Tuesday, August 29, 2017

On the Reading Table: NeuroTribes by Steve Silberman

Steve Silberman



NeuroTribes:

The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity

A groundbreaking book that upends conventional thinking about autism and suggests a broader model for acceptance, understanding, and full participation in society for people who think differently.
What is autism? A lifelong disability or a naturally occurring form of cognitive difference akin to certain forms of genius? In truth, it is all of these things and more -- and the future of our society depends on our understanding it. Wired reporter Steve Silberman unearths the secret history of autism, long suppressed by the same clinicians who became famous for discovering it, and finds surprising answers to the crucial question of why the number of diagnoses has soared in recent years.
Going back to the earliest days of autism research and chronicling the brave and lonely journey of autistic people and their families through the decades, Silberman provides long-sought solutions to the autism puzzle, while mapping out a path for our society toward a more humane world in which people with learning differences and those who love them have access to the resources they need to live happier, healthier, more secure, and more meaningful lives.
Along the way, he reveals the untold story of Hans Asperger, the father of Asperger’s syndrome, whose “little professors” were targeted by the darkest social-engineering experiment in human history; exposes the covert campaign by child psychiatrist Leo Kanner to suppress knowledge of the autism spectrum for fifty years; and casts light on the growing movement of “neurodiversity” activists seeking respect, support, technological innovation, accommodations in the workplace and in education, and the right to self-determination for those with cognitive differences.
NeuroTribes was the first science book to win the Samuel Johnson Prize. It has also won a California Book Award and a Books for a Better Life Award.

Mini Reviews

Explores in fascinating, near-encyclopedic depth how autism has evolved… a gripping narrative written with journalistic verve.
The Guardian
An essential resource. My own copy is already dog-eared.”
Nature
NeuroTribes is a sweeping and penetrating history, presented with a rare sympathy and sensitivity. It is fascinating reading; it will change how you think of autism, and it belongs, alongside the works of Temple Grandin and Clara Claiborne Park, on the bookshelf of anyone interested in autism and the workings of the human brain.
— From the foreword by Oliver Sacks, author of An Anthropologist On Mars and Awakenings
The monks who inscribed beautiful manuscripts during the Middle Ages, Cavendish an 18th century scientist who explained electricity, and many of the geeks in Silicon Valley are all on the autism spectrum. Silberman reviews the history of autism treatments from horrible blaming of parents to the modern positive neurodiversity movement. Essential reading for anyone interested in psychology.”
Temple Grandin, author of Thinking in Pictures and The Autistic Brain
NeuroTribes is remarkable. Silberman has done something unique: he’s taken the dense and detailed history of autism and turned the story into a genuine page-turner. The book is sure to stir considerable discussion.
John Elder Robison, Neurodiversity Scholar in Residence at The College of William & Mary and author of Look Me in the Eye
Be prepared to overturn all prior knowledge you had about autism. With meticulous research, Steve Silberman has unearthed the surprising truths about the history of autism, uncovering the roots of the lie of the autism “epidemic.” Be prepared to share the deeply compassionate understanding that the author bestows on the many different individuals we now include in the autism spectrum. His empathy touches even the villains of the story, and this is both moving and apt when he advises us all to embrace diversity. This gripping and heroic tale is a brilliant addition to the history of autism.
Uta Frith, Emeritus Professor of Cognitive Development at University College London
In this genuine page-turner, Steve Silberman reveals the untold history of autism: from persecution to parent-blaming, from Rain Man to vaccines, of doctors for whom professional ego trumped compassion, to forgotten heroes like Hans Asperger, unfairly tainted by Nazi links. It ends on an optimistic note, with ‘autistics’ reclaiming the narrative and defining autism in their terms — more difference than disability and an essential part of the human condition. Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in autism or Asperger’s, or simply a fascination with what makes us tick.
Benison O’Reilly, co-author of The Australian Autism Handbook

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Rene Magritte: Portrait of Fantomas

Rene Magritte



Fantomas


Rene Magritte and his surreal portrait of Fantômas, The Barbarian, 1937...

One of the most popular characters in the history of French crime fiction, Fantômas was created in 1911 and appeared in a total of 32 volumes written by two collaborators, Pierre Souvestre and Marcel Allain, then a subsequent 11 volumes written by Allain alone after Souvestre's death. The character was also the basis of various film, television, and comic book adaptations. In the history of crime fiction, he represents a transition from Gothic novel villains of the 19th century to modern-day serial killers.

