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I recently realised that I'm autistic. Here are the resources I found valuable in figuring out what this means. All of these links are about autism in adults, which can be a challenge to find. Where possible I've prioritised resources created by neurodivergent people. Reasons why autistic people self diagnose The medical system has long focused on young, white boys — at that, often cisgender, heterosexual, and from families with money — who exhibit very specific autistic traits when it comes to research, diagnosis, and accommodations. This excludes everyone else, and means the most prevalent information we have only helps part of the community. As a result, the more intersections of oppression an autistic person exists are, the more difficult it can be for them to get a professional diagnosis. [more inside]
Twelve years on, Ted Chiang remains perhaps the finest author in contemporary science fiction -- and the most rarefied. A technical writer by trade and a graduate of the distinguished Clarion Writers Workshop, Chiang has published only eighteen short stories in the last thirty years, one and a half dozen masterpieces of the genre whose insightful, precise, often poetic language confronts fundamental ideas -- intelligence, consciousness, the nature of God -- and thrusts them into a dazzling new light. His collected works, mostly available in the anthologies Stories of Your Life and Others (2010) and Exhalation: Stories (2019), have cemented his reputation as one of the greatest SF storytellers of all time (and inspired one of the best SF movies of all time). Click inside for a complete listing of Chiang's work, with links to online reprints or audio versions where available, as well as a collection of one-on-one interviews, links to his other writings, video essays, movie clips, and lots more. [more inside]
A free "workbook on the kind of bullshit you need to do when someone you love dies", available as a "version with lots of swearing at the useless, shitty situation you're in" or a "version with a fair amount of black humor but no cursewords". Including "Prepare to spend a long and miserable time on the phone," "Depressing Mad Libs" (obituary templates), "So You Suddenly Have To Become Some Kind of Hacker," and "How to plan a non-religious death party". Published 2019.
A slightly belated congratulations to MeFi's own Languagehat, AKA Stephen Dodson, on the twentieth anniversary (July 31) of his blog Languagehat.com. Languagehat explores linguistics, with excursions into literature (especially Russian literature), grammar, etymology, languages and more. I venture to guess that exceedingly few blogs launched in 2002 are still active, and perhaps none active to the degree that Languagehat has been, with posts on a daily basis virtually all of those twenty years. [more inside]
Russia's Invasion of Ukraine is entering its second week: what Happened on Day 13 of Russia's Invasion of Ukraine. [NYT] Conditions are worsening in Ukraine as Russia's invasion nears the end of its second week, with the shelling of Kharkiv [Al Jazeera -- warning, graphic], the capture of Kherson [NBC], where food is now running low, and the encirclement of Mariupol [AP]. International tensions are increasing amidst the impact of sanctions and Russia's efforts to draw 'red lines' for further escalation in response, including by nuclear saber rattling. Amidst halting peace talks, Zelenskyy seems to be backing off the importance of Ukraine joining NATO -- a key Russian demand for any de-escalation. The US CIA director warns that "the next few weeks of fighting in Ukraine will be "ugly" as the Kremlin loosens the rules of engagement for Russian forces to resume stalled advances or compel the surrender of resisting cities. Reuters: in his most recent comments, China's Xi Jinping has called for "maximum restraint." NPR: More than 2 million people have now fled Ukraine, 12 days after Russia invaded. [more inside]
Marginalia Search is "an independent DIY search engine that focuses on non-commercial content, and attempts to show you sites you perhaps weren't aware of." Clive Thompson describes Marginalia (also known as Edge Crawler and Astrolabe) as "a search engine with a fascinating design — rather than give you exactly what you’re looking for, it tries to surprise you... By up-ranking web sites that are text-heavy, and downranking ones that are highly visual, loaded with modern web cruft, and SEO-optimized. The upshot, as the creator suggests, is that you wind up with a lot of weird results very different from the usual fare coughed up by Google or Bing or even DuckDuckGo.... Call it 'serendipity engineering.'" [more inside]
Raccoon astronaut with the cosmos reflected in his helmet dreams of the stars / Jedi sloth / Lego Mona Lisa / Cute animals on rainbow grass / Bulldog in coat and hat drives an old car / Victorian rabbit reads the paper on a bench / Macro shot of a kitten in glasses / Cool panda skateboards in Santa Monica / Propaganda poster of a Napoleon cat with cheese / Plants in a lightbulb / Proud raccoons pose with their art / Studio Ghibli train stations / Kid and dog stare at the stars / Ukiyo-e teddy bears shop for groceries / Soup bowl monster knit out of wool / Astronaut on a horse, pencil sketch / American Gothic, but it's dogs with pizzas / Badass sheep in a science lab / Mona Lisa in Twin Peaks / Kitty donut shop / Colorful gamerooms, Memphis Design / HD photo of Pikachu in a cape / Wooden art deco cat / Fruit golem / Codex Seraphinianus / Voynich Manuscript / Variations on Vermeer, Klimt, Seurat, Ohara / "Good morning" Post-It on the ISS cupola / Cats in blue hats / Writer ponders her next story, oil painting / Timepieces, De Chirico style / Cheshire Cat and Tinkerbell play poker / Pieter Bruegel's Incredible Hulk / A plum and perfume served in a hat / Earth as chocolate cake / The orange cat Otto von Garfield in a Prussian Pickelhaube eats lasagna / A robot paints while playing piano, draws itself, paints itself, shows another robot its art / Meet OpenAI's DALL·E 2, the extraordinary new AI that creates anything you can imagine in a matter of seconds. [more inside]
VisiData is an interactive multitool for tabular data. It combines the clarity of a spreadsheet, the efficiency of the terminal, and the power of Python, into a lightweight utility which can handle millions of rows with ease. [more inside]
A couple moved into a house on Fire Island and found 20 years worth of cassettes, documenting DJ sets and party soundtracks from 1979-1999. Over 200 tapes are being digitized and uploaded to MixCloud.
