Baroness Susan Greenfield is an Oxford neuroscientist known for dire, evidence-free predictions about how the Internet and video games are probably going to turn us all into mentally deficient social cripples any minute now. Perhaps unsurprisingly, she gets made fun of on the Internet a lot. (You may remember her from such memes as "the breezy people who go 'Yaka-wow!'")
Now, the Baroness can count yet another meme to her name. In a recent New Scientist interview, Greenfield claimed that there was a connection between the increase in autism diagnoses over the last 30 years, and the rise of the Internet as a common feature of modern life. Defending herself in a later interview with The Guardian, she said, "I point to the increase in autism and I point to internet use. That's all."
You can see where this is going. Carl Zimmer has collected a number of lovely responses on his blog. (You can also follow that link for a brief explanation of why Greenfield's association is ridiculous, in case you are tempted to suspect otherwise.)
I, myself, point to an increase in autism, and an increase in my own age. That's all. The older I get, the more autism diagnoses there are. Coincidence? I think not, friends. The only solution is to find some way to keep me from aging another day. Get on it, scientists. Think of the children.
I asked Amy Parness, the co-founder of Sparkle Labs, maker of fantastic educational electronics kits, to write a Medium post about gender and the business of being a maker business person. Her terrific essay calls out the problems with “pink girly engineering kits.” From Medium:
Zero UI is the new term for “invisible interfaces”—what happens in the future when all the clicking and tapping and typing is history: “If you look at the history of computing, starting with the jacquard loom in 1801, humans have always had to interact with machines in a really abstract, complex way.” [Fast Company]
CEO Dick Costolo will resign, to be replaced in the interim by Jack Dorsey
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