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In spring of 2012 I wrote a mission statement for a new project to be called Funding My Existence (FME), which would combine awareness and activism for both the “Creative Class” and “atypical” personality (or “neuro-atypical”) types. The Facebook page contains a nice nutshell description: “Funding My Existence is an online community intended to help people ‘make a living’ if they’re willing to share the fruits of a creative life. We hope this will help bridge our entire civilization into the future we’ve always envisioned.”
Despite a lot of enthusiasm expressed online, it didn’t develop into an operational website. What went wrong? Or what’s holding it back? I think exploring these questions will offer lessons for those of us wanting to build or contribute to innovative social movements.
First of all, I think that this idea was actually at least three separate ideas mashed into one, making it difficult to communicate exactly what I was imagining.
Tag Archives | Autism
Salon reports that autism diagnoses are up 78 percent in the last 10 years, but that may be because we’re pathologizing quirky but otherwise healthy behavior, like that of William:
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By age three, William began developing a passionate interest in a range of adult-like topics. After being read a book on Pompeii, he talked endlessly for months afterwards about what he had learned. He pressured Jacqueline to check books out of the library on Pompeii in order to satisfy his need for more detailed knowledge on what Roman life was like before Mount Vesuvius erupted and buried the ancient city in ashes. He strove to know more about aqueducts and amphitheaters. He insisted that Jacqueline design a toga for him, which she did. He strutted around the living room not just pretending to be, but believing that he was, a citizen of the Roman Empire, circa AD 79.
Steve, the lovable host of the children’s TV program “Blue’s Clues,” became an idol for William.
Abby Martin talks to legendary actor and activist, Ed Asner, discussing 9/11 questions, US intervention in Syria, the declining role of Hollywood’s anti-war left and his charity work with his organization Autism Speaks.
“Indigo Mom” and anti-vaccination warrior Jenny McCarthy will be joining the intellectual vacuum known as “The View”. I’m going to pop some popcorn and wait for the sound of a million public health workers’ heads exploding.
Jenny McCarthy, who will become a co-host of “The View” in September, in an earlier appearance on the show.
The show’s creator, Barbara Walters, announced on the air Monday morning that Ms. McCarthy would become the next co-host on the program.
Her selection had been widely expected; she has been a frequent guest host on the program and her name was at the top of the list for prospective permanent hosts.
The anti-vaccine movement has friends in powerful places in the form of congressional Republicans, Steven Salzberg reveals via Forbes:
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I was in my car yesterday listening to C-SPAN, when to my stunned surprise I heard Congressman Dan Burton launch into a diatribe on how mercury in vaccines causes autism. The hearing was held just a few days ago by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Congressman Burton used this hearing to rehash a series of some of the most thoroughly discredited anti-vaccine positions of the past decade.
To make matters worse, the House committee invited Mark Blaxill to testify. Blaxill is a well-known anti-vaccine activist whose organization, SafeMinds, seems to revolve around the bogus claim that mercury in vaccines causes autism. His organization urges parents not to vaccinate their children, and giving him such a prominent platform only serves to spread misinformation among parents of young children.
The committee called on scientists Alan Guttmacher from the NIH and Colleen Boyle from the CDC to testify, but in fact the committee just wanted to bully the scientists.
The owners of the website babyjabs.co.uk have been ordered by the British Advertising Standards Authority to retract from the site controversial statements positing a connection between autism and the childhood MMR vaccine:
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Babyjabs.co.uk said the three-in-one jab may be causing “up to 10%” of autism in children in the UK.
But the Advertising Standards Authority ruled the claim was misleading and must not appear again, after getting a complaint.
The website was also told not to repeat other claims it made about MMR.
These included the suggestion that “most experts now agree the large rise (in autism) has been caused partly by increased diagnosis, but also by a real increase in the number of children with autism”.
Another claim said the vaccine-strain measles virus had been found in the gut and brain of some autistic children, which supports many parents’ belief that the MMR vaccine caused autism in their children.
Beautiful renderings which took 20 years to complete: the complete plan of a massive European city that does not exist, revealing the fruits of unrestrained dreaming. Via Brain Pickings:
For the past 20 years, French autistic savant Gilles Trehin has been devising and developing this fanciful megacity, from the remarkable architectural detail to the thoughtful cultural context rooted in real world history. Urville gathers 300 of Trehin’s meticulous, obsessive drawings and sets the door ajar to this complex and intricately woven alternate reality.
Via the Associated Press:
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The software testers at Aspiritech are a collection of characters. Katie Levin talks nonstop. Brian Tozzo hates driving. Jamie Specht is bothered by bright lights, vacuum cleaners and the feel of carpeting against her skin. Rider Hallenstein draws cartoons of himself as a DeLorean sports car. Rick Alexander finds it unnerving to sit near other people.This is the unusual workforce of a U.S. startup that specializes in finding software bugs by harnessing the talents of young adults with autism.
Traits that make great software testers — intense focus, comfort with repetition, memory for detail — also happen to be characteristics of autism. People with Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism, have normal to high intelligence and often are highly skilled with computers.
Aspiritech, a nonprofit in Highland Park, Ill., nurtures these skills while forgiving the quirks that can make adults with autism unemployable: social awkwardness, poor eye contact, being easily overwhelmed.