Fear is not a moral failing. That is the most important thing I need to say, right up front. Autistic children are often afraid of new experiences, loud noises, or uncomfortable situations. The parents of autistic children are often afraid of how they will be perceived by others. They are afraid of their child never being able to care for themselves as adults. They are afraid of all sorts of things, just like other parents, but even more so. This is not a moral failing. Fear is an emotion. And it is perfectly normal and acceptable.Read More
"Mickey!" The little girl squealed. "Look mom, it's Mickey Mouse!" She tugged at her mother's sleeve as they reached the front of the line.
"Hi ya, pal!" Mickey greeted her as she ran forward to get her picture taken.
"Around here,' Snapped her mother, 'we say, Hello friends." She dragged the now crying little girl away.Read More
Disney movies are rotten with fallacies... logical fallacies, that is. That's why we love them. Nothing quite gets the blood boiling like your favorite baddie rolling his Rs and telling the hero that they're worthless and no one will ever believe them. My righteous indignation meter just pegs out, whether it's Jafar denigrating Aladdin, or Medusa being meanie-pants to poor, pitiful Penny. That's partly because we know it's just not true! Disney movies seem to know how to get our little kid no fair! circuits firing all at once. It's also a matter of just finding their terrible arguments frustrating to my nerd brain. And it isn't just the bad guys that sometimes employ a logical fallacy or two. Here's a whole bunch of examples for your outrage fuel. Pop some popcorn, and let's play, Spot the Logical Fallacy!Read More
The First Amendment is not reserved for newspapers, books, and political candidates. The First Amendment applies to the best and the worst arguments, good art and hackneyed commercial bunk. It hasn't always been honored, nor evenly applied. Right now I fear we're entering a period in which there are two Constitutions, one we rely on for our own rights, and one we ball up and toss into the wastebasket when it comes to others. I'll use a couple egregious examples in art as an easy comparison.Read More
So I finished my blog post on Vermont’s new labeling bill and thought I’d done a fair job of analyzing it. I was all ready to start debating. Then the Senate went and passed their compromise bill. Before we celebrate congress finally being able to put aside their differences for a moment to actually accomplish something, let’s just recognize that a lot of people don’t like this new bill. I’ll try to touch on the things most people don’t seem to like about it, and where the differences are.Read More
Here's the thing, I used to think everyone understood certain things about how our food is produced, processed, stored, and transported. I realize now that I was assuming facts not in evidence. I throw myself on the mercy of the court and plead too many years of reading OMNI Magazine instead of socializing. I just didn't realize most people think the above question is reasonable, rather than quaintly naive and uninformed, mayhap even ignorant. You may have, like Bernie Sanders, wondered about this. I think there are three good reasons many reasonable people don't want mandatory label laws.Read More
Labels annoy writers and scientists alike. I'm not talking about labels like stupid or Democrat. I mean labels that seem perfectly legitimate, logical, and provable. Just as soon as you think you've got your collection all categorized the way you like it, neat, clear, logical... that's when some upstart from two labs down throws a duck billed platypus into the works. There was a time when we knew that dinosaurs were reptiles, alligators were strict carnivores, and humans were the next evolutionary step after apes, right? When we were growing up, men were men, women were women, and there were no other options, or so our Dick and Jane readers seemed to imply. But today, we're told sexuality is a spectrum, autism is a spectrum, there are no true herbivores or carnivores, dinosaurs had feathers, and Pluto isn't even a planet! Oy.Read More
Both these kids are smart, articulate, good looking, and media savvy. They’ve also both become representatives for a cause. And that’s what I want to talk about today. Remember when the girl who played Matilda wrote about how terrible it was for her fellow child actors? Remember how we all thought parents shouldn’t do that to their kids? Well, I don’t know, but I’m feeling a little dirty for the way these two kids have been adopted (or vilified) by opposing sides in very contentious debates. What does a twelve year old, or even a junior high school aged child know about politics, economics, health, regulatory policy, agriculture, big business, or the terrible media shit storm that comes when your video reaches a million hits? Well, they are finding out that last one. Unfairly, it seems to me.Read More
I know what nature is. I go hiking, caving, biking, swimming and camping. I’ve visited the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, and the mighty Mississippi. I swam in the Black River and two of the Great Lakes. I’ve watched sunsets in Hawaii and Florida. I’ve caught lightning bugs and been startled by snakes. I’ve had poison ivy, and eaten wild blackberries. Doggone it, I know nature when I see it. You do too, right? So ok, what is it?Read More