03 MAY, 2011 Maria Popova
What the spectrum of difference has to do with 12th-century demons and Google Earth.
Autism is one of the greatest modern mysteries of cognitive science, a highly faceted condition that remains largely misunderstood. We’ve previously explored several notable autistic outliers — British savant Stephen Wiltshire, who draws remarkable 3D panoramas of cities from memory; animal scientist Temple Grandin, who is equally well-known for her innovations in livestock herding and her autism advocacy; and autistic savant Daniel Tammet, who was able to learn Icelandic in a week, among other remarkable feats of memory. But what is the actual experience of living with autism in a deep felt sense, beyond the social stereotypes and headline-worthy superskills?
Drawing Autism, a celebration of the artistry and self-expression found in artwork by people diagnosed with autism, explores just that.
The stunning volume, with an introduction by Grandin herself, features works by more 50 international contributors, from children to established artists, that illustrate the rich multiplicity of the condition — which we hesitate to call a “disorder” as we subscribe to the different, not lesser view of autism — and the subjective experience of each autistic individual. Thanks to Will of 50 Watts for the wonderful images.
Who are some artists that you like?
None. I study road maps and atlases in detail and generally I scroll the full track of our trips on Google Earth.
Wil’s grandmother explains:
The key in understanding Pals is the brown rimmed off-white donkey ear. Four facial expressions depict the bad boys turning into donkeys in the movie Pinocchio: purple-faced Pinocchio is stunned by his new ear and considering what to do; it’s too late for the horrified yellow face; the green trapezoid is oblivious to his pending fate; the blue head is looking away hoping he’s not included.”
Drawing Autism comes from Mark Batty Publisher — one of our favorite independent voices at the intersection of visual art and thoughtful cultural commentary, whom you may recall from The Unruly Alphabet, Drainspotting, Pioneers of Spanish Graphic Design, and Noma Bar’s fantastic Negative Space illustrations.
Images via 50 Watts
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22 thoughts on “Children and Established Artists Draw Autism”
Um.. what’s that? More than 10 links with your affiliate code embedded to Amazon, a bunch of self links and you post the link to the source site (it’s not via if you take all their work) — who spent HOURS putting the post together — and you have the temerity to minimise the text size in “via”.
peacay | 7:03 am on May 04, 2011
@peacay: Your comment is incredibly abrasive.
I got the book directly from the publisher and review text is entirely my own. The self-links serve to contextualize autism for the reader, if you had stuck around for a bit more and perhaps engaged with the site, you would’ve known that Brain Pickings is all about connecting dots and various pieces of knowledge, so using archival content to contextualize new information is at the core of what we do.
The styling of the “via” link is just a css class. Just like image credits in any magazine and on any site appear in a font slightly smaller than the paragraph text.
Please note that not all images from the 50 Watts site were used, I specifically curated those I found most compelling .
On an aside, also please note that I love your site and have been a longtime supporter of it on Twitter, so I don’t understand the complete hostility here. Keep up the good work, but hopefully not the vicious tone.
Maria Popova | 7:10 am on May 04, 2011
yes, i don’t know, but i totally agree with Maria. why are you so hostile. is it you, that wants to run the great brainpicker or home come.
Jochen Goerdts | 10:43 am on May 04, 2011
Those are Amazon affiliate links?
Dino | 11:10 am on May 04, 2011
thanks for posting this beautiful book – I have a close friend with 2 autistic children and this would make a nice gift for him.
anechoic | 11:16 am on May 04, 2011
Thanks for the support, guys.
@Dino – yep, Amazon, the same way you’d see on most blogs and online magazines, from Swiss Miss to Boing Boing to Design Observer and beyond. Cheers.
Maria Popova | 11:17 am on May 04, 2011
I absolutely love your site and share many of your tweets with friends. I am continually educated by your interesting and fun picks. I look forward to your tweets everyday. Thank you for the work you do.
Jason Odom | 11:58 am on May 04, 2011
Quit crying, man!
