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Author Topic: EP314: Movement  (Read 6048 times)
Scattercat
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« Reply #20 on: October 24, 2011, 05:58:38 AM »

The reason old panes of glass are thicker on the bottom is because back in the day they were made, people weren't as good at mass-producing perfectly even sheets.  Thus, you had some sections that were thicker and some that were thinner.  When you're setting squares of glass cut from such an uneven sheet into a windowpane, which end would YOU put on the bottom?

Now goddammit everyone stop spreading the rumor that glass is a liquid.

(I enjoyed the story, mostly, so I don't have much to say about it as a story.  It had a nice zinger of an ending and captured a voice well.  But this glass-is-liquid thing drives me up the wall.)
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mbrennan
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« Reply #21 on: October 24, 2011, 02:05:08 PM »

*I've heard that glass does flow. It's not 100% solid, and caretakers of very old homes have to flip windows periodically to make sure they don't get too thick on the bottom end. But I'm no glazier.

Not true:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass#Behavior_of_antique_glass

Glass panes in old windows are thicker at the bottom because old glass wasn't uniform in its cross-section, and it was better to put the thicker edge downward when setting the panes.  But you do find windows where that edge is on top or to the side.
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« Reply #22 on: October 25, 2011, 06:08:05 AM »

I thoroughly enjoyed this story for several reasons.  First and foremost, most of us have preconceived ideas of what we think is going on (or not) in other peoples' heads.  Even more so when that person is autistic or mentally handicapped.  Any story that turns those unspoken assumptions on their heads and does it in an entertaining way gets my vote. 

Second, this reminded me of one of my favorite novels (which has a similar subject matter and is also written by the mother of an autistic child - The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon). 

Finally, I enjoyed the open ending.  There are obviously two ways that her answer could be taken.  How will her mother take it?

One last thought about those who were upset about the running glass thought.  Don't forget that just because the protagonist has some gifts we don't doesn't mean that she is omniscient.  It wasn't stated as a fact in the story, just as something that a fallible human believed to be true.
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raetsel
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« Reply #23 on: October 25, 2011, 11:30:44 AM »

One last thought about those who were upset about the running glass thought.  Don't forget that just because the protagonist has some gifts we don't doesn't mean that she is omniscient.  It wasn't stated as a fact in the story, just as something that a fallible human believed to be true.

I think people (myself included) are taking this to be a projection of the author's beliefs/knowledge rather than the protagonist's. Whether that is valid in this story or in general for fiction is a whole other debate I  guess.

The other point about speeded up evolution I really hope is just there for dramatic effect and not the author's understanding of how evolution works, or as someone else suggested maybe this is an alternative universe where evolution can work over just a few generations, in which case maybe glass flows like a liquid as well.
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Scattercat
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« Reply #24 on: October 26, 2011, 01:22:07 AM »

Well, the punctuated equilibrium theory of evolution isn't complete gibberish, and certainly you can see some minor but visible changes in species within only a relatively few generations, given sufficient selection pressure.  (It took, what, ten generations to have noticeable beak differences in birds on different islands?  I remember reading a study about this...)
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« Reply #25 on: October 26, 2011, 02:57:38 PM »

Well, the punctuated equilibrium theory of evolution isn't complete gibberish, and certainly you can see some minor but visible changes in species within only a relatively few generations, given sufficient selection pressure.  (It took, what, ten generations to have noticeable beak differences in birds on different islands?  I remember reading a study about this...)

Yeah good point but it was a pretty specific set of circumstances and a confined environment. I think this might be the study to which you are referring? http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/educators/course/session4/elaborate_b_pop1.html I got the impression from the story this was a much more general thing.
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Scattercat
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« Reply #26 on: October 27, 2011, 02:22:30 AM »

Right.  There needs to be a very strong selective pressure to get rapid change, but nonetheless, rapid change can and does occur.  It's not just flat-out incorrect, like the glass-is-liquid thing.

I'm not sure how much selection pressure there would be in favor of temporal autism, but hey, who knows?  Maybe they live in the same universe as "'Repent, Harlequin,' said the Ticktockman."
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Unblinking
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« Reply #27 on: October 28, 2011, 09:06:00 AM »

I liked the author's ability to convey a radically different POV. I found the father's impatience a mite irritating; seriously, dude, calm down and listen to her. And her brother's condition struck me as a bit of a mystery; is this a family problem? A greater problem in society? Or something completely different?

