad to say it— at least for me, a socialist at heart — but its appearance now threatens to look like an afterthought. In true last-second desperation, it’s not until the ship is almost sunk that we become ready to try and salvage it. Many now recognise, even some in the mainstream, that our societies and governments need more than an ideological readjustment, they need to be completely dismantled and started anew.

The recent joint surge of Bernie Sanders in the US and Jeremy Corbyn in the UK, while providing a heartening and interesting display, is unlikely to generate any serious change unless paralleled by a revolution of the masses.… Read the rest

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Patrick Stewart and the Snotbots: Make It Blow!

Captain Kirk once saved some whales, and now Captain Picard is asking you to join him in continuing that noble mission. How? By donating to this Kickstarter campaign which will help fund a new research project involving drones that will hover over whales when they come up for air and collect the mucousy spray which is expelled from their blowholes. This spray contains a wealth of biological data, both about the whales and their environment, but has been difficult to obtain up till now. The Snotbots will initially be deployed over three different oceans, and your donations will help launch them…

Via NBC: Drones that collect whale snot could help marine biologists do research — and Sir Patrick Stewart wants you to fund the technology. The drone is called Snotbot. It works by flying above a whale breaching the surface of the water and collecting the mucus that is expelled from the animal’s blowhole.

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Welcome To Patriot Park, Vladimir Putin’s ‘Military Disneyland’

How long before the United States decides it needs its own military Disneyland? Oh wait, is that what Jade Helm is about? The Washington Times profiles Russia’s Patriot Park:

MOSCOW — Smiling children run from tanks to rocket launchers, pausing only to check out the range of Kalashnikov assault rifles on display. Others crane their necks to admire military helicopters and fighter jets in the sky above. For dinner, the menu offers up real army rations.

Welcome to Patriot Park, a sprawling site an hour’s drive from Moscow that has come to be known as Russia’s “military Disneyland.”

Army-2015 2.png

Opened by Russian President Vladimir Putin last month, the $368 million theme park — so the Kremlin hopes — will become an important element in what authorities call vital “military-patriotic work with young people” by the time it is fully operational in 2017. Mr. Putin used the opportunity at the opening of the theme park to announce that Russia would add 40 intercontinental ballistic missiles to its massive nuclear arsenal this year.

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The Reason We Fear Success

jonah

Of the strangest and hardest to swallow truths of life springs from the ironic fear of our own success. This is what Abraham Maslow referred to as the Jonah complex. Simply put, it’s the fear of our own success or realization of our full potential.[1] According to the Jonah complex and various interpretations of it, the fear of success stems from the sense of overwhelming responsibility that might come with success, of living an extraordinary life that lacks personal familiarity, self-esteem issues preventing someone from viewing themselves as an important figure, etc. [2] To be successful, therefore, requires a sense of disillusionment with society and people which permits the inflation of the ego, whereas accepting an ordinary life actually requires a great deal of humility.

“Don’t be so humble – you are not that great,” ― Golda Meir

“The person who says to himself, ‘Yes, I will be a great philosopher and I will rewrite Plato and do it better,’ must sooner or later be struck dumb by his grandiosity, his arrogance.

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The Secret Agents Who Stake Out the Ugliest Corners of the Internet

The Atlantic reports on the Agents whose job is to find the real threats amongst all that trolling out there on the Interwebs:

When President Obama launched his Twitter account in May, people noticed his rapid accumulation of followers, a silly back-and-forth with President Clinton, but also something more serious: the number of hostile and threatening messages directed at the president.

Dallas DA - CPA Visits U.S. Secret Service

Sifting through those messages to determine which, if any, need to be taken seriously is the responsibility of the Secret Service Internet Threat Desk, a group of agents tasked with identifying and assessing online threats to the president and his family. The first part of this mission—finding threats—is in many ways made easier by the Internet: all you have to do is search! Pulling up every tweet which uses the words “Obama” and “assassinate” takes mere seconds, and the Secret Service has tried to make it easier for people to draw threats to its attention by setting up its own Twitter handle, @secretservice, for users to report threatening messages to.

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Pope Francis Ignites a Revolt That Will Overthrow American Capitalism

Sajithsameera (CC BY 4.0)

Sajithsameera (CC BY 4.0)

Paul B. Farrell writes at MarketWatch:

Yes, Pope Francis is encouraging civil disobedience, leading a rebellion. Listen closely, Francis knows he’s inciting political rebellion, an uprising of the masses against the world’s superrich capitalists. And yet, right-wing conservatives remain in denial, tuning out the pope’s message, hoping he’ll just go away like the “Occupy Wall Street” movement did.

Never. America’s narcissistic addiction to presidential politics is dumbing down our collective brain. Warning: Forget Bernie vs. Hillary. Forget the circus-clown-car distractions created by Trump vs. the GOP’s Fab 15. Pope Francis is the only real political leader that matters this year. Forget the rest. Here’s why:

Pope Francis is not just leading a “Second American Revolution,” he is rallying people across the Earth, middle class as well as poor, inciting billions to rise up in a global economic revolution, one that could suddenly sweep the planet, like the 1789 French storming the Bastille.

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The Disease of Reflexive Cynicism

Jef Safi (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Jef Safi (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Fuller Pendleton writing at This Civilization in Ruins:

Reflexive thinking seems to pervade the landscape.  The causes are unclear, but its existence is undeniable.  We jump to conclusions, we utilize stereotypes, and all other manner of mental shorthand in order to come to decisions about people, things, and potential courses of action.  With more information than what can be reasonably processed in the amount of time we have to make many decisions, we have to use mental processes to sort between what is noise and what is a signal, pointing us towards a correct path.

When mental shortcuts used to evaluate the motivations and intentions of others tend in one person to cause them to be taken advantage of due to what is perceived to be their innocence or inability/unwillingness to question much of the motivations of others, we call that person “naïve.”  We evaluate it to be a kind of intellectual immaturity to trust the benevolent intentions of others, or to overestimate our own ability to proceed along a path we’ve set upon. 

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