Unlike dogs, whose bodies and temperaments have transformed radically during the roughly 30,000 years we’ve lived with them, domestic cats are almost identical to their wild counterparts—physically and genetically. House cats also show none of the typical signs of animal domestication, such as infantilization of facial features, decreased tooth size, and docility. Wildcats are neither social nor hierarchical, which also makes them hard to integrate into human communities.
Many people have pointed out that the show realistically presents Julia’s difficulties (she gets upset upon hearing loud noises and has trouble engaging with other characters) as well as her strengths (she is a good artist). But if the aim were to present viewers with a typical autistic kid, why did they choose to make the character a girl?Boys, after all, are between four and five times more likely to be diagnosed with autism as girls are.
Scientists are not entirely certain why this is the case. Some speculate that the causes might be genetic. Marjorie Solomon, associate professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of California Davis MIND Institute explained, “The basic thought is that girls have less vasopressin and higher natural oxytocin . . . And oxytocin is a social hormone, so that would be protective.” Vasopressin in animals is linked to aggressive defense of territory and mates.Regardless, if you were going to present children with the autistic kid they are most likely to encounter, it would be a boy.
Even the puppeteer who plays Julia has a son who is autistic. It’s not that there are no girls who suffer from autism, of course, but being “on the spectrum” is a burden that is borne most heavily by boys in our society.
Diversity trumps reality.
A team of scientists has discovered that a particular region of the brain is affected in those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). They believe that finding the brain region which causes social deficits in those with the condition could point towards new types of therapies.The team included scientists based at ETH Zürich, Trinity College Dublin, Oxford University and Royal Holloway.They ran MRI brain scans on people with ASD, and on healthy volunteers, in an attempt to track down the brain region linked to some of the behaviours seen in those with ASD and find differences between the two groups.
Yet another “study” that is “accepted science” whose results can’t be reproduced. You know what that means? It ain’t science.
A study from the 1980s found that heterosexual men who viewed images of Playboy and Penthouse centerfolds reported less love for their romantic partners than men who saw images of abstract art. Since then, this study has been cited frequently as evidence of the damaging effects of porn. However, I’ve always had some concerns about this study and everything that has been made of it in the media, which I expressed a few years back on my blog (see here). It turns out that there’s now even more reason for skepticism in light of the fact that a group of researchers who just tried to replicate this finding couldn’t.
Homeopathic “drugs” are a load of rubbish claims, but for a long time they have had a bit more leeway with labeling than dietary supplements. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently mandated the packages of OTC homeopathic “drugs” to include warnings that they’re essentially full of crap.
Translation: Water will have to be labeled as water.