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June 18, 2005


The Unknown Professor

I think that academia (particularly in the quantitative disciplines) has more than it's share of high-functioning autistics. In fact, Asperger's syndrome is also known as the "Little Professor" syndrome.

It's possible that Fisher Black (the Nobel Prize winner and originator of the Black-Scholes option pricing formula) had at least a mild case of Asperger's.

Fred Boness

More companies would look/act like Microsoft.


A couple more for your list:
1. All autistic people are different, and hence each autism is 'unique'. 'Diseases' tend to manifest quite similarly in most cases.
2. Autism is inherent to personality, not something 'external' like a tumor or cancer.

Mind you, my partner teaches autistic kids, and a friend's teenage son has Aspergers, and I've never heard either mention the word 'cure'. Straw man campaign?


I'm not sure anyone has ever claimed a cure for autism that wasn't just quackery, but some treatments are distinctly suspect. They emphasise reforming the child's behaviour by constant, repetitive, negative and positive reinforcement of "normal" behaviour patterns (eye contact, normal concentration and so on). I strongly suspect all this does is teach the kids to "act normal" (not that that is not valuable) at the expense of what they probably find to be a traumatic experience.


A friend was doing Computer Science admissions for his Cambridge College. "How can I tell 'em apart?" he asked. "Reverse the classic test", says I, "throw them a ball and if they drop it, admit them." "No good", says he, "they'd all drop it."


Have you read the wired article "geek syndrome"? Oldie but goody. I like the discussion about people who would once have died alone because they were "abnormal" are now being connected by an industry that celebrates that abnormality, and therefore your thought experiment is becoming a reality in Santa Rosa and suchlike. Very interesting.

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