He called you out on trying to make money.
Who cares? Make your money, dude. Tell this guy to kiss off. Why do you even care what he thinks?
Go wipe your eyes and blow your nose and grow a backbone.
Eric B | 12:48 pm on May 04, 2011
@Jason: Thank you for the kind words (and the donation) – this wonderful feedback and support means a lot. Cheers!
Maria Popova | 1:50 pm on May 04, 2011
Hey now – everybody lighten up, kay? It’s just the same sort of thing I do for family and friends – I find interesting things online (or in real life!) and I share the info so they can make a meaningful connection with the person or group or *thing* – whomever or whatever it may be.
Maria, there’s not a thing wrong with what you do, and for the occasions where you RT or repost what someone has done directly, it seems to me as if you see nothing to add or change prior to posting, and that’s okay, too. We all do that. I just don’t do it full-time (for my work). But lots of people do.
I think it’s great that you *DO* give credit for where you have found things, since so many people do not bother with adding an original link to get you back to the source material.
Was it Shakespeare who wrote that there’s nothing new under the sun? In a separate post this afternoon, I saw that you linked to your friend at Open Culture on “Everything borrows from what came before” – all creative work is derivative. Enough said.
HeatherTX | 4:24 pm on May 04, 2011
Just wanted to quickly point out that you’ve mixed up the attribution on one pic.
The second one credited to Emily L. Williams (seventh pic down overall), you’ve called ‘They Take Away Your Razors, Your Shoelaces, & Your Belt’, but it is actually by Wil C. Kerner, and is called ‘Pals’.
Rae | 7:52 pm on May 04, 2011
Great catch Rae, thank you! Fixed. Cheers!
Maria Popova | 7:56 pm on May 04, 2011
No problem! I was reading the comments the artists made about what the picture meant to them, and happened to notice it. By the way, the text just below that pic still refers to the other pic (‘They Take Away Your Razors, Your Shoelaces, & Your Belt’) rather than what Will said about *his* pic.
Sorry if I seem pedantic, I just figured you’d want to know. I realise typos etc do just slip through sometimes!
Have a great week.
Rae | 8:04 pm on May 04, 2011
Ah, no need to apologize, I totally appreciate your catching this! (It’s the sort of embarrassing collateral damage that happens when one tries to pull two consecutive all-nighters…sigh). Fixed this time, and thank you again!
Maria Popova | 8:12 pm on May 04, 2011
I don’t see anything wrong in what you’ve done; but given that you labelled kottke.com a douche bag for what *you* considered breaching the curatorial code not so long ago, you can’t really complain for getting the same in return. Play nice, and everyone’s happy.
Gansallo | 4:45 pm on May 05, 2011
@Gansallo Heh, funny that you remember that. But I want to point out that I do give credit, always, to my sources if I did indeed discover it through them. The 50 Watts credit was there from the beginning, even though I didn’t actually discover the book through them – got it flagged directly by Mark Batty, the publisher, who emailed me – and only used their images. (Not to mention BibliOdyssey’s criticism wasn’t even about NOT crediting but about crediting in a way that he/she – let’s not forget that’s someone who remains anonymous in all their web appearances – didn’t find satisfactory.)
So, technically, that’s not even a “via” credit yet it was there anyway. Very different from the Kottke issue, which is about not crediting sources of discovery. But thanks for paying close enough attention that you even remembered Cheers!
Maria Popova | 4:51 pm on May 05, 2011
And thank you for taking the time to reply.
All the best.
Gansallo | 5:05 pm on May 05, 2011
Thank you for this post. I teach and after school program called Art at the Library. It combines art with literacy. One of my students is autistic It’s been an amazing journey to see him grow over the last 3 years. But, what I’m more amazed at is his art!! While doing collage he can cut pieces, without measuring… and they interlock perfectly. Just the details and imagery is stunning. It’s been such a pleasure to have him in my classes. I always look forward to his next piece of art work.
