Inspiring, discomforting and challenging in equal measure, it not only forces us to consider the prejudices we may have towards people with autism, but also raises some huge questions about the nature of language, communication and understanding: we see words, spoken and written, and maybe images (if feeling very adventurous). But there are many other dimensions, senses and experiences open to us, if only we could discover them. And at a time when we seem increasingly isolated as people, it also challenges us to think about how we interact and connect with the (natural) world around us.
Also (and just in case you didn't know already), I've just discovered that you can access the BSA data on line if you go and register here. It's not the best interface in the world. And the latest data doesn't seem to be up yet. But definitely a handy resource.
Found this tucked away on my list of things to blog about, and thought it was worth revisiting.
On his Long Tail blog, Chris Anderson introduced the idea of 'freeconomics'. He also pointed to an FT article by Michael Schrage on a similar theme. The basic premise is that, as cost of production exponentially reduces (in line with theories like Moores Law), we are fast approaching (and have in some cases reached) the point where stuff could essentially be given away for free if businesses wanted. And in response, we increasingly expect this to be what happens. Or if not literally free, for stuff to at least be cheap and disposable.
As technologists, Anderson and Schrage see this as a good thing. But I think there's a counter argument we must also consider...
Cheap and disposable is (to be pessimistic for a moment) also the engine of relentless and thoughtless consumption, with all the negative effects this brings. For instance, the erosion of natural resources and impending climate change disaster are both, if not originally caused by, definitely exacerbated by this trend. Because if it's free, why not consume it. And just the fact that you have Michael O'Leary of Ryanair predicting free flights in Europe, supported by on-plane advertising, only serves to reinforce the social and environmental downsides of the freeconomics trend.
Maybe talking about the 'curse of free' is too strong. But I for one think having to pay for something, and generally having to make sacrifices and balance needs, wants and consequences, is no bad thing. It teaches us to properly value stuff, and to consider what's really important. But then maybe I'm just a bit old fashioned in that way.
Anyway, we've had a bit of a rethink. We like the results, think they're good fun and actually pretty interesting. And, over time, hope it will become a useful resource...and maybe even a bit of social history in the making (you never know).
So rather than keep it to ourselves (apart from the rather coy teasers we had before), we've beefed up the disk space and bandwidth (it's all a bit DIY, and sits on a hosting package of mine currently!), and stuck the full interviews from the two waves so far online. So enjoy.
They're free to use. Just give us the credit please. And obviously if you want to see things in higher res, do some different edits, or commission something of your own, I'm sure there's an arrangement we can come to ;-)
Also, this is just London. Our vision is to venture further afield in time. So if there's anyone out there in different locations (places in the UK, countries, whatever), who wants to join in the fun (hey, open source vox popping!), get in contact. It would simply mean asking the same questions, filming the answers (natch!), sending them over to us, and we'll up-load and credit you. And share our footage with you in return, if you wanted it.
It's a sad consequence of climate change that even the lightest dusting of snow sends Joshua into ecstasy. But then the upside of having a 9 year old boy is that you get to build a (small) snowman before breakfast, and fit a decent snowball fight in as well.
Although, as I always like to remind him, I remember when I was a lad: we had 10 foot drifts in August and all that, and had to live in igloos ;-)
I buy a lot of music. And I like a whole lot more. But the problem with ranging so far and wide is that some really very obvious stuff falls between the cracks. And so it is that I have only just discovered Leonard Cohen. Well discovered is maybe a bit strong. I always knew he was there, but had just never got round to buying anything (odd really given my liking for Tom Waits - there's a fair degree of similarity I would say).
So to kick things off, I now have a 2 disc best of collection. And my best of the best of after a couple of listens - Suzanne, Sisters of mercy (well I was a goth!), Bird on a wire, The partisan, Hallelujah (hey Shrek. And Jeff Buckley of course), Tower of song, First we take Manhattan and Democracy.
Any suggestions for other tracks warranting further listen, let me know.
One of those quite useful things to stick in your Delicious links. But also interesting as it is clearly linked with the current Kleenex advertising - people letting it all out to a complete stranger on a sofa in the middle of a shopping centre.
Made me think - did the research inspire the idea, or was it's purpose to justify/amplify the idea. Given that there's similar US work that seems to predate this, I would guess it's probably the latter.