Modern Europe / 3 Ancient Populations

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“Modern Europeans are a mixture of three ancient populations related to Western hunter-gatherers (circled in green), early European farmers (circled in blue) and steppe pastoralists (circled in red). Researchers have, for the first time, been able to trace the key genetic changes that shaped modern Europeans.”

“However, the blue eyes that are often considered another hallmark of northern Europeans appear to have a far more ancient origin with our early hunter gatherer ancestors.”

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3330674/Europeans-owe-height-ASIAN-nomads-blue-eyes-hunter-gatherers-Ancient-DNA-plots-centuries-genetic-changes-shaped-modern-man.html#ixzz3t16tWrSO

Early European / Evidence Neanderthal Interbreeding

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NATURE

Early European may have had Neanderthal great-great-grandparent

Genome of 40,000-year-old jaw from Romania suggests humans interbred with Neanderthals in Europe.

Windows 10 is spying on almost everything you do – here’s how to opt out

From bgr.com But there’s something you should know: As you read this article from your newly upgraded PC, Windows 10 is also spying on nearly everything you do.

It’s your own fault if you don’t know that Windows 10 is spying on you. That’s what people always say when users fail to read through a company’s terms of service document, right?

Well, here is Microsoft’s 12,000-word service agreement. Some of it is probably in English. We’re pretty sure it says you can’t steal Windows or use Windows to send spam, and also that Microsoft retains the right to take possession of your first-born child if it so chooses. And that’s only one of several documents you’ll have to read through.

Actually, here’s one excerpt from Microsoft’s privacy statement that everyone can understand:

Finally, we will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to: 1.comply with applicable law or respond to valid legal process, including from law enforcement or other government agencies; 2.protect our customers, for example to prevent spam or attempts to defraud users of the services, or to help prevent the loss of life or serious injury of anyone; 3.operate and maintain the security of our services, including to prevent or stop an attack on our computer systems or networks; or 4.protect the rights or property of Microsoft, including enforcing the terms governing the use of the services – however, if we receive information indicating that someone is using our services to traffic in stolen intellectual or physical property of Microsoft, we will not inspect a customer’s private content ourselves, but we may refer the matter to law enforcement.

If that sentence sent shivers down your spine, don’t worry. As invasive as it is, Microsoft does allow Windows 10 users to opt out of all of the features that might be considered invasions of privacy. Of course, users are opted in by default, which is more than a little disconcerting, but let’s focus on the solution.

Go to Start Menu -> SETTINGS _ You can turn off a lot of stuff in 13 categories. Like background apps that drain energy, pop ups, etc.

READ MORE: Windows 10: The first 5 things you need to do immediately after you install it

First, you’ll want to open Settings and click on Privacy. There, you’ll find 13 different screens — yes, 13 — to go through, and you’ll want to disable anything that seems worrying. For example, you’ll definitely want to adjust what types of data each app on your system can access.

Next, users should consider dumping Cortana; it also plays fast and loose with your data. As a result, many users will find that the benefits do not outweigh the risks.

Note: INFO on the internet seems to conclude that you can’t get rid of Cortona.

For the third task, you’ll have to venture outside the confines of your PC and hit the web. Perhaps this is a good opportunity to check out Microsoft’s nifty new Edge browser. In it, click on this link and set both “Personalised ads in this browser” and “Personalised ads wherever I use my Microsoft account” to off. This will disable Microsoft’s Google-style ad tracking features.

MUST-READ: Windows 10 brings back the Start Menu – here’s how to customize it

Article updated to quote a larger quote from Microsoft’s terms of service.

More Joy, Less Suffering / Social Cruelty

 

Only a society bereft of conscience can commit cruelty against its most helpless citizens.

Social humans have been waiting thousands of years for change, for miracles, for a massive destructive event that wipes out evil and replaces it with a supernatural theme park. Worse, too many are just looking for mass destruction. Social humans inhabit a fantasy dimension created by words; a dimension that exists solely in the human mind, but never in nature. Words are the destructive genie that escaped the bottle on the way to “modern civilization” – words distort reality and justify cruelty.

