No. of Recommendations: 13
Until about 20 years ago, Asperger's Syndrome was unheard of in the general public. Asperger's Syndrome is a neurological condition on the autism spectrum which causes "Aspies" to focus intensely on specific subjects and to be relatively unable to read or care about non-verbal communication such as facial expressions. Like many autistics, severe Aspies often have trouble looking others directly in the eyes.

Asperger's syndrome is not a psychosis. The neurological condition sometimes causes additional problems in physical balance and coordination, but not hallucinations, wild mood swings, delusions or other psychotic problems.

http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/mental-health-aspergers-sy...

People with Asperger's syndrome ("Aspies" for short) are often successful (sometimes brilliant) in science, engineering and the arts because their laser-like focus is not distracted (as much) by normal social interaction.

Nowadays, pretty much everybody knows about Asperger's Syndrome. A METAR just posted on a separate thread.

Many Aspies are above normal intelligence, and can (with effort) learn to act like normal people by studying social rules, body language and facial expressions as an important subject. Schools are adding such courses to IEPs (Individualized Educational Plans) of Aspies.

I recently read a hilarious book ("The Journal of Best Practices," by David Finch) by an Aspie who saved his marriage by learning that he has Asperger's Syndrome and developing methods of accommodating a "mixed" (Aspie-neurotypical) marriage.

I highly recommend this book to everyone (because it is so funny and loaded with good advice) -- especially to Aspies.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Journal-Best-Practices-ebook/dp/B0...


Full disclosure: Asperger's Syndrome is hereditary. We have 4 generations: My grandfather, father, myself and my sister's son. All hard-working, sincere, trustworthy and very loyal and loving to friends and family...and successful in the real world as focused hard workers.

http://spectrum.ieee.org/biomedical/ethics/when-engineers-ge...



I suspect that METAR may concentrate Aspies more than the general population. Just out of curiosity, please take this test and report your score. In the first major trial using the test, the average score in the control group was 16. Eighty percent of those diagnosed with autism or a related disorder scored 32 or higher.

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/9.12/aqtest.html

What is your score?

Wendy
0-10 -- hey, I'm a partier!
10-20 -- pretty average
20-32 -- maybe a little less social than most
32-40 -- Moving into Aspie territory
40-50 -- What's this OT $h!t? Post the Control Panel!

Click here to see results so far.

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I expected to get a substantially higher score.
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I expected to get a substantially higher score.

It's not a competition. LOL.

What did you get?

I got a 38, which sounds about right.

32-40 -- Moving into Aspie territory
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It seems to me that the questions also test for introversion vs. extraversion. Would someone with Asperger's be an introvert by definition?

Interesting stuff...

quiz
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Forgot to mention, I also expected to score higher (21).

quiz
(introvert with social skills)
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It seems to me that the questions also test for introversion vs. extraversion. Would someone with Asperger's be an introvert by definition?

I would say not necessarily but there's probably a tendency in that direction.

An Aspie extrovert would like a lot of social interaction, but not be very good at it. Unless they study it a lot.

By the way... http://www.gunnerkrigg.com/archive_page.php?comicID=1118
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It seems to me that the questions also test for introversion vs. extraversion. Would someone with Asperger's be an introvert by definition?

I would say not necessarily but there's probably a tendency in that direction.

An Aspie extrovert would like a lot of social interaction, but not be very good at it. Unless they study it a lot.


Daniel Tammet is an example of a very interesting person with Asperger's. He has some incredible abilities.

Daniel Tammet - The Boy With The Incredible Brain

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbASOcqc1Ss

Here he is in a humorous interview with David Letterman:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fjBENKFVYM

He also wrote an autobiography:

Born On A Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant

http://www.amazon.com/Born-Blue-Day-Extraordinary-Autistic/d...
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27 for me. But then again, I've known for years that I was more nerdy than most people. But -- not nearly at the level of someone like Michael Burry. I sometimes envy that. I have the intelligence to understand almost anything. What I don't have is the focus to study the same thing for years at a time, by myself. I actually need the personal interactions and human warmth.

I learned that the hard way in grad school in physics. So now I do things that are much less mathematical and much more people-oriented, and all my colleagues call me a nerd. It works out okay.

ThyPeace, only wears her nerd glasses at night, though.
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I'm a 31, so the poll (range of 20-32) doesn't really represent me that well. As I said in a previous post, I'm kind of half-Aspie, fairly well adjusted (still weird to most) but with rather identical obsessive markers.

In addition, I scored very low on a related test, the empathy quotient test. While it's true that I have limited empathy for much of mankind, there are a few people, pets and pursuits that I am deeply passionate about.

Economics and politics don't fall into my list of obsessions. I started reading here because I like the unfiltered analysis.

I'm liking MadCapitalist's 38. Leader in the clubhouse! I'm looking for DrumlinDaisy and LorenCobb to chime in.
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FWIW - 33 ... and I suspect that I've changed through the years.

Many of the worst of my "symptoms" were severe enough during my teens and twenties for me to be regarded as severely twisted... but now I blend in well enough and socialize some. I still do not however, fully grasp the notion of a "party" :-)
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I got a 28, but I've spent a lifetime pretending to be normal, so I suspect I can pass pretty well by now in a social setting.

Interestingly, I found many of the questions very subjective. I wonder what my score would be if my wife answered the questions on my behalf - probably about 80 :-)

Jeff
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FWIW 24
I've never understood why people so enjoy getting drunk/high & seldom go to parties despite the lure of free food.

My social concept is that 90% of conversation is pure drivel.

Desert (likes humanity as a concept, but could do without so many people around) Dave
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interesting...

I got a 15..

so you can take me to the "party" anytime!!

{my sisters partner has two boys[now young men]with severe Asperger's & need a lot of care, but both are very bright in their own way]

Alan
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One of the more interesting polls of late!

Scored a 35.

Remember being in high school and my friends deciding that I was the most
introverted among us... but at least I had friends!

Then in college a friend told me my insular manner made people
think I was a snob, or cocky or one of a few other assumptions. After
that I went to what for me was a great effort to try and engage other
people, mostly by asking them questions about themselves.

Not a party person. Pretty focused. Finished college in 3 years and Med school in 3 and a quarter.

HAs always been hard to look people in the eye when I'm talking to them.
It makes my brain short circuit and I can't find what I want to say.
I can look people in the eye if I'm listening though.

V.
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Well, maybe I messed up somehow, because I certainly expected to score higher, but I got a score of 2. That is not a typo.

I guess I have whatever the name is for inverse-Asperger's (if the name is Alzheimer's, please do not tell me).

BTW, someone, possibly the despicable but funny Woody Allen, once said something like, "He suffers from inverse paranoia -- the insane delusion that everyone likes him." This obviously has nothing at all to do with the topic of this thread, but sprang to mind as I typed -- perhaps one sympom of inverse-Asperger's.

Rich

A Drumlin Daisy

who believes that Isaac Newton and maybe Abraham Lincoln have also been identified as possible Asperger's people. Apparently the main symptoms of Asperger's are intelligence and massive accomplishments, which makes that score of "2" all the more concerning . . . .
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At 20, I think I must be pretty ordinary.

However, I do have and have had friends who were probably 4's and 40's.

I best enjoy the company of my less-sociable friends. Since they are not the outgoing type, I appreciate the fact that they reserve some of their rare socializing time form me.

In addition, they generally have more profound (deeper?) ways of looking at or analyzing things.

My most outgoing friends eventually make me crazy with their constant social plans.

In any event, the time each of us spends with another person is time that neither we nor the other person will ever get back. It's an investment of a piece of our lives - and the moments we spend with people we find special should be considered of great value.

;-)
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"In any event, the time each of us spends with another person is time that neither we nor the other person will ever get back. It's an investment of a piece of our lives - and the moments we spend with people we find special should be considered of great value."

That may be true, but it makes some of us uncomfortable. I ran across a great blog post that describes how I feel:

"A few weeks ago we were sitting around the kitchen table of the farmhouse in Slovenia with our friends Russ and Michelle. I was telling Michelle about a recent discovery about myself, that I was an introvert.

Introversion is the not the same thing as shyness, and I was telling Michelle how I gain energy from being alone and it drains my energy to be around other people. Me in a social situation is almost like watching the battery signal go down on your laptop or cell phone. I perform very well for a set period of time, but when I’m done, I’m done. I can’t do anymore, and I need to retreat to recharge."


http://www.marriedwithluggage.com/2012/09/24/dreaming-for-in...
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<Well, maybe I messed up somehow, because I certainly expected to score higher, but I got a score of 2. That is not a typo.>

I'm not the least bit surprised, if you are as charming and gregarious in person as you are in print :-).

My sister got a score of 8. She is deservedly well-loved by a wide circle of friends.

Wendy
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I wasn't quite sure how to answer the poll, since I received a score of 32...
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Jeff,

What an excellent idea! Maybe we should have spouses take the test as well as rating spouses<G>. Just think, we could end up testing folks ad infinitum!

PM
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Hey, wait a minute!

I'm charming, gregarious, and deservedly unloved by a wide circle of friends too!

