Saturday, March 29, 2008

Second Life and My Little Heart Attack

Thanks to Aimee for this CNN piece. For the past couple of years, a colleague of mine, Dan Greenfield, and a few others have bantered back and forth about the value of 2nd Life. I see, for the average company, very little value in the platform. Others see potential that I simply don’t.

That said, I’m discussing it from a ‘business’ stand point. I think this story outlining its value for Aspies and Auties is a great example of its value on the personal side of the equation. If being online and having an avatar helps this community of people feel connected in a way that the real world cannot (for whatever the reason: social issues, the real world is stimulation overload), I’m all for it…. as long as these aren’t kids in their bedrooms all day not interacting with their families and people in their lives at all. I think most parents worry about this with their children, regardless of condition, any way with the Internet…but I think more so with people that simply have a hard time of coping in our world, period. Adults aspies spending hours in 2nd Life – hey, that’s a choice of theirs….but 10 year old high functioning autistics that need some social skills to navigate the real world, that’s a different situation all together.

Just from a business perspective, the only legitimate use of 2nd Life I’ve ever heard of is the CDC using it as a tool to tell folks around the world of potential situations, or holding a 2nd Life seminar on ‘an island’ to discuss an emerging issue. It is one tool in their arsenal.

Of course, during the seminar, there is a fear of being attacked in weird and obscene ways to disturb your ‘press conference’. See here for what I mean.

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This morning was beautiful, mid-60s, with the ever so slight breeze out of the South, so with a warm feeling. So Buddy and I, after the kids games, went for a six mile run. When I got back, I hopped in the shower to take Demetrius to lunch (and Kim and Maya were leaving for a birthday party). When I got out, I could hear that there was no ‘kid noise’ in the background. I called Kim:

Jerry: “Did you take Demetrius with you?”

Kim: “No, why?” (And I can hear Kim’s fear shoot straight up in those two words.)

Jerry: “He’s got to be around here somewhere. The garage door is closed.”

I search the basement (where he sometimes convienetly, ‘can’t’ hear you); the studio where the computer is (see if he is intensely playing a game). Nowhere to be found. All the windows are closed, and all the doors are locked. Hmmmmm…..I’m not in a panic, but I’m getting there.

I go out on the patio, look around (could he be out back, someway, somehow?)…nope. I search the house again. Nope. I’m officially in a slight panic. I’m not calling Kim though. I need to ratchet this up one more level before I ruin Kim and Maya’s time at the birthday party.

Now, as Pooh Bear says I need to, “Think, Think, Think…”. We are supposed to go to lunch and a carnival (carnival didn’t happen, rain showers started)… would he not have waited? The doors are shut to the front of the house, so he didn’t decide to be impatient and walk…..

I open the garage door. He’s in the backseat of the car. He’s playing with one of the 20 or so action figures he brought into the car with him.

Demetrius: “Hi Dad, are you ready to take me to lunch and then the carnival?”

Daddy: “Hey Demetrius, I’m just wondering, how long have you been the car with your toys?”

Demetrius: “20 hours. Let’s go!”

So I get my wallet, my watch, my cell phone, and off we go.

Kim was going to stop at CVS on the way home to get a refill on one of Demetrius’ prescriptions. Maybe she can pick up some heart pills for me to take after this ‘small ordeal/heart attack’?

Whew.

Posted by Jerry in 18:33:35 | Permalink | Comments (4)

Friday, February 29, 2008

Amanda Baggs Blog

Thanks to Marla for giving us this blog (Amanda was one of the women highlighted in Wired).

I’ve added her blog to my blogroll.

Posted by Jerry in 15:51:47 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Autistic Story In Wired

I read the Wired piece I wrote about earlier in the week. Fascinating. The crux of the piece is that more research might need to/should go into how the autistic brain works, versus just finding a ‘cure’. The piece profiled a few doctors and two exceptional women who are trying to change the way the medical and ‘overall’ world look at autistic folks.