The majority of word concepts are so removed from reality that they mean nothing. Generic concepts are made up of generic words that obscure perception and defeat action. Words further war, poverty, and division: the word priests scream, scold, punish and pervert human behavior, and the result is that modern social humans can no longer distinguish what is harmful behavior from healthy behavior. Nor can societies judge those who commit inhumane behavior. “It’s all good.”

A better today is not difficult: Stop hurting people and animals. Stop trashing the earth. Just stop: no more studies, theories, laws, arguments, funding drives, religious excuses or waiting for miracles. Just stop. Give it a try: at least once each day, resist the urge to dismiss a real person as some extraneous blob in your peripheral vision; as someone who is in your way; as a object in an invisible class of people. Look around. Look at faces; see humanity. Stop harming others by ignoring that they exist. No one is “better” than you, nor “lesser” than you. Just stop.

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“Barriers To Assistance for the homeless mentally ill” from: A CARING WEBSITE. Message? It’s their fault.

According to a 2003 report released by the US Department of Health and Human Service, most homeless persons who suffer from mental illness do not necessarily need to be institutionalized if they have appropriate supportive housing options. [9] The problem lies in the fact that many severely mentally ill homeless persons are unable to access supportive housing and/or treatment services for both social reasons and reasons related to their impaired conditions. [8] Therefore, there exists both societal and self-imposed barriers to individuals with severe mental illness to receive assistance

Unbelievable! People choose to be severely mentally ill? Is being confined to a wheelchair a self-imposed barrier? What about being old and suffering dementia? How about disease caused by smoking? Do we refuse to treat these people?

Individuals suffering from severe mental illness face societal and self-imposed barriers to assistance. For example, the current lack of an effective system of mental healthcare represents a societal barrier to receiving mental health services. In addition to this, self-imposed barriers such as the intense paranoia that can accompany mental illness often leads severely mentally ill individuals to resist help from community services.

People do not CHOOSE to be paranoid. What so many refuse to understand is that people with severe mental problems don’t want “help” because “help” is being thrown into jail without the least concern for the person’s mental state or vulnerability. To become prey for vicious criminal inmates; to be subjected to chemical lobotomy, rape, beatings, stabbings  (or murder) is not treatment.

 

Disciplining Your “Crazed” Asperger Teenager

No, I’m not going to give this jerk any free publicity. Name Withheld. Edited for length.

Can you imagine the outrage if this person was addressing Black or Hispanic young people?

Hey! I was an Asperger teenager; this stuff is nuts!

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Your Asperger Teen / What an ugly monster!

Due to Aspergers-related attitudes and behaviors…many teens may also experience the following associated problems:

Criminal Activity—Pain, loneliness and despair can lead to problems with drugs, sex and alcohol. In their overwhelming need to fit in and make friends (?) Really? some Aspergers teens fall into the wrong high school crowds. “Average” teens who abuse substances will use the Aspergers teen’s naivety to get him to buy or carry drugs and liquor for their group. If cornered by a police officer, an Aspergers ( also African American teenagers?) teen usually does not have the skill to answer the officer’s questions appropriately. For example, if the officer says, “Do you know how fast you were driving?” an Aspergers teen may reply bluntly, “Yes,” and thus appears to be a smart-aleck.

Depression and Acting Out—The teenage years are more emotional for everyone. Yet the hormonal changes of adolescence coupled with the problems outlined above might mean that an Aspergers teen becomes emotionally overwhelmed. Childish tantrums reappear. Boys often act-out by physically attacking a teacher or peer…Suicide and drug addiction become real concerns, as the teen now has access to cars, drugs and alcohol.

Inability to “Be a Teen”—An Aspergers teen typically does not care about fads and clothing styles (concerns that obsess all others in their peer group). Aspergers teens may neglect their hygiene and wear the same haircut for years. Boys forget to shave; girls don’t comb their hair or follow fashion. (The horror! The Horror!) Some Aspergers teens remain stuck in a grammar school clothes and hobbies such as unicorns and Legos, instead of moving into adolescent concerns like FaceBook and dating. Aspergers boys often have no motor coordination. This leaves them out of high school sports, typically an essential area of male bonding and friendship.

