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General Stuff

DynaSoar (714234) writes | more than 10 years ago

User Journal

I suppose if you see this then that means you're interested in some details about me. Or you just felt like clicking something because you were bored and ended up here. Either way, here's some things and stuff:

I suppose if you see this then that means you're interested in some details about me. Or you just felt like clicking something because you were bored and ended up here. Either way, here's some things and stuff:

I'm a scientist doing basic and clinical neuroscience research for the Yale Medical School Dept. of Psychiatry. Specifically, I'm an experimental psychologist, meaning I'm trained widely in psychology and deeply in methodology (at least as it pertains to my technology). My work is primarily based in analyses of EEG, MRI and other functional brain imaging techniques.

My teacher and elder Usti, a traditional Cherokee, told me that since I was hit by lightning, I was to study the Medicine of Fire. I told him I was a scientist and didn't do that stuff. He asked me what I did. I told him I analyzed EEG. He asked me what EEG was. I said it was recordings of electrical activity in the brain. He said, "Electricity. Energy. Fire. See? You're already doing it." I'm still not a traditional, but at least now I can perceive the same thing more than one way without considering either of them wrong. I'm a also member of the American Indian Science and Engieering Society. Last year I went to Alburquerque to act as a judge at their annual student science fair.

My personal scientific specialty is developing new analysis techniques based on the newest available technology, such as simultaneous time series and frequency response (or time series and signal phase alignment) mapping using continuous wavelet transform. Extremely out there, for a psychologist. But then I'm one of the few in my field with true signal analysis experience, and the only one I know of who's studied the many extreme sorts of stuff covered by the Santa Fe Institute (the chaos science people; I've worked there twice.)

I got started in electronics at age 8 (in 1964); my father took me to work with him at his TV shop. By age 11 I was working for him for money, fixing TVs. By age 14 I got my own job with a different TV shop. I learned electronics at an intuitive level. That's probably where my intuitive understanding of signal analysis theory developed from.

My first computer was an Apple II Plus. My second was a black Bell & Howell Apple II, serial number 121. I had an intranet (side-by-side on the same desk, but still) in 1981. I ran a Fidonet node on an Apple, and was moderator of several Fidonet groups including APPLE. I was also the senoir and technical editor of The Road Apple, the newsletter intending to pursuade Apple not to drop the Apple line, and which became the only Apple based publication published simultaneously in the US and the USSR (yes, Soviet. And I was still in the Army at the time. It raised questions.)

My first Linux install was a Slackware 4.something done from floppies downloaded from UNC's Sunsite. My second was a Slackware install from CDs given to me by its author, Peter Volkerding, at the SubGenius church's "X-Day" End Of The World celebration; we're both members. Anymore, I just run whatever I need to use the research package I need to at the time. And if that means pulling out the Apple IIgs with the non-linear analysis curve fitting package, then so be it. That machine hasn't crashed since 1990.

Ah yes. My description says "Cat Herder". True, in two respects. I take on those tasks that and so chaotic that it requires a mind that can become completely scattered and still functional to comprehend; it's like "herding cats" as the saying goes. Also, I do herd cats. I have six cats, and I frequently take them for walks. Cats actually do like to take walks, especially in groups, and will follow quite well if you talk to them rather than try to force (or heaven forbid, leash) them. It helps if you keep talking with them.

Yes, talk. In cat. It's not difficult. Talking in cat is not soemthing I raised often at my previous job, with the Language Section of the National Institute of Deafness and Communication Disorders and NIH, Bethesda. But then again, two ways of looking at the same thing, and calling neither wrong.

For fun I write and perform comedy. Some of my favorite writing has been for the Journal of Irreproducible Results, and its successor, the Annals of Improbable Research (AIR). I have a piece on AIR's first "best of" book. I'm also a member of AIR's Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists. See improb.com for deatils, or just for fun. Ont of my other major contributions was a translation of the AIR's "History of the Universe in 200 Words or Less". My translation was Klingon. I'm pretty certain that assures me a high lifetime geekdom rating.

If I could suggest one book only as required reading for every school child, in order that they understand science, it would be Collin's & Pinch's "The Golem". It's far more important to understand how real scientists really act when they're really doing real science, as opposed to what they're general taught science "should" be like.

No, there are nu URL links here. I don't care for them. Don't care much for that new-fangled webby stuff. Why, in my day we grep'ed the UUCP feed and were happy to have it! Seriously, I don't do HTML. If you want to research anything I've mentioned here, I'm sure Google will help. That, plus my real name: Dennis McClain-Furmanski. On usenet, check for Doktor DynaSoar, but much of my old usenet traffic was not archived.

Finally, I like what I do. I like it so much, I do it all the time. In fact, I like it so much that if I had to have a different job to earn money to live on, so that I could go to a lab and do this for free in my spare time, I would. and THAT is the kind of position I could only wish upon everyone; when work becomes play. I think my sons have managed to grasp this; the older one, Orion, is a grad student at Miami's Center to Cure Paralysis, the younger, Jevan, is a grad student with Berkeley's micro-electro-mechanical lab: he's a nano-tuber.

Very often, after holding forth at great length, Bucky Fuller would suddenly, and almost in mid-thought, end a lecture with "That's enough for now." I will too.

email to: dm422 at email dot med dot yale dot edu

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