My wife has a close friend who is wickedly smart, who scored 800 on the math SAT way back when, and can claim to be one of perhaps ten people who have ever scored a perfect score on the USGA (golf association) rules examination eight times. With respect to autism quotient, he's right in the middle, or slightly below the mean. He's very obsessive, but doesn't score highly on the AQ.

http://www.springerlink.com/content/k872618310261272/

From the discussion portion of this research paper:

"AQ scores from a general population sample and a Cambridge student
sample were not significantly different, implying that
IQ and SES (socioeconomic status) do not appear to influence AQ.

How does this apply to our METAR study and discussion? I know this is designated off topic, but it may have relevance.

My intuition tells me that despite the success of Dr. Michael Burry, having a high autism quotient is somewhat detrimental to one's ability to make money, since business generally requires social skills. It might be good for managing money once you have it.

One last comment. In the Moneyball excerpt, Michael Lewis describes Dr. Burry's severe sense of fairness, so much so he stopped watching basketball because he couldn't stand to watch the pro players constantly commit the traveling violation without being penalized. A few years ago, an old friend, after seeing me for the first time in twenty years, told me he thought I had the deepest sense of fair play of anyone he knew. I can't stand cheaters, especially those who cheat to make money.

I'll assume that our friend MadCap shares this black/white sense of fairness as I do, since I often read his posts. It is curious how that manifests itself in terms of politics, capitalism and socialism. For him, it appears that pure capitalism is fair and just. For me, pure capitalism rewards a select few in an unbalanced manner I deem unfair.

Please feel free to comment, MC. I'm putting words in your mouth, and I'm walking a fine line of introducing politics.

John
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I'll assume that our friend MadCap shares this black/white sense of fairness as I do, since I often read his posts. It is curious how that manifests itself in terms of politics, capitalism and socialism. For him, it appears that pure capitalism is fair and just. For me, pure capitalism rewards a select few in an unbalanced manner I deem unfair.

Please feel free to comment, MC. I'm putting words in your mouth, and I'm walking a fine line of introducing politics.


I don't see what this has to do with Asperger's, but I do believe that pure capitalism is fair and just. In fact, pure capitalism is the *only* system that is fair and just because it is based on freedom, individual rights, and dealing with others on a completely voluntary basis. Other systems are immoral because they are based on coercion and initiating force. It is never moral to initiate force. The use of force is only moral in response to those who have initiated force.

Most people get it that it is immoral for citizens to use coercion against each other, but they don't get it that it isn't any more moral for the government to use coercion.

As I once wrote in my post on Individualism vs. Collectivism:

"If John and Joe agree on a goal and decide to forcibly take Jack's property in order to achieve the goal, few people would say that this is moral, despite the fact that it is the will of the majority (and they would be right to feel this way). However, if you increase the numbers and have two-thirds of the population instead go through a more formalized process and vote to determine the goal that requires the forcible taking of the remaining one-third's property, then you have somehow transformed thuggery into noble action and given it legitimacy. What's the magic number of people to transform thuggery into democracy? I have no idea."

http://boards.fool.com/individualism-vs-collectivism-2928627...
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This summer my wife and I spent a couple weeks listening to a Bob Dylan song called "My Back Pages". The most famous version is by The Byrds. It addresses that sense of either right or wrong, and how we find shades of gray as we age.

The 2nd, 3rd and 4th verses:

Half wracked prejudice leaped forth
"Rip down all hate," I screamed
Lies that life is black and white
Spoke from my skull, I dreamed
Romantic flanks of musketeers
Foundation deep, somehow

Ahh, but I was so much older then
I'm younger than that now

In a soldier's stance, I aimed my hand
At the mongrel dogs who teach
Fearing not I'd become my enemy
In the instant that I preach
Sisters fled by confusion boats
Mutiny from stern to bow

Ahh, but I was so much older then
I'm younger than that now.

My guard stood hard when abstract threats
Too noble to neglect
Deceived me into thinking
I had something to protect
Good and bad, I define these terms
Quite clear, no doubt, somehow

Ahh, but I was so much older then
I'm younger than that now.
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< I can't stand cheaters, especially those who cheat to make money.>

I'm the same. This is typical of Aspies.

http://psychology.wikia.com/wiki/Asperger_syndrome



Honesty and deception - Children with Asperger's are often considered "too honest" and have difficulty being deceptive, even at the expense of hurting someone's feelings. ...

In general, orderly things appeal to people with AS. Some researchers mention the imposition of rigid routines (on self or others) as a criterion for diagnosing this condition. It appears that changes to their routines cause inordinate levels of anxiety for some people with this condition....

http://books.google.com/books?id=qJZmsp3ZVG8C&pg=PA117&a...

The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome
By Tony Attwood, P. 117

...Children and adults with Asperger's syndrome appear to have a greater allegiance to honesty and the truth than to the thoughts and feelings of others. ...

http://www.aspergersyndrome.org/Articles/What-is-Asperger-Sy...

The overriding priority may be to solve a problem rather than satisfy the social or emotional needs of others. ... The person is usually renowned for being direct, speaking their mind and being honest and determined and having a strong sense of social justice.
[end quote]

Aspies internalize rules that embody order. Violating those rules causes a negative reaction.

Wendy
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<It seems to me that the questions also test for introversion vs. extraversion. Would someone with Asperger's be an introvert by definition?>
Asperger's syndrome and introversion are different.

No. Asperger's syndrome is a neurological condition characterized by intense focus on specific subjects and inability to read social cues from others.

Introverts are stressed by social interaction, whether or not they can read social cues. A person who can read social cues might become even more introverted if they are hypersensitive (stressed by social cues from others).

Aspies can be extroverts if they enjoy social interaction. They will probably be socially clumsy ("mind blind" to social cues) and might eventually draw back into a shell from social rejection even if they were originally extroverts. However, Aspie extroverts can learn social skills by dint of study and effort.

Wendy
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<Most people get it that it is immoral for citizens to use coercion against each other, but they don't get it that it isn't any more moral for the government to use coercion.>

Ayn Rand fled the horrors of Soviet collectivism, which murdered millions. She had a fanatical opposition to any whiff of collectivism. Yes, I read all her writings in my youth.

What Ayn Rand missed was that democratic societies are not totalitarian. As all elections show, opinions differ as to what society should accomplish and who should foot the bill.

Most people agree that American society should provide collective goods such as infrastructure, national security, first responders, schools, and consumer protections (FDA, FAA, EPA, etc.). Obviously, these collective goods require tax collection.

Greece is a perfect example of a nation with no coercive tax collection. Tax evasion is rampant and Greece would already have defaulted if not for the troika rescue.

It is moral for a democratic government to use coercion to collect taxes. There's no point parroting Ayn Rand because her mindset was based on totalitarianism, not democracy.

< What's the magic number of people to transform thuggery into democracy? I have no idea.>

Read the laws. If you believe American democracy is "thuggery," move out of the U.S. Every country has laws and every country that provides services imposes taxes.

Democracy is messy. As Winston Churchill said, "Democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."

Not appealing to an Aspie's black-and-white preferences, but true.

Wendy
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< What's the magic number of people to transform thuggery into democracy? I have no idea.>

Read the laws. If you believe American democracy is "thuggery," move out of the U.S. Every country has laws and every country that provides services imposes taxes.

Democracy is messy. As Winston Churchill said, "Democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."

Not appealing to an Aspie's black-and-white preferences, but true.

Wendy


The Founding Fathers recognized the problem with democracies and were rightly skeptical of them.

James Madison once correctly pointed out, “There is no maxim, in my opinion, which is more liable to be misapplied, and which, therefore, more needs elucidation, than the current one, that the interest of the majority is the political standard of right and wrong.” He also wrote, “… democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they are violent in their deaths.”

Thomas Jefferson wrote, “A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.”

John Adams wrote: “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. It is in vain to say that democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious, or less avaricious than aristocracy or monarchy. It is not true, in fact, and nowhere appears in history. Those passions are the same in all men, under all forms of simple government, and when unchecked, produce the same effects of fraud, violence, and cruelty.”

Alexander Hamilton wrote: “It has been observed that a pure democracy if it were practicable would be the most perfect government. Experience has proved that no position is more false than this. The ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure deformity.” Hamilton also stated: “We are a Republican Government. Real liberty is never found in despotism or in the extremes of Democracy.”

This is why they set up a constitutional republic with limited and enumerated powers of government and very specific protections of individual rights.

Unfortunately, we don't follow our Constitution, so the Constitutional protections are not effective. Now we essentially have the mob rule that Jefferson warned us about.
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<Unfortunately, we don't follow our Constitution, so the Constitutional protections are not effective. Now we essentially have the mob rule that Jefferson warned us about.>

Since this thread is about Asperger's Syndrome, let me point out that black-and-white statements like "now we essentially have the mob rule" is an Aspie-type over-simplification.

While I am quite concerned about fiscal deficits (particularly since spending trends disadvantage the young and inhibit productive investment), the U.S. does NOT have mob rule. The U.S. recently completed an orderly, well-organized election process that included decisions made by the majority of the voting public on local, state and federal levels.

Please study history for true examples of mob rule, such as the Cultural Revolution in China and the ethnic massacres in Rwanda.

Your argument isn't helped by untrue assertions or exaggerations, even if some of the points are valid.

Wendy
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<Unfortunately, we don't follow our Constitution, so the Constitutional protections are not effective. Now we essentially have the mob rule that Jefferson warned us about.>

Since this thread is about Asperger's Syndrome, let me point out that black-and-white statements like "now we essentially have the mob rule" is an Aspie-type over-simplification.