HEP2go is a site that helps physical therapists and other rehabilitation professionals create home exercise programs for patients and clients, and helps patients by providing clear instructions and examples for each exercise. The inventory of exercises is divided up by anatomical category and exercises are annotated with text descriptions, photo illustrations, and -- in many cases -- short demonstration videos. (Click the "play" icon in the lower left corner of the photo to get a Vimeo inset to pop up and play.)
4k POV walks , no commentary. Tokyo. London. New York. Paris. Sydney. Mumbai. Hong Kong. Bangkok. Rome. Vienna. Seoul. Buenos Aires. Santiago. Montreal. Cairo. Marrakech. Nairobi.
Neurodivergent people face some very specific challenges when it comes to physical and mental health, and often don’t respond well to treatments that are designed for neurotypical people. Even when our differences are recognised, treatment is often pathologising. They try to cure or mask difference, rather than meeting our actual needs. This is rooted in a pathologising view of neurodivergence: Nick Walker, a queer, transgender, autistic writer and educator explains: Throw Away The Master's Tools: Liberating Ourselves from the Pathology Paradigm [more inside]
Here is a short and very-layperson-accessible linguistics paper that made cartoon steam shoot out of my ears. I hope that you enjoy it as well.
How to Hide a Plague: How Elite Capture and Individualism Made Covid Normal How large right wing business interests co-opted science to hamstring public health response and pull the classic capitalism move of individualizing risks, while convincing the public it was their idea. [more inside]
Chiac is a French/English dialect from the Canadian province of New Brunswick, fluidly mixing English loaner words into principally French speech. Listening to chiac as song lyrics can be a delightful -- or disorienting -- experience for people, especially those with passing knowledge but not fluency in French. There are a lot of opportunities to find out, as there's no shortage of bands and musicians who record in chiac, from rap like Radio Radio's "Cliché Hot" to Lisa LeBlanc's "Gossip" to the bonkers brilliance of P'tit Belliveau's "Income Tax". [more inside]
An Evidence-Based Guide to Progressive Social Change (pdf) - The guide covers the most effective actions you can take as part of an activist campaign, within your organization, and in your everyday life in order to build a better world for us all to live in. [more inside]
The Brunching Shuttlecocks was (and is) a humor website that ran from 1997 to 2003. It was founded by David Neilsen and Lore Fitzgerald Sjöberg There's a TON more links inside, but here's a taste: Porn Star or My Little Pony? * Ratings: Cat Toys ("Catnip Anything: Very entertaining.") * Ratings: Star Wars Lego Figures * The Björk Song (In RealAudio or MP3, with David Neilsen. Causes insanity.) * Pikachewy ("'Twas Beedrill, and the Starmie Gloom/Did Grimer and Gengar in the Mew") * Twelve AP Headlines Which Can Be Sung to 'Camptown Races' ("Man in Wheelchair Killed by Train, doo-dah, doo-dah") * The Geek Hierarchy: Abridged But Managable - Unabridged but Large - For Printing (PDF) (Doubles Jubilee, original from 2015) [more inside]
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has been going on for nearly a month. According to most analysts, it has not gone according to plan, and Russia has begun preparations for a long war. The most horrific battle has been in Mariupol, a port city devastated by shelling and fighting. Meanwhile, live in the capital, Kyiv, is almost calm. In occupied cities, Ukrainians hold daily protests, and across the Western border, Ukrainian refugees have been welcomed in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova. The name of this thread is from a painting by Maria Primachenko.
Halfway through the third book of the Hitchhiker's Guide series, there is a throwaway reference to a doomed starship, one whose incredible splendor was matched only by the cosmic absurdity of its maiden-day annihilation. But the story didn't end there. Unbeknownst to many fans, this small piece of Adamsian lore was the inspiration for an ambitious and richly-detailed side-story: a 1998 computer adventure game called Starship Titanic. Designed by Douglas Adams himself, the game set players loose in the infamous vessel, challenging them with a maddening mystery laced with the devilish wit of the novels. The game was laden with extra content, including an in-depth strategy guide, a (mediocre) tie-in novel (and audiobook) by Terry Jones, a whimsical First Class In-Flight Magazine, and even a pair of 3D glasses for one of the more inventive puzzles. Key to solving these puzzles was the game's groundbreaking communications system -- players interacted with the ship's robotic crew through a natural language parsing engine called SpookiTalk, whose 10,000+ lines of conversational dialogue spawned 16 hours of audio recorded by professional voice actors, including John Cleese, Terry Jones, and even Douglas Adams himself in several cameos (spoiler cameo). Want to experience the voyage for yourself? Then pick up a $6 modernized copy of the game on Steam or GOG, watch this narrated video playthrough... or peruse this spectacular MetaFilter comment from developer Yoz Grahame, which touches on not just behind-the-scenes trivia and unknown easter eggs, but the most remarkable story of accidental online community you're ever going to hear. [more inside]