zondag 27 april 2008

Women's influence on Baby's Gender...

... Is (finally) being taken into consideration, even if it is based on something that seems as unimportant as the mother's nutritional habbits around the time of conception and during pregnancy.

I have to admitt that this research is a step in the right direction, but there is still a very long way to go until science realizes HOW truly influential is the woman's contribution to the baby's gender. Something that, until now, was awarded to the male and father who -as science thought- determined the baby's gender through his sperm.
If an X sperm would fertilize the woman's egg then it would be a girl, and if it's a Y sperm, it would be a boy.

Based on this 'rusted' scientific assumption, the male and father was the sole contributor to the baby's gender leaving the woman's role to mainly be that of the womb that would carry the baby to term.

Now, it seems that this is old-fashioned idea will be changing. Finally, science is discovering HOW important a woman's and mother's contribution to humankind actually is, and it begins by also influencing her baby's gender.

Through this new information, based on something as simple as what kind of nutrition did the mother consume around the time of conception, and during her pregnancy, it seems that the mother's body has a lot more to say about the child's gender than science ever thought possible.
It is a scientific fact that what food we eat and what diet we follow, influnces our body's chemistry and the chemical reactions (communication) that take place between different organs, including our brain that influnces our emotions, as they too are chemical reactions. Food can play thus a vital role in the body's chemistry, and now it is also shown through this latest research that food can also play a role in the conception process.

What if the chemistry of the woman's body influnces which sperm (the X or the Y) gets to fertilize the woman's egg? What if the outer layer of the egg for example, based on this chemistry, plays the role of a bouncer and either permits or fences off the wanted or unwanted 'gender' of the sperm?

What if the woman's body, based on the food it eats -which food represents environmental conditions and give the body an indication of the 'outside' circumstances and conditions where the baby will be born- can decide what gender is necessary to either strengthen these outside circumstances and conditions or change them? Think about it for a minute...

The environmental changes in the water, earth, sun-light, and air - representing the four basic elements of water, air, fire and earth, are present in the food we eat as they influnce the quality and the chemicals present in what we eat that then enter our body and affect the chemical reaction within our body and now these chemical reaction can affect and also influence the gender of the child that a woman concives while living in these environmental changes.

A full circle!

This knowledge will not only change the way society perceives the females and maybe realize that it should be a female oriented society instead of the male oriented society it is today, since all of the male superiority and machoism all around the world is based on the fact that the male is the one that gives the world its two genders. Because until now we had to thank the male for other males and females being born, because ONLY the male has the two variations of X and Y in their genetic material that the new organism needs. The male sperm, thought science until now, was the sole determinant of which way the mix would go: a male child or a female child.

Surprise, surprise!!!

The new evidence shows that it may very well be that the male gets to offer both X and Y in his sperm, but ... it is the WOMAN'S BODY that decides which one will be accepted and allowed to fertilize the egg! The woman's body, and the chemistry inside that body form the link between environmental changes and the new generations, and that link is placed through the food we eat, because the food is the part of the environment that enters our body and 'changes it' accordingly to match whatever is happening in the environment.

And we thought that as civilized creatures we had escaped Darwin's profecy of the survival of the fittest, where the environment decides who exactly the fittest will be. Wrong. All we did with our civilization was affect the environment, which is now kicking back and showing us that we are all connected more than we want to know.

All these years, by disregarding the true contribution of the woman, the female, in the course of the humankind, we created the stage for situations to happen that we are now paying for. If we had realized how the environment influnces the very gender of each generation, and if so maybe think of what more might it be influncing (could autism be one of them? Actually yes, it is... more on this later) we might have been more careful of what we do with our water, air, soil and sun-light!!!

But maybe it is not too late. Finally the truth is out. I have foretold many times throughout my blog the rise of the female, the rise of the YIN, and the slow eclipse of the YANG!

The time has come for mankind to realize that we are entering an era that I call the 'Eclipse of the Male' and the 'Dawn of the Female'. The world needs women to take over and help the world heal, by nurishing it - the female nature is the nurishing that we all need.

