Author Archives: Laura
Just a couple of things that bother me.
Firstly, people always making statements about how perfect life is. I assume that life is pretty good for these people.* A person for whom life is pretty good most of the time is likely to assume that life is pretty good pretty much of the time for everyone. Let me assure you that it is not. There are people in this world suffering from birth defects, diseases and long term damage resulting from diseases, pain and disability from birth or disease or accident, abuse of some sort – and I would insist that child abuse is the worst – or long term effects of such abuse, from any of a myriad of prejudices and biases, the life damaging effect of being raised in poverty, getting caught by the cycle of poverty, living in an area in which any form(s) of government have decided to have a war of some sort, being victim of criminal action, long term deleterious effects of poor choices made long ago when the person was young and ignorant, death or injury of a loved one, perhaps a loved one upon which the survivor is dependent,. . . So many horrid reasons for many people to be living lives that are decidedly less than perfect.
Secondly, people who say things like, “Life is whatever you make of it.” That acknowledges that some people may be living lives far less nice than they wish for, and makes it clear that the individual with such a life is responsible for that less than perfect life. Really? We have here at the Ranch middle aged man; severely autistic. He has no words available for his expression. He cannot ask for a specific thing for dinner – not at all, not in all his years! He cannot ask to go to the bathroom! He cannot enjoy a running conversation with a fellow human being!
Further, prior to being here at the Ranch he had lived in an institution; you know the sort of place; an institution for the care of those not able to survive in society; a place a tad worse than a third world prison! He has had this heaped upon him due to his severe autism. Did he ask for that? Anyone who believes so, please offer me real evidence of that personal culpability. He was born into hell itself.
Many people, far too many people, are born into Hell. There is little that such a person can do to alter that horrid fact of existence, and when we go about blithely saying stuff like, “Life is just wonderful, all you need is the right attitude.” And, “You can make your life into anything you want it to be.” We hurt these people even more.
Pangloss, please shut the hell up.
- Perhaps not. Perhaps they are trying to convince themselves that all is okay. I understand the need.
I have been having a hard time. I have mentioned in earlier blogs that one of the things that really honks me off is someone saying, “Everyone is like that.” when I bring up some trait of autism. No, everyone is not like that, which is why we need the word, “autism” to differentiate one specific sort of person from all the others. Autism is a disability. It is not always as visible as are many physical disabilities, but it is a disability; it is a raft of disabilities, each of which us within autism and the set thereof is specific to each one of us.
Autism is a deficiency! I well know that the, “deficiency model” is an unpopular way to view any of the Dees,*1 but when most people can do a thing to satisfactory result and a specific person cannot, then that thing is a disability. We do not say that a person who cannot breathe water is disables because this is not an ability common among humans; we do say that not being able to speak is a disability because it is so common.
No I do know that autistic persons may well possess abilities that most people do not. But in the harsh reality of real human society as defined by the majority those increased specific abilities do not outweigh the specific disabilities.
Life is hard for everyone, this I do not doubt. Life is more difficult for a person with a disability or two or three. If a person’s height is supposed to fall within a specific range then person well outside that range is likely to have a problem, perhaps insurmountable, in driving a car. Likewise, if a person lacks proper depth perception, an autism common problem, then that person will also have a problem in driving a car. What I have found is that even though I fall within the range of normal height and have good depth perception that I cannot drive a car!
That is because I am a victim of SD. I do not see the opportunities to take advantage of. I waste so much energy on just fitting into a social situation that I rarely can prosper from it. I waste so much energy on fitting in and on trying to understand what is happening that I find myself spent far too early and have to withdraw from social situations early. I work fewer hours. If I push myself into areas in which I do not operate well I begin to softly melt. I lose capabilities both mental and physical. I seem to do okay; no one else knows the effort and the turmoil going on within me. I have, during the decades of my life, failed to thrive. I cannot drive a car because I cannot afford one to drive.
Life flummoxes me. All those things that a normal*2 person might do easily I find difficult. Those things that a normal person might a bit difficult are to me quite challenging. Things difficult to others*3 I might find impossible.