School Failures—Many Aspergers teens with their average to above average Iqs can sail through grammar school, and yet hit academic problems in middle and high school. They now have to deal with four to six teachers, instead of just one… Aspergers student now has to face a series of classroom environments with different classmates, odors, distractions and noise levels, and sets of expectations. Aspergers teens with their distractibility and difficulty organizing materials face similar academic problems as students with Attention Deficit Disorder. A high school term paper or a science fair project becomes impossible to manage because no one has taught the Aspergers teen how to break it up into a series of small steps.

Sexual Issues—Aspergers teens are not privy to street knowledge of sex and dating behaviors that other teens pick up naturally. (Yes, it’s preferable for kids to learn about sex in the streets!!) This leaves them naive and clueless about sex. (Sex education does not exist – Christians forbid it – only street sex. Boys can become obsessed with Internet pornography and masturbation. They can be overly forward with a girl who is merely being kind, and then later face charges of stalking her.

An Aspergers girl may have a fully developed female body and no understanding of flirtation and non-verbal sexual cues, making her susceptible to harassment and even date rape. (Just like all those other women who are raped – it’s the victim’s fault)

Social Isolation—In the teenage world where everyone feels insecure, teens that appear different are voted off the island. Aspergers teens often have odd mannerisms… talks in a loud un-modulated voice, avoids eye contact, interrupts others, violates their physical space, and steers the conversation to her favorite odd topic. Another appears willful, selfish and aloof, mostly because he is unable to share his thoughts and feelings with others. Isolated and alone, many Aspergers teens are too anxious to initiate social contact. Many Aspergers teens are stiff and rule-oriented and act like little adults, which is a deadly trait in any teenage popularity contest.

Friendship and all its nuances of reciprocity can be exhausting for an Aspergers teen, even though he wants it more than anything else. One teenager ended a close friendship with this note: “Your expectations exhaust me. The phone calls, the talks, all your feelings… it’s just too much for me. I can’t take it anymore.”

As the years go by, are you seeing your Aspergers child rapidly becoming reduced to a person who is surviving on:

  • Anger
  • Being a mistake
  • Depression
  • Hate
  • Isolation
  • Low self esteem
  • Resentment
  • Sadness
  • Self hate

Have you heard your Aspergers teenager say things like:

  • “I am a mistake.”
  • “I am dumb.”
  • “I am useless.”
  • “I hate myself.”
  • “I wish I was dead.”
  • “What is wrong with me?”
  • “Why was I born?

If so, then alarm bells should be going off.

My XXXXXX eBook is guaranteed to (a) improve your teen’s behavior and self-esteem, and (b) empower parents and assist them in starting to enjoy their amazing Aspergers teens. Parenting strong-willed, defiant teens with Aspergers is tough!  If you don’t know how, that is…

 

 

 

 

 

Asperger Relationships / More Bizarre Ideas

I have avoided commenting on relationships that involve Asperger individuals paired with Neurotypical persons, because the assertions made by psychologists, counselors, “experts” and other busybodies are utterly bizarre. I get tired of pointing out the lack of empathy these people demonstrate, their irrational approach to human behavior, and the prejudice against neurodiverse human beings that exists in the “caring, helping. fixing” industry, but it’s unavoidable. Even after reviewing hundreds of studies-articles that form the musings of high-ranking researchers and academics, the intellectual deceit continues to be mind-boggling.

It’s not that Asperger individuals don’t have relationship difficulties, BUT WHO DOESN’T?

It is held forth by psychologists, as a de facto state of human existence, that all neurotypical – neurotypical relationships are textbook NORMAL, and that indeed “normal” relationships, as carried on by normal people, are loving, affectionate, expressive, understanding, kind, endowed with shared work and equal status, and result in great parenting – and that this bliss lasts a lifetime. This is a blatant fantasy, and the fact that psychologists set this absurd Disneyland Princess / Prince standard by which to contrast Asperger relationships as abnormal and dysfunctional, demonstrates the non-scientific basis of psychology.

