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The Ultimate Computer Program (For Someone With Tourette’s Syndrome)

Oct5

Written by:
2009/10/05 08:27 AM RssIcon

By Josh Hanagarne, World’s Strongest Librarian

binary2 About a month ago, I saw a T-shirt. It said, “There are only 10 kinds of people in the world: those who understand binary and those who don’t.”

I squinted at the shirt, scratched my head, furrowed my brow, and thought really hard. Later that night I finally got it. I had to travel back in time to 9th grade electronics class. Mr. Williams went over binary briefly during an introduction to circuits lecture.

I know this is simple stuff for techies, but figuring this out still made me feel like a hacker. A genius! I tell you this story not to dazzle you with my ignorance, but to give you some context for this post.

It’s all Robert’s fault.

Robert And The Question

Robert reads my blog. During a rough stretch with Tourette’s Syndrome, I threw a fit and begged my readers to let me come write something for them. The focus this would take would help me fight my symptoms.

Little did I know that I’d get a lot of responses. A lot. One of those was from Robert. He gave me the following assignment:

If there was a program to help you with Tourette’s Syndrome, what would it do?

Tourette’s 101

Tourette’s makes people do a couple of things. They either 1) move involuntarily; 2) make noises involuntarily. Those two categories have a huge spectrum of symptoms between them. My motor tics are usually hitting or scratching myself. My vocalizations are usually screaming, growling, hooting, snarling, etc. All good things…

Even More Basic Tourette’s

Basically, there is an excess of certain chemicals in my brain. Whenever your body makes a noise or moves, those signals get sent from your brain to that body part or your tongue or voice box. Those signals ride chemicals. I have an excessive amount of those chemicals in my brain, so my brain fizzes over and signals get sent without my conscious permission.

Switches, Ones, and Zeros

In that electronics class, I also learned that programming is about answering a million little questions. Basically, when something happens in a program, there are two possible results. In binary, I understand that those two results are expressed as either a 1 or a zero. A yes or a no.

In light of the results new questions must be answered. A switch gets flipped that either leads to This or That.

The Ultimate Computer Program For Tourettics

If Robert was designing a program for my brain, this is what it would do:

When my brain reached a point where the more irritating chemicals started demanding that I hit myself in the face, a switch would flip in my head. A small door would then open in the back of my skull and the tiresome chemicals would drain out of the door and pool on the floor.

Then I could push a button and summon a little custodial robot to mop the floor.

Then I would be cured. Does that sound so hard?

On the off chance that Robert can’t program this himself, I’ll pay any of you freelancers who happen to be reading this. I imagine it would make a lot of twitchy people very, very happy.

That’s brave programming. The kind that opens people’s heads up.

Josh Hanagarne

Get Stronger, Get Smarter, Live Better…Every Day

090226_joshhanagarne-small  About the Author: Josh Hanagarne is the twitchy giant behind World’s Strongest Librarian, a blog about living with Tourette’s Syndrome, book recommendations, kettlebells, buying pants when you’re 6’8”, old-time strongman training, and much more. Please subscribe to Josh’s RSS Updates to stay in touch.



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5 comment(s) so far...


The Ultimate Computer Program (For Someone With Tourette’s Syndrome)

About a month ago, I saw a T-shirt. It said, “There are only 10 kinds of people in the world: those who understand binary and those who don’t.” I squinted at the shirt, scratched my head, furrowed my brow, and thought really hard. Later that night I finally got it. I had to travel back in time to 9th grade electronics class. Mr. Williams went over binary briefly during an introduction to circuits lecture. I know this is simple stuff for techies, but figuring this out still made me feel like a hacker. A genius! I tell you this story not to dazzle you with my ignorance, but to give you some context for this post.
# ZillionsB.com

By TrackBack on  2009/10/05 10:26 AM
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Re: The Ultimate Computer Program (For Someone With Tourette’s Syndrome)

Great explanation of what actually takes place with Tourettes, Josh. People who did not fully understand (like me) can now have a better insight. I remember your video post on Mike's Life as well and continue to enjoy your writing.

Keep blogging and as always, wishing you all the best!

By Jimi Jones on  2009/10/05 10:10 AM
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Re: The Ultimate Computer Program (For Someone With Tourette’s Syndrome)

Josh, was your Tourette's diagnosed before or after you hit yourself in the head with an ax blade? If before, did the blow have any effect?

By Gordie Rogers on  2009/10/05 04:34 PM
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Re: The Ultimate Computer Program (For Someone With Tourette’s Syndrome)

I have got to get one of those t shirts! Great post Josh.

By Mike CJ on  2009/10/05 05:30 PM
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Re: The Ultimate Computer Program (For Someone With Tourette’s Syndrome)

Gordie, it was diagnosed after. I'm sure the axe blow to the head did nothing but toughen me up.

By Josh Hanagarne on  2009/10/05 08:29 PM
 
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