Yep, the Founding Fathers and I are all Aspies.
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14 for me - lower than I expected for a math geek who studies Hindi for fun. I have introvert tendencies, but deal with people & negotiation day & day out for my job so I have become an extrovert by training if not nature, and I am also fairly emotional.

So I guess my diagnosis is: not Aspergers, but nerd girl.
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Isn't this a thread on Aspergers? Yes? There are places for political discussions, but I fail to see how a thread on Aspergers is one of them. Unless you are a political obsessive who has to make everything, but EVERYTHING, about your particular hobbyhorse of an issue.
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20

I am not an aspy, I am an experiential extremist.

I like to be ALONE or go to a Bobbie Burns Ball with 200 - 300 people dressed in full kilts and gowns and dance complex scottish country dancing with live musicians all night long while guzzling booze. I prefer silent empty libraries to theater unless the playbill is Gotterdammerung-ish and directed by a prophetical wacko on LSD. I avoid Seders unless we do the entire Haggadah, every word, eat horseradish chunks big enough to cause true suffering, dismay and panic, drink each of the 4 cups full and neat, argue fiercely, and then dance and sing until dawn.

I suspect METAR attracts odd people, ASPY's included. It sure is a different place.

david fb
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Read the laws. If you believe American democracy is "thuggery," move out of the U.S. Every country has laws and every country that provides services imposes taxes.

Wendy

Finally!!!!!

However moving out of the U.S. doesn't necessarily absolve you from paying taxes? In our current complex world and under certain circumstances even foreigners living in their home country can end up paying U.S. taxes.

Please don't ask me to explain it but two people who live in Vancouver (one not even a dual citizen) both pay U.S. taxes based on where they derive income from.

Tim
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I'm a 23.

Hum,

Cheers
Qazulight
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score 26

Not much of a surprise to me or probably most folks here.

Poz
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score 26

Not much of a surprise to me or probably most folks here.

Poz



That was mine as well but frankly some of the questions were somewhat subjective and I've been known to guess on multi-guess tests. }};-D


OT - question, if the IRS has figured out how to tax non-resident people why is it powerless to tax companies that move money off shore? I have a feeling I know the answer.

Tim
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<Unfortunately, we don't follow our Constitution, so the Constitutional protections are not effective. Now we essentially have the mob rule that Jefferson warned us about.>

Since this thread is about Asperger's Syndrome, let me point out that black-and-white statements like "now we essentially have the mob rule" is an Aspie-type over-simplification.

Yep, the Founding Fathers and I are all Aspies.


The devolution of this thread occurred exactly as I expected. Aspergers, while a valid condition, has a gradation of diagnosis similar to Autism. This results in it being used as a tool to pump people full of drugs if you conflict with who they are as people to make them more like you just as has tragically happened with all the unruly kids on Ritalin.

I avoid eye contact during conversations not because of any psychological condition, but because I don't want to allow the puppy dog eyes and 'think of the children' affectations contaminating my evaluation of position being espoused as it relates to the often brutal natural order of reality. I have no need or desire to be convinced of doing things for the greater good when in actuality such is often just the 'special interest' of the 34% busybodies.

To the extent that the broader artificial social construct gets away with smashing people into the square hole of conformity, through social ostracism, politically correct denigration, and over prescription of psychoactive medication, we do indeed have tyrannical mob rule.

justacog - not 'normal' and if you don't like it I'm not the one with the problem
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Thank you for recommending this post to our Best of feature.

...This results in it being used as a tool to pump people full of drugs if you conflict with who they are as people to make them more like you just as has tragically happened with all the unruly kids on Ritalin.

...justacog - not 'normal' and if you don't like it I'm not the one with the problem




cog

I watch the Gupta special on prescription pain meds last night. There certainly is a problem.


Tim <since we are in the weeds on this thread anyway> 443


http://edition.cnn.com/2012/11/14/health/gupta-accidental-ov...

Gupta: Let's end the prescription drug death epidemic

By Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN
November 15, 2012 -- Updated 1338 GMT (2138 HKT)

(CNN) -- It's the biggest man-made epidemic in the United States.

...

He was talking about accidental death from prescription drug overdoses.

...

The most common scenario, he said, involves a man in his 40s or 50s who visits a doctor with a backache and walks out with a pain pill prescription. About three years later, typically, the man dies in his sleep from taking too many pills, or mixing them with alcohol.

They don't intend to die
, but more than 20,000 times a year -- every 19 minutes, on average -- that is exactly what happens. Accidental overdoses are now the No. 1 cause of accidental deaths in the United States, surpassing car crashes.

...

The number of pain prescriptions increased 600% from 1997-2007, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the United States, we now prescribe enough pain pills to give every man, woman and child one every four hours, around the clock, for three weeks.
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What Ayn Rand missed was that democratic societies are not totalitarian. As all elections show, opinions differ as to what society should accomplish and who should foot the bill.

The reason she missed that is because there is no causal link. A democratic majority where 50%+1 (or a majority of an elected legislature) can do absolutely anything, is quite capable of being totalitarian.

Socrates was paid to teach children the truth, and then when he actually did so he was ordered to be executed. By a democracy.
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Alexander Hamilton wrote: “It has been observed that a pure democracy if it were practicable would be the most perfect government. Experience has proved that no position is more false than this. The ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure deformity.” Hamilton also stated: “We are a Republican Government. Real liberty is never found in despotism or in the extremes of Democracy.”

Perfect democracy works quite well... subject to one condition.

Perfect socialism also works quite well... subject to the same condition.

In fact, perfect dictatorship works quite well... subject to, again, the same condition.

It's even hard to tell them apart by observation... if the condition holds.

The condition required for all three is: that the people be perfect. All of them.

If a small level of imperfection be allowed, in all three cases (and the case of all forms of government I didn't mention) the government will come to be dominated by the imperfect, and all three become corrupt.

The challenge is to come up with a system that works acceptably well in the face of the reality that everyone is, to some degree, imperfect; and while extremes of imperfection can be smoothed out by assigning authority to groups, that practice also smooths out extremes of perfection.

Or to put it away, a Congress taken as a whole will be less corrupt than its most corrupt member - but is guaranteed to be corrupt to some degree. In giving authority to an individual you might occasionally by chance pick an honest man; in giving authority to a group of 100 you will never pick 100 honest men. (Particularly not if you choose only from those who put themselves forward to seek the positions.)

So a system of government that is to succeed must be based on the assumption that every part of itself is corrupt, and devise means to deliver reasonably competent governance in spite of that corruption.

Pretending that the corruption doesn't exist - that if something passes Congress it must be good - doesn't fit that requirement.

The US Constitution tried to set up such a system. A Senate chosen by the state legislatures, a House chosen by the people, in hopes that they would garner rival controlling interests. A President who has authority to execute the law but not to make it, answerable to neither part of the national legislature. Judges answerable to neither legislature nor President, with authority to apply law to specific circumstances and identify when the law contradicts itself, but to neither execute the law nor to make it. All limited in their authority to a short list of enumerated powers, and then further bound with lines they may not cross in carrying out those powers.

Unfortunately, things have changed. We replaced the Senate chosen by state legislatures with one chosen by the people. Government has become so powerful that a new class has emerged - the governing class - encompassing not only the legislature and the President but a huge swath of government employees and more than a few judges; that governing class consistently governs in its own interest rather than the nation's interest, and all rivalries within it are dwarfed by the desire to expand the class's power and authority.

So the two parties may rail against each other's expansions of government power - but when one party has expanded government power, the other party never undoes that expansion. When it comes to budgeting, "zero" means "slightly more than last year, after adjusting for inflation and population growth". The President makes laws by executive order. We have instances of judges making laws and even demanding tax increases to fund court-favored programs. With little heed to any constraint on their powers as separate entities or to the overall power of the national government.
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Please don't ask me to explain it but two people who live in Vancouver (one not even a dual citizen) both pay U.S. taxes based on where they derive income from.

Don't feel bad - I pay Canadian taxes on a portion of my US IRA. I'm a US citizen who lived in Canada for about three years when my age was a single digit.
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I pay Canadian taxes on a portion of my US IRA. I'm a US citizen who lived in Canada for about three years when my age was a single digit.


I'd love to hear the whole story on that one since Canada doesn't tax non-residents that are not receiving income from Canada? Even when I lived in Germany as a non-resident I paid taxes at a fixed 'treaty rate' on my military pension and income from my rental property.

Of course if you have Canadian dividend payers in your IRA then withholding would be a problem... which is why I never buy US stocks in my TFSA (Tax Free Account).

Tim
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<I suspect METAR attracts odd people, ASPY's included. It sure is a different place.>

And you help spice it up. Glad you're here :-).
Wendy
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34

Should I see a doctor about it?
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34

Should I see a doctor about it?


Maybe those of us above 30 could get a group rate?

Ted - 33
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"This is why they set up a constitutional republic with limited and enumerated powers of government and very specific protections of individual rights.

Unfortunately, we don't follow our Constitution, so the Constitutional protections are not effective."


I think you meant that we don't follow only parts of the constitution that you want us too, while ignoring the parts that you want to ignore.

It is ironic that you quoted Alexander Hamilton considering he was one of the biggest proponents of a strong central government. Of course in order to understand that, a person would have to look at history as a whole and not just cherry pick the parts they want to see.
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"This is why they set up a constitutional republic with limited and enumerated powers of government and very specific protections of individual rights.