Paige | 7:41 am on May 10, 2011
Maria, I’ve stayed out of it thus far, as Paul Kerrigan (he’s not exactly anonymous, he’s got a book and a ton of interviews and a networked blog) wrote that comment without asking me, though I had emailed him about my surprise at seeing your post. He honestly treats me like his little blogging brother as he knows I won’t stand up for myself. I understand all your points in your response. I do not, however, see any link to my site on the Atlantic reblog of your post:
I understand these things get lost in reblogs, and that’s probably the result of an Atlantic css style too, but it underscores Paul’s point — which got muddled in his hotheadedness — that you seemed to intentionally minimize the fact (which was then unintentionally exaggerated by the css styling) that I spent a lot of time curating that post — selecting my favorite 18 images from the 200 in the book, working with MBP to get the files, resizing them, typing in the descriptions and captions on a lonely Friday night, adding links to the artist’s websites, not to mention the extremely various set of circumstances that lead a 2009 backlist book into my lap in the first place. Why not just put my name in the first sentence? Blog posts can be revised. I can become one of the dots in this connection.
If I had reblogged someone the way you did here — I do it all the time — I likely would have said, “Will at 50 Watts blah blah did this feature on the book and picked his favorites etc” and made a nice link and then said my spiel. Remember, this is the only reward bloggers usually get, and it means a lot to us. It’s the way I do it and the way most bloggers I know do it, and in 4 years of blogging I’ve never seen someone do it quite the way you do it. Granted, you can do it however you want!
I also wanted to remind you that you and I had a few email exchanges last year (or two years ago), via Chris from Escape Into Life. Because we had had this digital introduction, I was surprised to hear you refer to me in such an impersonal way in your comment that you didn’t use all the images “from the 50 Watts site.” (Besides the fact that that is not the point.)
With this comment, I would love it if you would just delete the whole comment exchange here and we’ll put it behind us and move on. I wish you had just deleted Paul’s comment and emailed him in the first place. I’m not excusing his piss poor manners in his comment, but in retrospect I’m glad he stood up for me.
Will @ 50 Watts | 12:42 am on May 20, 2011
Hi Will, thanks for your note. Let me first say that I love 50 Watts (and congrats on the shout-out from Steven Heller yesterday!), I tweet your articles frequently and didn’t mean to disrespect your work. I’ve added a sentence prefacing the images (but not in the first paragraph, since this is an editorial lead that has nothing to do with the images), in addition to the via credit. I’ve also reached out to the editors at The Atlantic – you’re correct, it must be a styling thing and I have no control over what they take – to address this. Hope this is to your satisfaction.
I won’t, however, delete the comment thread because I’m a big believer in transparency and, more importantly, I think it’s important to keep the conversation open as we, as a culture, try to figure this thing out, figure out the right ways to properly credit sources of discovery online. I’m glad this issue came up, and I’m glad we’ve had a chance to try to address it and see what makes sense, what feels right, and ultimately what the role of a content curator is.
Cheers and thanks again for your wonderful work.
Maria Popova | 2:47 pm on May 20, 2011
Thanks Maria. The first day my post went live your tweet about it lead to a lot of new traffic. (Much more than the via link in your blog post the next day.) As I noted in my separate email again requesting that you delete this comment thread (I realize you hadn’t seen it before responding above), what dismayed me was that Atlantic’s syndication of your post had gotten 14,000 hits on stumbleupon, and my “via” had gotten dropped. I think some of those 14K folks would have enjoyed my post too, but they didn’t get a chance. I’m over it, I hope.
Could you also add a “50 Watts for butodoesitfloat” to this one:
I worked with Emilio Gil for months to get that post and the companion Pla-Narbona post together. The posts may not look like much, and they ultimately become just floating images to be recycled (I’m on tumblr too, after all), but there’s a huge amount of effort involved. I remember those in particular were grueling — importing pdfs to photoshop and other hassles, endless back-and-forth and cajoling.
