What Autistics Can Contribute to Technology

Technology can support autistic people in many ways, but autistic people also have so much to offer in the field of technology. Autistic people with an interest in STEM-related fields (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), combined with their natural cognitive and character strengths, create a recipe for innovative and dedicated advanced technicians. Long-gone are the days of centering autism only as a deficit. Within the neurodiversity framework, autism is viewed from a social model of disability. This means that there are incongruences between the environment and needs of the autistic person. Solutions should focus on uplifting strengths and making accommodations and modifications to the environment to best support someone’s functioning (den Houting, 2019; Cope & Remington, 2021).

autismspectrumnews.org

Consent Isn’t Clear-Cut. Fanfiction Can Help.

American talk radio host Rush Limbaugh defends U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump for boasting about how he can “grab [women] by the pussy,” casting the idea of sexual consent as a strange, outlandish, immoral invention of “the left.” The father of Brock Turner, a college student convicted of three counts of felony sexual assault of an unconscious woman after a campus party and sentenced to six months in prison, bemoans the harsh sentence for what he calls “20 minutes of action.” A woman relives her sexual assault on national television in the hope of stopping her assailant’s confirmation to the United States Supreme Court. She fails. (And she is not the first to do so.)

thereader.mitpress.mit.edu

Why Writing Second Person POV Appeals To Marginalized Writers

You open the SFWA Bulletin to start reading an article about second person point of view (POV), and immediately you’re put off. You didn’t expect the article itself to use this POV, since most articles don’t. What a cheap gimmick, you think. You wonder whether you should stop reading at this point, because you’ve been told how you feel and what you expected in the span of a few sentences, and you’re growing increasingly uncomfortable—angry, even—with these assumptions made by the writer. She doesn’t know you! Why is she trying to put words in your mouth and thoughts in your head? Why is she presuming to control your actions?

sfwa.org

Will We Ever Get Rid of COVID-19?

As the end of the year approaches, we are nearing the two-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic. Globally, over 5 million have died, and that’s almostcertainly an undercount, especially in countries that still lack the resources to properly test and vaccinate their populations. The U.S. has reported more than 750,000 COVID-19 deaths, and we’ve seen four surges of cases since early 2020, hoping that each would be our last. Just last week, scientists detected a heavily mutated new variant, Omicron, which may end up leading to another rush of cases — or have no lasting effects. We still don’t know enough to tell.

quantamagazine.org

The Final Pitch

Cyber Monday comes for us all. A reality of working on the internet is that eventually you will be selling … some version of yourself. This is the part of the job I am not very good at. While I’ve found I’m reasonably adept at shameless self-promotion across social media, I’m still sheepish when it comes to asking people to pay for my work. But here’s the deal. Starting tomorrow, The Atlantic’s free trial period for subscriber newsletters is over, and most of Galaxy Brain’s editions will be for paid customers only. If you’re new here in the last month, welcome! There are tons of you (gah!) and that makes me so excited. I want to take a minute to talk about that.

newsletters.theatlantic.com/galaxy-brain

Are Water Plumes Spraying From Europa? NASA’s Europa Clipper Is on the Case

In 2005, images of a brilliant watery plume erupting from the surface of Saturn’s moon Enceladus captivated the world. The giant column of vapor, ice particles, and organic molecules spraying from the moon’s south polar region suggested that there’s a liquid water ocean below Enceladus’ ice shell and confirmed the moon is geologically active. The plume also thrust Enceladus and other worlds in the outer solar system, with no atmospheres and far from the heat of the Sun, toward the top of NASA’s list of places to search for signs of life.

jpl.nasa.gov

Income inequality proliferates across the West

When John Long established Maryvale, Phoenix’s first suburb, in 1955, the nation’s economic topography was about as flat as the desert valley floor. There were pockets of poverty and enclaves of wealth, but huge disparities — even in those freewheeling Mad Men days — were kept in check by progressive taxes, New Deal-era policies and powerful labor unions. The result was a strong, sizeable middle class hungry for housing. Maryvale provided just that, its modest homes with their all-electric kitchens affordable for everyone from the unionized construction workers who built the homes and the defense industry workers buoyed by Cold War federal spending to the public schoolteachers who taught their children.

hcn.org

Humans Are Doomed to Go Extinct

Cast your mind back, if you will, to 1965, when Tom Lehrer recorded his live album That Was the Year That Was. Lehrer prefaced a song called “So Long Mom (A Song for World War III)” by saying that “if there’s going to be any songs coming out of World War III, we’d better start writing them now.” Another preoccupation of the 1960s, apart from nuclear annihilation, was overpopulation. Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich’s book The Population Bomb was published in 1968, a year when the rate of world population growth was more than 2 percent—the highest in recorded history.

scientificamerican.com

To Conserve More Species, Act while Their Numbers Are High

November 30 is the Remembrance Day for Lost Species, an informal holiday established in 2011 by a U.K.-based coalition of artists, scientists and activists. The point of the day is political: to draw public attention to human-caused extinctions, in hopes of preventing more. But for many participants the day is also personal, an attempt to grasp the enormity of extinction.

scientificamerican.com

A Consistent Ethic of Life (Until Birth)

America has an authoritarianism problem, and it’s putting us in league with a handful of other nations that are creeping away from democratic norms and toward autocracy. These punishing impulses are coming out most strongly, at the moment, in legislation targeting voting rights and abortion access. And as law professors Michele Goodwin and Mary Ziegler point out, those abortion restrictions are harsher than ever — many have even done away with exceptions for rape and incest.

jill.substack.com

Food…in…Space!

When scientists sent the first humans careening into the vacuum of space, they had no idea what food would do to a body in orbit. Could a person swallow while in weightless flight? Does digestion even work without gravity? In 1961, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin quelled this fear by successfully swallowing and digesting a paste of beef and liver. That same year, cosmonaut Gherman Titov ate crackers while orbiting Earth. A few months later, American astronaut John Glenn sucked 80 calories of applesauce from an aluminum tube. No doubt Gagarin, Glenn, and Titov would envy the diets of astronauts living on the International Space Station today—they recently got to chow down on tacos for dinner, using fresh chili peppers grown in orbit.  

daily.jstor.org