I saw Bob(Robert)Woodruff interviewed on television talking about the numbers of soldiers coming back from serving in Iraq etc, with traumatic brain iI saw Bob(Robert)Woodruff interviewed on television talking about the numbers of soldiers coming back from serving in Iraq etc, with traumatic brain injury. He has had an amazing recovery but it's not like that for everyone. Wiki article on Woodruff here; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Wood......more
Saw Nancy Sherman interviewed tonight - very impressed. This book needs to be read. There are some video's of her talks about War - titles below, youSaw Nancy Sherman interviewed tonight - very impressed. This book needs to be read. There are some video's of her talks about War - titles below, you can watch the full interview or just segments.. Full Interview 41:45 The Moral Burden of Dog Tags 3:40 How War Changes, and How It Doesn’t 3:42 Soldiers Speak About the Unspeakable 6:28 The Hidden Emotional Cost of War 3:09 How We Can Really Support Our Troops 6:00 What’s Fair in War 8:49 Preventing Another Abu Ghraib 5:18 We Can Still Learn From Aristotle 4:06 We’re So Plugged In, “We’re About to Implode”
Daniel Tammet is a savant who sees numbers as shapes, colors, and textures, and who can perform unbelievable feats of calculation in his head. In 2004Daniel Tammet is a savant who sees numbers as shapes, colors, and textures, and who can perform unbelievable feats of calculation in his head. In 2004 he became something of a celebrity in England when he memorized and recited the first 22,000 digits of pi, setting a new world record.
The cover is a bit misleading with the tagline, "inside the extraordinary mind of an autistic savant". The author is not, in fact, autistic, and never was. He suffered from epilepsy & seizures during early childhood which doctors and scientists believe caused his savantism. This becomes immediately clear upon reading the first pages of the book. He does have Asperger's syndrome, but although Asperger's is considered to be loosely related to autism (or more accurately on the spectrum), it is certainly not the same. It is a much milder disorder, much less debilitating, and much more common. It is fairly common for someone with Asperger's to lead a more or less normal life and fairly common for many to go undiagnosed until much later in life…. Several major Silicon Valley CEOs have been diagnosed with it & many more well known people of note have been retroactively diagnosed as having it. There was an article on Wired a while back entitled “The Geek Syndrome”, which seems to cover Asperger's pretty well, at a layman's level, so I'm not going to detail it further here. Long story short, I consider this tagline disingenuous on the part of the publisher.
I found this book rather interesting. It is well-written and engaging, and the main character (the author himself) is interesting to get to know.
But I began to worry that the entire book would be a loose collection of examples of synesthesia. For an example, Tammet sees the number “1″ as a very bright white, the number “11″ is friendly, and “5″ is loud like a clap of thunder. Scientists are particularly interested in his ability to see numbers as landscapes with color and texture and Tammet is currently helping them with their studies. I wonder at the outcome of this as no two people think alike and worry that his way of seeing numbers etc will be interpreted as some kind of bible within the scientific community. Tammet’s input is important but like statistics he is only one not the majority.
While there is the assumption that synaesthesia is rare I don’t believe it is “that” rare and believe that many people have some degree of it in various ways. I myself see words in images or moods as I read them and I know many others that do – and many folk who do gravitate towards the arts in some form. Ditto many musicians report seeing music in ways that the rest of us don’t experience. I have to admit I can’t do much maths these days without anti-depressants (& I’d rather not take them) - I now have a mental block for it ~ although in primary school I was pretty good & developed my own math system based on what I now know to be a binary system, until the nun’s beat it out of me,(hence the mental block)…. Anyhow that’s probably TMI - but relevant to me, so when I came to Tammet’s chapter on pi and more detailed maths I just skipped it. Maths geeks though will love it – I guess to give him his due what he can do is nothing short of amazing and his ability is compared to the ‘Rainman”, Kim Peek, who Tammet later met & continues to remain friends with.
The subsequent chapters begin a more chronological journey through the author's life. Tammet had a very difficult education. He was bullied by his classmates because of his “weirdness” and compulsive behaviour. He was socially withdrawn and preferred his own company. His parents were accepting and supporting of him and he credits their help with getting him through difficult periods.