Unfortunately, we don't follow our Constitution, so the Constitutional protections are not effective."


I think you meant that we don't follow only parts of the constitution that you want us too, while ignoring the parts that you want to ignore.


That's not true. I think we should follow the Constitution, good or bad. The rule of law is extremely important. Besides, if we *did* follow the Constitution, government would be *extremely* limited, just like it was intended.

It is ironic that you quoted Alexander Hamilton considering he was one of the biggest proponents of a strong central government. Of course in order to understand that, a person would have to look at history as a whole and not just cherry pick the parts they want to see.

It's not ironic, and I'm fully aware of his stance on government. One thing is clear, his desire for a strong central government was *nothing* like what we have now. I'm sure that he would be stunned at what we have done to the government, and I'm guessing that he would be disappointed that we don't follow the Constitution.
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I avoid eye contact during conversations not because of any psychological condition, but because I don't want to allow the puppy dog eyes and 'think of the children' affectations contaminating my evaluation of position being espoused as it relates to the often brutal natural order of reality. I have no need or desire to be convinced of doing things for the greater good when in actuality such is often just the 'special interest' of the 34% busybodies.
This is complete gibberish and I have no idea what you are talking about.

I can tell you that I generally don't trust people who don't look me in the eye. It's generally an indication of problems of some kind, internal or external.
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I'm really not surprised that Aspergers fall more heavily towards those with a scientific/mathematical bent.

I grew up with the "environmental influence" model in my head, believing that those of scientific/math bent who have a hard time "connecting" and "understanding" people are such because they studied too much, getting good grades, and spent little time developing their social skills. That may true to a certain extent, but it appears that the driver behind this is genetic, not the environment....although the environment initially carved out by the genetic tendencies can obviously reinforce the natural tendency. That's the reason the stereotype of the socially awkward engineer seems to flourish. It's true, generally.

What it appears neurologically is that the brain can only optimize generally across the population, in certain directions. It's possible to have a higher math IQ than the next guy, and conversely you can possess a better social barometer than the next guy, but it's tough to have both generally. Can given individuals be both high in math IQ, with Aspergers tendencies, and social intelligence? Certainly, but they are probably the exceptions.

The two spheres of capabilities (analytical IQ and social awareness) seem to rise and fall at the expense of the other. We all like to have great amounts of both. Both are mental virtues that are greatly desired. It's like...if you can imagine, you can build a brain that's very good at math, but to build this particular neurological architecture, it comes at the expense of a social-awareness brain architecture....the two - to a certain extent, across populations - are mutually exclusive. Don't take my statement literally....but it appears there exists a certain "give and take" between the two.

Here's an analogy. You want to build a great car. What's a great car? For some, it's one with good fuel economy...saves on gas and money. For others....it's a huge engine with enormous horsepower to drive really fast! Both of these, arguably are laudable goals and desired. But alas....we sense - like the IQ and social skills battle - both excel at the expense of the other. For a car of great horsepower and speed, it requires a large engine that produces a lot of power. This power can only be realized with a great consumption of gasoline, which is the ultimate source of the energy derived per unit of time (power). This framework obviously has deleterious effects on good gas mileage, which operate with the principle of gas conservation. Conversely with desiring a fuel-efficient car, it detracts from the virtue of high performance.

Likewise with the brain. Both analytical IQ and social awareness seem to be at odds with each other naturally. Again, outliers (or close outliers) for given individuals who are good in both are possible, certainly. And even across the populations, the sheer effort from analysis by the high math IQ person (with Aspergers tendencies) in understanding the social cues given by friend can overcome this deficiency?? Yes, they'll claw and fight through the social "thicket", but it won't be easy and come naturally. But it can be overcome.

I'm am engineer by training. Was always good in math and science while young, so I fit into this possible Aspergers "model". But did I have Aspergers?? Probably not.....maybe to a certain degree. However, I certainly was shy....very shy when young. I became more outgoing toward end of high school and college. I remember meeting all sorts of new people in college....the two most opposing in personalities (in regard to our discussion here) is the nerdy, introverted engineer....and the very outgoing, very friendly, attractive sorority girl.

Man, I've been to parties in both of these camps.....conservation are like night and day. My freshman year, I had no trouble talking to the nerdy, engineer....very smart, but often quite, soft spoken...thoughtful. I met many sorority girls (esp my sophomore years while rushing), who were often very energetic, very quick verbally, friendly....very smiley. And pretty. It's a world of difference. It was two different worlds. By the way, Aspergers is more prevalent in males over females. So to meet the outgoing types....and are also females?? They are even more on the extreme. And to meet nerdy types, who are also males....they too fall farther into the extreme.
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" I'm guessing that he would be disappointed that we don't follow the Constitution."

Repeating an unsupported argument that has had ample counterarguments leveled against it does not make it true.
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I'm really not surprised that Aspergers fall more heavily towards those with a scientific/mathematical bent.

I grew up with the "environmental influence" model in my head, believing that those of scientific/math bent who have a hard time "connecting" and "understanding" people are such because they studied too much, getting good grades, and spent little time developing their social skills. That may true to a certain extent, but it appears that the driver behind this is genetic, not the environment....although the environment initially carved out by the genetic tendencies can obviously reinforce the natural tendency. That's the reason the stereotype of the socially awkward engineer seems to flourish. It's true, generally.


I suppose it could be genetic, but as I understand it, autism has been on the rise in recent decades. If it is truly on the rise (and not just a result of increased diagnosis), then I doubt it is because of genetics. My guess is that the rise would be from environmental influences. However, it would be some kind of *physical* environmental influence on the structure of our brains rather than a *social* environmental influence on the development of our personalities.
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" I'm guessing that he would be disappointed that we don't follow the Constitution."

Repeating an unsupported argument that has had ample counterarguments leveled against it does not make it true.


This coming from the KING of unsupported arguments.
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The problem we (or at least I) run into is to honestly evaluate our nature. Around the time I transitioned through the end of high school and into college, something changed in how my thought process was carried out. While I could still score frighteningly well on any test that had to do with filling in ovals with a #2 pencil (although Wendy was always slightly more frightening :-), stuff like calculus problems which should have been a walk in the park became nearly impossible to solve using the methods they were teaching in engineering school. In a word, I suddenly found myself becoming stupid (a condition which continues until today :-). Seriously, I had to invent completely different techniques in order to pass the tests in many of my courses. Over time, fortunately I became more comfortable with my new way of thinking (I'll call it thinking on a "mesh" basis rather than a linear basis, but it's kind of hard to describe). Anyhow, after a couple of years of getting used to my new way of handling data and solving problems, to an outsider my results would be indistinguishable from those of a person who did things the "normal" way. I guess those areas in which I became successful in later life were due to my employing different techniques than most others did to address the same scenarios.

The reason I bring this up is to point out that people fall into three groups in most subject area. There are a few really gifted ones (the ones with true talent), the few who can never truly grasp a subject and then the vast majority of people. That large group can be taught techniques which will make them better than adequate in that subject. This is not the same as bequeathing talent upon them, but rather having them learning to ape enough of the things that the truly talented do innately to be confused in the eyes of the uninitiated as part of that group. This applies to painting, cooking, engineering, selling (yes - even that specialized area of psychology is subject to the application of various techniques) and investing.

The reason I bring this up is that, after decades of practicing a technique, it becomes such second nature as being indistinguishable from "the real McCoy". It is only by self evaluation that we can discover what we were born with and what facades we have troweled over our failings.

Jeff
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The problem we (or at least I) run into is to honestly evaluate our nature. Around the time I transitioned through the end of high school and into college, something changed in how my thought process was carried out. While I could still score frighteningly well on any test that had to do with filling in ovals with a #2 pencil (although Wendy was always slightly more frightening :-), stuff like calculus problems which should have been a walk in the park became nearly impossible to solve using the methods they were teaching in engineering school. In a word, I suddenly found myself becoming stupid (a condition which continues until today :-). Seriously, I had to invent completely different techniques in order to pass the tests in many of my courses. Over time, fortunately I became more comfortable with my new way of thinking (I'll call it thinking on a "mesh" basis rather than a linear basis, but it's kind of hard to describe). Anyhow, after a couple of years of getting used to my new way of handling data and solving problems, to an outsider my results would be indistinguishable from those of a person who did things the "normal" way. I guess those areas in which I became successful in later life were due to my employing different techniques than most others did to address the same scenarios.

I'm reminded of the scene from Good Will Hunting when he explains why he is so good at certain things. His only explanation was, "I could always just play."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKu_QQVHJLA

I'm certainly no Good Will Hunting, but for me, when it comes to things like math and science, I could always just play. I just "see" it.

Things like art or literature, on the other hand, just don't click for me. I don't get it.
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MC,
now that Wendy points it out, she's right.
You are very inflexible, mentally, yet you are very smart at the same time.
In my experience, people who are as smart as you are aren't that dogmatic.
This has always been somewhat of a puzzle to me.
I've discussed things with ideological opposites of mine who were of similar intellectual caliber as you. And there is always some movement, some mutual accomodation of viewpoints.

Not with you. You have this clear, elegant, rigid structure you impose on reality which will not bend.

It's exactly consistent with Asperger's.

