The Brain Train Runs Away With Temple Grandin

Much of autism’s mystery and fascination lies in a paradox: On one hand, autism seems to create a profound disconnect between inner and outer lives; on the other, it generates what the neuroscientist Oliver Sacks calls an essential and “most intricate interaction” between the disorder and one’s other traits.

In the autistic person, it seems, hums a vital and distinctive essence — but one whose nature is obscured by thick layers of behavior and perception. Or, as Temple Grandin puts it, “two panes of glass.”

For a quarter century, Dr. Grandin — the brainy, straight-speaking, cowboy-shirt-wearing animal scientist and slaughterhouse designer who at 62 is perhaps the world’s most famous autistic person — has been helping people break through the barriers separating autistic from nonautistic experience.

These, I note at my review of Grandin’s new book, “The Autistic Brain,” are her strengths:

When they burst upon the scene in her 1995 book “Thinking in Pictures,” they amazed people, as they continue to do in many of her YouTube and TED talks (not to mention the 2010 biopic “Temple Grandin,” in which she was played by Claire Danes). Alas, in “The Autistic Brain,” her fourth book, she largely abandons these strengths, setting out instead to examine autism via its roots in the brain. It does not lead to rich ground.

Read the entire review: ‘The Autistic Brain’ Review — Temple Grandin Traces Roots of a Disorder –


Merging the streams

I spent part of this day using WordPress to pull into this particular blog, my old Smooth Pebbles, many of my different online thread of the past 5 years: earlier WordPress blogs, a Tumblr into which I’d earlier pulled a Posterous and an Instagram account and a Twitter account. Even without my main blog — perhaps because it doesn’t include my main blog, Neuron Culture, which has bounced around from home to home — it makes a surprisingly intricate tour through my various obsessions, and the paths left not just by me but some of my compatriots.

For @microecos. How about *this* guy! (at North Branch Nature Center)

Water as needed. (at Le jardin)

A place we made. I helped, anyway. (at Le jardin)

Tulip snuck indoors. (at da house)

Automobile on a Pacific beach with shipwreck in background (by UW Digital Collections)