About that whole “fight the power,” “stick it to the man” thing…

I put up a blog called wayweary.wordpress.com, and it is meant to provide things like a blacklist of professors who are unscrupulous, jobs listings, warnings, praise, event listings, ways for foreign students to make their way in Korea, and so on. I’ll be posting fun stuff on here. But if, for some reason, hypothetically speaking, I feel like posting 10 genitalia related posts (ahem), I don’t necessarily want to have that be the first handshake to students at the university.

That said, I will still be posting here from time to time, and have invited people to stop by and talk with folks here.

Leave a comment


  1. Andy: cool! Glad to see it happening.
    Russ: can wordpress put the author visible in summary mode?

  2. blackpine

     /  April 29, 2008

    Jim. The man, the very man.

    Gentlemen, I give you Neo.

  3. neo

     /  April 29, 2008

    hi, i am Neo from South korea, doing research on Underwater Robotics. i know you from my friend Blackpine. he told me about you and Alex. may i know about you?


  4. Alex

     /  April 29, 2008

    That depends on what you want know, Neo.
    Personal measurements. No. And believe me, you don’t want to know.

    Science capabilities. Yes.

    Science discussions. Yes.

    Underwater robotics….well, I’ll help where I can. Not my area of expertise but I can probably still suggest some materials to use for the application.

  5. Neo

     /  April 29, 2008

    Sorry, i did not want to know about your personal measurement.actually i wanted to know about your interest on underwater robotics or robotics. if you feel interest on robotics we can talk about it.
    i have been working on robotic field few years and now i am thinking to develop a robot for following human brain instruction.

  6. Neo

     /  April 29, 2008

    For disable people, who cannot move their hands or body it is difficult for them to do different activity. In that case they can express their feelings or do necessary work through Humanoid robot. The robot will be intelligent to understand the thinking instructions using different sophisticated sensing devices (EEG, MEG or MRI). For driving the wheel, they need someone’s help to move it forward, backward, left or right. Few disable people can do that using their hand, but there are some other people who can not even move their hands, so robotic vehicle can help them to move the vehicle according to their brain frequency to reach the target. For that, they just need to think the way (left, right, forward or back ward) and the vehicle will be moved according to their thinking.

  7. neo

     /  April 30, 2008

    now i want to know, can you help me to get research opportunity to implement my idea?
    Best regards,

  8. Are you planning on teaching in Korea? I’m confused. It may be my document related stupor.

  9. blackpine

     /  April 30, 2008

    He’s researching in Korea, and has done work in Robotics. He has been jerked around and put on a shelf when it comes to getting funding or priority in research materiale in his research lab. He wants to head to the US to continue his work which has been put on an involuntary hiatus thanks to his prof. If you know of anybody or have advice on how he could pursue or fund research in the states, or if you know what he should be looking for in terms of a program, or where he should look that deals with robotics and brain analysis, that would be good. Alex, I was bragging about your grasnt writing kit to him. That kind of stuff would be good.

  10. Oh, I was thinking that Mitchell was going to go teach in Korea.

  11. Alex

     /  April 30, 2008

    To get funding for your work let me describe the US funding situation and science funding in general and we’ll see where it goes from there.
    First of all, the type of work you are describing would be a great fit for certain funding agencies in the US – but – almost all of them would require US citizenship. Very few US government organizations would fund the type of robotics you are looking at to help disabled people, but all of them would fund such work for military/defense applications. The one exception to this would be NIH (National Institutes of Health) where such research would be funded, but, you would have to do it under a group here in the US to get started. NO ONE gets NIH funding unless they are part of a preferred team of researchers already working on such activities. These teams don’t require US citizenship, so what you need to start looking for are US research teams working on brain/machine interfaces for disabled people and then apply for a post-doc/grad. student position in that group. From there you can grow your research accordingly.
    There are two other options to consider though – one can give you a great deal of freedom but is very hard to get while the other can provide stable funding but can be hard to find.
    The first is venture capital. If you have some REALLY good results you can get funding from a venture capitalist and do your research as a small start-up business rather than as an academic researcher. But you have to have a solid business plan, good connections, and need to make a good pitch/speech to sell your idea and get such funding. Once you get it though you’re in good shape. Finding that right venture capitalist can take years though, especially to build the relationship and convince that person that you are worth funding.
    The other option is to ignore the US all together and work in China/Asia or the European Union. While the Arabian states have LOTS of money for R&D, they don’t yet have the infrastructure for brining in non-native researchers to help them build a good technology base. China and Asia on the other hand have lots of money at the moment and really are looking for researchers, but like with the comment about NIH funding above, you have to find the right research group to join. For what you are doing, I would try Singapore since there is a lot of good biomedical research going on there, and your work seems like a good fit. The European Union also has lots of funds for good biomedical research, but the European system can be hard to break into, especially for non-Europeans. Once you’re in though, it’s very hard to get forced out unless you really screw up. The European labor laws almost guarantee employment after graduation or at least continued research funds as long as you meet the basic requirements.