I score 25 on the test. My symptoms concern many of the social aspects - I have no ability to remember faces, I have - or used to have - little understanding of many of the rules of social interaction (thankfully, this can be learned on an intellectual level).
My other issues lie not with the mathematic rigidity and inflexibility of Asperger's, but with the chaos of attention deficit disorder.
Just as Asperger's, it has upsides and downsides (but different ones of course).
On the one side, a mind hungry for stimulation. Some people do drugs, sex, crime or engage in risky behaviour. I do information. By age 9, on a non-school day, I was reading 4-5 books a day. In my profession as a translator, the fact that I have read between 10-100 times as much written material as my competitors is of immense value.
The downside of ADD is of course disorganization and chaos. Thankfully, Ritalin takes care of most of that.
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MC,
now that Wendy points it out, she's right.
You are very inflexible, mentally, yet you are very smart at the same time.


Actually, I'm not inflexible. My viewpoints continue to shift over time. It's just that I require lots of compelling real world data and sound reasoning to come to a firm conclusion on something, and it takes a lot of compelling real world data and sound reasoning to shift my viewpoints. I'm extremely skeptical by nature. I've always been that way.

Not with you. You have this clear, elegant, rigid structure you impose on reality which will not bend.

Not true. I actually started out as a religious, Big Government type. Now I'm an agnostic/atheist libertarian.

I used to defend Greenspan and inflation targeting. Now I think it is very destructive.

There are many ways that my thinking has evolved. You just would prefer to think that I'm inflexible because I don't agree with *your* viewpoints.
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<What it appears neurologically is that the brain can only optimize generally across the population, in certain directions. It's possible to have a higher math IQ than the next guy, and conversely you can possess a better social barometer than the next guy, but it's tough to have both generally. Can given individuals be both high in math IQ, with Aspergers tendencies, and social intelligence? Certainly, but they are probably the exceptions.

The two spheres of capabilities (analytical IQ and social awareness) seem to rise and fall at the expense of the other.>

This is a hypothesis which needs to be carefully tested.

The human brain consists of two interacting systems: the connectome of neurons and the chemical communication system of neurotransmitters and hormones.

The connectome is a highly complex physical system which is organized into many neural networks. While we are conscious of some of these neural networks, others operate without our being conscious of them. The corpus callosum connects the hemispheres of the brain, carrying networks between areas of the brain that control different functions.

There is some evidence from scans that the connectome (brain anatomy) of Aspies is different from that of neurotypical (i.e. normal) people.

There is also evidence that the chemical nature of the Aspie brain is different. An experiment which provided oxytocin (the "tend and befriend" hormone) to Aspies in a nasal spray improved their social functioning.

However, Asperger's Syndrome is relatively rare in the general population. (That's why I ran this poll -- to see if Aspies concentrated on METAR.)

To assert that social adeptness and mathematical talent are mutually exclusive in neurotypicals would need to be investigated. It ain't necessarily so!

It's also possible that talented STEM folks who are highly sociable are distracted by their social activities and may be less successful in their fields (though perhaps more successful in business) because they split their time and attention between their subject and their social activities.

Wendy
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<I suppose it could be genetic, but as I understand it, autism has been on the rise in recent decades. If it is truly on the rise (and not just a result of increased diagnosis), then I doubt it is because of genetics.>

Earlier in this thread, I linked to studies that showed autism rising fastest in tech centers (such as Silicon Valley). Rare male Aspies are hired by tech companies, where they work with and marry the very rare female Aspies who are hired for similar jobs. (There are 5 times as many male as female autistics.)

The children of these Aspie-Aspie matches have a high probability of being severely autistic. This points to a genetic component in autism.

I have believed that autism is genetic since the first time I learned about it (in 1975, when I was taught in Abnormal Psych class that autism was caused by "refrigerator mothers").

Autism is a neurological disorder. The genetics is currently being studied by NIH.
http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/asperger/asperger.htm

Wendy
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I got a 28, but I've spent a lifetime pretending to be normal, so I suspect I can pass pretty well by now in a social setting.

29, but I have never been too concerned with passing for normal. Mellowing in old age, I'm not even half as anti social as I was 40 years ago.

Still am terrible at remembering people, faces and names and such, but I have no trouble at all looking someone in the eye, and if someone does manage to get my attention, I can read their mood fairly well.

Probably everyone here is more than a bit obsessive, otherwise, they couldn't assemble the information needed to make investment decisions.

Steve
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<34

Should I see a doctor about it? >

Read "How to Win Friends and Influence People" and "The Journal of Best Practices" and "Etiquette."

Shakespeare said, "Life's a stage." It really is for Aspies.

Wendy (32)
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The children of these Aspie-Aspie matches have a high probability of being severely autistic. This points to a genetic component in autism.

You could be right. I haven't studied it thoroughly. However, I did run across this:

Does Prenatal Ultrasound Cause Autism?

http://blog.sethroberts.net/2010/01/23/does-prenatal-ultraso...

Autism and Prenatal Ultrasound (more)

http://blog.sethroberts.net/2010/05/24/autism-and-prenatal-u...
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Actually, I'm not inflexible. My viewpoints continue to shift over time. It's just that I require lots of compelling real world data and sound reasoning to come to a firm conclusion on something, and it takes a lot of compelling real world data and sound reasoning to shift my viewpoints. I'm extremely skeptical by nature. I've always been that way.

Maybe I'm wrong. In our discussion, however, it seems that you never budge an inch, anywhere.
Your belief system as such seems very absolute, fundamentalist, and unable to accommodate a messy reality.
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Actually, I'm not inflexible. My viewpoints continue to shift over time. It's just that I require lots of compelling real world data and sound reasoning to come to a firm conclusion on something, and it takes a lot of compelling real world data and sound reasoning to shift my viewpoints. I'm extremely skeptical by nature. I've always been that way.

Maybe I'm wrong. In our discussion, however, it seems that you never budge an inch, anywhere.
Your belief system as such seems very absolute, fundamentalist, and unable to accommodate a messy reality.


You never budge an inch, anywhere, either, and you know that this is true.

Your belief system is also very absolute, fundamentalist, and unable to accommodate a messy reality because you absolutely refuse to acknowledge -- or at least publicly admit -- any negative consequences of government intervention.
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Your belief system as such seems very absolute, fundamentalist, and unable to accommodate a messy reality.

By the way, I never claimed that free markets were perfect. I have never claimed that reality was not messy. My only claim is that free markets are better than the alternative. Free markets are *much* better at dealing with messy realities than Big Governments are. It's too difficult to centrally plan the complexity of the real world. It's people who are anti-free markets that won't accept an imperfect reality, which is why they insist on doing *something* to make things better, even if it makes things worse.
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By the way, I never claimed that free markets were perfect. I have never claimed that reality was not messy. My only claim is that free markets are better than the alternative. Free markets are *much* better at dealing with messy realities than Big Governments are.

I know. And your belief is that this is *always* the case. You will not, for example, entertain the possibility that without government intervention (at minimum in the form of eminent domain) a country will not have a comprehensive road system. Roads have been vital for commerce since before the wheel got invented, and the possibility of owning land, building roads and charging people for using them has certainly been present in many countries over time. Yet nowhere, ever, has there been any kind of sufficient road infrastructure in the absence of direct government intervention.

My position is not absolute - I think, for example, that government infrastructure building is a prerequisite to achieve a modern industrialized economy. But I think that if the government actually tries to run such an economy, it will be a disaster. I think that most markets will perform better with a regulatory framework that exceeds basic issues such as contract enforcement and property protection.
However, in almost all cases my ideas for regulation do not concern the government directing the economy, determining what gets produced or by whom or picking winners. Instead, they concern making competition more efficient or enabling it in the first place.
Mandated price transparency, for example. Prohibition of anti-competitive behavior. That kind of thing. This is the Ordo-Liberalism of Germany's Wirtschaftswunder.
My thinking is very much in line with Hayek's thinking circa 1945 (he later drifted further into Libertarianism).

I think that yes, government regulation in many cases does make things worse, but that overall, it has way more benefits than disadvantages. I think that you underestimate to what degree our modern prosperity and its reasonably well working markets would break down if you remove their regulatory underpinnings (and in fact would never have evolved to this level without them).

Can you think of a few examples where you accept the necessity of regulation (outside of basic issues such as property and contract enforcement)? Are there any areas where you would advocate the government to step in?
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Unfortunately, we don't follow our Constitution, so the Constitutional protections are not effective. Now we essentially have the mob rule that Jefferson warned us about.


first unfortunately....???? I am an average 15........I no longer feel at home on this board.....LOL.......I write like crap......but in my personal life I have plenty of friends.....anyone need some??? And have generally a good time.....I left the 2 area behind when I stopped drinking.....

on a serious note we no longer have slavery in America.......this was the ultimate states' rights issue....and it was resolved......

Perhaps MC if you had won the election with a candidate you liked you would not feel there is mob rule in America????

Dave
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I forced myself to take the test and scored 38. I am pretty sure that I am not that smart but I am an introvert with terrible social skills.

And I do immerse myself in whatever I am doing to an extreme.

One time I worked day and night preparing for a trial. Even when I got home at the end of 12 -14 hour workdays I walked around the neighborhood talking to myself, reviewing my exhibits in my head, recapitulating my opening statements, and so on. By the time we got to trial I was able to leave my trial notebook at the desk for my client to read the questions and anticipated answers (about 150 pages' worth of questions and answers) which I had committed to memory.

