German Tech Company Seeks to Hire People With Autism

 

German Tech Company SAP AG has recently stated that it will be recruiting people with autism due to their incredible ability to process information at super human speeds and efficiency. SAP will be hiring people with autism to fill positions in programming, software testing, and quality assurance.

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by

impaired social interaction and verbal and non-verbal communication, and by restricted, repetitive or stereotyped behavior.

Traditionally, to be diagnosed with autism, symptoms must become apparent before a child is 3 years old.  If symptoms appear after that age it was thought to likely be a different disorder. The number of people diagnosed with autism in the United States alone used to be near 1%, but in the last 5 years it has jumped to more than 2%, likely due to greater awareness and many diagnoses now occuring later in life. Nowadays, autism can be predicted as early as age 1.

While some people may be skeptical of SAP’s decision, the tech company is positive that autism can be an asset in numerous cases, espeically in the case of mild autism, where the person retains all the informational processing benefits with minimal social difficulties (Much in the same way Blade retained all the badassery of vampirism with none of the drawbacks (except for the thirst!)). SAP performed a pilot project in India with autistic workers and saw improvements in productivity. The pilot project is being expanded to the US, Canada, and Germany later this year. They are understandably very confident in their decision.

In searching for the causes of autism researchers have pointed fingers at

certain foods, infectious disease, heavy metals, solvents, diesel exhaust, PCBs, phthalates andphenols used in plastic products, pesticides, brominated flame retardants, alcohol, smoking, illicit drugs, vaccines, and prenatal stress.

Obviously no one is entirely sure what the cause of autism is, but due to its high prevalence a huge amount of studies have been, and continue to be conducted. While multiple studies have revealed genetic links, other studies have debunked these links and shown no genetic inheritance. Due to its elusive etiology autism has even been given the paradoxical catchphrase

Highly heritable but not inherited.

While autism remains largely a mystery, SAP has decided to brush the enigma aside and capitalize on the positive aspects of it. As they saying goes, there is a good side to everything.

 

I have personally seen the good and bad side of autism.  When I was in boyscouts, there were 3 kids in my troop that had autism.  Two of them were twins, and seemed to live in their own heads, barely aware of the world and people around them.  It was very hard for them to interact with others, and especially hard to mold themselves to society’s demands; particularly a job.

The other kid, who was older than me at the time, was highly social, active, happy, and succesful.  Although you could tell he was a bit different socially than other children around him, he was always happy to have a conversation and always tried to make others laugh.  He worked as a UPS driver and was able to swim 11 miles in one go.  He was something of a legend in my boyscout troop, and was an incredible rolemodel for so many children and adults alike.

If nobody had ever told me he had autism, I truly would have never known.  I would have gone on thinking he was just an incredible, albiet strange (in a wonderful way) guy.

Think twice before you judge others, they might be far, far better at processing information than you.  If there is a lesson in all this, I suppose that would be it.

 

 

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAP_AG

http://www.nbcnews.com/business/german-tech-company-recruits-people-autism-6C10020898

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurodevelopmental_disorder

http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/hcp-dsm.html

http://www.forbes.com/sites/emilywillingham/2013/03/20/autism-prevalence-is-now-at-1-in-50-children/

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr065.pdf

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/04/28/austism.predict.questionnaire/index.html

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/34047713/ns/health-mental_health/t/autism-seen-asset-not-liability-some-jobs/#.UaRxxaHN-WQ

http://idea.library.drexel.edu/bitstream/1860/2632/1/2006175339.pdf

http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/v13/n5/full/nm0507-534.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1513312/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autism#Causes

The Most Dangerous Animal, and How We Can Defeat it

When I envision the most dangerous animal in the world I picture, like most people, a shark strapped to a starved bear coated in Valyrian steel. Some of the more clever humans among us may tell us that WE are in fact the biggest threat to ourselves.  Well, as news to all you General Zaroffs out there, there’s a much more serious and clandestine danger than humans out there, and it is lurking the skies with a stark mad craving for blood.

 

 A. aegypti, the Dengue Dealer.

A. aegypti, the Dengue Dealer. (www.impe-qn.org.vn)

Vampires! Scientifically known as mosquitoes.  Throughout history, mosquitoes have killed more humans than all wars and plagues combined. Every year, there are 200-300 million cases of malaria and 50-100 million cases of dengue fever worldwide, diseases that are easy to catch and highly fatal.

With malaria, you can head to the hospital and be treated with antibiotics relatively quickly (though malaria mutates rapidly and is becoming immune to just about every drug proven to be effective at a rapid rate). Dengue on the other hand, known as breakbone fever (because it feels like every bone in your body is shattering) is a completely different story. Unlike malaria, there is not a single drug proven to directly seek out and destroy the dengue virus.  If you get it, you are stuck riding out the ordeal in a hospital.  If you get it again, rather than becoming immune, you will likely die.  If you get it a third time, unless you are Bruce Willis from Unbreakable, you have absolutely no chance. The worst part?  Despite huge efforts to rid areas of the mosquito that carries the dengue virus, as seen by this frequently updated, interactive map from the CDC, it is spreading at a rapid rate.

In this eye-opening TED talk,  Biotech entrepreneur Hadyn Perry asks the question: why, with all our advances in technology, have we not succeeded in destroying the single greatest killer of humanity?  Why are we treating the symptoms and not aiming for that tiny hole leading to the main power source that is always built in to every death star? Why can’t we just kill all the mosquitos?

Most people will point out that ridding the world of the mosquito legion scourge would leave a gap in the global food chain, causing irreparable damage to eco-systems around the world. Despite the rationality of this argument ecologists are very certain that the removal of mosquitoes, a species that has existed on the planet for over 100 million years, would have little to no effect on the overall ecology of the planet.  Something would quickly fill the gap left by mosquitoes; everyone would be less itchy, our skin would be deet-free, and the hand of God would come down to give us a well deserved high-five.

So, how do we get rid of mosquitoes forever?  We’ve been hosing down towns and cities with insecticide and pouring larvicide into the planet’s waters for decades and the result has been even more death and disease due to mosquitoes.  As usual, biotechnogoly is the answer.

Hadyn Parry is on the forefront of genetic modification research and he wants the issue of genetic modification, or GM, to stop being so political and start focusing on actual research and results. He has at the ready, a cheap, efficient, proven to work solution for ridding the world of mosquitoes through the use of mosquitoes engineered in the lab.  Through his method of releasing genetically sterile males into the wild, females that mate with these males (which look like the perfect mixture of Edward and Jacob to female mosquitoes) produce sterile offspring.  His team has put this method into practice with remarkable results.  He has reduced mosquito populations in villages throughout the world by over 85% within 4 months, with the mosquito death toll continuing to rise with time.

Imagine a world where you can lay out on a summer’s eve without smelling like a chemical cocktail and bitch slapping yourself repeatedly.  According to Hadyn Parry, this vision of the future is a reality ready and willing to take place.

Take a look at the TED talk below for more information and specifics regarding Parry’s method and ideology.

 

Sources:

http://villains.wikia.com/wiki/General_Zaroff

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dengue_fever

http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/Valyrian_steel

http://www.healthmap.org/dengue/index.php

http://www.ted.com/talks/hadyn_parry_re_engineering_mosquitos_to_fight_disease.html

http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100721/full/466432a.html