    I know this is a lot to read and understand, so take your time to read through it and I’ll answer any other questions you may have to try and get out of your current situation and into another where your research can thrive.

  12. Neo, I am merely a history instructor, so cannot help you with this, but wanted to welcome you, anyway. Glad to meet you.

  13. neo

     /  April 30, 2008

    It is my pleasure to read your writing here. I think it will help me to achieve my target. I now think about your first idea, joining to USA research group as PhD student and I can have good research facility. I have found some universities research group of human brain signal processing in USA where I sent mail to professors with my research proposal. But most of them advised me to apply university first and they could help me after the admission. I have sent mail to University of South California, Stanford, Memphis and I have received a good response from Memphis professor. He is interested about my project and I keep in touch with him. I hope I could join to that university as a PhD student after finishing my GRE exam.
    I need your advice about joining Memphis is good for me or can I have better option?
    Best regards,


  14. neo

     /  April 30, 2008

    You can visit my website to see projects that I have developed so far:
    www geocities.com/arifreza007/index.html

  15. Alex

     /  April 30, 2008


    Which school you go to isn’t as important as the research adviser so you should research each of these potential advisers for the following:
    How often do they publish?
    How big is their research group?
    What is the ratio of students to postdoctoral researchers?
    How engaging is the professor in dealing with you?

    The last one can be the most important in finding a good adviser. The fact that the Professor from Memphis gave you a good response means that he is actually reading the proposals and emails you sent him and likes what he sees. If you get what looks like a standard response, the professor often gets way too many applications for him to look at seriously and so he or she doesn’t bother to really look at what you’re proposing.
    I would research this Memphis professor in more detail to see if he or she does good work, what their funding situation is like, and what their track record of graduating students is. If you see things you like, definitely apply to that school and go for it. If you don’t – keep looking.

  16. blackpine

     /  May 1, 2008

    Axl, if you can give me some shots and groups for how to track a prof, I can do some homework on this end. Neo, I can put you in contact with an immigration lawyer who’s good, or I can help with the application itself.

  17. Alex

     /  May 1, 2008

    Use Josh Paulin as your immigration lawyer if you haven’t already thought about it since that is one of the things he’s doing these days, but all Neo would need would be a student visa. Closer to graduation if he decides to stay in the US – then he should look for an immigration lawyer.
    As for how to track a professor, really only Neo can do this. He’ll know if the professor has the academic ability by simply checking out the professor’s website at his University and reading his publications. Only Neo will know if this person will be a good fit for his potential research projects. What one looks for in a professor is very dependent on the student’s personality, research field, and desired goal – there are no universal screens/algorithms that I know of to do this other than each person’s own brain and knowledge.

  18. Visa’s are tight and Josh was the very man I was going to recommend. Setting up a workshop on how to get to the US would be popular here at the moment. A set of techniques, however broad would still be good.

    We’ll make a procedure here then, and work on it as we can.

  19. Alex

     /  May 1, 2008

    Give me a little time to write up some ideas and general techniques and I’ll email it to you for you to post and share.
    However, I forgot that Visas are so tight since the US government has clamped down so much on visiting scientists and foreign visitors…which may be yet another reason for your colleagues to ignore the US complete and go where the science money really is these days: China, India, and Singapore.

  20. neo

     /  May 2, 2008

    I am really happy to see the writing of my friend Blackpine, actually I do not know the procedure of going USA as a scientist. But I have good news that one my paper has published to Cambridge University


    and another published in International Fuzzy intelligent systems. I think those will help me. I am really grateful to Alex for his cordial suggestion for me.

    Best regards,

  21. (OT follow-up: Blairborne, would you please put “[Blackpine]” before your posts since Russ’s blog doesn’t mark them until they’ve expanded? It’s a mental speed-bump to read one person’s writing to then realize it’s another’s writing instead. 🙂 )

  22. blackpine

     /  May 12, 2008

    Will do. Sorry about that.


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