Earlier this year, Spectrum News published an article, “In Search of Truce in the Autism Wars.” The subtitle posed the question: “Can the two sides come together to support all autistic people?” The author was speaking metaphorically. But for years, I have thought that literally, physically, bringing the two sides together was the key to—if not healing the divide between autistic self-advocates and parents of severely autistic children—perhaps ameliorating it, just a bit. Whenever I heard neurodiversity advocates discuss severe autism, I couldn’t help thinking of that great line from The Princess Bride: “I don’t think that word means what you think it means.” No one who had spent any time with my son Jonah or his peers could sincerely argue that severely autistic adults can serve on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), for example, or that guardianship represents as gross a human rights violation as … [Read more...] about When John Met Jonah
Cable news viewers are now being relentlessly inundated with advertisements for financial planning services. As retirement nears, middle-aged viewers are cautioned not to be caught unprepared; without proper planning, their golden years might turn out to be leaden. Nevertheless, even the most carefully conceived plans can and often do go amiss. Indeed, one prominent financial planning firm, Raymond James, was recently slapped with a $17 million fine for money laundering. What is their pithy catchphrase? “Life well planned.” The fallibility of planning was famously noted in 1785 by the renowned Scottish poet, Robert Burns. In To a Mouse, Burns wrote: The best laid schemes of mice and mengrief and pain, The failed schemes of mice were whimsically animated by the 1990s plucky cartoon characters Pinky and the Brain; the failed schemes of men were hilariously portrayed by the bungling film stars Laurel and Hardy who were active from the 1920s to the 1950s. Most of the calamitous … [Read more...] about Are We Just Making It Up As We Go Along?
Why do some cultural products become wildly popular while others fall short? Researchers Jonah Berger and Grant Packard investigate in a paper published in the journal Psychological Science, focusing on popular music. Based on the data examined, they propose that atypical tracks are more likely to become a hit. Source: ColiN00B/Pixabay Background How many people had predicted that “Barbie Girl” by Aqua, “Macarena” by Los del Rio, “Wannabe” by Spice Girls, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana, or “Gangnam Style” by Psy would become so popular? It is nearly impossible to predict future popularity; even experts have difficulty predicting which songs will become hits. There are likely multiple reasons why these songs were so successful (e.g., marketing strategies, viral music videos). We know that human beings desire stimulation, so they are more likely to be drawn to … [Read more...] about Why Do Some Songs Become Popular?
Source: Wikipedia Commons, used with permission By Alison Feit, Ph.D. and Alan Slomowitz, Ph.D. An Orthodox Jewish man walks into his Rabbi’s office and says: “Rabbi, I am in trouble, I seem to be only attracted to other men. What should I do?” The Rabbi is not sure what to say. He wonders to himself: “Is he asking me for a religious ruling or does he think I am I therapist?” After an awkward silence the rabbi says: “Let me call Dr. Goldstein maybe he can help both of us.” What does this man want from his rabbi? What does the rabbi believe Dr. Goldstein can say to this gay man that he cannot? Does the rabbi believe Dr. Goldstein can or should change this man’s sexual orientation? The referral by an Orthodox rabbi, or any member of the clergy, who believes that the purpose of therapy is to change sexual orientation, poses ethical and legal challenges. Now, more than ever, such referrals highlight powerful cultural and legal … [Read more...] about Queer Orthodoxies
Is alcohol a toxin? Well, let's let the scientists decide. There is a fairly widespread scientific consensus that alcohol prolongs life by reducing heart disease - now literally hundreds of studies have found it. But the standard response (my own doctor told me this) is that this is only due to the fact that healthier people have a glass of wine or two at dinner. One skeptical group of leading researchers, led by Charles Holahan of the University of Texas, proposed this was the case in the current issue of the most prestigious American addiction journal, Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. They found in a 20-year follow-up of 55-65 year-old subjects - here - let them speak for themselves (this is the entire results section of their abstract): Controlling only for age and gender, compared to moderate drinkers, abstainers had a more than 2 times increased mortality risk, heavy drinkers had 70% increased risk, and light drinkers had 23% increased risk. A model controlling for … [Read more...] about Science Is What Society Says It Is: Alcohol’s Poison!