I will suppose that a childhood of abuse and worse *4 has not helped me much, but even without that I hale decades of zigging when I ought to have zagged, and terrible errors and bad jobs and a life wherein I look up to poverty.*5 probably have not helped much either.
I build an artificial me! I may not know what is happening in a social situation and I may not profit from it, but I can fit into it – at a cost of energy. I can screw my attention up to turbo and miss less of the words spoken by others. I can push myself into the red arcs of operation and manage. . . for a time. I can build an artificial confidence in myself where no real confidence exists. I can build an artificial lack of fear where fear is actually overwhelming. I can build an artificial self-worth when deep inside I see as being beneath contempt. I can artificially limit my doubt. I can do all this and I must and I do. . .
. . . but, this artifice is false and fragile. It takes so little to cause my structure of false artifices to crumble. When my exoskeleton of assumed concepts falls so do I. Time to rebuild. It may be worse than that. The failure of my external structure collapses me as well. This may begin as emotion. It probably runs into a self-loathing assessment, it is likely to harm my spirit and finally even to cause bodily fail as various physical conditions*6 also worsen. Then it is a loop: I am melty because of the collapse, that leads to pains and lowered physical energy which lowers my abilities and the wheel goes round.
I have been trying to escape the wheel. Months ago I let go of a lot of my troubles, they can do as they please, the outcome may be less than I may want but I cannot afford the energy input any more. But troubles have kept on arriving unwanted. It is like the troubles of the world are conducting no knock entrances into my life. I barely get myself balanced again following a cascading system failure,*7 and here is another.
Further, I am alone. I mean really alone. I have no one to stand between me and the world that I find not only hostile but incomprehensible. I have no real emotional flywheel to stabilize me when my own artifice is threatened. I am alone and incompetent.
Life has been overwhelming and overloading me. One thing has been difficult. All I want to do is buy a bicycle. Now that may not seem like much of an issue. I know bicycles well, I have managed a shop. But to buy a good one for me triggers so many doubts and alarms. To make the decision sufficiently firm that I can act upon it requires a tough exoskeleton indeed. The construction of that structure takes weeks. I have done that. I have tried to take action, several times now. But each time there is an issue; unpredicted, beyond my control, not necessarily huge in itself but enough to halt my plan. Then the structure falls and takes my soul with it. Again and again. I have had several hard melts. I am more in poverty, by way of destruction of my own property, than I was when the prospect of a bicycle first reared its ugly head. This should be a good thing! It is killing me!
Life has been had on me; the year of 2013 was just nasty. This year is beginning no better. I have small idea what to do. I am autistic and I am disabled and I am deficient.
*1 LD, DD, ID, SD being: Learning Disability, Developmental Disability, Intellectual Disability, Social Disability
*2 I shall define as a person without any specific, abnormal disabilities
*3 Not parlour tricks like finding local values of Pi for polygons, but real world and necessary stuff
*4 Don’t ask
*5 Not a joke, a sad fact of my life
*6 Such as RA and an undiagnosed neurological condition and asthma and a few others
*7 Let alone get my exoskeleton rebuilt!
The year of 2013 was hard on me. Changes happened in my life; changes I had not asked for but had to deal with nonetheless. Changes happened that shook me to my core. I was so shaken. I was shaken into meltdowns the like of which I had not experienced for years. Ultimately I had to examine deeply my life as it was, as it had been changing, and as it became. Now, I am not only autistic, I also am the product of a brutal childhood that left me with many problems. One of these is the tendency to assume that I am at fault for everything. I take the blame for anything and everything so easily that it is automatic to do so. I had assumed that all the less than desirable changes in my life were of my own making.
About two thirds of the way through the year I came to a conclusion that I had the right and a need to examine the issues that were troubling me. I found that they were not of my making after all. Now that may seem like a good thing, but there is a negative aspect to that truth. The problem is that if I did not cause the thing which is a problem to me, then I can probably not easily fix that problem. This realization led me to a second realization that if I cannot probably repair issues that I did not cause, I must then find a way to accept and deal with them. I will now recount only two of these problems; two problems that are related intimately.
