OK – I’m a bit slow today, but…
Hamas is recognized by Canada and the USA as a terrorist organization, right?
And, unless I am mistaken, both USA and Canada have laws on the books that make it a criminal offense to support terrorist organizations, as well as it being illegal to fund terrorist organizations or those organizations that directly support terrorist organizations, yes?
Does this not mean that it is now illegal for Canada to hand any money over to the UN?
Don’t know who Richard O’Dwyer is?
Richard O’Dwyer is a UK citizen and resident.
While in the UK, he is accused (not convicted) of breaking US laws in the UK – and is being extradited to the US for it!
Since when does the US have the right to enforce its laws on people outside its borders, who aren’t even themselves Americans?
OK, Kim Dotcom might have ideas of what this feels like – but he has a legal team to help him while this kid just created a website in his free time where people shared links.
His site itself did not host any copyrighted material – just links.
He complied with each and every takedown notice that he was linking to copyrighted material.
Yet, he is still being extradited to the US where he faces over a decade in jail?!?!?
This is all out of whack…
‘Richard O’Dwyer is the human face of the battle between the content industry and the interests of the general public. Earlier this year, in the fight against the anti-copyright bills SOPA and PIPA, the public won its first big victory. This could be our second.’
We should all pay attention.
Copyright infringement has always been – and ought to remain – a civil matter.
That we have permitted the resources of the state to be subverted for the use of Big Media, that we consider copyright infringement to be the same as theft – even though not a single person or corporation had been deprived of the use of their property – that is just unbelievably misguided.
But that people living in distant lands should be extradited and tried for their activities which, at best (if the prosecutors win their case), did not commit copyright infringement directly, but simply facilitated it…
That is too bizzare for words!
Of course I disagree with her closing remark: we need to pick the left hemisphere, or we will cease to exist as our selves…
I do understand the ‘lala’ land she describes and the brains states…they are not dissimilar from the ones I experienced myself when I went through a near-death experience.
I, too, have had the brain-state of connectedness to all, expansive, one with the universe and all that other stuff the meditation guru’s tout as a desirable state. What is more – having experienced it once, I can induce it at will with only minor meditation effort. (I don’t know if this is an aspect of my Aspieness or not, but it often takes me much longer to achieve something than others – but once I have reached a physical state, I can re-create it with much less effort.)
And while I had that sense of ‘this is profound’ – and, you could see the physiological changes in the speaker in the video just as she re-counted her tale prove just how profound the experience was for her – and while I understood perfectly well that this is the ‘Nirvana’ , I did not like it. Yes, it was ‘blissful’, I’ll admit that.
It’s just that the cost was too high.
I was just 10 years or so old when I experienced this, so I could not properly verbalize the aspects of the experience had on forming my world view. Perhaps I will still have trouble explaining it…but, let me try to simplify:
What kind of person, when forced to choose one or the other, would pick bliss over being true to one’s identity?
Certainly not I!!!
And while she may not realize that that is what she was doing, it is infinitely comforting to have a professional acknowledge that this desire for collectivism is the product of a diseased brain!
This video is interesting for several different reasons.
Yes, I do agree with most of what AronRa says in this one.
The only exception I take is to his claim that circumcision gives some protection against the transmission of AIDS. Yes, there are studies that ‘conclusively’ show this. But, there are just as many studies that just as ‘conclusively’ show that this is not so. All studies, however, show that wearing a condom does work…
…and I think that it is better to err on the side of caution when it comes to incurable deadly diseases. Still, if people wish the protection of circumcision as well as a condom, when they are old enough to give informed consent to it and they pay themselves for it, I have no problem with any cosmetic procedure.
After all, self-ownership is the cornerstone of our civilization!
The reason this video is important is not just because of the reasonable things AronRa says (and that he looks rather good saying them), and not because of how he says them (he is a much better speaker when he does not deliver a prepared speech but rather when he speaks unscripted), but because of the attitude the theists in the audience display as well as the demonstration of theist sentiment in the video that AronRa shows.
It is difficult to describe just how visceral the hatred many theists feel toward atheists – and feel completely righteous in expressing – is.
Don’t get me wrong – I don’t want to shut them up.
