March 5th, 2012

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River Log: another Canyon Creek doubleheader

The autistic fellow was on the river with us again. He wasn't really paddling with us; he paddles alone. He looks to be in his 40-50's, with a salt and pepper beard and a long brown ducky. He scouts where he likes, talks to no one, and then runs the rapids, generally with good style. He runs his own shuttle. We look out for him when he's around, and so far he has never needed any help. He did splat pretty hard on the rock below the helicopter move at Toby's. We wonder if he'd participate in a rescue if someone else needed help. I theorize that he might come up with a completely independent and original approach. There's no conversing with him, so there's no way to know. I think river running might be an excellent activity for young autists because it engages the part of them that is well developed. The trick would be in inducing enough group behavior to provide a minimum of safety coverage.
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Manufacturing Outrage

It occurs to me, as I weed through my email inbox, that modern attempts to mold public opinion are largely efforts to incite us to outrage. The most recent one to cross my viewscreen was an email claiming that the TSA's purpose is to humiliate people. This claim was based, in this story at least, on the fact that they required that a breast feeding mother pump her milk before boarding the plane. The story made multiple references to her breasts, as if the TSA was actually doing something to them. I sincerely doubt that the TSA thought she had filled her breasts with explosives, but if she somehow had, having the liquid out where it could be inspected would eliminate that question. But more practically speaking, it takes a long time to pump breast milk, and there aren't many toilets on an airplane. It seems logical to me to pump while you're on the ground and avoid spending 10+ minutes in the restroom on an airplane. It's not a safe or pleasant place to hang out anyway. And others might need the restroom. So all this commentary is really just to say that there is more to every story. Before you allow someone to manipulate your emotions toward bloodthirst, look at the other side(s) of the question. Outrage in many cases is simply a lack of understanding. And little as I like the TSA's methods, their goal is not humiliation of the public, it is safe air travel.