At the conclusion of the trial my client declared that I was genius. Soon thereafter I reported my car stolen because it was not in the parking deck and I had completely forgotten that I had walked up the hill to the courthouse and had left my car at work.

Embarrassing.

I do have terrible social skills. They are so bad that my wife trains me before parties - even family gatherings - by telling me things that interest my friends and family, things that are important to them - like the successes of their children, illnesses and deaths of their inlaws, etc., and we practice having conversations in which she teaches me how to listen and respond appropriately.

Is that borderline asperger's or am I just a self absorbed jerk?
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Your belief system is also very absolute, fundamentalist, and unable to accommodate a messy reality because you absolutely refuse to acknowledge -- or at least publicly admit -- any negative consequences of government intervention.


this was not addressed to me....but...

I much prefer govt intervention......I strongly distrust the private sector......on environmental matters......competitive matters etc....

the private arena is full of it.

and the govt has to be held accountable as well.

.....they are all humans they suck.......dont think other wise.....

Dave
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Unfortunately, we don't follow our Constitution, so the Constitutional protections are not effective. Now we essentially have the mob rule that Jefferson warned us about.


first unfortunately....????



Not my area but didn't y'all have mob rule before, during and after they wrote the constitution or at least the declaration of independence? The history of the treatment of the Loyalist during and after the revolution would suggest so? IIRC even the first president was OK with that?

Does anyone else think this thread has gone well into the weeds and needn't continue?


Any <my Dad was from Loyalist stock> mouse

http://threerivershms.com/loyalistspersecution.htm

Some of the revolutionary leaders encouraged the sadistics acts of the mobs. In December 1776 the Provincial Congress of New York went so far as to order the Committee of Public Safety to purchase all the pitch and tar necessary for the public's use and safety.

General George Washington seems to have approved mob persecution of the Tories. In 1776 General Israel Putnam, one of Washington's generals, met a procession of the Sons of Liberty parading a number of Tories on rails up and down the streets of New York and he attempted to halt this inhuman proceeding. On hearing this, Washington reprimanded General Putnam, stating that "to discourage such proceedings was to injure the cause of liberty in which they were engaged, and that nobody would attempt it but an enemy of his country."

As the revolution progressed, semi-official organizations began to harass the Tories. The Continental Congress or Provincial Congress laid down the general policy to be observed in the treatment of Tories, and local committees carried it out in detail. Early in 1776 the Continental Congress, which at the time had no basis in law, recommended that Tories be disarmed; it was the committee which then enforced the recommendation. Tories were arrested, tried, exiled to other districts and, in some cases, imprisoned. A few Tories, particularly in the southern states, were hung.

The political situation changed in the colonies when the Declaration of Independence was adopted on 4 July 1776. It recounted the grievances of the colonies against the British Crown and declared the colonies to be free and independent states. Loyalism to the British Crown became the equivalent of treason to the state. Penalties for treason began to be laid against the Tories.

The Declaration of Independence was followed by the Test Laws which required all colonists to swear allegiance to the state in which they lived. A record was kept of those who took the oath and they were issued a certificate for safety from arrest. Failure to take the oath meant possible imprisonment, confiscation of property, banishment and even death.




On another subject, while we have sort of gotten over the several invasions of 200 years ago but it may take longer for this one.


http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/let-holiday-shopping-begin-...

Let the holiday shopping begin! Black Friday is on its way to Canadian stores

By David Friend, The Canadian Press | The Canadian Press – Sun, 18 Nov, 2012

TORONTO - The Canadian holiday shopping season is looking decidedly more American this year as retailers schedule a rush of Black Friday events ...
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<Does Prenatal Ultrasound Cause Autism?>

Autism is so variable that psychologists describe it as a "spectrum."

The brain is extremely complex. There are many potential variations that could cause a person to meet the fundamental definition of autistic, which is difficulty in social and communication skills.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002494/


A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia.
Autism
Pervasive developmental disorder - autism; Autistic spectrum disorder

Last reviewed: May 16, 2012.

Autism is a physical condition linked to abnormal biology and chemistry in the brain. The exact causes of these abnormalities remain unknown, but this is a very active area of research. There are probably a combination of factors that lead to autism.

Genetic factors seem to be important. For example, identical twins are much more likely than fraternal twins or siblings to both have autism. Similarly, language abnormalities are more common in relatives of autistic children. Chromosomal abnormalities and other nervous system (neurological) problems are also more common in families with autism.

A number of other possible causes have been suspected, but not proven. They involve:

Diet

Digestive tract changes

Mercury poisoning

The body's inability to properly use vitamins and minerals

Vaccine sensitivity
[end quote]

Careful research has shown that the trace preservative of mercury in vaccines does not cause autism in the general population. However, individual variation (e.g. a mutation which reduces the ability to excrete heavy metals) might cause a small fraction to be sensitive. By definition, very rare variations can't be detected by a statistical study that assumes a homogeneous data set.

It is possible that prenatal ultrasound has an effect on the developing brain. This is a hypothesis which would need a large population to research.

Other hypotheses have propsed a variety of environmental causes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of_autism

The consensus among mainstream autism researchers is that genetic factors predominate....

...More than one gene may be implicated, different genes may be involved in different individuals, and the genes may interact with each other or with environmental factors. ...

Environmental factors that have been claimed to contribute to autism or exacerbate its symptoms, or may be important to consider in future research, include certain foods, infectious disease, heavy metals, solvents, diesel exhaust, PCBs, phthalates and phenols used in plastic products, pesticides, brominated flame retardants, alcohol, smoking, illicit drugs, and vaccines....
[end quote]

It is very easy to propose hypotheses about the cause of autism (especially environmental causes) but very difficult to test them.

Wendy
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< Around the time I transitioned through the end of high school and into college, something changed in how my thought process was carried out. While I could still score frighteningly well on any test that had to do with filling in ovals with a #2 pencil (although Wendy was always slightly more frightening :-), stuff like calculus problems which should have been a walk in the park became nearly impossible to solve using the methods they were teaching in engineering school. In a word, I suddenly found myself becoming stupid (a condition which continues until today :-). Seriously, I had to invent completely different techniques in order to pass the tests in many of my courses. Over time, fortunately I became more comfortable with my new way of thinking (I'll call it thinking on a "mesh" basis rather than a linear basis, but it's kind of hard to describe). >

The childhood brain contains more neurons than the adult brain. During the mid-teens to early 20s, the brain completely rewires itself, eliminating many of the "excess" neurons. The process is called "synaptic pruning."

The brain up to the early teens is largely un-myelinated. (Myelin is a fatty insulation of brain neurons which makes them more efficient.) During the pruning process, the brain myelinates the remaining neurons, consolidating them into highly efficient neural networks, while eliminating many other neurons.


http://brainmind.umin.jp/Jay_2.pdf


Journal of Adolescent Health 42 (2008) 335–343
The Teen Brain: Insights from Neuroimaging
Jay N. Giedd, M.D.*
Brain Imaging Unit, Child Psychiatry Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland
Manuscript received October 4, 2007; manuscript accepted January 16, 2008

...

Longitudinal MRI studies of subjects from ages 3–30 years demonstrate a general pattern of
childhood peaks of gray matter followed by adolescent declines, functional and structural increases in
connectivity and integrative processing, and a changing balance between limbic/subcortical and frontal
lobe functions, extending well into young adulthood....

Three themes emerge from the cumulative neuroimaging
research of adolescents, each buttressed by behavioral,
EEG, and postmortem studies.
The first is an increase in associative cognitive activity as
distributed brain modules become more and more integrated...

If we consider a literary/linguistic metaphor, maturation
would not be the addition of new letters but of combining
earlier formed letters into words, and then words into
sentences, and then sentences into paragraphs.

The second is a general pattern of childhood peaks followed
by adolescent declines. The powerful process of overproduction
followed by selective/competitive elimination that
shapes the developing nervous system in utero seems to
continue to refine the brain throughout adolescent development.

The third theme is a changing balance between competing
neuronal networks as different cognitive and emotional
systems mature at different rates. Many of the cognitive and
behavioral changes taking place during adolescence may be
understood from the perspective of increased “executive
functioning,” a term encompassing a broad array of abilities,
including attention, response inhibition, regulation of
emotion, organization, and long-range planning. These abilities
are thought to rely heavily on frontal lobe circuitry that,
as indicated above, is relatively late maturing....
[end quote]

The fact that your new problem-solving method is "a "mesh" basis rather than a linear basis" and that you have difficulty describing it verbally shows that your adolescent "rewiring" tapped into the right-hemisphere circuits, which perceive and analyze in a holistic rather than linear fashion. Your invention of pictorial models to solve mathematical problems is brilliant and uses this right-brain ability.

http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/split.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2461390


J Clin Psychol. 1988 Sep;44(5):630-73.
The right cerebral hemisphere: emotion, music, visual-spatial skills, body-image, dreams, and awareness.
Joseph R.