Who are these “normal” people that psychologists insist on comparing “lesser humans” to? Could they be white upper class Americans/Asians who populate academia, the professions, and business: that is, the class that psychologists belong to? Even that is a fantasy.

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In the United States, half of all marriages end in divorce; sometimes violently, and with terrible consequences for children. Well over half of all children born have no father in the household and are doomed to  poverty – with their day-to-day support supplied by government agencies, and we all know how that has worked out.

Asperger individuals are presented as subhuman: incapable of healthy interaction, period. Boring, asexual, cruel and hopeless dorks. No emotion, no empathy, no deep feelings at all for people. Of course, it is assumed that no neurotypical person possesses these or worse characteristics as a spouse or parent.  Domestic violence does not exist among neurotypicals; nor infidelity, financial recklessness, abandonment, drug addiction and alcoholism – any one of which might be a relationship killer.

My parents’ marriage demonstrated that choosing the wrong person leads to personal frustration. Although mismatched, they did provide stability, food, shelter, education and imparted values and morals by which to measure behavior. I also learned that I like my own company, hate being handcuffed by social convention, and that “neurotypical” males are generally bossy and controlling, and too many simply hate women. They say “I love you” to women who serve their purposes (unpaid domestic workers and punching bags) and fear women who are intelligent and free-thinking.

After one marriage, and other relationships, I realized that a “permanent” arrangement would be a demotion from the life I had constructed for myself. I think this is a revelation that I share with a significant number of Neurotypical women, but perhaps, as an Asperger female, it’s just a fact, not a tragedy.

 

 

Theory of Mind / Alvin I. Goldman

Excellent “behind the scenes” analysis of mindreading theories – of interest generally, but in particular for those humans accused of lacking this elusive and essential “socially normal human” ability. If only the people doing the theorizing were aware that human animals possess many ways of “knowing.”

______________________________________________________________________

Theory of Mind   /  Alvin I. Goldman

The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Cognitive Science  Edited by Eric Margolis, Richard Samuels, and Stephen P. Stich

Print Publication Date:

Jan 2012

Subject:

Philosophy, Philosophy of Mind

Online Publication Date:

May 2012

DOI:

10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195309799.013.0017

Abstract and Keywords

The article provides an overview of ‘Theory of Mind’ (ToM) research, guided by two classifications. The first covers four competing approaches to mentalizing such as the theory-theory, modularity theory, rationality theory, and simulation theory. The second classification is the first-person/third-person contrast. Jerry Fodor claimed that commonsense psychology is so good at helping predict behavior that it is practically invisible. It works well because the intentional states it posits genuinely exist and possess the properties generally associated with them. The modularity model has two principal components. First, whereas the child-scientist approach claims that mentalizing utilizes domain-general cognitive equipment, the modularity approach posits one or more domain-specific modules, which use proprietary representations and computations for the mental domain. Second, the modularity approach holds that these modules are innate cognitive structures, which mature or come on line at preprogrammed stages and are not acquired through learning. The investigators concluded that autism impairs a domain-specific capacity dedicated to mentalizing. Gordon, Jane Heal, and Alvin Goldman explained simulation theory in such a way that mind readers simulate a target by trying to create similar mental states of their own as proxies or surrogates of those of the target. These initial pretend states are fed into the mind reader’s own cognitive mechanisms to generate additional states, some of which are then imputed to the target.

Pre-pub PDF can be found at rutgers.edu

Alvin I. Goldman, Department of Philosophy and Center for Cognitive Science, Rutgers University

_____________________________________________

Short version? Lots of words – nothing concrete.

Do birds and other types of animals need “theories” and “concepts” to understand another’s behavior?  Mimicry and synchronization do just as well or better, than human communication. First, one would have to prove that humans are really good at mindreading – but if this were true, con artists, liars and sociopaths would not have such an excellent record of fooling social humans.

