About Heather Zeiger

Heather is a freelance science writer with an MS in chemistry and an MA in bioethics.

Disabilities, Super-Abilities, and “Normal”

Tim Howard (Wikipedia)

A recent ABC News report asks whether Tourette’s syndrome can give athletes an advantage. AIR MAX 90 Women
Two examples given in the report are soccer player, Tim Howard, and swimmer, Anthony Ervin. Goal-keeper, Tim Howard, made history in the recent United States versus Belgium World Cup game in which he blocked a record-breaking sixteen goals. Nike Air Max 95 m?skie This is the latest in several career successes for Howard, who believes his Tourette’s gives him an advantage on the field. Maglia James Harden Olympic gold-medalist, swimmer, Anthony Ervin believes that his tics, caused by Tourette’s syndrome, help him with speed by channeling his nervousness. Studies indicate that athletes with Tourette’s do not have a noticeably faster response time or move faster than athletes without Tourette’s, but there may be other factors that contribute to an advantage on the field, or in the pool. nike air jordan 11 mujer Oregon Ducks It may be that Howard and Ervin’s mental and physical discipline needed to manage their Tourette’s works to their advantage.

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  • Another recent study, reported in Scientific American, looked at how people with dyslexia can identify visual cues better than those without dyslexia. Apparently, people with dyslexia can look at pictures of impossible figures, like the three-dimensional impossible figures in an Escher print, and pick out the problem more quickly than other people. This ability can translate to the real world. nike lebron 13 pas cher Often people with dyslexia can look at room and find what looks out-of-place. adidas nmd m?skie

    Waterfall, 1961 (Wikipedia)

    Scientists are not entirely sure why this happens, but they speculate that it may have to do with the brain changes that occur in people who read a lot versus people who do not read as often or read slowly. Mujer Air Jordan 4 nike tn noir People who read less tend to have a more holistic perspective of a particular setting rather than focusing on one thing and tuning out the rest of their surroundings. This coincides with studies on entrepreneurs with dyslexia. Nike KD Trey 5 III Air Jordan 7 In the United States, about 35% of entrepreneurs have dyslexia. Many of these entrepreneurs say that dealing with their dyslexia has helped them to become very good at sifting information and grasping the “big picture” better than other people. Clayton Kershaw Authentic Jersey Both of these studies demonstrate perceived advantages from something that is labeled as a disability or abnormality. Buty Adidas Damskie adidas italia It may be that while abilities in one area are diminished, abilities in another area are enhanced. Adidas Zx 800 Heren David Epstein in his book, The Sports Gene, says that most of the people we celebrate as great athletes and examples of human achievement, have attributes that fall outside of the norm. One of his many examples is that of elite-level basketball players.

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  • Most people have an arm span that is the same as their height, but most professional basketball players have a longer arm span than height, which would serve as an advantage on the court. NIKE AIR ZOOM STRUCTURE 20

    Longer arm span is not necessarily considered a disability, although in some cases, it can be and indicator of Marfan syndrome. This is just one of many examples in Epstein’s book where an “abnormality” leads to an athletic advantage. One article on the OCD Foundation’s website on Tourette’s syndrome points out that metaphors are everything, and a child who is told his Tourette’s is like driving a Ferrari while everyone else is driving a Toyota will grow up thinking quite differently about himself and his abilities than a child who believes he is limited due to a disability. asics gel lyte 3 mujer azules Additionally, several of the entrepreneurs with dyslexia said that they had supportive parents and mentors who helped them see their abilities rather than their disabilities.