Based on a review of numerous studies conducted on normal, neurosurgical and brain-injured individuals, the right cerebral hemisphere appears to be dominant in the perception and identification of environmental and nonverbal sounds; the analysis of geometric and visual space (e.g., depth perception, visual closure); somesthesis, stereognosis, the maintenance of the body image; the production of dreams during REM sleep; the perception of most aspects of musical stimuli; and the comprehension and expression of prosodic, melodic, visual, facial, and verbal emotion.
[end quote]

See "The Secret Life of the Brain" on PBS.
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/brain/

The adult brain remains highly adaptable ("plastic") even into old age. I highly recommend the book "The Brain that Changes Itself," by Norman Doidge, M.D. for descriptions of the amazing changes older people have made in their abilities.

The brain has a physical system and also a chemical system of neurotransmitters. Mood and emotion are controlled by the neurotransmitters, which are heavily influenced by diet (including vitamins, blood sugar level and essential amino acid precursors for neurotransmitters), exercise and hormone systems.

See "The Mood Cure," by Julia Ross. At first I thought this was hype, but further research showed that she is correct.

http://www.moodcure.com/

The brain is amazing. Each of us can optimize the performance of the brain we currently have, whether or not it is structurally normal.

Wendy
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<when it comes to things like math and science, I could always just play. I just "see" it.

Things like art or literature, on the other hand, just don't click for me. I don't get it. >

You may not be able to activate the brain circuits that connect emotion (release of chemical neurotransmitters and hormones) to the perception of art and literature. Many of these circuits are located in the right hemisphere of the brain.

You might try the exercises in the book, "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain," by Betty Edwards.
http://www.amazon.com/Drawing-Right-Side-Brain-Definitive/dp...

These exercises will probably be quite challenging for you, but will enhance your ability to use your right hemisphere.

Wendy
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<I can tell you that I generally don't trust people who don't look me in the eye. It's generally an indication of problems of some kind, internal or external. >

This is cultural. In other cultures, a direct look in the eye is interpreted as a challenge and is impolite.

That being said, the inability of some autistic people to look others in the eye does indicate a serious neurological problem. Like other innate preferences (such as the preference for symmetrical faces and bodies), people have evolved a way to quickly detect hidden defects during evolution. Asymmetry, like inability to look in the eye, may indicate neurological problems.

Wendy
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<Is that borderline asperger's or am I just a self absorbed jerk? >

You are definitely an Aspie. I suggest you AND your wife read "The Journal of Best Practices," which is hilarious and will have your wife nodding her head vigorously. (Not to mention you can learn a lot from the book.)

Aspies aren't necessarily geniuses, but our laser-like focus makes us unparalleled at project work. If you need a project done, hire an Aspie. Once absorbed, they often eat, sleep and breathe the project. The neurotypical spouse often feels abandoned. The Aspie should make a strong effort to allocate time to relationships as part of the project.

Wendy
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Random stuff for the thread:

One of my profs in college noticed some of my stranger characteristics and asked me to get tested by another prof doing brain research. He told me that I most likely had "multiple cross swapped brain centers" meaning that the two hemispheres of my brain split functions of areas like Wernicke's and Broca's quite differently than is normal, and that neither hemisphere was as strongly dominant as is normal.

I am ambidextrous, insensitive to many forms of pain, extremely curious (one summer at 3 years old I "blissfully" walked 3 miles into the desert (now almost all housing) that surrounded Ft Bliss, Texas, basically because I wanted to know what was "on the other side of that next hillock"), intuitive, susceptible to religious/mystic visions, and from mid-adolescence into my late 20's was manic most of the time punctuated with devastating bouts of extreme depression.

Wendy points out the plasticity of the brain. YES. I hopelessly failed in spelling until I was 13, when suddenly, in a shift that took only days, I could spell perfectly. As much as I tried I never understood nor responded to painting until I was 55, when I saw Max Beckman's self-portrait called "Man with Horn" and was devastated, transfixed for hours, and obsessed with the art of painting ever since.


Causation and triggers are NOT understood. One of my favorite experiments suggested that our modern use of deodorants is almost certainly having huge unknown and unplanned effects on societies and genome because they blind us to such crucial cues for amity as are mismatches in chemical/emotional "grammars" and for reproduction as are Major Histocompatibility Complexes. A great test when deciding on a life-mate is to make certain you 'like' and find 'sexy' the smell of shirt worn for a full summer day.


david fb
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"I think that yes, government regulation in many cases does make things worse, but that overall, it has way more benefits than disadvantages."

that would seem to imply that there may be some optimum level of regulation. Perhaps most modern States have too much in some cases and too little in other cases. So an unwavering defense of regulation is no more sensible than an unwavering condemnation of regulation. If one can't think of examples of both then ideology is the overwhelming factor.
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I was waiting til my wife could take the test also. Quite a contrast.
I scored 43, she scored 5. Opposites attract for sure!


JK
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It's possible to have a higher math IQ than the next guy, and conversely you can possess a better social barometer than the next guy, but it's tough to have both generally
I completely disagree with this.

Have you hung with many women engineers? Architects of either sec? Generally we are very social and very good with math. Trust me - no woman who isn't socially adept chooses to go into a field where you have to "hang with the boys" to make your way. And managing people is an essential component of my job - as it is for most any project manager.

Math doesn't mean socially dysfunctional. It CAN mean this, but it certainly doesn't have to do so.
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Architects of either sec
Blurp..."architects of either SEX, not sec."

Did I mention I just got back from having beers with my construction superintendent? Ummm...yeah.
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Tim,

You and the country up north, don't deserve this BS. I feel like I'm pretty well captive to my home and city parks the weekend after Thanksgiving.

Best of luck!
PM
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Trust me - no woman who isn't socially adept chooses to go into a field where you have to "hang with the boys" to make your way. And managing people is an essential component of my job - as it is for most any project manager.

Reminds me of that poster of people in suits shaking hands with a caption that reads 'if you can't be part of the solution, there is big money to be made prolonging the problem.

justacog
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I am clinically OCD, and I just scored a 28. I do very well in most social situations, although it drains me of energy and is a lot of work to prepare.
Ray
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that would seem to imply that there may be some optimum level of regulation. Perhaps most modern States have too much in some cases and too little in other cases. So an unwavering defense of regulation is no more sensible than an unwavering condemnation of regulation. If one can't think of examples of both then ideology is the overwhelming factor.

Exactly. It's easy to find examples of regulation/government intervention that should be removed. Agricultural subsidies are always on top of the list. Labor markets in the EU tend to be very much overregulated. There's a lot of product-specific regulation in the EU that should or could be done away with.
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You and the country up north, don't deserve this BS. I feel like I'm pretty well captive to my home and city parks the weekend after Thanksgiving.

Best of luck!
PM



PM,

Just a guess but they are just trying to piggy back on the US hype, it probably for the most part won't work. The real crazy ones cross the border to plunder the US, since I am a long way from the border shopping cities (Closest is Bangor, Maine 740 KM) I won't be partaking.

I've told the 'kids' no 'stuff' this year, last year I ended up with a week in Turks & Caicos at a Beaches resort from one and a very nice cheque er check from the other instead of stuff. }};-D

We are spending Christmas inside the beltway (Washington DC) this year.


Good luck with the shopping mobs down there.

Tim <lives just a few hundred meters from the largest shopping park in Eastern Canada> 443

http://www.bayerslakepark.com/

http://www.bayerslake.ca/View-users-list/SHOP.php
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Tim,

We'll more likely be taking the pooch for a long walk in a park (or two), rather than braving the crazed shoppers<G>. I'll deal w/ shopping on Cyber Monday, if at all<G>.

Tomorrow, I'm going into pie-baking-mode, to provide cherry and pumpkin pies for my brother's festivities on the East side of the Mississippi River on Turkey Day.

Christmas Day they all make the trek to our house and I'll be cooking up a storm<G>. It's all great fun. My niece's husband challenges our boys to several pool games in the basement and the rest of us cheer them on. Sometimes Jim, my niece's husband, gets so involved that he has to be reminded to head back across the river to his folk's home.

Maybe in a year or two we'll get a nice present like the Turks & Caicos from them - after they graduate from college w/ their MS degrees. Until then, we'll celebrate in our current tradition.

PM
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It's possible to have a higher math IQ than the next guy, and conversely you can possess a better social barometer than the next guy, but it's tough to have both generally

---

I completely disagree with this.
...
Math doesn't mean socially dysfunctional. It CAN mean this, but it certainly doesn't have to do so.

---

I also disagree. NYC is chock-full of very well-socialized nerds. I am one of them. Maybe the big cities are disproportionately more full of well-balanced smart people, because they seek out both the intense work and intense social interaction.
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We'll more likely be taking the pooch for a long walk in a park (or two), rather than braving the crazed shoppers<G>. I'll deal w/ shopping on Cyber Monday, if at all<G>.


PM

I'm starting to get worried, they are actually posting articles on line on how "Shop like an American"!!! }};-()


http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/shop-american-comfort-home-...

Shop like an American from the comfort of your home
By goldengirlfinance.ca | goldengirlfinance.ca – Mon, 19 Nov, 2012

For Canadians, Thanksgiving already seems like a long way off, but if you have cable TV, you're probably aware that the American version of Turkey Day is right around the corner. And as with most things, Americans do it bigger — and they totally outdo us by capping it all off with an extra indulgence. First, they stuff themselves with turkey and root vegetables (we seem to have that part covered) and then, they shop like their lives depended on it.

...