Anyway, apologies for my huffy tone last night, Maria, and apologies to Peacay for using his name — he has an interesting discussion of why he doesn’t use it in his book. I should have been blogging rather than complaining, so back to my book cave.
Will @ 50 Watts | 4:22 pm on May 20, 2011
Thanks Will. If it makes you feel any better, I hardly see any traffic from the Atlantic articles myself – we’re talking in the dozens, at best – so I doubt you missed out on anything. (I’m just glad the content is finding a new, intelligent audience there, so I don’t much care about traffic.)
I’ve added 50 Watts to the “via” credit that was originally in the Spanish Graphic Design article. I wasn’t aware you were involved, actually – but now I am. Again, fantastic job. Cheers.
Maria Popova | 4:31 pm on May 20, 2011
Saturday, 18 June 2011
Occupation "Homemaker" and lovin it! From Southampton Member since Tue 10 Oct 06
Re: *Simple* recipe for roast venison?
Hi Joe, season shoulder with salt & pepper and cover completely with bacon, then
Roast, uncovered, adding NO water, in 350º oven. Allow 20 to 25 minutes per pound. Enjoy
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article needs additional citations for verification.
Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (March 2009)
Jack Unterweger Background information Birth name: Johann Unterweger Also known as: The Pug Dumper
The Jesus Christ Jumper
The Vienna Strangler
The Poet of Death
Jack the Writer
Born: 16 August 1950(1950-08-16)
Died: 29 June 1994(1994-06-29) (aged 43)
Cause of death: Suicide by hanging Killings Number of victims: 10-15 Span of killings: 1974–1992 Country: Germany
Date apprehended: 27 February 1992
Johann "Jack" Unterweger (16 August 1950 – 29 June 1994) was an Austrian serial killer who murdered prostitutes in several countries. First convicted of a 1974 murder, he was released in 1990 due in part to a campaign by intellectuals and politicians, who regarded Unterweger as an example of rehabilitation. He became a journalist and minor celebrity, but within months of his release started killing again. He committed suicide following a conviction for several murders.
 Early life
Born to a Viennese mother and an unknown American soldier, Unterweger grew up in poverty with his grandfather, whom he described as a violent alcoholic. Unterweger's aunt, however, contradicted this information about his grandfather, stating that Unterweger grew up in a poor but very loving and caring household.
He was in and out of prison during his youth for petty crimes, and for assaulting local prostitutes. In 1974, Unterweger murdered 18-year-old German Margaret Schäfer by strangling her with her own bra, and was sentenced to life, which in Austria means 25 years with 15 years to parole. While in prison, Unterweger became an author of short stories, poems, plays, and an autobiography, Fegefeuer – eine Reise ins Zuchthaus, which was adapted into a motion picture (some were even broadcast on ORF, the Austrian state Broadcaster). Austrian intellectuals, including the author and 2004 Nobel Prize winner Elfriede Jelinek, made petitions to pardon Unterweger. He was released on 23 May 1990, after the required 15 years of his life term, thought to have been successfully "resocialized". Upon his release, Unterweger hosted television programs which discussed criminal rehabilitation.
Law enforcement later found that Unterweger killed six prostitutes in Austria in the first year after his release. In 1991, Unterweger was hired by an Austrian magazine to write about crime in Los Angeles, California, and the differences between U.S. and European attitudes to prostitution. Unterweger met with local police, even going so far as to participate in a ride-along of the city's red light districts. During Unterweger's time in Los Angeles, three prostitutes — Shannon Exley, Irene Rodriguez, and Sherri Ann Long — were beaten, sexually assaulted with tree branches, and strangled with their own brassieres.
In Austria, Unterweger was suggested as a suspect for the prostitute murders. In the absence of other suspects, the police took a serious look at Unterweger and kept him under surveillance until he went to the U.S. — ostensibly as a reporter — observing nothing to connect him with the murders.
