October 27th, 2002


Night Bus Statistics (more amusing than it sounds!)

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If you thought that was boring, think again. I was going to give you my List of Current Woes, but decided moaning about the Night Bus was far more productive. So you know the pleasure you've missed, here is the list in brief: queue at ticket office grrr, missed train annoying, tummy hurts ow, TFL's wap site crap, Jubilee line engineering works, period early icky, ripped paper bag scattering contents all over the floor, wisdom tooth ouch!

Disturbing slogan of the day: "Secure Beneath Watchful Eyes" - done in a 1940s/wartime propaganda poster style. Supposedly to reassure you that British Transport Police and CCTV can be found on buses. I found it rather "1984" and Big Brother-ish, especially with the Mayor of London (or is that Mayor of London?) slogan in the corner. I don't really have any problem with the slogan itself, just the font it's done in. Ah, I can't explain my font "Thing" to other people... Richard at least has a font "Thing" of his own, so we can geek about that together.

Misguided slogan of the day: Seen on an abandoned pub which has become a squat: "The seas are rising. Get rid of fossil fuels." Hrm. I think we're doing a pretty good job of that already, thankyouverymuch.

I'll get my coat?
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opinion, eye

Geeks and Asperger's Syndrome.

This is an interesting article about the increase in cases of autism and Asperger's Syndrome in Silicon Valley. It's quite well-written, but flawed in that although it states a couple of times that autism and Asperger's are not the same thing, in other places it conflates them.

I know a couple of people who have been diagnosed with Asperger's, and a couple of other people who haven't, but who have noticeable characteristics of it. I also have a friend and a cousin with "traditional" autism. Now, it has been obvious to me for some time that Aspies have a extreme case of what could be considered "geek traits". Many of these traits are not in themselves "bad" - it only becomes problematic for people who have all of them together. As Asperger's or "high-functioning autism" is a social disability associated with people of normal to high intelligence, people with Asperger's can easily learn social rules, given the right help. Whereas "traditional" autism (I can't remember the name of the psych who's associated with it) is a mental handicap/retardation/learning disability (pick the term which offends you least), and while people with it may eventually be able to function fairly normally most of the time, they will require a lot of specialised therapy, and will always be "retarded". So it bothers me immensely to see the conflation of Asperger's with "traditional" autism. I can see how it's useful to regard them as similar, but I suspect they have very different etiologies.

Hrumph. Anyway, at the bottom of that article, there is a test which some apparent expert in autism has written to test for Asperger's (his name is Simon Baron-Cohen - do you think he's related to Sacha?), and lots of people have been giving their scores for it. Apparently scores over 32 mean you probably have Asperger's Syndrome , a "normal" score is about 16, and the average for scientists is 18.5. I scored 9. Go me, the tremendous marvel of neurotypicality! *snort* *snigger* *looks at the various prescriptions for psychoactive drugs scattered through the flat*

Bit of a stupid test, if you ask me. For a start, you have to distinguish between "definitely agree" and "slightly agree", and yet they're counted the same in scoring - why have two possible ways of saying that you agree if you're not going to use them? And there definitely should've been a handy web-form for calculating your score - I suspect that the reason so many of my friends have been scoring in the high-20s is that you need to be pretty damn geeky to be bothered to go through all those calculations. But below the cut-tag are the exciting borderline-autistic character traits I have, complete with sarcastic comments:
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