What's Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
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Have you hung with many women engineers? Architects of either sec? Generally we are very social and very good with math. Trust me - no woman who isn't socially adept chooses to go into a field where you have to "hang with the boys" to make your way. And managing people is an essential component of my job - as it is for most any project manager.

Math doesn't mean socially dysfunctional. It CAN mean this, but it certainly doesn't have to do so.

Gingko,

I never trust someone who says trust me. Just cant do it.

As for the points therein......we are trying to bend the laws of fallacies.......going from specifics to generalities......usually it cant be done......Wendy and all of us are messing about with that fallacy.....

Dave
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I found that I have a degree of concentration I call the "Super Brain." It is a deep state, almost like an illness, and I am reluctant to get into it. I am unaware of my souroundings. When in it, I ABSOLUTLY have to come up with the solution to a problem, even if it is wrong (But that seems rarely to be the case). Interrupting this state is difficult, and I am likely to be very cross. Sounds like an Aspergeer's state.

On a Saturday, long ago, I solved three problems that had bothered fellow socientists for a long time. I view it as the greatest day of my life (Except for marrying my wife, of course).

brucedoe
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While we want government to provide infrastructure, it may not be from the Federal government. For example, Eisenhower had a hard time getting the intereste Highway system. He finally claimed it was for nationdl defense to rapidly move equipment because of the problems experienced in Europe in WW-II. But there was a time long, long ago, when highways were in the private sector. There were toll roads, fords, bridges etc. I think that this became too awkward, but do not know why they largely disppaearded. In this day and age, however, the transponder has allowed efficient use of the toll roads, but even these are mostly a government operation, though increasingly run by contractors. The Greenway outside Washington, D.C., is a private venture where the promoters conned right of way from land owners for FREE. Still it is very expensive and most people avoid it (I think, as I no longer live in the D.C. area and only visit).

brucedoe
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<I found that I have a degree of concentration I call the "Super Brain." It is a deep state, almost like an illness, and I am reluctant to get into it. I am unaware of my souroundings. When in it, I ABSOLUTLY have to come up with the solution to a problem>

How fascinating that you can access your Super Brain with a conscious effort, but also have a normal brain that you use for daily life.

Asperger's syndrome is a neurological defect that traps the person in the "Super Brain" all the time, disrupting social relationships.

With great and sustained conscious effort, it is possible for an Aspie to develop a "Social Brain" that is empathetic and really cares about people. I have been working on this since reading "How To Win Friends and Influence People," with its life-changing rule, "Develop a deep and sincere interest in people" -- a difficult but worthwhile project for an Aspie.

Brains have great plasticity. Focused effort can cause neurons to create new dendrites and synaptic connections. Normal brains have connections throughout the brain that enable effortless function. However, even abnormal brains (e.g. stroke patients) can build functional neural pathways with effort.

Please read "The Brain that Changes Itself." I'm sure you will enjoy it.
Wendy
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Adenovir: 27

(trying to get back into posting here)
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38--and have no idea what to do with that.

It has been interesting to review some life happenings through an "Aspie" lens, but I probably got more use out of my ADD dx.

I do enjoy on-line contact with other Aspies, though, and am constantly amazed at common life experiences.

cm

(excuse the popping in here :-)
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35

And yet among my demonstrated talents are: (1) motivational speaking to large audiences, and (2) organizing within a low-income, mostly African-American community (I am neither). Go figure.

That said, one of the things I enjoy most of all is going for 4 or 5 hour runs all by myself.
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Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

I scored a 36.

I've long suspected that I'd be diagnosed as mildly autistic if I were a child today. I've learned a number of coping techniques, much like the "Journal of Best Practices" guy. I was 30 before I figured out "how are you"?" was not (really) a request for a status report.

Regards,

- HCF
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I was 30 before I figured out "how are you"?" was not (really) a request for a status report.

I learned some years ago to offer "do you want the long answer, or the short one?"

Steve
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Read Buffett's two bios. He has Aspergers. He attributes his success to his ability to focus intently on one subject for endless hours, to the neglect of everything else. His family life was disfunctional because of this, and his wife left him so that she could be with the tennis pro from the club. No one, and I mean no one, has read as many annual reports as Buffett has, not even close. He has an encyclopedic knowledge as well as photographic memory of all of the pertinent facts of practically every company in the S&P 500, and can describe in detail their individual competitive advantages and disadvantages without referring to any notes or references.

When he and Bill Gates first met, they both immediately recognized this trait that they both shared, and they have remained essentially best friends ever since.
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On a Saturday, long ago, I solved three problems that had bothered fellow socientists for a long time. I view it as the greatest day of my life
========================================================

Board etiquette requires at least minimal support to this sort of claim.

Did you solve cold fusion? Unify the strong force and the weak force? Teach a dog to speak?

Inquiring minds want to know.
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Teach a dog to speak?


my dog used to speak.....do I have to prove it to you?

Ralph Nader on the left.....you know the guy....he is a professional pain in the arse........there are some on the right just as bad.....

Dave
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median score. Extraordinarily attuned to what makes other people uncomfortable and with high capacity to put myself in their place. Have to be as an MD. Aspergers would be a terrible burden--maybe good only in surgeons.
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Aspergers would be a terrible burden--maybe good only in surgeons.

Sorry to hi-jack this thread. The Asperger's title caught my eye because there is a relatively low-profile ex-hedge fund manager called Michael Burry who had a pretty strong case of Asperger's. And yes, he was a surgeon who became a hedge-fund manager.

He called the housing-bust in 07/08 by reading up intently on how housing loans were made and predicted an impending crash when the teaser interest rates expired. He was also the very first person that Joel Greenblatt ever cold-called to give $1 million to invest in. Read his extraordinary story here:
http://www.vanityfair.com/business/features/2010/04/wall-str...

Cheers,
Ser Jing
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Hope you had a good holiday.

Interesting test. Apparently I am a nerd (27). Sort of expected a higher score, actually.

Happier at work now that I'm working with engineers. Not particularly good socially, but not hopeless.

Milling crowds, conventions and parties stress me out. Although I will brave the crowds if there is a good concert or a baseball game at the end of it.

There seems to be an ability to pick a conversation / a person's voice out of many in a noisy situation such as a crowded bar. (I would suppose so, or why would people socialize there?) Is this part of it? Unrelated? (Fairly bad at this.) Just wondering.

- Paint
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<There seems to be an ability to pick a conversation / a person's voice out of many in a noisy situation such as a crowded bar. (I would suppose so, or why would people socialize there?) Is this part of it? Unrelated? (Fairly bad at this.) Just wondering.>

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asperger_syndrome


Individuals with AS often have excellent auditory and visual perception. Children with ASD often demonstrate enhanced perception of small changes in patterns such as arrangements of objects or well-known images; typically this is domain-specific and involves processing of fine-grained features.[40] Conversely, compared to individuals with high-functioning autism, individuals with AS have deficits in some tasks involving visual-spatial perception, auditory perception, or visual memory.[1] Many accounts of individuals with AS and ASD report other unusual sensory and perceptual skills and experiences. They may be unusually sensitive or insensitive to sound, light, and other stimuli; these sensory responses are found in other developmental disorders and are not specific to AS or to ASD.


http://www.asperger-advice.com/asperger-sensory-overload.htm...

Asperger Sensory Overload


People with Aspergers are known to have problems with sensory overload. This means they can be overly sensitive to, touch, tastes, textures in the mouth, movements, loud sounds or lights. They receive too much information or stimuli from their environment which can explain some of their typical behaviors such as keeping their ears covered in a crowd, their clumsiness or their unwillingness to go to social gatherings. Their poor communication skills and social withdrawal may also be caused by the input of too much sensory information in the brain. ...

Unable to sort out the right sensory information they seem overwhelmed by the world around them and are unable to react to it effectively. ...
[end quote]

Personally, I can't stand having the TV set going in the background. It's very distracting to me -- sensory overload.

I think your dislike of crowded bars is for the same reason. Sensory overload is chaotic. I can't stand bars.

Wendy
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People with Aspergers are known to have problems with sensory overload. This means they can be overly sensitive to, touch, tastes, textures in the mouth, movements, loud sounds or lights. They receive too much information or stimuli from their environment which can explain some of their typical behaviors such as keeping their ears covered in a crowd, their clumsiness or their unwillingness to go to social gatherings.
Interesting. I'm 100% the opposite. I'm drawn to cities, noise, and crowds (except parades which scare me after a bad experience at the Macy's TDay Parade in 1989). I like noise in background when I work, and I am a keen multi-tasker to an extreme level.

My Mom is the opposite...
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I'm very late to this discussion, but took the test. 37? I was sure that can't be right, so I took it again, very carefully. 36.

Well that explains so many things. Heh.

RDW
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"Trust me - no woman who isn't socially adept chooses to go into a field where you have to "hang with the boys" to make your way."

I would tend to disagree with this. Being very good at what you do can make up for a fair amount of social awkwardness. Especially if some of the awkwardness wears off once you get used to each other a bit. Besides, in the last 20 years, engineers and drafters have gotten used to having both men and women in the work place.

This beats heck out of a situation where you are expected to be well dressed, pleasant and social while doing something for which you have no particular talent, and where you are considered far below the guys in status.

- Paint
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Gingko100 wrote:
Trust me - no woman who isn't socially adept chooses to go into a field where you have to "hang with the boys" to make your way.

Temple Grandin? An extreme example.

-IGU-
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