Sunday, October 28, 2007

Now Prof/Dr Watson has decided that this is a good time to resign from his position at the lab. Does this mean that he will no longer be making the news? I doubt it.

Link to story in the Guardian:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2007/oct/26/sciencenews.highereducation

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Dr James Watson in strife

Dear me. Dr James Watson is in trouble, and there's nothing about his latest controversy that surprises me in the least. I know his type; technically brilliant enough to win a Nobel Prize in a scientific area, and at the same time socially insensitive and politically incorrect enough to get into heaps of strife. He's a particularly fascinating example of the broader autistic phenotype, in my opinion. I believe Dr Watson wants to identify and eradicate the genes for autism, but despite that there's something about him that I can't help liking. I've read that the full genome of Dr Watson was recently decoded, and is apparently available to look at on the internet. I’m sure that would make interesting reading! In different and important ways, Dr Watson is like an open book.

Recent story about Dr Watson at BBC News:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7052416.stm

Dr Watson is one of the great people of science that I have written about in my blog article "Autism, neurodiversity and excellence in science writing", which can be read here:
http://incorrectpleasures.blogspot.com/2007/01/autism-neurodiversity-and-excellence-in.html

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Wired for sound: 12 characteristics that are shared by the famous musicians Glenn Gould and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

-musical genius
-child prodigy
-from a “musical” family
-left-handed
-gifted with perfect pitch/absolute pitch
-an extraordinary memory for music
-eccentric behaviour (Mozart enjoyed vulgar humour and was in some ways childish, and Gould’s eccentricities were numerous, varied and well-known)
-subject of speculation that they may have had Asperger syndrome
-heterosexual
-male
-died too young
-attained legendary status due to genius and personality

Both men are among the 99 fascinating individuals included in my
Referenced list of famous or important people diagnosed with an autism spectrum condition or subject of published speculation about whether they are/were on the autistic spectrum
which can be found here:
http://incorrectpleasures.blogspot.com/2006/09/referenced-list-of-famous-or-important.html

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Synaesthesia is a neurological condition often associated with naivety (with regard to scientists)

A lot of people who have the neurological condition synaesthesia do not regard this condion as being a disorder. Some synaesthetes take issue with people who discuss synaesthesia as though it is some type of medical disease, even though acquired, non-inherited, forms of synaesthesia can indeed be caused by drugs, disease or damage. Some synaesthetes write that the condition makes their lives more interesting or enjoyable, and they claim that they would not wish to be "cured" of the condition if it were possible to make it go away. Many synaesthetes appear to naively assume that scientific researchers, and the world in general, will take seriously their claims that they are not sufferers who have something wrong with their brains. Some synaesthetes display a cynical attitude regarding the way the mass media depict synaesthesia, but expressions of explicit cynicism towards the attitudes of scientists and researchers are not so easy to find.

It is most probable that the majority of people who have any form of synaesthesia do not realize that they have the condition, and do not consider themselves disordered or preceptually impaired. Researchers used to believe that synaesthesia is a very rare condition, but now that properly designed studies are being done, researchers are finding that it's really quite common.

I've stumbled across this page about synaesthesia at the web site of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, which is one of those research institutions that are trying to find the "genes for" horrible diseases: http://www.well.ox.ac.uk/monaco/synaesthesia.shtml

Regardless of whatever you or I or anyone believes, the boffins at Wellcome have described synaesthesia as a "disorder" which "often results in perceptual and cognitive dysfunction." The idea that something positive might come of synaesthesia is given the " " treatment twice on this page. They obviously don't take the positive side of synaesthesia too seriously. Synaesthesia is placed in the same category as "Neurodevelopmental and Neurological Disorders". I shudder to think why they are so keen to find which genes cause synaesthesia.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Wasn't Mr Page's reference to the line from the movie "The Shining" spooky? Especially when one considers that Stanley Kubrick, who directed that movie, and Glenn Gould, friend of Mr Page, are two famous people who are thought may have been on the autistic spectrum.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

This afternoon (if you live in Australia), or this evening (if you live in Western Australia) you can hear Pulitzer Prize winner and classical music critic Tim Page, who has Asperger syndrome, talking on the Late Night Live radio show on ABC Radio National 810am. It will be a repeat of last night's show, at 4.00pm, or 6.00pm in WA. This week the host is Norman Swan, who I am sure will do an intelligent job.

link to Late Night Live's home page:
http://www.abc.net.au/rn/latenightlive/

link to a story about Tim Page's life in The New Yorker:
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/08/20/070820fa_fact_page

In our family there are members who particularly enjoy the music of Wagner and minimalist classical music, probably for the same reason that Mr Page enjoys this music. I played a favourite piece by Philip Glass early this morning!