Saturday, October 5, 2013

Shelter from the Storm

So my cat, Magic, is afraid of thunder. She has a special place where she always goes when there's a thunderstorm --- at the top of the stairs, off to the side where there's a sort of fenced-in ledge for her to sit on and overlook the people (and other cats) coming and going on the main floor.
She likes closed-in spaces.
There's an end table opposite the ledge, so it's a very snug fit indeed!
She's very cute when she sits there, and it usually calms her down --- it's not uncommon for her to go to sleep there, thunder or no thunder. So I tried to take a few pictures of her; she has a certain posture that she always adopts, with her front paws pressed together under her chest and folded over the ledge.
Magic sitting in her special spot. She's got greeneye* because I can't control the flash.
"Quit taking pictures of me, you weirdo!"
*Does anyone know why cats get greeneye instead of redeye? What's different about their eyes? Is it lens shape?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Most Bizarre Autism Hypothesis Yet

Banner ad for a video and ebook promising to explain how "Global Elite Uses Vaccines to Create Autism", and also "How Autism Profits the Globalist Cronies"
A commenter on one of Orac's recent posts linked to this website, which lays out one of the most ludicrously counterfactual Autism Hypotheses I've ever seen: the global elites are deliberately making people autistic (using vaccines, obviously) because autistic people make better, more docile workers.
Graphic from anti-vaccine crank website showing the All-Seeing Eye as it appears on the Great Seal of the United States, as the capstone floating above a pyramid, with the Eye of Sauron photoshopped in as the pupil of the eye. The words "Neo Aristocrats" are superimposed over the eye, and over the pyramid below are the word "Servants" with a red line below it, and the words "Delta Technicians" (a reference to the caste of developmentally disabled menial laborers from Brave New World) below that. Below the picture is a quote from Lord David Freud, a Conservative member of the UK's House of Lords, in which he talks about the benefits to businesses of hiring autistic workers. He says, "... it makes good business sense to employ people who are reliable, punctual and loyal; people who have good attention to detail and concentration levels..." Indeed it does! But that doesn't mean people are running around zapping people with Autism Rays, or even hiring as many of us as there are who need jobs.
Now, if you're like me, you moved right past the first two absurd premises --- vaccines cause autism and big pharmaceutical companies want to make people sick --- because you've heard them so many times. No, what floored me was the immense, crushing irony of their believing that autistic people make such desirable employees.
There's that Brave New World reference again
Do they not know how many of us are unemployed, underemployed or mal-employed*?

They cite Goldman Sachs UK's recent decision to offer (paid!) internships and job placements to qualified autistic people in London as proof that autistic people make desirable workers, but they totally miss the fact that the company had to set aside these positions specifically for autistic applicants. Not only that, but this program (and others like it, at other firms like SAP and Freddie Mac) represents a long-overdue first step toward integrating autistic people who are willing and able to work into the mainstream economy. A first step. A departure from the way things are normally done. And a drop in the bucket compared to how many autistic people are still shut out of the conventional job market.

There is definitely a flaw in your plan for world domination if you've designed the perfect army of loyal minions, but most of them can't get a job working for you.

*Malemployment, if you didn't know, is Mark Romoser's term for the scenario in which a lot of autistic adults find ourselves: working at a job far below your skill level and at a task for which you are unsuited. Like, say, an autistic person with an advanced degree working food service, where they struggle to keep up with people's orders and to talk to customers and prepare food at the same time. Romoser wrote an article about it, but it is behind a paywall. You can buy the article from Amazon for a lot less than you would pay if you got it directly from the journal (i.e., six dollars as opposed to fifteen), but it's still not free.