[Cyborg] [EEG] Sorcerers' apprentice (Re: Bootstrapping class?)

Christoph Maier cm.hardware.software.elsewhere at gmail.com
Tue Apr 13 20:47:13 UTC 2010

On Tue, 2010-04-13 at 13:00 -0700, Mike Schachter wrote:
> Just to chime on the neuroscience stuff - I work as a part-time
> research tech over at Cal Berkeley, and used to be a research tech
> over at University of Pennsylvania when I lived in Philly. Both jobs
> were computational neuroscience,
> biophysical modeling for neurons and then more abstract mathematical
> models of computation for neurons.
> I'm not a grad student or anything, but got my foot in the door by
> volunteering. Many researchers are more than happy to teach volunteers
> what they don't know in return for a little labor. 

Knowing a lot may actually complicate things, it could scare them;
knowing an awful lot may awfully scare them.

> I volunteered for months prior to my first position, then got a part
> time job as a tech, then eventually a full time job. It's a long road
> but definitely worth it. I did the same thing at Cal Berkeley,
> although my prior experience as a tech at upenn definitely helped.
> All I'm trying to say is that if you're interested in a lab somewhere,
> email the person in charge of the lab and meet up with them. Read
> their papers, 

Told the guy I started reading his stuff ... like ... 14 years? ago.

> start out as a volunteer 

The problem is that you need to chew mountains of red tape until you're
sufficiently on board to get read permission to essential stuff like IC
design rules and device parameters. 
(A trip to see dragons in Berlin and a smoke-filled room in a
hackerspace in Vienna for just one night doesn't speed up the process,
either, but at least you can study the red tape thrown at you while
travelling through Germany within the borders of 1938 by train.)
Access restrictions are the only reason why you would physically have to
go to the guy's lab to help him with IC layout and such ... like, Sunday
morning at 2 AM, when such things are usually done. That's not a time
you want to get out of bed, so you should arrange remote access to the
whole mixed signal IC shebang you need to be fully productive while
staying in bed - or, important consideration, on a couch at 2169 Mission
if you happen to crash there while visiting. 

> then move on from there if you're still interested after that.

How feasible will it be to collaborate with you folks? That's a major
factor that determines how interested I am.

Christoph <- more a sourcerer than an apprentice.

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