Category Archive: Personal

Oct 09

A 5-Mile Ride Through the Alford Valley

A recent day (October 2) was an absolutely spectacular autumn day for a long ride on the trails near my house. Alice (on Spot) and I (on Stewart) headed north (as we usually do) and wandered through the sun-dappled forest, seeking out some trails we hadn’t traveled for a while. There are so many trails …

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Sep 29

In Search of Doctor Beebe

I hardly know where to begin this story, because its roots stretch back a long way before my time. It centers around an old foundation, abandoned more than 100 years ago, that is now in the middle of the woods, but in its day was at the center of much activity. I first encountered this …

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Sep 03

Georging

For the past few (4+) years, I have been a “Georger” — a person who uses the website http://www.wheresgeorge.com/ to track the movement of US currency that passes through my hands. I’ll have a lot more to say about this in future posts, I just wanted to start the conversation here with an observation about …

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Jun 07

Anxiety: Who? Me?

I’m participating in a panel on Friday (June 9) at Northeastern University on Anxiety, as part of the CHATTER event. Of course, I’m quite nervous about this. As part of my preparation (which helps to reduce anxiety), I have been reviewing my past talks and writings on the subject. I discovered that my blog does …

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Feb 27

The Language of Autism: “Special Interest” as a Stigmatizing Phrase

When an a non-autistic person studies something deeply, it’s an “area of expertise,” and the acquisition of such expertise is considered a commendable accomplishment. When an autistic person studies something deeply, it’s a “special interest,” and it’s considered a symptom of pathology. #DoubleStandards Nick Walker Nick’s post on Facebook really hit home for me, because, …

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Feb 13

Another Candidate for my Autism Hall of Fame: John Couch Adams

Isaac Newton (1642-1726) is often mentioned (and rightly so, from what I can tell) as having probably been autistic. Now, I learn of a later-day (1819-1892) kindred spirit. John Couch Adams is known to history as having been hot on the trail of the discovery of Neptune, only to be beaten to the punch in 1846 …

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Feb 11

I Was Ahead of My Time (But I Knew That!)

Synopsis There is a new style of AI (artificial intelligence) that has, in recent years, taken the world by storm. Called Deep Learning, this approach has made possible self-driving cars, enhanced voice and image recognition, and audible translation from one language to another; to name just a few breakthroughs. Most of what we observe being …

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Jan 18

Look What I Got in the Mail

I was 15 years old. My grandmother had sent me this notecard. I knew it was coming, because she had told me about it. “Someday,” she told me, “you will be very proud to have this.” I didn’t have to wait; I was proud of it from the moment she told me about it. I …

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Jan 16

Let’s See if I Can Tape This All Together

What do cupcakes and chocolate have in common? I guess that’s pretty obvious, but Scotch Tape? In September 2009 Scientific American devoted an entire issue to “Origins” and I’ve chosen three of my favorites to link together here. First up: cupcakes: where and when were they invented, and whence the name?   If you click …

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Dec 04

Walking

Following my comments, you will find an excerpt from an original essay, “Walking,” by Henry David Thoreau that appeared in The Atlantic in 1862; there is also a link at the end for those who want to read more. Henry David Thoreau was the proto-environmentalist. said Bill McKibben. Thoreau was also the one who, perhaps in a …

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