Ladies, it is time for humanity to see, know, and realize HOW important is a woman, and how much she deserves a place -that is not just in word equal to the male- but in full practice.
It is us WOMEN who hold mankind's future in our bodies, it is us who have been neglected and abused and ruled over by male dominance because they thought we were just a hollow body that the male could fertilize and thus procreate.

Now, our importance and contribution is slowly surfacing. This research is a small step, a small step that is just as huge for humanity as the small step mankind took on the Moon ... Yes, the Moon, the symbol of womanhood and the female. Coincidence? Maybe not. The future will show.
Keep your eyes and ears peeled! This is my prediction: The future belongs to the FEMALE!

Want to read and see more? Check:

Diet influences gender?
A woman's pre-pregnancy eating habits may impact the sex of her unborn child, a study finds.
» Details

vrijdag 11 april 2008

Asperger's and IT: Dark secret or open secret?

Asperger's Syndrome has been a part of IT for as long as there's been IT. So why aren't we doing better by the Aspies among us?

By Tracy Mayor
April 2, 2008 (Computerworld)

"Ryno" is a 50-something ex-sysadmin, by his own account "burned out and living on disability" in rural Australia.
He loved the tech parts of being a system administrator, and he was good at them. But the interpersonal interactions that went along with the position -- the hearty backslaps from random users, the impromptu meetings -- were literally unbearable for Ryno. "I can make your systems efficient and lower your downtime," he says. "I cannot make your users happy."

Bob, a database applications programmer who's been working in high tech for 26 years, has an aptitude for math and logic. And he has what he calls his "strange memory." If he can't recall the answer to a question, he can recall exactly, as if in a digital image, where he first saw the answer, down to the page and paragraph and sentence.
Bob has some behavior quirks as well: He can become nonverbal when he's frustrated, and he interprets things literally -- he doesn't read between the lines. "I am sure [my boss] finds it frustrating when I misinterpret his irony," he says, "but at least he knows it is not willful."

"Jeremy" excels at being able to see an engineering problem from the inside out, internalizing it almost from the point of view of the code itself. He's great at hammering out details one on one with other intensely focused people, often the CEOs of the companies he contracts for. To protect his anonymity, he doesn't want to mention his programming subspecialty, but suffice it to say he's a very well-known go-to guy in his industry.
What Jeremy is not good at is suffering fools in the workplace or dealing with the endless bureaucracy of the modern corporation. If someone is wrong -- if their idea just plain won't work -- he says so, simply states the fact. That frankness causes all manner of upset in the office, he's discovered.

These IT professionals are all
autistic. Bob and Ryno have Asperger's Syndrome (AS), sometimes referred to as Asperger's Disorder; Jeremy has high-functioning autism (HFA).
Though the terms are debated and sometimes disputed in the medical community, both refer in a general way to people who display some characteristics of autism -- including unusual responses to the environment and deficits in social interaction -- but not the cognitive and communicative development impairments or language delays of classic autism.


"The Big Interest is a great start to Aspie-spotting."
Ryno, former sysadmin with Asperger's

People with Asperger's, widely known as "Aspies," aren't good at reading nonverbal cues, according to the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR). They can have difficulty forming friendships with peers, they form a strict adherence to routines and rituals, and they may exhibit repetitive and stereotyped motor movements like hand or finger flapping.
Dr. Tony Attwood, a world-renowned Asperger's clinician and author in Brisbane, Australia, defines Asperger's in a more human context: "The [Asperger's] person usually has a strong desire to seek knowledge, truth and perfection with a different set of priorities. ... The overriding priority may be to solve a problem rather than satisfy the social or emotional needs of others."

Problems over people? Hmm, sounds like a techie.

paper on Asperger's from Yale University's Developmental Disabilities Clinic continues down the same path: "Idiosyncratic interests are common and may take the form of an unusual and/or highly circumscribed interest (e.g., in train schedules, snakes, the weather, deep-fry cookers or telegraph pole insulators)."
Or technology. When Ryno spoke with a receptionist to make an initial appointment for an evaluation with Attwood, she asked him, "What is your 'Big Interest'?

"Υes, it is a stereotype, and yes, there are a higher than average number of Aspies in high tech."
Bob, database applications programmer with Asperger's

"She inadvertently gave me a diagnostic question I have found invaluable," he recalls. "The Big Interest is a great start to Aspie-spotting."
Ryno's Big Interest is computers and communications. He's not the only one, not by a long shot.

The Asperger's-IT connection

Autism, though first identified and labeled in 1943, is still a poorly understood neurodevelopment disorder, and nearly every aspect of its causes, manifestations, research and cure is mired in controversy. Asperger's and HFA, being hard-to-define, often undiagnosed or underdiagnosed variants on the high end of the autism spectrum, are even less quantified or understood.

Diagnoses of autism, including Asperger's, have skyrocketed in the U.S. in recent years -- the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now estimates that
1 in 150 8-year-old children has some form of autism.
It's not clear if the increase is because of better detection, a change in the diagnosis to include a wider range of behaviors, a true increase in case numbers, or some combination of those or other factors.

It's even less clear how many adults have Asperger's. Because Aspies are usually of average or above-average intelligence, they're often able to mask or accommodate their differences socially and in the workplace, meaning many of them make it well into middle age, or live their whole lives, without being formally diagnosed.

A spokesman for the National Institute of Mental Health says that the agency is not aware of any government organization or academic research that tracks the incidence of AS in adults.

Where statistics come up short, anecdote is happy to take up the slack. Ask an Asperger's-aware techie if there is indeed a connection between AS and IT, and you're likely to get "affirmative, Captain." (Yes, Star Trek's Mr. Spock is often diagnosed online as having Asperger's; see "
Playing the Asperger's guessing game.")
When the question is put to Ryno, he e-mails back a visual:

Aspies --> tech as fish --> water

Bob, the database applications programmer, says, "Yes, it is a stereotype, and yes, there are a higher than average number of Aspies in high tech."

Nobody, it seems, has more to say on the subject than
Temple Grandin, a fast-talking Ph.D. Aspie professor who's the closest thing Asperger's has to an elder stateswoman. Grandin made her mark designing livestock-handling facilities from the point of view of the animal; she now has a thriving second career as an Asperger's author (Thinking in Pictures, Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships) and speaker.

"Is there a connection between Asperger's and IT? We wouldn't even have any computers if we didn't have Asperger's," she declares. "All these labels -- 'geek' and 'nerd' and 'mild Asperger's' -- are all getting at the same thing. ... The Asperger's brain is interested in things rather than people, and people who are interested in things have given us the computer you're working on right now."

Career opportunities, career limitations

Grandin has compiled a
list of jobs and their suitability to Aspies and autistics according to their skills.according to their skills. No surprise, tech jobs are cited early and often. Her list of "good jobs for visual thinkers," for example, includes computer programming, drafting (including computer-aided drafting), computer troubleshooting and repair, Web page design, video game design and computer animation.
Grandin's "good jobs for nonvisual thinkers," which she further defines as "those who are good at math, music or facts," includes computer programming, engineering, inventory control and physics.

Why do Asperger's individuals gravitate to technology? "Adults with Asperger's have a social naiveté that prevents them from understanding how people relate. What draws them in is not parties and social interaction, but work that allows them to feel safe, to feel in control," explains Steve Becker, a developmental disabilities therapist at
Becker & Associates, a private practice in the Seattle suburb of Des Moines, Wash., that conducts ongoing small group sessions for adults with AS, among other services.

We wouldn't even have any computers if we didn't have Asperger's."
Temple Grandin, Asperger's author


"What's better for that than a video game or a software program?" Becker asks. "When you're designing a software program, there are rules and protocols to be followed. In life, there is no manual."
While careful to protect his clients' confidentiality, Becker confirms that he sees many adults and children of adults who work for the region's tech powerhouses -- Microsoft Corp. and The Boeing Co. -- and the hundreds of smaller companies that orbit around them.

Some of the Aspies he counsels are at the very top of their tech game: software and aerospace engineers, computer scientists, Ph.Ds. But for every research fellow with Asperger's, he says, there are a legion of fellow Aspies having a much tougher time in the middle or low ranks of the industry.

"The spectrum of success is much broader than one would expect," agrees
Roger Meyer, the Portland, Ore.-based author of The Asperger Syndrome Employment Workbook who runs one of the oldest peer-led adult Asperger's groups in the country. "Adults who have grown sophisticated at masking and adaptive behaviors can either bubble along at the bottom of the market or do very well at the top."
It's that "bubbling along at the bottom" that has Becker, Meyer and other Aspie specialists concerned. Employees with Asperger's might do well for years in data entry or working in a job like insurance claims, where knowledge of ephemera is a prized work skill, only to flounder when they're promoted to a position that requires a higher degree of social interaction.

"The more technical the job, the better they do. But for some, managing people in a supervisory capacity can be a problem," Becker says.
That can leave Asperger's employees stuck on the lower and less remunerative ranks of IT, sometimes in jobs that are vulnerable to outsourcing, says Meyer. For example, certain tech support situations, where sensory distractions are minimal and human interactions are reduced to a screen or a voice on the phone, are a natural fit for some Aspies.

"They're good at diagnostic work. They can get in and slosh around in the computer, use their encyclopedic knowledge of applications and work-arounds, and arrive at a solution that may be unorthodox but effective," says Meyer. As those jobs increasingly become automated and/or outsourced, Aspies' chances for employment are diminished as well.

IT's dark little secret

Becker and Meyer say they have yet to hear of a single corporation that has any kind of formal program in place to nurture and support employees with Asperger's and HFA, aside from covering the costs of therapy through standard health care plans.
Which begs the question: If Aspies are everywhere among us, why isn't the IT industry doing more to support them or even to simply acknowledge their existence?

High-tech companies, after all, have been at the forefront of supporting workers with nearly every type of social, ethnic, physical or developmental identification.
Microsoft, to take just one example, sponsors at least 20 affinity groups -- for African Americans, dads, deaf and hard of hearing, visually impaired, Singaporeans, single parents, and gay/lesbian/bisexual and transgendered employees, to name a few. Just nothing for autistics.

A Microsoft spokeswoman confirmed that the company has no group or formal, separate support for Asperger's. On rare occasions, an employee with AS has requested accommodation, she says. When that happens, the employee is paired with a disability case manager to determine "reasonable accommodation" on a case-by-case basis.

Intel Corp. and Yahoo Inc. didn't respond to requests to discuss their policy toward Asperger's employees, and a Google Inc. spokesman says the company was "unable to accommodate the inquiry."
To be fair, the question of whether and how corporations should support Aspies is a thorny one to untangle.

If you meet someone from another country, people know they're from a different country and they cut them some slack."
Jeremy, programmer with high-functioning autism

For one thing, unlike a disability that confines an employee to a wheelchair or the language barrier that a foreigner faces, autism is something others can't see or easily understand.
"A readily visible disability is easier [for co-workers] to cognitively take on board, it seems," Ryno laments. "Ah, if only Asperger's made one turn green!"
"If you meet someone from another country," Jeremy elaborates, "people know they're from a different country and they cut them some slack."

And by their very nature, Aspies are not uniters. Microsoft's clubs and support groups are all initiated and chartered by employees. That leaves Aspies out by default: It would be highly unusual for an employee with Asperger's to voluntarily organize any type of social group, with or without other autistics.
Finally, many Aspies aren't "out" in the workplace; they haven't acknowledged their condition publicly or to more than one or two individuals.
Whether they should is a matter of contention. Ryno revealed his Asperger's at only one job (his last) and lived to regret it, even though his boss happened to be a young Aspie as well.

"It's the first time I've had an AS person as a superior," he says. "It was definitely a refreshing change not to have to explain why I didn't do eye contact, hated meetings and could not suffer fools, let alone feign gladness."
In retrospect, however, Ryno regrets having told anyone he has AS. "I'd say there were many disadvantages and few gains. The gains were short-lived, too." Specifically, systems that Ryno and his boss had designed both to help users and to minimize interruptions to their own workdays were resented and little used.

Now that Ryno is gone -- he quit after being ordered by an executive to restore Internet access for an employee caught downloading pornography against company policy -- "the other AS employee is being forced into meetings, crowded social gatherings and many of the situations we had previously been allowed to keep to a minimum," he reports.

Jeremy has found that when he asks co-workers and bosses to accommodate his differences, it doesn't help, and in fact always seems to lead to the same end: termination.
"I don't blink. I stare. I don't understand boundary issues very well. I don't have a feeling of group membership, but other people have a very firm idea of membership in groups," he says, struggling to define the problem as precisely as possible.

As a result, where other employees are able to correct their mistakes and adjust their behaviors day to day in the office environment, Jeremy isn't. "People won't give me negative feedback. I don't know what I'm missing until it's already become a problem. I pick up on a lot of stuff, but I miss some cues. They're like little black holes, and the little black holes accumulate, and I end up being forced out. It keeps happening."
It isn't a question of work -- he is sought out for his programming specialty and always busy as a contractor -- but of social relationships. "I get the feeling what they'd like to do is put me in a black box, give me an assignment and get it out the other end in few weeks."

Building a better workplace?

The subtle social engineering that Jeremy and other HFA and Aspie employees struggle with may be beyond the ken of even the most proactive human resource organizations. But that doesn't mean the industry's heavy-hitters can't and shouldn't proactively fashion a more Asperger's-friendly workplace, a kind of "if you build it they will come -- and work" scenario.

These changes needn't be monumental, or limited to Aspies only, specialists say. Bob, the database applications programmer, was just one of several Aspies interviewed for this story who spoke admiringly of the work/life accommodations in place at Internet companies like Google.
"I would not demand it from anyone, but I do wish every employer were as accommodating as Google, supplying prepared meals and encouraging people to bring their dogs to work," he says.

Physical changes to the office environment can help as well, Grandin and others point out. Many Asperger's workers are debilitated by blinking or flickering lights; the mechanical noise of an air conditioner, photocopier or ringing telephones; or simple office chatter. A quiet corner, an office or cubicle with soundproofing or a white-noise machine may be all it takes to turn the situation around.

And more than one person spoke highly of the rumors that Microsoft offers a "buddy system" for Aspies, pairing an Asperger's employee with a neurotypical -- that is, nonautistic -- colleague who coaches them through the whys and wherefores of meetings and other social interactions. A Microsoft spokeswoman says that there is no official information available on any buddy programs but that there is a good chance such initiatives are conducted on a team-by-team basis within the company.
Beyond that, Asperger's individuals hope only that they be given a chance to find a niche in the modern corporate landscape. Companies have evolved to accommodate everything from workers' physical height to their hearing ability, sexual orientation or ethno-religious status, Ryno points out.

In the same way, he says, "employers of Aspies should look at the person and the tasks, environment, and communication structure and adjust for the best viable fit."

"I can make your systems efficient and lower your downtime. I cannot make your users happy."

Seattle-area psychologist Becker has seen some early signs that forward-looking high-tech companies may be doing just that. "I have seen cases where [a client] will say, 'I have Asperger's,' and receive a positive response from social workers employed by the business or the insurance companies," he reports.

On the whole, Becker is willing to cut IT some slack -- for now at least. "Most corporations have never dealt with Asperger's. It's a fairly new diagnosis, even newer for adults," he points out. His general feeling is that high tech wants to support Aspies as valuable employees, it just doesn't yet know how.
But that too shall change. "In the next five to 10 years, we'll see more businesses treating autism spectrum disorders as routine," he predicts.