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.
Maggie Koerth-Baker is the science editor at BoingBoing.net. She writes a monthly column for The New York Times Magazine and is the author of Before the Lights Go Out, a book about electricity, infrastructure, and the future of energy. You can find Maggie on Twitter and Facebook.