quillette.com
quillette.com
Free thought lives. Sydney, London, Toronto.Source
Sydney, Australia
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‘As We See It’ and the Changing Discussion About Autism

‘As We See It’ and the Changing Discussion About Autism

A few days ago, Amazon released , a new series about three roommates on the autism spectrum who struggle with employment, relationships, and other life issues. As an autistic man, I was intrigued. There have been many sympathetic depictions of autism in recent art and entertainment, but this one signals what may be an important shift in how autism is understood and discussed.In the 1969 movie, , a nonverbal autistic girl is essentially cured by undergoing a therapy called “rage reduction” that presumed her autism had an emotional rather than neurological etiology. In the '80s, the...

Jan 28
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Want to Restore Your Faith in Humanity? Visit a Scientific Conference

Want to Restore Your Faith in Humanity? Visit a Scientific Conference

As laypeople, we often learn about emerging science through the politicized lens of social media—especially when it comes to such issues as global warming, pandemic modelling, vaccines, and biological sex. And so it becomes easy for us to imagine that the everyday world of scientists is constantly afflicted by the same culture-war polarization as our daily Twitter and Facebook feeds. But, as in many other areas of life, social media distorts our perspective, because it signal boosts the angriest and loudest members of every subculture. In truth, most scientists are engaged in apolitical...

Jan 8
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Fund Science on the Basis of Scientists‘ Work, Not Their Identity

Fund Science on the Basis of Scientists‘ Work, Not Their Identity

The Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada, that country’s major scientific funding organization, is developing a comprehensive research plan, called , to guide its priorities over the next decade. In the current phase, NSERC is engaging with external stakeholders through a series of aimed at finding new ways to support researchers and enhance the impact of their work. Predictably, there is a heavy focus on diversity, with stakeholders being asked to address the following two “discussion questions”:Participation rates by women, visible minorities and racialized groups...

Dec 17
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The Scout Mindset—A Review

The Scout Mindset—A Review

A review of by Julia Galef. Portfolio, 288 pages (April, 2021)Julia Galef’s is a brisk introduction to a particular way of thinking about the world and our place within it. In another era, those habits of mind might have been called “critical rationalism.” Given how often the Star Trek character Spock features in the narrative, you could be forgiven for wondering if the book is promoting the “Spock mindset”; after all the Vulcan’s adherence to logic is world-famous. But The Scout Mindset actually shows that Spock’s logical deductions led him into error more often than not. Galef arrived at...

Nov 10
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Vaccinology, Immunology, and COVID-19

Vaccinology, Immunology, and COVID-19

Louis Pasteur worked at a time when very little was understood about microbes and even less was understood about the human responses that kept them at bay. He is best known for advancing germ theory, which distinguished itself from the prevailing concept of “miasma” or putrefaction suffusing the ether. “Gentlemen, it is the microbes who will have the last word.” he famously declared. His was a world where the power of observation trumped understanding. Part of what solidified his legacy as a brilliant scientist was that he recognized forces at work in the human body which counterbalanced...

Oct 6
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Necessity Is the Mother of Invention, and Has Been for Over 3,500 Years

Necessity Is the Mother of Invention, and Has Been for Over 3,500 Years

It is comforting to imagine that our modern sensibilities distinguish us from our ancient ancestors, but when it comes to human societies, it seems the more things change, the more they stay the same. Our knowledge of the workings of the world has improved immensely, but our personal experience of it, not so much. Our ancestors likely shared many of the same fears and wonders we have, from stiffening at the sound of possible predators in the night to marveling at the majesty of the night sky.Fear and awe combined then, as they continue to do now, into myths about the creation and control of...

Aug 13
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Silicon Valley’s Cynical Treatment of Asian Engineers

Silicon Valley’s Cynical Treatment of Asian Engineers

Silicon Valley runs on Asians. This is a well-known aspect of the tech world in general, but it’s especially apparent in elite sub-sectors. Even by 2010, Asian Americans already had become a (50.1 percent) of all tech workers in the Bay Area: software engineers, data engineers, programmers, systems analysts, admins, and developers. Census Bureau statistics from the same year put white tech workers at 40.1 percent. Other races made up, in total, slightly less than 10 percent.I interviewed a Facebook product manager fresh out of university. He interacts daily with teams of software engineers...

Jul 21
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Silicon Valley’s ‘Mission Protocol’ Revolution Is Beginning to Attain Critical Mass

Silicon Valley’s ‘Mission Protocol’ Revolution Is Beginning to Attain Critical Mass

In December 2004, during Ukraine’s Orange Revolution, I spent a night in one of the many tents that had been pitched in Kiev’s central square. There were five of us inside, and it smelled like cigarettes, black tea, and sweat.Outside, it was snowing. It seemed that everyone—protesters and riot police—had a megaphone. The voices bounced off the square’s gray facades, blending with snippets of shouting, laughter, dogs barking, a couple in a nearby tent having sex. The 25-year-old travel agent who owned the tent I was staying in had taken the bus from the city of Vinnytsia, a few hours to the...

June 11, 2021
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The Importance of Understanding the Nonspecific Effects of Vaccines

The Importance of Understanding the Nonspecific Effects of Vaccines

The world’s attention is presently focused on the mRNA vaccines, which may turn out to be the most revolutionary vaccines ever produced. However, very few doctors, and certainly not the public, have any awareness at all of the nonspecific effects of vaccines (NSEs). The specific effect of a vaccine is immunity to a target infection; the nonspecific effect refers to the off-target effects of all vaccines. These can be positive or negative. The beneficial effects are improved immunity to a variety of infections and all-round health, and the negative effects are the inverse—a predisposition to...

June 9, 2021
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Washington’s Hidden History

Washington’s Hidden History

A review of by James Kirchick, Henry Holt and Co., 848 pages (May 2022)James Kirchick’s important new book, Secret City: The Hidden History of Gay Washington, lifts the veil of secrecy that has shrouded the lives of gay people who have worked in and around the administration of several American presidents. Unlike other histories of the gay movement, Secret City explores the prominent role gay people played in shaping public policy, even as the government they served was trying to root them out. Their stories are often heartbreaking, and the glimpses Kirchick provides into needlessly ruined...

May 31
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Lawrence M. Krauss

Lawrence M. Krauss

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Heather Mac Donald

Heather Mac Donald

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Daniel Lelchuk

Daniel Lelchuk

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David McLelland

David McLelland

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Jesse Pelletier

Jesse Pelletier

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Jonathan Mitchell

Jonathan Mitchell

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Kenny Xu

Kenny Xu

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Peter Savodnik

Peter Savodnik

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Razib Khan

Razib Khan

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Fred Litwin

Fred Litwin

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Amy Alkon

Amy Alkon

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Lorraine Clark

Lorraine Clark

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Matthew Blackwell

Matthew Blackwell

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Phillip W. Magness

Phillip W. Magness

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Quillette

Quillette

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QuilletteM

QuilletteM

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Stuart Reges

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