Description of space

Imagine a vast and glittering ocean seen from a great height. It stretches to the clear curved limit of every angle of horizon, the sun burning on a billion tiny wavelets. Now imagine a smooth blanket of cloud above the ocean, a shell of black velvet suspended high above the water and also extending to the horizon, but keep the sparkle of the sea despite the lack of sun. Add to the cloud many sharp and tiny lights, scattered on the base of the inky overcast like glinting eyes: singly, in pairs or in larger groups, each positioned far, far away from any other set.

Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks

Passing our years in competitive disdain

Ah, the contempt of it. The glut of contempt we seem to have achieved. Our own disguised contempt for “primitives,” the contempt of those who left the Culture when war was declared for those who chose to fight the Idirans; the contempt so many of our own people feel for Special Circumstances… the contempt we all guess the Minds must feel for us… and elsewhere; the Idirans’ contempt for us, all of us humans; and human contempt for Changers. A federated disgust, a galaxy of scorn. Us with our busy, busy little lives, finding no better way to pass our years than in competitive disdain.

Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks

The ethics of genetic testing and Autism

There is concern among people with Asperger’s that genetic testing could eliminate them. This would be a terrible price to pay. Many gifted and talented people could be wiped out. A little bit of autism genetics may provide an advantage though too much creates a low-functioning, nonverbal individual. The development of genetic tests for autism will be extremely controversial.

Thinking in Pictures by Temple Grandin