Let them spew.
But really – saying that if my beliefs don’t match theirs, I should be raped?
Suggesting all atheists should be hunted down and killed?
We are not talking about some uneducated Islamists – these sentiments were expressed by American Christians…
An orthodox Jew, a moderate Muslim and an archetypal polytheists (someone who believes all gods exist – as fairy-tales) walk into a bar.
What happens next?
The Jew and the Muslim unite against the atheist in a ‘theological’ debate.
This is not a joke – it happened to me. The moderate Muslim was Salim Mansur. We were all celebrating the launch of Salim’s most excellent book, ‘The Delectable Lie’.
Sure, everything was very friendly and good humoured – but, it still did not take long for the two monotheists to set their differences aside and unite against the atheist. (To be perfectly honest, I am nowhere near as good at verbal arguing as either one of these two intelligent, educated men… Mind you, since then, I have thought of really, really awesome things I should have said! AHA!)
OK, these guys had their fun, but they were very, very nice to me.
They were not like the typical theists one meets.
Somehow, I suspect I have had more than my ‘fair’ share of ‘scary’ experiences.
I have ‘bunny-hopped’ a tank once – because my Aspieness got me manipulated into trying to drive one when I was 12-years-old. Really, I just mouthed-off to the ‘wrong’ ‘many’-star general (because I did not ‘get’ it) it a totalitarian country – all my friends later admitted they thought I was going to be either sent to re-education camp or expelled from the exclusive language school as a result.
I have been stopped in the street and interrogated by the police – in a totalitarian police state – for not having my ‘documents’ …when I was too young to have been issued ‘documents’.
I have escaped from a totalitarian police state across a closed border.
I was less than 15 meters from a live shoot-out battle between two criminal elements within the UN refugee camp where I was staying. There were fatalities.
I was stalked – twice, by very different men in very different circumstances.
I was physically attacked by attempted rapists, three times (twice by someone whom I knew, once by a group of strangers). I had to fight my way out, each time. (Twice I did so unharmed, once I got off easily with just a torn-up shoulder – it still pops out of its socket at the slightest provocation! Well worth it!)
But, never in my life have I felt as unsafe, as physically threatened, as when a neighbour manipulated me to go to her Pentecostal Church and the ‘congregation’ saw me – singled out – refuse to ‘accept Jesus into my heart’!!!
Truly, this was the most frightening thing I have ever experienced.
At the risk of sounding pretentious, I suspect I understand how Hypatia felt in the last moments of her life. (This NOT, in any way, a comparison of me to Hypatia: it is the comparison of the fear we both felt as we faced a crowd of homicidal theists on her part and almost-homicidal ones on my part!)
I kid you not.
I could face a bullet.
I could beat up a bunch of thugs.
I could face down stalkers.
I can defend my honour against attempted rapists.
But faced with such a large crowd, whipped into a mob mentality by their preacher, so sure in their ‘righteousness’ and so pitiless towards ‘unbelievers’ – I knew that if something tipped them just a tiny bit further, I was dead.
It was palpable!
It was then that I knew what being hated not for ‘who I was’, but for ‘what I was’ was like.
So, yes – I do believe the theists – Christian, Muslim or whatever other religion – when they say that they will kill me, if they get a chance.
Not every theist is this way, of course not.
But way too many are.
The religion itself is much less important than the sense of self-righteousness it conveys onto its adherents!
It is my profound conviction that without the religious teaching that it is righteous and God-pleasing to exterminate ‘the unbelievers’, these men and women would never have abandoned morality in favour of threatened or actual mob violence – and felt good about doing it!!!
And this is demonstrated in this video:
Recently, I got a question on my post ‘Aspergers and ‘hearing dyslexia’.
When my highly imperfect answer topped a thousand words, I thought it worth a post of its own, because I think that while some Aspies might find it useful, others might have helpful suggestions – much better than mine, which, if they are willing to share, could benefit us all.
My son is 16. We didn’t notice this “hearing dyslexia” for many years [perhaps we were too distracted by the other symptoms] but now it is overwhelming. Unless someone speaks very slowly and distinctly to him, my son will answer, “What did you say?” almost inevitably.