    Artificial Intelligence in the News

    There’s been much ado about artificial intelligence lately. mu legend power leveling This has largely been prompted by a computer convincing some people that it is a 13-year-old boy and an article written by a veritable who’s who among emerging tech thinkers warning of the risks of superintelligent machines. cheap mu Legend zen Lol Humans A computerbot, named Eugene Gootsman, was able to convince 33% of people who interacted with him for five minutes via chat that he was a human. air jordan en soldes This was touted as a clear instance of a computer passing the Turing Test, but it was met with some criticism, including this piece in by Gary Marcus in The New Yorker. air jordan pour homme pas cher buy mu legend zen Ironically, rather than showcasing advances in human ingenuity, the Eugene Gootsman experiment reveals some of our less noble attributes. mu2legendzen For one, in order to make computers sufficiently human-like, programmers needed to make the machines dumber. As Joshua Batson points out in his Wired commentary, prior winners in an annual Turing Test competition incorporate mistakes and silliness to convince the judges that the computer is a person. adidas pas cher This calls into question the value of a test for artificial intelligence which requires a machine to be “dumbed-down” in order to pass. legend zen for sale Secondly, the Turing Test, as it was presented in the media, could easily be one of those tests that the psychology department at your local university conducts on willing participants. The results of the Eugene Gootsman test say more about the judges than it does about the machine. Taken from another perspective, 33% of people tested were more gullible than the rest of the participants. You Have to Want to Want It This is contrasted to Stephen Hawking’s warning in an Independent article, co-authored by Stuart Russell, Max Tegmark, and Frank Wilczek, that superintelligence may provide many benefits, but could also lead to dire consequences if it cannot be controlled. Hawking and company write that “One can imagine such technology outsmarting financial markets, out-inventing human researchers, out-manipulating human leaders, and developing weapons we cannot even understand.” Yes, one can imagine technology doing this, but the question is can the technology imagine itself doing this? Hawking assumes that we will have the capability to engineer creativity or that creativity will somehow emerge from technology. However, we see from the examples of Eugene Gootsman, Watson the computer, Google smart cars, and Siri, that complex programming does not produce ingenuity. nike air max classic bw One could argue that the only way a machine would even muster up the “motivation” to do any of these things is if a human programmed that motivation into it. An example from science fiction is Asimov’s three laws of robots. mu legend zen for sale These are the inviolable principles programmed into the hardwiring of every robot in Isaac Asimov’s fictional world. These laws provide the motivations behind the robots’ behavior, and while they lead to some ridiculous and troubling antics, they are not the same as a robot coming up with its own fundamental motivations. In Asimov’s series, I, Robot, the impetus behind each of the robots’ behavior harkens back to these pre-programmed (ostensibly by humans) laws. asics france mu legend zen This is not to dismiss the field of artificial intelligence. This is to call into question some of the assumptions behind the recent hype regarding the progress and the potential peril of AI. Technology is becoming increasingly more powerful with the potential for both helping and hurting. Hawking’s warning that “the short-term impact of AI depends on who controls it, the long-term impact depends on whether it can be controlled at all” is worth heeding.

    Cell Phone Addiction, Texting Anxiety, and Email Bankruptcy

    A new study in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions by Roberts, et al looks at the incidence of cell phone addiction among college-age males and females. Nike Air Max 2017 damskie The study also looked at what types of programs or behaviors had a positive correlation to addiction. As it turns out, some people do seem to be addicted to their cell phone, but perhaps the more accurate statement is that people are addicted to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Incidentally, I am writing this as I am sitting at a Starbucks, the enabler, par excellence, of socially acceptable addictions. Both men and women are sitting on their cell phones doing something with their thumbs. If any of these people were to leave home without their cell phones, would they suffer from withdrawal? That’s one of several questions from the study. Another is whether you find yourself using your cell phone more and more. Ole Miss Rebels Withdrawal is one of several indicators of addiction. Canada Goose Constable Parka Roberts, et al use the standard definition of addiction to identify whether college co-eds are addicts. They look for the presence of salience, euphoria, tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, conflict, and relapse, as well as the incidence of continued use despite negative consequences. They found that many people have a cell phone addiction that is comparable to a behavior addiction, like compulsive shopping or compulsive gambling. (This is different from a substance addiction, which can involve not only neurological changes due to the formation of a habit, but also neurological effects that are a result of how the substance interacts with the body). nike air max pas cher In an effort to determine how and why a cell phone addiction forms, they focused on identifying the “tipping point” in which the cell phone goes from being a tool that people like to use, to becoming a need.