The tipping point of the piece is the ‘difference model’ – a theory that past research and studies about autism spectrum intelligence is flawed/wrong – because the methodology is incorrect.

Standard tests focus on measurement of terms that are acceptable to us – the ‘neuro-typicals’….but not all brains work the same way…. that if we study how these spectrum folks operate differently, and find a way where we can work together – that these folks may actually be ‘exceptional’ beyond the cheesy terms we use to talk about special needs kids.

So what’s next? Well, mostly a change in thinking about the issues is what needs to take place, according to the author. But the rub is that if that happens, then the risk is that all the autistic funding might start to dry up…so what to do? Get more money to solve ‘the disease’ or change the conversation to become more accurate (according to this piece, at least)…and see some these monetary gains reversed.

I’d love to get your opinions on the piece….

That said, you should check out both Amanda Baggs (she’s taken down her site, but here’s a great place to start {and the Wired article of course}) and Michelle Dawson…they seem very exceptional people.

Posted by Jerry in 22:28:41 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Some Autism Stuff Today From The World of News…

Being a PR guy by profession, I watch the newswires.  Here’s something alot of us talk about (responsibility check lists)  and is now being sold at a reasonable price of $12.95.

Here’s a piece on autism and adulthood in Scotland. After reading this, I’m pretty sure we won’t be moving there anytime soon.

Here’s the hyperlink to that Wired piece I referenced in yesterday’s posting.

And as much as you might not want to consider Scotland….and I can’t believe I’m writing these words: YOU MIGHT WANT TO CONSIDER MOVING TO NEW JERSEY.

Thimerosal issues won’t go away.  Smoking gun? You read this and come to a conclusion on whether or not this is going to be a hot hot button again.

Let me know what you think about a post like this on a semi-regular basis….  

Posted by Jerry in 19:21:34 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Monday, February 25, 2008

Is Wired The Voice Autism?

In this month’s Wired they are running another piece on autism (this one I haven’t read yet).  Unfortunately, they haven’t put a hyperlink up to the piece yet.

This is another of a number of pieces on autism the pub has run recently.  Here is a listing of some of them:

Simon Baron-Cohen piece

Face Reader

Early Autism ID

The March Piece Preview: The Truth About Autism – Everything You Know Is Wrong

Autism Gene Findings Blog Piece

Dems/GOP: Who’s Got The Brains

If you do a search on the Wired site, you’ll find many more….

Could it be that technology (and thus a technology pub) just lends itself to autism? Social recluses?  Intense focus and individuality?  Math wonks?  Hmmmmm…….  

Posted by Jerry in 12:19:20 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Becoming Part of the Lexicon

Sorry I didn’t post yesterday guys, I had a very busy day at work and it simply fell off the plate. I promise to make up with a post this weekend.

As most of you know, I’m a technology worker, so one of the magazines I read is Wired. Love it! I was perusing through the latest issue and saw this statement:

What we need are more Bill Gateses — people with Aspergian focus, with a direct sensual ability to understand what a million means. They’ve got to be able to envision every angel on the head of a pin. Because when it comes to stopping the mass tragedies of today’s world, we’re going to need every one of them.

I was a bit surprised to see that a spectrum disorder was being used as a positive descriptor. Well, frankly, I was just surprised to see it used in this way at all (though this blog posting would be utterly different if it were used in a negative way)!

Clearly, this is a sign of the autistic spectrum mainstreaming. I’m not a philosopher by any means, but to me, this shows that aspects of the disability can actually be seen in a positive way and that what we are all doing – through our blogs, walks and organizations like Autism Speaks – is making an impact.

Even a small one in a columnist’s monthly piece!

You guys might want to start dropping that ‘Aspergian Focus’ into your cocktail party conversations.

The whole article can be read here.

Posted by Jerry in 14:07:43 | Permalink | Comments (3)