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Imitation as a means of understanding the “state” of another individual. This is a very common method in the arts and sports. To see and copy creates an intuitive understanding and expression of what humans are up to. 

Aspergers / Words, Images, Writing

An Asperger like me, who has high verbal skills (speaking, writing) is in a peculiar predicament: I think visually. I don’t think using words: words are a tool to explain what I’m thinking. Since I encounter very few people who are interested in what I’m thinking, having to translate images into words doesn’t come up often. Of course verbalizing is an attempt to express one’s thoughts whatever mode of thinking one uses, but it can be terribly frustrating if you’re a visual thinker. Images are so much more rich in content than words can express.

Writing is infinitely easier than “social speech.” The easiest way to engage socially is simply to memorize various stock phrases and to practice a look of interest. Social typical people engage in this charade all the time, so I wouldn’t call it cheating if an Asperger uses the same behavioral formula. One of the criticisms of Asperger individuals is that we talk about topics interesting to us, but which are “socially irrelevant.” How sad that social typical people aren’t “allowed” to talk about anything of real interest, but must listen to, and agree with, whomever happens to be the narcissistic bully that has commandeered the conversation.

I happen to think that many social typical people are also bored to tears with social interaction, but go along with the system because it was pounded into them from an early age that to be rejected by “the group” is almost worse than death. Many social typicals are afraid of being alone with their own feelings and thoughts, which thanks to socialization is terrifying, because they have been taught to believe that inside of them is a dark and creepy worthless nobody who doesn’t deserve to exist.

Even though I’m Aspergers I had to get over these same noxious beliefs. One day during high school I arrived early for gym class. I didn’t want to be there: horrid gym uniform (bloomers with a skirt over them!), the gym teacher with her incessant chatter and whistle blowing; my persistent clumsiness. I looked out the big window with protective metal bars over it and thought, “What if I just walked away, out the door, across the playing fields and disappeared? What could anyone do about that? They’re not going to kill me!” (This is the U.S. of course; there are cultures that would kill you.)

And I realized then that every action is a choice: There was no need to walk away, because I was free to choose. The point wasn’t whether or not I disliked gym class. The point was that I grasped that the ability to make choices is freedom. At that optimistic age (16) I set the limit at, “What are they going to do, kill me?” I didn’t know that there are worse things that people can do to you, and that it’s necessary to negotiate limits in specific circumstances – avoid the social typical universe as much as is possible. For Asperger types entering the social arena is like a migrating Wildebeest leaping into a crocodile infested river.

Choice is a powerful tool and the choices we make create who we are, but my adult attitude is voiced by Oswald Spengler: “Optimism is cowardice.”

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Age 16.

Gray Matter Matters / Distinctions Autism – Asperger

Boston Globe Online

Do our brains pay a price for GPS?

How a useful technology interferes with our ‘mental mapping’ — and what to do about it.  By Leon Neyfakh Globe Staff  August 18, 2013

Clip: “(Veronique) Bohbot, the McGill neuroscientist, started experimenting with navigation because of an interest in the way people’s brains change as a result of learning. Bohbot developed a method for using fMRI technology to distinguish between people who tended to find their way by going through a memorized list of step-by-step directions — what she calls “stimulus response strategy” — and those who were inclined to orient themselves by conjuring a mental map of the world around them. People who just follow directions, Bohbot found, tended to have less gray matter in their hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for encoding spatial memories.”

“People whose everyday work is deeply dependent on mental mapping can show brain development that is particularly distinctive. A famous study published in 2000 by British neuroscientist Eleanor Maguire showed that taxi drivers in London with years of experience navigating the city’s complex geography had more gray matter in the posterior hippocampus compared to people who were not taxi drivers. The study underscores that how our brain works is subject to use; the brain is plastic, and the more mental mapping we do, the stronger our cognitive navigation skills and the bigger the part of the brain that encodes them.”

