Recently I encountered the little book, Agnosticism – A Short Introduction , by Robin Le Poidevin, one of many new 'short introduction' editions produced by Oxford University Press, books so small and slim that they will fit in any pocket, yet they're well-written, interesting and informative. Le Poidevin demonstrates that often only the agnostic stands … Continue reading Rescuing Science |Agnostics vs the Big Bang
There are paranormal phenomena that seem to defy any explanation – for example, Sugar the cat.In 1950, the Woods family in Anderson, California had to move to Oklahoma. They had a beige cat, Sugar, who was a tough customer – he routinely fought with dogs – but he had a phobia of riding in cars, … Continue reading Paranormal World | Sugar the Cat
Here is some interesting new autism research. The website Spectrum News (spectrumnews.org) reports on the findings of neuroscientist Baoji Xu at the Scripps Research Institute in Florida re microglia, a protein in the brain that they say 'prunes' excess synapses in the brain. They engineered mice to overproduce a protein called EIF4E that is essential … Continue reading Autism | Mice and Microglia
Recently I suggested that social distancing and the world-wide economic shutdown may be driving us collectively crazy. This week I saw some concrete proof of it. scene of the crime I was running one morning (okay, mostly jogging) in north Toronto’s Earl Bales valley, on the beautiful path shown in the photo. The air was … Continue reading Rescuing Reality | Covid 19 and mental health | Seniors vs Millennials and the Future
Though I try to stay away from social issues on this site, especially from politics, sometimes there is no choice. I have been married for a long time to an Afro/Carribean woman. We have two daughters of mixed race. I’ve been close not only to my wife's family, but to the West-Indian community in Toronto … Continue reading Rescuing Reality | Why Black lives should matter to everyone
Why did I write another book about shyness when there are over 600 books about it published already? How could there be anything left to say? Well, because shyness is almost never understood the way I understand it. From the day I entered kindergarten I was acutely aware of how different I was. In my … Continue reading Why did I write The Shyness Guide?
Alan Conrad is me, though Alan Conrad is not my original name. During my last years investigating accidents and personal injury claims, when I was about to publish The Birdcatcher, a book that reveals some of the dark side of the personal injury business, I had to use a pen name to keep a lower … Continue reading Who is Alan Conrad?
Loners have a hard time in the modern, day-to-day world, yet not in fiction and film. Solitary men - who I think are shy and/or autistic men - are heroes in literature and the movies – James Fenimore Cooper's Natty Bumpo in The Deerslayer and The Last of the Mohicans. David Copperfield in the Dickens … Continue reading Loners |The one place where society welcomes them |Anneli Rufus and her book Party of One
In her 2008 book, Autism – A Very Short Introduction, psychologist Uta Frith discussed the "weak central coherence" theory. This is related to the tendency of autistic people to focus on detail. Walking through a forest an autistic person will see the trees and things on the forest floor – ferns, horsetails, fungi, insects, tiny … Continue reading Autism | Weak Central Coherence | Who can’t see the forest?