Although it was never stated explicitly in the story, I got the impression that evolution works much faster in the world of this story than in our world.  I don't know why this would be.  Perhaps some kind of atmospheric condition is increasing the mutation rate, or perhaps this is just a parallel world where stuff just works differently.

The main reason I thought that is the behavior of the mosquitoes.  Her father got a shoulder laser to pick off mosquitoes as they come near him.  If I remember correctly:
-The laser is only a few years old
-The laser had been much more effective when he first got it
-The mosquitoes who attack him now are now much faster and able to avoid the laser most of the time
-I got the impression that the lasers aren't even particularly common
-Mosquitoes get swatted all the time, but they haven't evolved any new defenses against it.  They just breed enough to make this death rate insignificant
-For a mosquito to even recognize the need to dodge a laser would seem to show new level of intelligence.

Venus fly traps had also evolved drastically in just a few years as well.  The mosquito thing alone, though, made me think that this was a speculative fiction element that Fulda put in place intentionally to support her story.  And I think it worked in that respect.  So I get the impression that the accelerated evolution is in effect for humans as well as other creatures, and the protagonist exhibits a new mutation.  You might say that the brother did as well, but in that case it might not be driven by his biology but his technology, having adapted to this brain computer from a very young age.

So I think that the protagonist is exhibiting a new mutation, and she spends much of her time contemplating whether she is an evolutionary dead end or whether her condition will become more widespread if she has children and they have some kind of advantage over others.  This was strongly supported in the text, I believe, by much of her idle speculation:
-She contemplates the evolution of the plant that grows too heavy to support itself.  She considers this plant more beautiful than the others simply because she thinks it an evolutionary dead end.
-She practices forms of dance that no one has practiced in centuries, because she consider it an evolutionary dead end of the art form.
-I think it's strongly implied that the reason that she "doesn't want new shoes" is because those "shoes" (her unique mind) is what makes her the evolutionary dead end that she finds so beautiful.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2011, 09:08:03 AM by Unblinking » Logged

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Umbrageofsnow
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« Reply #28 on: October 30, 2011, 04:08:51 PM »

I agree with everything Unblinking said, and I also loved this story a whole bunch (currently my favorite Short Story from Asimov's this year, from what I've read), but I do want to add one thing.

Hannah certainly finds evolutionary dead ends beautiful, one of the more interesting themes in the story, but I think the reason she likes dead ends isn't that she thinks of herself as one, it's that she thinks there is no distinction between a dead end and the first of a great new thing in the moment they first appear.  History is written by the winners, as they say, and dead ends were just innovations that lost.  Hannah likes any innovation, and considers herself, and her brother, innovations that may or may not pan out.

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Gamercow
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« Reply #29 on: November 01, 2011, 02:02:37 PM »

Although it was never stated explicitly in the story, I got the impression that evolution works much faster in the world of this story than in our world.  I don't know why this would be.  Perhaps some kind of atmospheric condition is increasing the mutation rate, or perhaps this is just a parallel world where stuff just works differently.

I just took it as yet another misunderstanding of how evolution actually works, and the time frames involved.  Either way works, so it is a moot point.
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« Reply #30 on: November 01, 2011, 04:55:36 PM »

Having a brother with uncategorized autism, this story stuck out at me. Ms. Fulda seems to get that sometimes people just throw names at a condition just because it makes it simpler for us to have something to say rather than knowing what it really is. (By the way, this story would have made my dad cry).

Anyways, I thought this was a spectacular story for many reasons. The POV was fantastic for it's isolation from what other characters are doing/thinking/saying. Sometimes it's really difficult talking to my brother because he operates on a different level from me. I want to move faster, do more, and do it better and bigger. And in his own way, my brother is striving for more. He has this incessant need to to talk (even if he has to talk to himself or repeat himself 20 times.) Clearly, he has a different form of autism than the MC, but the principle is the same. He can't communicate in quite a way that is clear to ME, but it makes perfect sense to him. I often wonder what is going on inside his head and I REALLY wonder if he isn't doing the same with me wondering how I could be so thick as to not understand what he's really trying to get at.

Another cool thing is that I never thought of "greatness" being a factor/ function of evolution. Just thought that was an interesting idea.