My question is: Am I understanding correctly that there’s really nothing to be done about this? My son can read great, can speak [though he tends to speak way too fast and mumbled; doesn't seem like he used to as a child], but he definitely has the problem listed on this site.
Nice to know what it is, but beyond that, no suggestions?
This is a difficult question.
Something can be done, but…
There are therapies which have been used on young children – 3-6 years of age – which are showing definite improvement. This therapy is in the form of computer programs where they do simple tasks (say, help frog catch a fly) based on the length of a tone…which later builds up into series of 2,3+ tones done in the proper rhythm.
The theory behind this is neuroplasticity: the brain is being trained, slowly but surely, to use a different bit of the brain to do the job of integrating time with sound. Because the different bit of brain uses a slightly different ‘strategy’, even to accomplish the same task, the underlying problem will not interfere with that task.
Of course, trying to get a 16-year-old interested in a video game designed for 3-year-olds is not likely to have positive outcome.
But, there are other ways.
They are less effective, but they can work. And, for a 16-year-old, they are more practical.
It really depends on the Aspie: what will motivate them and what will work for each one individually.
One thing that helped both my sons was music.
With a metronome. (One on their computer was more ‘fun’ than a real one – plus it’s much cheaper.)
The sounds are written down in the music score – not just the tones, but their lengths and pauses.
He creates the sound on his instrument (from a cheap recorder or little keyboard to a sexy instrument he’d be willing to play, this bit is way less important) based on what is written down and the metronome helps him integrate the time element into the sound which is generated based on the visual input from the music score. Listening to himself play is the feedback…
I think the visual component is important – ‘playing by ear’ lack the rigor of integrating visual stimulus with the tone and metered time elements necessary to help re-route the ‘time-sound-synchronization’ bit into another area of the brain. Then, as he learns the piece (motor nerve integration into the time/sound system), the metronome can eventually be eliminated and he will still be able to ‘keep pace.
This is not a quick and easy solution, but one that might make an improvement in a teen. We definitely saw an improvement in ours once they took up an instrument – but only an improvement…certainly not an elimination of the problem.
Of course, the ‘shortcut’ would be the videogames where the computer plays the music and displays the colour-coded notes which have to be pressed for a specific period of time, which information is conveyed visually. (Games like RockBand and so on.)
Now that I come to think about it, these are the ‘teenager’ versions of the young-kid games used in the therapy which has been demonstrated to be effective in clinical trials for 3-6 year-olds!
Music could not ‘work’ for me – not only am I not interested in it, I find music actively annoying. Yes, I am sure that my hearing dyslexia is at least partly to blame – imagine listening to music, but with some of the notes jumbled up…you, too, might find it gives you headaches. (This is one of the reasons I avoid shopping malls and other places that force music at me.)
And even though I took piano lessons, within 2 years, 3 teachers kicked me out as ‘un-teachable’…so, no, for me, music absolutely did not work. (For example, I still have difficulty telling apart the movie themes from ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Indiana Jones’ – the same pathetic bombast, the same notes, just slightly re-ordered. Unless I hear them together, I have to think very, very hard to tell which one it is…)
However, what did work for me (a bit) was learning to speak foreign languages. Practicing making the sounds in front of a mirror, getting audio feedback to make sure I eliminated mispronunciation, and so on. (If you want to get really fun, you can use an oscilloscope to display the proper sound wave pattern, then try to match yours to it – hours of fun!)
Learning a language (even without the oscilloscope), I could use the audio, visual and work in the timing with the motor nerves of speech.
And the hook that kept me interested in learning languages was the pattern-making intricacies of grammars. Yes, grammars: because each language has a different approach to this and exploring this logic puzzle set my endorphins hopping! (I get happy just thinking about it!) It’s kind of like algebra, but with words.
(OK – the different alphabets were fun, too – but grammars are like logic puzzles on steroids! Especially when you compared the grammatical ‘philosophy’ to the culture it was used in and the religious memes it best supported – what could be more fascinating!!! But, I’m off on a tangent…)
Again, I am nowhere near ‘cured’, but it certainly helped me become more functional.