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  • When exactly this tipping point occurs is difficult to identify. Incidence of phone addiction seems to correlate with the prevalence of Smart Phones, which means the underlying issue is what the phone is being used for. Furthermore, many of the students they surveyed consider their cell phone an integral part of their identity, meaning that the cell phone is viewed as something more than a tool or business or diversion. basket new balance According to Kent Dunnington in his book Addiction and Virtue in which he looks at addiction from the perspective of Aristotle and Aquinas, addiction has an orienting nature to it that provides a semblance of identity and order (priorities) in a disordered, fragmented world. Asics Gel Lyte 3 Homme As the authors of the study point out, “Cell phones have become inextricably woven into our daily lives – an almost invisible driver of modern life.” The study determined that men and women, who are addicted to their cell phones, use the cell phone slightly differently. Activities that positively correlate to cell phone addiction in men were number of emails sent, reading books, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, number of phone calls, and number of texts. Adidas Zx 700 Femme Blanche nike air max 2017 grijs Activities that positively correlate to cell phone addiction in women were Pinterest, Instagram, Amazon, Facebook, number of calls made, and number of texts and emails. Women spent significantly more time on their phones compared to men (10 hours per day versus 8 hours per day), but had the same number of calls, texts, and emails as men. Women spent more time on Facebook, but Facebook was a stronger predictor of addiction in men. Adidas Running The authors contend that the addiction has to do with being socially connected. Gaming, for example, was not strongly correlated with cell phone addiction, while social media was. Furthermore, mental health issues as a result of cell phone use indicate that social connection is much more important to people than entertainment. nike roshe run mesh Consider two issues that have arisen since Smart phones became popular: Text bubble anxiety and email inbox overload. Jordan 1 enfants Ben Crair has a thought-provoking piece in the New Republic on the concept of “text bubble anxiety” or the sense of tension someone has when they know that another person is typing a message but the message has not been sent. The longer someone takes to type, indicated by ellipses on iPhones or “Bob is typing…” in Google Chat, the more anxious the other person becomes because the longer someone types, the more we tend to assume it is something bad. In reality, the other person may have been interrupted by another phone call or had to re-type the message for some other reason. When the person finally does send the text, and it happens to have trivial content, then we tend to be disappointed. This roller coaster ride of assumptions takes an emotional toll. nike air max 1 ultra moire uomo Jessica Bennett, in an op-ed in the New York Times, confesses that her therapist recommended turning off the typing awareness indicator because it was causing her mental distress. Adidas NMD Homme Maglie Orlando Magic Another mental health issue is due to an overwhelming email inbox. adidas tubular shadow Some people become so burdened by a burgeoning inbox that they must declare what Sherry Turkel, sociologist at MIT, calls “email bankruptcy.” Similar to financial bankruptcy, email bankruptcy is when your inbox becomes so full of unread or unaddressed emails, that it has become too unwieldy. This can cause some people additional stress and anxiety. One solution is to archive all emails, clear their inbox, and send a message to contacts saying that if they want to continue to do business with you to send a new email. When it comes to addiction, the behavior is really a symptom of a deeper problem. This study indicates that cell phone addiction is really an addiction to mediated socializing. Dunnington says that addictive behavior, which is based on something more than mere sensory pleasure, can tell us what human beings most deeply desire. Nike Free 5.0 Heren While addictions, like addictions to social networking, may begin as diversions to deal with boredom, they morph from diversions to addictions because they provide a sense of purpose or, in this case, a sense of community that is lacking in our modern individualistic culture. Nike Air Max 95 Homme Sherry Turkel says that it is important for people in our culture to demarcate sacred spaces where one will not engage in internet mediated socializing because people need to interact with one another in a more substantive way. asics kayano 21 uomo ASICS PAS CHER FR She also says that people need to learn the practice of privacy and solitude, or put another way, people need to set personal boundaries and to cultivate an ability to be alone without being lonely.