With the deepest regard,
The Captain
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« Reply #31 on: November 07, 2011, 12:23:50 PM »

Although it was never stated explicitly in the story, I got the impression that evolution works much faster in the world of this story than in our world.  I don't know why this would be.  Perhaps some kind of atmospheric condition is increasing the mutation rate, or perhaps this is just a parallel world where stuff just works differently.

I just took it as yet another misunderstanding of how evolution actually works, and the time frames involved.  Either way works, so it is a moot point.

Fair enough.  Smiley  To me it seemed that the sped-up evolution was intended to be actually there.  It seemed that her observations of the mosquito's abilities were based on facts, and those facts were decidedly different than how it would work in our world. 

In our world, I'd guess that most mosquitoes that sting people end up dead.  This doesn't kill off the mosquito population because they 1.  have lots of offspring.  2.  they don't feed only on humans, feeding also on dogs and cows and birds that aren't as capable at swatting.  So, I don't see adding a shoulder laser as being a significant evolutionary drive in any case (especially when not all people use them), the slower ones would still have plenty of food.  Unless the evolution here is accelerated.

Anyway, that's not to say that my interpretation isn't wrong, it just seemed to me that facts that she observed supported a hypothesis of accelerated evolution.
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« Reply #32 on: November 08, 2011, 02:47:45 PM »

So, I had to listen to this one a few times before I could understand the context. I really liked it because of the subtlety of the alternate universe. Great world building. Although, it wasn't what I was expecting I enjoyed the change in pace very much.
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Dem
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« Reply #33 on: December 04, 2011, 09:38:44 AM »

Where's the goofy face icon when you need it? Officially recording this episode as my first appearance on the feedback slot. Strikes up band of trumpeters and pipers that all Brits have to hand in case something noteworthy happens.
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Unblinking
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« Reply #34 on: December 09, 2011, 09:57:03 AM »

Where's the goofy face icon when you need it? Officially recording this episode as my first appearance on the feedback slot. Strikes up band of trumpeters and pipers that all Brits have to hand in case something noteworthy happens.

Whoo!  Smiley  I still get a kick out hearing myself quoted on the cast.  It makes me feel that it's just a little bit more likely that I actually exist.
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Devoted135
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« Reply #35 on: December 09, 2011, 10:35:08 AM »

Where's the goofy face icon when you need it? Officially recording this episode as my first appearance on the feedback slot. Strikes up band of trumpeters and pipers that all Brits have to hand in case something noteworthy happens.

Whoo!  Smiley  I still get a kick out hearing myself quoted on the cast.  It makes me feel that it's just a little bit more likely that I actually exist.


Oh, you definitely exist. Only, (and I hate to break it to you like this) you seem to have recently undergone a radical species change operation... Roll Eyes
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Dem
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« Reply #36 on: December 09, 2011, 12:19:08 PM »

Where's the goofy face icon when you need it? Officially recording this episode as my first appearance on the feedback slot. Strikes up band of trumpeters and pipers that all Brits have to hand in case something noteworthy happens.

Whoo!  Smiley  I still get a kick out hearing myself quoted on the cast.  It makes me feel that it's just a little bit more likely that I actually exist.

Think you're ahead of me in the existence stakes - I probably still have a good 14 minutes and 30 seconds of my allocated famousness to fill!
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« Reply #37 on: January 18, 2012, 10:07:15 PM »

Hey everyone, I encountered a news story regarding an autistic girl and her ability to communicate that might be of interest to people who enjoyed this story.

You can find the video here; it's just under 10 minutes long.
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Devoted135
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« Reply #38 on: January 19, 2012, 09:52:57 AM »

Hey everyone, I encountered a news story regarding an autistic girl and her ability to communicate that might be of interest to people who enjoyed this story.

You can find the video here; it's just under 10 minutes long.

Oh wow, that is an amazing story! *wipes tears from cheeks*
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Dem
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« Reply #39 on: January 22, 2012, 10:09:58 AM »

Hey everyone, I encountered a news story regarding an autistic girl and her ability to communicate that might be of interest to people who enjoyed this story.

You can find the video here; it's just under 10 minutes long.

There's this one as well http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmTXGQ2BhUA Amanda Baggs uses Second Life as a social and intellectual outlet.
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