The first is that of transportation. I have owned motor vehicles now for about forty years. I cannot usually afford to buy good vehicles, I buy older ones that are cheap to buy and expensive to operate. My most recent was Aka Chan, my Honda Reflex motor scooter. I had bought that machine with the belief that it would be reliable and cheap like my earlier simple Hondas. It was not! I could plan on a mechanical malfunction of sufficient magnitude as to preclude the completion of a trip about every 1,800 miles. I must explain this statement: I mean not only would the malfunction be of sufficient magnitude as to keep the bike from running, but also that this malfunction would happen in conjunction with a planned and necessary trip.
These malfunctions not only kept me from getting to specific locations where I had been expected, they had to be repaired. The tiny Honda was not a clean piece of engineering in any respect and I quickly gave up the idea of doing any maintenance beyond tyres and oil. The repairs demanded by the tiny monster were costly! The repair and maintenance was so costly that to keep the bike running for 10,000 miles per year would cost me about $150 per month! When I sold the bike it was worth (estimate without any known repairs needed) about $1,000 and needed approximately the same in immediately required fixes! I lost my arse with that machine, as I have with so many vehicles before. The simple fact to be acknowledged is that I cannot afford to own and operate a motor vehicle. I have exceeded the school psychologist’s estimate of my ability but not nearly enough to compete in the real world with real people. In the larger scope I am an epic fail.
Another troubling matter to be faced has been the matter of my autism advocacy. There are two issues here. The first is that during 2013 I had very few gigs. Now this is a problem. After a life of being generally less than useful; of having little to contribute to society; I found that I can talk about autism and change lives. In autism advocacy I found a value to my life and to myself. Value of self is pretty heady stuff coming in the second half of my life as it had. Then in 2013 that value was stopped short. Months would pass with no one calling or emailing me. I do not know why. I could hypothesize, but there would be no proof. I have had people come up to me with comments and questions just like always. I have passed out business cards just like in previous years. In 2013 the leads just fizzled.
That fizzling left me without the emotional high of doing an important thing that I do well. That fizzling left me having to go looking for purpose of life in other areas. I have been as yet only somewhat successful in finding other purpose for my being here.
The other thing was a realization that in my advocacy I have been hemorrhaging money. Few conferences pay a speaker for showing up. The ones that pay are so few and so rare that the money gained from them in no way pays for my having a costly motor vehicle waiting there on standby. It is a funny thing that a person can speak publically; can bear their soul to that public; can work one hundred hours or more to prepare a talk; can spend money on transportation and food; can deliver a talk that people say, unprompted, has changed their lives; and receive not a dime for that effort. I mean to say that reality intrudes: I have to pay the costs of life, and advocacy has not assisted me in this. I mean to mention that if I were a server and brought a person a meal without spilling it in to that someone’s lap that I probably would be receiving some remuneration from the business employing me, and a tip from the person served. For changing people’s lives I mostly get warm thanks. That is nice and I love it, but revisit the costs of operating the motor vehicle needed to get me to talks, and ask me then about warm thanks. I have found in autism advocacy a way too be valuable without being valued.
The simple fact to be faced is that autism advocacy has not been even as good as revenue neutral; it has been revenue negative. If I was truly wealthy I would be happy to continue, I am not so wealthy as to have that ability. I must make some changes.
I must add that there is another aspect of this transportation problem. This other aspect I that not only do I pay sums far too large to bear in order to keep my vehicle running, but I also suffer the mental stress related to continual costs and the fears and anxieties of further repairs. Motor vehicles tend to rip from me large pieces of my soul. You know, I can well live without that. I mean to say that if I am to be unable to easily traverse large distances I would rather that situation arise from non ownership of a motor vehicle than to the owning of yet another expensive yard ornament.
And I pondered and I thought and I feared. And I finally had to realize a simple fact. I can no longer afford to be an autism advocate. I cannot afford the financial burden. I cannot afford the mental and spiritual stress of wondering where the engagements went. I cannot afford the worry of whether the bike will get me to the place I must be or leave me en route with yet another malfunction, another costly repair, another need to find a way home, another calling of someone and telling that I will not be there after all. Reality: I was; I no longer am an active autism advocate. It was fun while it lasted.
