Talking of thinking different, something which isn't new but is new to me. The Danish software company Specialisterne is employing people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder to improve the quality of its software testing. Instead of seeing difference as a problem, the company is harnessing the special skills of people with ASD -("motivation, focus, persistence, precision and the ability to follow instructions") with, according to the radio interview which alerted me to this story, considerable success. The company are apparently looking to start up an operation in Glasgow. More about this splendid organisation here.
Sadly there are some people who think different but not - in my humble opinion - in a good way. After recently writing a few complimentary things about what religion can inspire people to do, I came across a deeply depressing article in the Guardian which reminded me why I'm definitely not religious. The article was written in defence of the Shi'ite practice of self-flagellation, a form of devotion to the memory of Imam Hussein, the Prophet's grandson (in case you missed the case, a man was recently found guilty of child cruelty after forcing two boys to beat themselves during such a ceremony). It's the sort of activity which would be laughed at if anybody outside a "faith community" indulged in it. Yet, according to the writer, the spectacle is
keenly watched by onlookers, children and adults alike, who, though they have seen it all before, continue to be mesmerised by the sheer spectacle of it – the display
I'm not a fan of Max Mosley and his antics, but at least he didn't take kids along to share in his unconventional jollies. But it seems that any activity, however bonkers is OK if it's an expression of faith, and the warping of young minds with such nonsense seems to be a parental right of the Godly. Dreadful.
It's a a crazy old world out there, sure enough. Like the man said:
I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.