Fantômas is a criminal genius, ruthless and particularly elusive. He is the cause of almost any unsolved crime, a merciless criminal who can get away with his evil deeds by impersonating pretty much anyone. He is obsessively chased by Inspector Juve, who is generally the only one able to see Fantômas's tracks.

Fantômas was introduced a few years after Arsène Lupin, another well-known thief. But whereas Lupin draws the line at murder, Fantômas has no such qualms and is shown as a sociopath who enjoys killing in a sadistic fashion.

He is totally ruthless, gives no mercy, and is loyal to none, not even his own children. He is a master of disguise, always appearing under an assumed identity, often that of a person whom he has murdered. Fantômas makes use of bizarre and improbable techniques in his crimes, such as plague-infested rats, giant snakes, and rooms that fill with sand.

Fantômas's background remains vague. He might be of British and/or French ancestry and appears to have been born in 1867.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Josef and Anni Albers: Designs for Living

Josef Albers and Anni Albers



Anni Albers



Anni Albers



Anni Albers



Josef Albers 


The first comprehensive book on the furniture, textiles and other works of two of the most important and influential artists of the twentieth century. Designs for Living features innovative objects that the couple designed for their homes while teaching at the Bauhaus in Germany and following their move to the United States in 1933 and includes specially commissioned photographs of important but little-known works. Illuminating essays celebrate the Alberses' endless creativity and set their ground-breaking work in the context of International Modernism. This book will appeal to students, art historians, collectors and anyone interested in twentieth-century design.





Saturday, August 19, 2017

Mario Botta

Mario Botta



Mario Botta



Mario Botta



Mario Botta



Mario Botta



Mario Botta


Working since the age of 16, Swiss architect Mario Botta (b. 1943) has become a prolific and well known crafter of space, designing a huge array of places of worship, private homes, and museums, perhaps most notably the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Church of San Giovanni Battista in Mogno, Switzerland. His use of traditional masonry over the streamlined steel and glass of so much modern architecture creates strong, self-confident buildings that pull together the contrast between the weight of his materials and lightness of his designs.

Studying architecture in the Italian cities of Milan and Venice, Botta began his professional career working under giants of Modernism such as Louis Kahn and Le Corbusier himself, whose religious buildings at Ronchamp, among others, influenced the goals of Botta.

Botta is perhaps most well known for his museums -- attracting international attention for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in the 1990s. Museums are perfectly suited to Botta's geometrically pure, counter-intuitively light style of design and his ability to draw on the deep classical traditions that ran through Western architecture -- honed after nearly 50 years of continuous work that shows little sign of slowing, with his projects in more recent years including the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in Charlotte.

As such, his reputation as an architect of traditional materials is impressive, something only helped by his keen ability to recognize and incorporate vernacular styles of the area into his work, while still keeping the building recognizably distinct. He has worked on projects across the world, from Tel Aviv to San Francisco, and most recently has expanded into Asia.





Sunday, August 6, 2017

Felix Candela: The Wizard of Concrete Shells

Félix Candela



Félix Candela



Félix Candela



Félix Candela



Félix Candela


"The Wizard of Concrete Shells," Félix Candela, is regarded as one the greatest Spanish-born architects of the 20th century. Candela is celebrated for his feats of architectural engineering that transformed concrete into visual poetry. Candela's visionary structural designs featuring curvaceous, thin-shell roofs based on the hyperbolic paraboloid geometric form departed from the dominant linear directives of the International Style.

Félix Candela was born in Madrid, Spain in 1910. In 1935 he completed his studies in architecture at the Madrid Superior Technical School of Architecture. When the Spanish Civil War erupted, Candela enlisted in the Republican Army where he served as Captain of Engineers until the republican's defeat in 1939. Following the war, Candela was exiled from Spain, and like several other architects of Spanish origin, sought refuge in Mexico, where, in 1950, he founded his company "Cubiertas Ala," translated as "Wing Roofs."

A year later he executed the "Pabellón de Rayos Cósmicos," or "Cosmic Rays Pavilion," which was his first structure utilizing his signature hyperbolic paraboloid geometry. The building began a decade of experimentation with thin-shell construction and the hyperbolic paraboloid form that garnered him international recognition, including the 1961 Auguste Perret Award from the International Union of Architects and a 1961 Gold Medal from the Institute of Structural Engineers

In 1971, Candela immigrated to the United States and accepted a faculty position at the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois. Candela's final project, executed posthumously following his death in 1997 at 88 years of age, was the restaurant at the Valencia Oceanographic Park in Spain.