Autism-Spectrum Quotient Test

Take it here.

I am not autistic. But I think my eldest is.

I’d like him to take the quiz without knowing what it was.

I took it for him and came up with a 35. That’s less than the Common Room mom got so either 1) I don’t know E as well as I thought or 2) He’s not as Asberger-ee as I thought.

Definition of Death, but Not Life

We now record fetal heartbeats at 14 days post-conception. We record fetal brainwaves at 39 days post-conception. And I don’t expect you to answer this, but I do expect you to pay attention to it as you contemplate these big issues. We have this schizophrenic rule of the law where we have defined death as the absence of those, but we refuse to define life as the presence of those.

Sen.Tom Coburn,
speaking to Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor,
confirmation hearing, July 15, 2009


The Unborn Remember

The unborn have memories, according to medical researchers who used sound and vibration stimulation, combined with sonography, to reveal that the human fetus displays short-term memory from at least 30 weeks gestation – or about two months before they are born.

“In addition, results indicated that 34-week-old fetuses are able to store information and retrieve it four weeks later,” said the research, which was released Wednesday.

From The Washington Times

May I just say here, prophetically, that this, like the anti-global warming science, will be ignored, discounted, and disbelieved.

Because we can’t have babies remembering when we want to kill them, can we?


Someone tried to write a college science paper on the “natural phenomenon” of werewolves, vampires, and zombies.

Despite the fact that the student did not get the topic approved, as per the syllabus, s/he did a lot of work on the paper and developed it well. S/he looked at when those creatures were discussed using scientific language, etc.

It reminded me of my genetics class at SLU and that disease that made people’s bones (and teeth) red and for them to be sensitive to light and very hairy.

Apparently it reminded someone else (Macaroon of the same thing:

“there is a “disease” called Ambras syndrome that causes people to look like werewolves. Perhaps the other prof could suggest he take an incomplete and add a page about Ambras syndrome, thereby “fixing” the problem by actually describing a natural phenomenon. Dunno if I’d take off points here if it were my student.”

What’s wrong with global warming?

So what they’re doing is the equivalent of trying to extrapolate the plot of Casablanca from one tiny bit of the love scene.

from Brothers Judd Blog where an entire conversation with a fascinating Australian geologist is waiting to show you more problems with global warming.

Fathers Make a Difference

Father’s day is today.

What can we learn about fathers?

Teenagers whose fathers are more involved in their lives are less likely to engage in risky sexual activities such as unprotected intercourse, according to a new study.

The more attentive the dad — and the more he knows about his teenage child’s friends — the bigger the impact on the teen’s sexual behavior, the researchers found. While an involved mother can also help stave off a teen’s sexual activity, dads have twice the influence.

So, yeah for great dads!

Quote from MSNBC

Oh that’s just great.

Reuter’s health today said:

People with psoriasis, a common scaly skin condition, are at increased risk for strokes, heart disease, and circulatory problems in the legs, new research shows.

Yes, the only reason I read it is my father has psoriasis.

1888 description of insanity

The description, by Mary Putnam Jacobi, perfectly matches bipolar. She is discussing what kinds of people develop mental illnesses.

The psychic characteristics… The disposition is strikingly irritable and touchy; psychic pain arises for trifling cause; at the least occasion the most vivid emotions are excited. The subjects of this temperament alternate rapidly from one extreme to the other; their sympathies and antipathies alike are intense; their entire life is passed between periods of exaltation and depression, leaving scarcely any room for healthy indifference. (184)

from Essays on Hysteria, Brain-tumor, and Some Other Cases of Nervous Disease.

Of course, then she goes on to describe the savant and other mental illnesses, all under the same heading… So while it is accurate, it isn’t a useful description because it includes too many other descriptions.

I like trees, but there are limits.

I don’t want one growing in my lungs, like this guy had.

As Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper found out, he often had chest pains, and was coughing up blood.

An X-Ray showed a new growth in his lung, and doctors were certain it was a cancerous one.

Fortunately, when they dissected Artyom’s chest, it was decided to cut out a small piece first, and to carry out an express biopsy test. The doctor made an incision in the lung and saw… a fir tree.

