25 October 2010

Catching Up

As I said last time I posted, I've had many topics I wanted to post about in the last week.  But fate in the form of training orders arrived today and, consequently, my week just became busier.  So instead of doing separate posts about each, I thought I'd post the links to articles I've read and let you enjoy them yourself.
  • Freakonomics: Pesticide Politics - The Freakonomics blog, by the authors of the bestselling book as well as other contributors, is one I follow and enjoy because of the wide array of topics and viewpoints presented.  This one discusses pesticide in produce and centers on a favorite topic of mine: the misappropriation of science to scare people who don't understand science.
  • Reason: Of Mice and Men - An interview with one of the scientists cited in the Freakonomics article.  It's older (1994) but a great source for insight into a true scientist's mind.
  • Wired: The Geek Syndrome - Wired is a magazine and online site for people who revel in technology and science.  I often find informative and largely unbiased articles on a variety of topics contained within.  This article, also a little older (2001), is about the increasing prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) diagnosed in the children of geeks.  It describes Asperger's syndrome extremely well, so it's worth reading just for that, but it's more interesting when you consider that recent studies show that ASDs are increasing across the country, which was not known in 2001.  One day we're going to understand autism spectrum disorders better and we're going to look at our society as a whole and say "Duh.  Of course it's that way.".
  • Wired: Autism-Spectrum Quotient - I include this even though it's not an article because anyone who is interested in personality dynamics will find it interesting.  It's a 50 question test designed to look for autism tendencies in persons of normal or above-average intelligence, i.e. to locate potential high-functioning autism or Asperger's syndrome cases that may go unnoticed because of overall smarts and coping abilities.  I wasn't surprised by my own score... were you?
  • TEDTalks: Temple Grandin - (19:44) Speaking of autism, one of the world's most famous autistic persons is Temple Grandin (there was a movie made recently about her that you can find on TV occasionally).  This is a speech by her about the need for all types of thinkers.
  • TEDTalks: Steven Pinker - (22:39) Pinker has a couple of books out that I already wanted to read; after listening to this talk, they're going on my Christmas list.  If you've read Freakonomics or its sequel, SuperFreakonomics, you'll very much enjoy this talk about the brain and its characteristics.
There was more, but that's probably enough link-spam for one day.  Enjoy!

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