Law enforcement eventually had enough evidence for his arrest, but Unterweger was gone by the time they entered his home. After law enforcement chased him through Europe, Canada and the U.S., he was finally arrested by the FBI in Miami, Florida, on 27 February 1992. While a fugitive, he had called the Austrian media to try to convince them of his innocence. Back in Austria, Unterweger was charged with 11 homicides, one of which had occurred in Prague. The jury found him guilty of nine murders by a 6:2 majority (sufficient for a conviction under Austrian law at the time). On 29 June 1994, Unterweger was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.
That night, he committed suicide at Graz-Karlau Prison by hanging himself with a rope made from shoelaces and a cord from the trousers of a track suit. He is reported to have used an intricate knot identical to that used on the murdered prostitutes. Because he died before he could appeal the verdict, under a technicality of Austrian law, Unterweger is officially to be considered as innocent, despite the original guilty verdict; Unterweger's case was one of those considered in a review of this Austrian legal principle.
In a 2008 performance, actor John Malkovich portrayed Unterweger's life in a performance for one actor, two sopranos, and period orchestra entitled Seduction and Despair.  A fully-staged version of the production, entitled The Infernal Comedy premiered in Vienna in July 2009, coming to London in June 2011.
 See also
 Further reading
- John Leake, Entering Hades: The Double Life of a Serial Killer, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2007).
Persondata Name Unterweger, Jack Alternative names Short description Austrian serial killer Date of birth 16 August 1950 Place of birth Judenburg, Styria, Austria Date of death 29 June 1994 Place of death Graz, Styria, AustriaRetrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Unterweger"Categories: 1951 births | 1994 deaths | People from Judenburg | Austrian serial killers | Suicides by hanging in Austria | Serial killers who committed suicide | Austrian prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment | Prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment by Austria | People who committed suicide in prison custody | Austrian people who died in prison custody | Prisoners who died in Austrian detention | Austrian people convicted of murder | People convicted of murder by Austria | Crimes against sex workers | Austrian people of American descent
Star Shooting Intense Water Jets Into Space Spotted By Herschel Telescope
A star shooting water is almost an oxymoron.
But a young sun-like star seems to have been spotted 750 light-years from Earth doing just that, as researchers have apparently discovered, according to PopSci. Their findings indicate that the proto-star is shoot water from its poles at about 124,000 miles per hour.
Essentially, it's creating water bullets that it shoots deep into interstellar space, according to National Geographic. This star is no more than 100,000 years old, and is located in the northern constellation Perseus.
The star was found by ESA’s Herschel Space Observatory, which was able to see through a dense layer of gas that surrounded it. According to PopSci, the telescope picked up the light signature of both hydrogen and oxygen which are coming together as liquid water before vaporizing near the massive jets of gas that spew from the the star's poles.
It's not until the water vapor is far from the star that it returns to a liquid state. At that point the water is moving at about 80 times the speed of a bullet fired from a pistol, or about 124,000 miles per hour, writes National Geographic. As Lars Kristensen, lead author of the study -- which has been accepted for publication in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics -- points out, that's "about 80 times faster than bullets flying out of a machine gun."
The really interesting part of this discovery however, is just how far the water is propelled and the possibility that this stage may be a part of the life of many more protostars. If this is the case, the prospect of stars like these distributing water throughout the universe is incredible, considering the implications for life that water brings
'Deer With Wings' Causes Montana Power Outage
HELENA, Mont. -- A Montana resident says an energy company has identified the cause of a brief power outage as "deer with wings." Lee Bridges says she was outside with her dogs around the time the power went out when a NorthWestern Energy truck pulled up, giving her a chance to ask the driver what caused the problem.
She says he pointed up and said, "Apparently, we've got deer with wings."
Bridges looked up and saw a dead fawn on a power line.
It's unlikely the animal had an accident while trying to make like distant-cousin Rudolph. Bridges suspects that an eagle dropped its prey and couldn't retrieve it.
The lineman who removed the carcass from the power line said he'd never seen anything like it.