Laura Nagle, autism advocate, ret.
But wait Laura, If it is the Sun that is heating Earth why aren’t the other planets warming as well? They are. *1 *2
Further, Mars has been losing ice from its polar regions. *3
It is the Sun.
*1 Link: Mars is warming: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/research/2007/marswarming.html
*2 Link: Other planets are warming: http://www.livescience.com/1349-sun-blamed-warming-earth-worlds.html
AGW / CC alarmists will loudly proclaim that the cause of global warming cannot be the Sun. They have been saying this same thing since the beginning of their movement; a movement that precedes the technology to actually know what the Sun is doing. In the previous blog entry I demonstrated three points of agreement between solar activity and Earth temperature, but could the Sun actually be the primary causal agent of the apparent warming of Earth?
Now, this is a difficult matter. While I have no problems accepting a time domain local warming of Earth, I do not simply accept as reliable any of the numbers presented to us by climatologists. Most current climatologists are earning their money providing the papers upon which AGW / CC alarmism is based. There is more than sufficient evidence that the alleged science is rarely science at all. There is evidence of data tampering and poor quality of mathematics used in the process of this “science”. I long ago in this series called attention to the figure of 0.74C warming per century in the recent era and that certainly the four hundredths of a degree is a matter of precision of calculation, and not at all supported by accuracy of observation. I have already stated that there is a good probability that zero point anything is not significant due to expected errors of observation. Still, for the sake of the following simple mathematical analysis I will stipulate to that number.
The following will be a first approximation only.*1
Firstly, how much does the Sun generally warm the Earth? That would be the difference between the temperature of Earth with no solar radiation, and the temperature as it is. So how warm would be Earth without the Sun? A planet far from the Sun, Neptune has a temperature of 73K *2 How warm would Earth be without the Sun? Probably not that cold. Earth has a molten core gradually releasing heat to the surface. The Earth has a large Moon, tidal forces of which distorts the Earth and cause heat of frictional loss of that kinetic energy. How warm is the Earth? The Earth averages about 15C *3
To convert that 15C to Kelvin we add the 273 that absolute zero is below 0C to that 15. That Earth temperature in Kelvin is 288.
If we assume that Earth without the Sun would be the same as that of distant Neptune, then we will take that temperature to be 73K as is Neptune.
How much does the Sun warm Earth then? Approximately the difference between the temperatures of Earth and Neptune: 288 – 73 = 215K.
Now, how much has the Sun changed its output in the century in which Earth’s temperatures were allegedly rising? NASA says about 0.05% per decade. *4 That 0.05% per decade multiplied by ten decades per century is: 0.05 X 10 = 0.5%
Now, of the usual warming in degrees Kelvin (remember that these are the same units as Celsius degrees but referenced to absolute zero), what in degrees might we expect from a 0.5% increase in solar radiation during that century? Well? The first approximation of sun induced warming on Earth is 215K. Let us find one percent of that number: 215 / 100 = 2.15K. Half of that is 2.15 / 2 = 1.075K.
The AGW / CC alarmists claim 0.74C warming during a century. My first approximation can fix upon the Sun an expected 1.075C warming effect. That is close. I am off by only 45% despite questionable numbers and an oversimplified mathematical model. The proponents of a man caused warming do not do so well. It’s the Sun!
*1 There are so many issues for which no mathematical model of merit is available. For instance; different wavelengths of light (as received from the Sun) have different effects upon the atmosphere of Earth. There are some wavelengths that apparently have large effect upon cloud formation. Certainly this will introduce some nonlinearity into any computations such as I have in mind. But the nonlinearity is not known to the point of quantitative application. There are many such unknowns. I will have to accept simple linear application of math and of quantities.
*2 Kelvin degrees are Celsius units referenced to absolute zero. Link (Temperature of Neptune): http://www.universetoday.com/21669/temperature-of-neptune/
4. Link: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/03/030321075236.htm