More at Boston Globe…

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 The comparison of gray matter volume as a plastic result of how one ‘uses’ the brain, led me to a study on PubMed:

Detailed article: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3201995/ 

Can Asperger syndrome be distinguished from autism? An anatomic likelihood meta-analysis of MRI studies

Kevin K. Yu, BSc,* Charlton Cheung, PhD,* Siew E. Chua, BM BCh, and Gráinne M. McAlonan, MBBS, PhD The autism research program in the Department of Psychiatry University of Hong Kong

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Fig. 1 Cerebral grey matter differences in people with autism (top panel) and Asperger syndrome (bottom panel) compared with controls. Blue clusters represent less grey matter, whereas red clusters represent greater grey matter.

Conclusion

An ALE meta-analysis of grey matter differences in studies of Asperger syndrome or autism supports the argument against the disorder being considered solely a milder form of autism in neuroanatomic terms. Whereas grey matter differences in people with Asperger syndrome are indeed more sparse than those reported in studies of people with autism, the distribution and direction of differences in each category is distinctive. Asperger syndrome involves clusters of lower grey matter volume in the right hemisphere and clusters of greater grey matter volume in the left hemisphere. Autism leads to more extensive bilateral excess of grey matter. Both conditions share clusters of grey matter excess in the left ventral temporal lobe components of the extrastriate visual system. (I’m reading about this – more later)This summary of a rich VBM MRI data set has important implications for how we categorize people on the autism spectrum and cautions that mixing individuals with autism and Asperger syndrome may at times obscure important characteristics manifested in one or the other condition alone.

_____________________________________________________________________________

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Primary visual cortex (V1) has direct reciprocal connections with posterior extrastriate areas V2, V3, V3A, V4 and MT (Refs 1,3; red). (Not all back-projections to V1 are shown; extensive reciprocal connections between extrastriate areas are omitted.) Some of these posterior extrastriate areas have reciprocal connections with area LIP (lateral intraparietal),the frontal eye fields (FEF) and area 46 (blue), which are involved in visual attention and motor planning. According to some hierarchical models, only extrastriate areas such as MT, V4 and inferotemporal cortex, which project directly to frontal-parietal areas that are involved in attention or motor planning, can contribute directly to visual awareness. By contrast, interactive models propose that recurrent loops between V1 and posterior extrastriate areas (such as MT and V4) are essential for maintaining a visual representation in awareness.

A site with animated and narrated neurobiology systems:

http://www.sumanasinc.com/webcontent/animation/neurobiology.html

visual pathways in the brain / right column, 5th down.

 

 

 

 

Zaworski’s Blog / Neanderthal – Archaic H. Sapiens

James Zaworski’s Blog

Much more at:  Morphological and Archaeological Comparisons of the Levantine Neandertal and Archaic Homo sapiens Complexes.

Morphological Traits and Variation.

It is imperative to my discussion here to set out the accepted morphological traits that defines how a Neandertal is classified , and how an Anatomically Modern Homo sapiens (AMHS), is classified. This is not as cut and dry as it seems. Depending on which paleoanthropologist is doing the analysis, there really isn’t an accepted laundry list of characteristic traits that are consistently used. When paleoanthropologists compare the morphology of Neandertals and AMHS, it is usually the case to compare the most robust or “classic” Neandertals from Western Europe with the most gracile “Cro-Magnon” Homo sapiens from Europe. This is not a fair comparison by a long shot, in terms of variation, because these two are on the complete opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of general skeletal and cranial robusticity on the one hand with the Classic Western European Neandertals and extreme skeletal and cranial gracility on the part of the Cromagnon. Where this becomes much more confusing is in the Levantine area of the Middle East, in the modern state of Israel, because the specimens that have been discovered at the various sites, such as Skhul, Amud, Qafzeh, Tabun, Kebara, and Mount Carmel all display characteristics that are intermediate in their morphological characteristics.(Wolpoff, 1999:594, 612). Further confusion comes into the picture, as the anatomically modern Homo sapiens have also been dubbed “proto-Cro-Magnons”, implying that these are indeed the true ancestors and precursors of modern Homo sapiens.(Bar-Yosef, 1988:31).