Bad behavior=bad taste (in mouth)

Univ of Toronto says:

In everyday language, people sometimes say that immoral behaviours “leave a bad taste in your mouth.” But this may be more than a metaphor according to new scientific evidence from the University of Toronto that shows a link between moral disgust and more primitive forms of disgust related to poison and disease.

The research employed electromyography, a technique that uses small electrodes placed on the face to detect electrical activation that occurs when the facial muscles contract. In particular, they focused on movement of the levator labii muscle, which acts to raise the upper lip and wrinkle the nose, movements that are thought to be characteristic of the facial expression of disgust.

“We found that people show activation of this muscle region in all three situations – when tasting something bad, looking at something disgusting and experiencing unfairness,” said Chapman.

Fascinating stuff.

Get skinny fast

An extract derived from a West African fruit may help overweight people shed pounds and lower their cholesterol, a new study suggests.

The extract comes from Irvingia gabonensis, also known as African mango, a fruit commonly eaten in West Africa. Lab research has shown that extracts from the plant’s seed may inhibit body fat production, through effects on certain genes and enzymes that regulate metabolism.

For the current study, researchers at the University of Yaounde in Cameroon randomly assigned 102 overweight adults to take either the plant extract or a placebo twice a day for 10 weeks. The study participants did not follow any special diet and were told to maintain their normal exercise levels.

By the end of the study, the extract group had lost a significant amount of weight — an average of roughly 28 pounds — while the placebo group showed almost no change.

At the same time, they showed declines in “bad” LDL cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

from Reuter’s

Pathology in psychology. What does it mean?

As Feminist theorist Gilligan (1993) has argued compellingly, implicit in this model of male development is an understanding of psychological health as being synonymous with autonomy and separateness. Conversely pathology and moral weakness within psychoanalytic theory have traditionally been seen as resulting from a failure to define oneself as separate from the other. (13)

Ah. I have had this problem with therapists. R and I went as newlyweds to get help in being better husband and wife. The therapists did not know what to do to help us since we had no pathology. They gave us a test that showed that we were too “intertwined” with each other and not separate enough. (What did they expect of newlyweds?) Then they said they guessed it was okay if we both wanted to be pathological. At least we were in agreement on our dysfunction.

I have always been annoyed by that. It happened in 1989 or 1990. I have read Gilligan, but I didn’t realize that she was talking about our experience. Very useful. We were non-patriarchical, non-pyramidic, and thus did not fit their Western/American expectations of individualism outside of a group.

Quote from: Liebman, Samuel J. and Steven C. Abell. “Reconstructing the Sacred: Evolving Conceptualizations of Religious Faith in Psychoanalytic Theory and Practice.” Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy 30.1 (2000): 7-25. ProQuest.

Video games are good.

Finally, an EU report that I like.

“Video games are in most cases not dangerous and can even contribute to the development of important skills,” said Toine Manders, the Dutch liberal lawmaker who drafted the report.

“(They stimulate) learning of facts and skills such as strategic reflection, creativity, cooperation and a sense of innovation,” a news release on the report said.

Vitamin D too low?

That’s a problem. It may explain why you are overweight.

Overweight? Part of the problem may be low vitamin D levels, a new study hints.

Among a group of 90 young women living in sunny southern California, those with insufficient levels of vitamin D were significantly heavier and had greater body mass than their counterparts with sufficient levels of vitamin D, Dr. Vicente Gilsanz, of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and colleagues found.

It’s correlatory rather than causal, but still…

Years ago someone got on my case for giving the boys empty calories.

The empty calories they were specifically discussing were juice.

Turns out that apple juice can help stave off Alzheimers.

Reuters Health said:

Drinking apple juice helps slow the accumulation of the protein fragments that damage the brain in Alzheimer’s disease, new research in mice shows.

The protein fragments, known as beta-amyloid, are the building blocks of the plaques that form in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.

The findings don’t suggest that Alzheimer’s disease can be treated by gulping gallons of apple juice, but they do point to the importance of long-term nutrition in preventing aging-related changes like those seen in Alzheimer’s disease, Thomas B. Shea of the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, the co-author of the current study, said in an interview with Reuters Health.