Happy Monday, dear ones. Have a happy little weed:
Not autism related, but very important: have you read The Global Mail's At work inside our detention centres: a guard's story? If you haven't, please do.
Heard of "supernormal stimuli"? I hadn't, until I read this fascinating article from Sparring Mind. The idea is that our instincts tell us to do certain things and behave a certain way, but our instincts were developed in the natural world - and if you screw with that in unnatural ways, your instincts don't know when to say "enough with this bullshit!" So, a bird that lays bluish eggs with grey spots will have instincts telling it that blue spotty things are its eggs and it should sit on them. If it's presented with a big fluro blue ball with black spots, it'll sit on that, too. It would actually rather sit on that than on its real eggs - as far as its instincts can tell, that thing looks more like its eggs than its actual eggs do. It's bluer and spottier, after all.
So what does all this gibberish about birds that are too dim to know their own eggs from a volleyball have to do with us? Well, humans are still animals, and we still have instincts. And what's our modern world, replete with the internet and junk food and Top Gear/Doctor Who crossover slash fiction, doing to our own instinctive behaviour? You'll find the article here.
What's the point of social skills training? I dodged this particular bullet through not being diagnosed until well into adulthood, but I've heard some horror stories from other people on the spectrum. We Are Like Your Child has a new post up exploring social skills training as a means of creating healthy people able to advocate for themselves, rather than compliant little doormats.
Speaking of speaking up, if you're having an online discussion about autism or Aspergers or related issues, is it appropriate to ask if the other people are on the spectrum? Autistic blogger Alyssa got told off for being "crass" when she asked that recently. I'm with Alyssa on this - I think it's totally valid to ask what someone's stake in the conversation is - if nothing else, it facilitates better communication if you actually know who you're talking to and where they're coming from.
Can technology help you cope with loneliness? ABC Health and Wellbeing gives this question a thorough shake-down, from people living on remote stations to online dating, seniors, and staying in touch with distant family during hard times. The general gist is that it depends what you do with it: it's a tool, rather than an end in itself. Read the whole report here.
In my own news, you may have noticed the name I use on this blog's changed. There are a lot of reasons behind that decision, from uncertainty at the moment about my future career plans to my personal online footprint, to being sick of the creepers and weirdos in my inbox. I'll be using this new identity, Aspergia Jones, for all my internet stuff relating to Aspergers and autism from now on. You'll find me on Twitter and Pinterest, and Google Plus.
In other blog developments, I've now got some Adsense ads running on this site, because it's time it started paying for itself. I've blocked a lot of categories from showing up - anything relating to gambling and loan sharks for instance, and the entire health category to make sure skeevy "cure autism with homeopathy and bleach!" ads don't turn up here. If you do see anything objectionable, please let me know so I can nuke it from orbit.