Blog Archives

The Numbers Game

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Happy 12/12!!!

Dates like this always make me smile. Jackpot Day (7/7/07), Deca-Day (10/10/10), and any time Sequence Day rolls around (11/12/13 was the last one)… I love them all.

One of my “aspie passions” is math – I love all of the things you can do with math. The laws of the universe are written in the language of math. If you can interpret the laws, there is so much magic to be experienced. I love that I can use math for very important and also very silly things. I’ve become a pretty decent poker player over the last few years as I realized that successful betting boils down to a strong understanding of probabilities (a.k.a. MATH!). Then I find myself doing useless things with math like calculating expected value coefficients in order to choose between the Big Box or Curtain 2 on Let’s Make a Deal.

LET'S MAKE A DEAL

3X + cos(2XY – 20) – X/R = ZONK

I think that sometimes numbers can be integral to a person’s life, if one’s mind is open enough to see the connections. For example… a very long time ago, for no apparent reason that I can remember, I chose 28 as my favorite number. I used it everywhere I could. When I was in high school I found out that 28 is a “perfect number” – all of its factors besides itself (14, 7, 4, 2, 1) add up to the number (14 + 7 + 4 + 2 + 1 = 28!). The number I chose as my personal favorite just happened to be perfect! And not only that, a few years ago I looked at my birthdate and found out that the digits of my birthdate add up to – you guessed it – 28.

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Brain asploded.

I’m not saying that I believe in horoscopes or things like that, but I do believe that numbers and math play an important role in the universe and our lives. I think recognizing patterns and number sequences in nature is a way to pay respect to the power that these forces play in our lives.

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The Sensory Experience of Autism

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People on the Spectrum experience the world in a different way. The senses of someone with autism are wired in such a different way that it is almost like they are living in a different world than a neurotypical people. Different stimuli lead to different behaviors that are considered “abnormal” – imagine if everybody in the world was wearing sunglasses except for you. You would think that the sunlight was too bright, and everyone else would just think you are crazy.

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They would also be so much more cooler than you.

That’s what what autism is like… sort of. A child on the spectrum will react to loud noises that are not quite so loud to everyone else. A person with Aspergers will tune out everything in the room except for the smallest little thing that has grabbed his or her attention, simply because it is not so small to him or her. It’s not only that our reactions are different; our perceptions are altered, as well.

I went to the orthopedist the other day to address some pain issues I’ve been having in my elbows and wrists. The doctor begins examining me and asks me if it hurts if he does this, what pain level am I at if I do that. Now, I’m lucky to have been blessed with a high tolerance for pain (possibly due to my Aspergers). In order to answer his question to get the desired result  – him actually giving a fuck about my arm hurting and doing something about it – I need to do an “Aspie-to-NT Pain Conversion” calculation. Simply put, I lie and say my pain is worse than it really is.

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“… then we multiply by the indifference constant to overcome the “Who Gives a Shit” factor…”

But the skewing doesn’t just go one way. If the doctor asked me on a scale of 1 to 10 how big of an annoyance having a fold in my sock is, I’d answer “OH MY GOD, YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT HELL I’M LIVING IN AT THIS MOMENT!!!!” So it’s not like I’m completely numb in one direction or overly sensitive in the other; it swings both ways. My stimulus filter is tuned differently than most other people’s are. So I’m forced to adjust, and as I grow older I learn the ways to adjust the way I see and feel the world to fit closer to what would be considered”normal.”

Mapping Autism

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An interesting article was brought to my attention about mapping the brain’s connection signals and perhaps being able to diagnose Autism with the results. I will admit , the article was a good read. And it seems to make some sense, at least to me.

The study mentioned in the article discusses the linkages made between different parts of the brain, and the patterns of those linkages are different in the presence of different conditions (such as autism and spectrum disorders). What this means, basically, is that people with ASD have brains that are wired differently than neurotypical people. This is not earth shattering news; this has pretty much been an accepted idea for quite some time now. The importance of this study is how these connections are mapped, and how this mapping info can be used to confirm a diagnosis of autism.

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Just trust me, it can.

Currently, a diagnosis of autism is very subjective. It pretty much comes down to “you look like you have autism, you must have autism.” Uh, duh. What this mapping info gives us is a way to compare and contrast traits of an ASD brain to a neurotypical brain. Some of these differences are quite striking.

One difference the article mentions is the presence of “redundancy connections” in the ASD brain. This sounds like a good thing, but it’s not really. It allows the ASD brain to focus intense concentration on location-centric processes, but it fails when using cross-referencing skills (i.e. deciphering emotions, social interactions, etc.). Details like this in the study push me more towards believing the results are accurate, because we all know that spectrumites have issues with those types of cross-brain processes.

I suggest giving the article a read. It’s very interesting. And hopefully this will lead towards a better understanding of autism and other ASD conditions in the future.

You Know What I’m Talking About

I just don’t get it.

I understand when I do something weird, like starting a conversation with someone in the middle of an idea. I know that’s strange, but sometimes I just can’t help it. It happens. I get that – you don’t know what I’ve been thinking of for the past 5 minutes, and you need a recap. It’s just hard for me to waste the time catching you up on what’s been flying around inside my brain.

But that’s not it. Here’s the thing.

The other day, my wife is talking about something that she and her mom were talking about. This triggers a thought in my brain about something my mom has been dealing with recently (which my wife knows about). So I ask her if she has heard anything about it. Her response:

“You know, you started that conversation in the middle again. I mean, I know what you mean, but do you realize that you did that?”

So, if my wife admits to knowing what I’m talking about when I start talking in mid-conversation…

WHERE IS THE PROBLEM????

If she gets confused thinking that I’m talking about her mom, then I apologize and start from the beginning. But I know that she will catch on, and I’d rather not waste my time with the other stuff. She should actually be happy that I think she’ll be quick enough to get what I’m talking about.

I deal with these things all the time.

Why don’t you understand?
What was that noise? You can’t hear that?
How was that supposed to help?
Why are you wasting time?
There isn’t a way to do this easier?
Doesn’t it bother you that you are wrong?

And, apparently, I am the weird one.