I still have extreme difficulty understanding spoken words when there is background noise – like, hum of other conversations, but, especially, music. That is why I loath movies – their background music is not just icky to listen to and calculated to be emotionally manipulative (a deep insult to the audience – in my never-humble-opinion), but it makes it difficult to follow the dialogue in the movie. I usually have to wait to see movies till I can buy them and watch them with subtitles. If the soundtrack is particularly emotionally manipulative, I’ve been known to turn the subtitles on and watch the movie on mute – a much more satisfying experience!
In social situations, I often rely on partial lip-reading: it helps me make more sense of the sounds. (And, yes – that is one reason why I hate the cultural normalization of niqabs and burkas.)
Well, that is my best advice for how to improve your son’s comprehension. As to speaking fast and mumbling…
If I knew how to stop my sons (13 and 18 now) from speaking very fast and mumbling, I’d try it – because they both do.
I’ve tried to get them to recite poetry in order to get them to improve the cadence of their speech – but they are about as interested in reciting poetry as I am in learning to sing movie scores… (Many of us Aspies have a deep-rooted hate for pretentiousness – and let’s face it, much poetry is very, very pretentious.)
In grade 9, my older son took drama in school – that did help him learn to speak slowly and understandably. Now, when he remembers to do so, he uses that skill.
Another thing which has helped them was talking to their grandmothers: one has a hearing problem and does not tolerate hearing aids well, the other struggles with English. So when they speak to either one of them, they have to consider not just what they want to convey, but also how best to convey it. They have to tailor their words differently for each grandmother – which forces them to pay attention to their diction.
It is surprising how helping other people overcome their difficulties can be an excellent tool for Aspies to help themselves overcome their own ‘little things’!!! ;0)
I wish I could be of more help…
If anyone ‘out there’ has better suggestions, please, comment and let us all know.
As if we needed another reason to disband – utterly discredit, send the bureaucrats/delegates home and burn the buildings down, then dance on the ashes – the UN…
I never re-publish another blog’s post in its entirety and will not start now, but Nerfherder has a post which is short, sweet and informative about this issue. It describes what UN’s agency called the ITU (International Telecommunications Union) plans are for restricting access to the internet and gaining huge control over its content. Plus, it is chock full of links!
I strongly recommend reading the short post in its entirety. Here is a bit with key links:
‘ A pair of researchers from George Mason University created a website called WCITLeaks.org in the hopes that someone with access to the secretive proposals would leak them and make them available to the public. Last Friday, that’s exactly what happened. Someone leaked the 212-page planning document being used by governments to prepare for the December conference. You can read it yourself here.’
We really need to start raising awareness about this.
Information is the best weapon in the preservation of freedom.
That is why the UN wants to disarm us.
We must not let them!
If you have been following this blog for a while, you know my opinions on Anthropogenic Global Warming – even though I have not been writing on this topic much lately.
I am of the opinion that Global Warming is a good thing – whether human-caused or not (though, I am unconvinced that we, humans, deserve much of the credit for this positive change).
Looking back in history, warmer weather has always meant increased prosperity for humanity because it is easier to grow food. Since subsistence is less labour intensive, we get more time and energy to spend on such things as science, art and generally improving the world around us. So, trying to stop Global Warming is seriously anti-human!
As an Aspie, I would point out that in the big picture, we are in an inter-glaciation period, when the icecaps are supposed to be shrinking and the weather is supposed to be getting warmer (though, of course, the ‘noise’ of century-long cycles is bound to introduce cooler bits along the way). So, trying to fight against Global Warming is seriously anti-Earth!
Plus I consider myself to be a tree hugger. I love trees. I’d love to see more trees. Carbon dioxide is food for trees. So, trying to reduce carbon dioxide in the air is seriously anti-tree!
And, natural evolution will favour those organisms that can adjust to changes in their climate and surroundings the most successfully. Natural evolution is a good thing, because it builds better, stronger organisms in better, stronger ecosystems. So, trying to arrest the cyclical nature of climate change is seriously anti-nature!
As such, I reject on principle each and every action which is aimed at arresting nature and its cycle as unnatural statism which is immoral and anti-Mother-Nature.
Having said this, you might pick up on a few points of disagreement I would have with Bjorn Lomborg…but I still find listening to his opinions interesting: