Are avid readers able to translate the knowledge gained from the books they read into experiences that make them able to read the people and situations in their lives the way they read books?


I think you may have discovered “education”.

It’s a method which uses “books” to “transfer information” to “brains”, which allows the “users” of the brains to do things that they otherwise could not do.

Other methods do exist, such as

  • “learning by experience”, where a “brain user” tries a variety of techniques to “do stuff”, eventually hitting on the correct technique by a process of elimination (assuming they survive prior techniques); and
  • “teaching”, where one “brain user” (perhaps a person who has successfully completed “learning from experience”) “transfers information” to other candidate “brain users” via speech and focussed, practical “stuff-doing”, thereby averting the occasionally life-limiting “error” effects of “trial and error”.

“Books” have the advantage over these methods in that they can contain information that both avoids the unhealthful aspects of “learning by experience”, and reduces the reliance on “teachers”.

You might be onto something here!

My mom has dark brown/black hair, olive skin tone, with crystal blue eyes, and she’s mainly of Scottish descent. I feel like that is relatively rare. Is it?

You must not get out much.

Black hair and light-coloured eyes are extremely common in Scotland, Ireland and Wales. It’s the so-called “Celtic” phenotype, or Pierce Brosnan gene[1][2]. Skin is usually very pale, but freckles or darker skin are also common – think Pierce Brosnan (Irish), Sean Connery (Scottish), or Tom Jones (Welsh).

Oh, I just noticed you said “mainly of Scottish descent”, rather than “is Scottish”. And “mom”. That means she’s American, right? So basically, her genes could come from anywhere – even England…

Cheddar Man. Only a hop, skip and a jump from Wales, Cheddar is – but it’s definitely England.


[1] Researchers identify genomic variant associated with sun sensitivity, freckles

[2] Scientists discover the ‘Pierce Brosnan gene’

What are endorphins? How does one increase her levels inside the body without drugs?

Endorphins are your internal painkillers.

They don’t have a “level” as such – they’re released when you are in pain. They are natural analogues of morphine (the name comes from “endo” (internal) + “morphine”), and are the reason that morphine and other opiates are so addictive: they slot in where endorphins do, to do the same job of pain-killing.

The easiest and least damaging way of increasing your endorphins is to go for a run. You should run until you hurt. Then the endorphins kick in. You’ll still hurt, but the endorphins take the edge off. If you keep up the habit of running, the hurting will stop as you get fitter, and you’ll eventually experience the “jogger’s high”, a sensation of extreme well-being and euphoria caused by your endorphin release in response to the stress and strain on your muscles.

Has anyone regretted obtaining an adult autism diagnosis? I’m thinking of seeking one but bit nervous it might draw unwanted attention to myself.

As an adult, you’ve navigated the NT world more or less successfully to date. Obtaining a diagnosis (or going through the process and being told that you’re NOT autistic) is something you will do for yourself to ease any concerns that you may have, and perhaps gain a greater insight into any difficulties you experience*.

You are not required to get a diagnosis. You may decide that you’ve coped till now, and that a diagnosis will not alter anything in your life**.

You do not need to divulge your diagnosis to anyone other than the professionals involved in getting diagnosed. They are prohibited from divulging your diagnosis to anyone, unless you consent – so, for example, there’s zero possibility that your employer will find out***.

*: Note, however, that you can read up on autism – I recommend Temple Grandin – and, with a little critical analysis and introspection, you can get much of the information that a diagnosis would give you. That’s assuming you want to deal with your difficulties, rather than get the autism badge.

**: As you’ve coped till now, you will probably not have a basis for obtaining disability benefits. You may be entitled to some supports, such as social skills training. A good, detailed diagnosis may highlight issues that you need to be careful about (e.g., forgetfulness), which may help you avoid problems (by for example, establishing a routine with calendars, diaries, reminders, etc.).

***: I have a nasty feeling that a diagnosis might count as a pre-existing condition in the US, vis a vis health insurance. However, if you have an illness has nothing to do with autism, your insurance would have no reason not to cover your healthcare. Some illnesses, e.g., depression, could be argued to be caused by your “pre-existing” autism, but a broken leg, cancer, pneumonia, etc., not so much.

How do you know if a memory you had wasn’t a dream?

I… don’t.

I have memory problems – working-memory deficient dyslexia, resulting in my dependence of my long-term memory. But if something gets coded into my long-term memory, whether it’s a shopping list or a dream or an actual real event, it’s there forever – and it “feels” the same as a memory for a real event.

So I find that, for example, I have a strong memory returning an important form to my son’s school – of giving him the form, of posting it to the school, or handing it in personally at reception – when in fact what I have is only a memory of a reminder to myself that I need to do so, and the form is in fact sitting on the kitchen table, waiting to be signed.

I also have a really lovely memory of having a big grey horse called Whistler, of caring for him and riding him all over our farm as a child and teen. It really hits me in the feels, remembering good old Whistler, and his fondness for carrots, the smell of him, and how I held his big whiskery head when he died of old age.

All a dream, though. Whistler never existed. The last horse we owned was a bay called Ned, who died when I was a baby.

If I’m lucky, I can follow one of the pseudo-memories through my mind until zombies or space aliens turn up, and then I know it was all a dream. But sometimes even that isn’t enough, and I wind up sobbing all over a friend who I last saw being shot by the Chinese Army after they invaded the UK.

My sister is my aide memoire. She’s quite used to me ringing or texting, “Is Aunt So-and-so still alive? Do I need to send a Christmas card?” because I genuinely am not sure if I dreamt the funeral or not. She thinks it’s hilarious, the bitch.

I’ve had bad side effects to vaccines in the past. Can I get a medical exemption somehow?

Your doctor, who undoubtedly has:

  • all the details of these bad side effects, written up in your medical records,
  • all the details of all the medical treatment you received as a result of the bad side effects recorded in your medical records, and
  • all the results of investigations into the precise cause of all these bad side effects attached to your medical records,

should be able to advise you on whether you qualify for an exemption, and will be able to give you an official certificate of your exemption from vaccination.

Does superiority exist in the realm of the sciences? If so, I’d imagine psychology damn near the top of that hierarchy, if not at the top among mathematics, philosophy, and cosmology to name a few.

Amongst BSc grads and non-graduates? Yes, there can be. Mathematics and physics vie for the top spot – maths is actually the top science, but they’re often off in their own wee multiverse, leaving the physicists to do most of the vying, with engineers trying to shout over the top of them while everybody ignores them. The chemist would come next, but they’re usually off LARPing with the computer scientists and philosophers. Then biologists, who are often regarded as “soft” scientists by the physicists and chemists, which really infuriates them. After that come the actual “soft” sciences – psychology, sociology, geography and so on. Economics tries to elbow in as a “hard” science because of its use of mathematics, but you could say the same about astrology.

At postgraduate level, especially if you stay in the research world – either academic or commercial – there’s a lot less of this one-upmanship. You do find the occasional snotbag, but many postgrads and post-docs have at least some knowledge or experience of interdisciplinary research, and thereby of scientists in other disciplines, which tends to break down a lot of the snobbery. One starts to realise that there’s “hard” and “soft” in most sciences, and that “soft” can be just as valuable as “hard”. I have a PhD in psychology, which I earned in a team in a psychology department including graduates in mathematics, medicine, physiology, philosophy, physics, computer science, and electrical engineering, where I was the only psychology grad. I was probably the go-to for research methodology and statistics, the computer scientist was the go-to for computational modelling, the electrical engineer and mathematician for mathematical modelling, the physician and physiologist for neuroanatomy, and the philosopher – not even a scientist! – was the best all-rounder: he could see the larger theoretical structure of what we were all doing, and had the most amazing ability to pick up a better-than-working knowledge of all other areas on the fly.

Why are so many professionals conceited and willing to disregard a natural person? Is it because they spend too much money on education, time on their careers or lost too much to consider another person such as myself equally?


Nope. That sounds like a “you” problem, not a “them” problem.

Pro-tip: if you’re getting the same negative reaction from everyone – or even from just most of them – then you are at fault, not them. This also applies to your “feelings” about what they think of you.

It seems to me that you are framing your interactions with professionals as the same as your interactions with your friends and family. You are regarding those interactions as “personal”. They are NOT personal. They are professional. A doctor is not, and is not obliged to be, your friend. They are there to make you better, by the most efficient way possible. It is NOT efficient to give you the time to expand on your worries and fears, and to get to know you on a personal basis. It’s also not usually possible to do this, as most doctors have time limits on their appointments. I knew an obstetrician whose consultations lasted 3 minutes, after which he passed his patients on to one of his staff of midwives, ultrasound technicians, etc. Most UK general practitioners have 8-minute appointments. For specialists, the appointments can be longer – psychiatrists usually have 60-minute consultations. Regardless, the doctor who spends more time getting to know you is doing so at the expense of their other patients, and often at their own expense.

You need to see your contact with these professionals as identical to your contact with bus drivers, baristas, and checkout assistants. Because it is.