Tammet gives this advice to parents of children suffering from epilepsy or autism: “Give your children the self-belief to hold on to their dreams, because they are the things that shape each person’s future”. (Something all parents should try to do).
Tammet is creating his own language, strongly influenced by the vowel and image-rich languages of northern Europe. (He already speaks French, German, Spanish, Lithuanian, Icelandic and Esperanto.) The vocabulary of his language - "Mänti", meaning a type of tree - reflects the relationships between different things. The word "ema", for instance, translates as "mother", and "ela" is what a mother creates: "life". "Päike" is "sun", and "päive" is what the sun creates: "day". Tammet hopes to launch Mänti in academic circles later this year, his own personal exploration of the power of words and their inter-relationship.His website, Optimnem sells foreign language courses. Personally I found the idea of his "Mänti" language a bit pointless and silly when he can already speak multiple languages and there exists already Esperanto., but whatever rocks his boat.
Some other reviews I’ve read find difficulty in the fact that he is homosexual and Christian but there will always be naysayers and haters out there. In the ¾ quarter section of the book the narrative drifts a bit during his discussion of how he sees God & that could be my own bias in not being particularly interested one way or the other - and while I appreciate why he included it (to show he does have empathy and feelings etc), his openness on his sexuality and beliefs have probably caused him more derision than acceptance in some religious sectors. He does delve into religious matters more deeply on his blog.
Overall I’d recommend “Born on a Blue Day” to anyone interested in the workings of the human mind (particularly if you love maths). Daniel Tammet is an interesting guy. Exceptional in some areas and pretty normal in others. I feel the most positive thing is the overriding sense you get from Tammet’s life is that you cannot hurl everyone into the same basket based on stereotypical medical categories like “savant” or “asperger’s”. While he is awesome calculating pi he does the dishes just like us.
Hope to find this soon....in the meantime a review I found on google books. = Editorial Review - Reed Business Information (c) 2003 Flaherty (The MassacHope to find this soon....in the meantime a review I found on google books. = Editorial Review - Reed Business Information (c) 2003 Flaherty (The Massachusetts General Handbook of Neurology) mixes memoir, meditation, compendium and scholarly reportage in an odd but absorbing look at the neurological basis of writing and its pathologies. Like Oliver Sacks, Flaherty has her own story to tell a postpartum episode involving hypergraphia and depression that eventually hospitalized her. But what holds this great variety of material together is not the medical authority of a doctor, the personal authority of the patient or even the technical authority of the writer, but the author's deep ambivalence about the proper approach to her subject. Where Sacks uses his stylistic gifts to transform illness into literature, Flaherty wrestles openly with the problem of equating them, putting her own identity as a scientist and as a writer on the line as she explores the possibility of describing writing in medical terms. She details the physiological sources of the impulse to write, and of the creative drive, metaphorical construction and the various modes of stalled or evaded productivity called block. She also includes accounts of what it feels like to write (or fail to write) by Coleridge and Joan Didion as well as by aphasiacs and psychotics. But while science may help one to understand or create literature, "it may not fairly tell you that you should." To a student of literature, Flaherty's struggle between scientific rationalism and literary exuberance is familiar romantic territory. What's moving about this book is how deeply unresolved, in an age of mood pills and weblogs, that old schism remains. Writers will delight in the way information and lore are interspersed; scientists are more likely to be divided. (Jan. 6) ...more
This was one of our obligatory high school reads. My best friend's mother was crippled with polio and during the 60's in Sydney you would still see kiThis was one of our obligatory high school reads. My best friend's mother was crippled with polio and during the 60's in Sydney you would still see kids in primary schools in calipers. An inspiring book. ...more
pdf bookfinder Briefly saw the author interviewed on an SBS program about the arms race. Looked interesting enough to follow up. He seems to have writpdf bookfinder Briefly saw the author interviewed on an SBS program about the arms race. Looked interesting enough to follow up. He seems to have written a bunch of expose'type books. ...more