Wednesday, October 2, 2013

De Profundis

Since school started back up a little over a month ago, I've been teaching my own introductory psychology course - the first one I've ever taught. It's been great; when I do it, I feel happy, energized, useful. Not only do I get to teach a couple of hundred persons, some of whom really like the class, but I even get to write my own test questions. If ten years ago you told me I would be lecturing in front of college students and creating exams, I would've told you to go kick rocks. But oddly enough, I enjoy it. For instance, I get to come up with test questions like this:

Sigmund Freud was:

A) correct
B) completely insane
C) a cocaine abuser
D) all of the above

Understandably, the writing here took a hit, as I left the mistress of my youth, blogging, for the wife of mine age, teaching. I figured that whatever basics someone needed to know they could find somewhere in the archives. I thought that I probably was spending too much time on it anyway, feeling a distinct negative correlation between the amount of material that was posted on here and my actual productivity as a researcher. Maybe once in while, I thought, I would post about relationship advice, or books I was reading, or possibly a sequel to my post about erotic neuroimaging journal titles. In any case, though, I thought that I written most of what I had wanted to. Quod scripsi, scripsi.

However, I got a jolt a couple of days ago when the government shut down. Normally this wouldn't affect me all that much, except for the AFNI developers sending out a warning that the entire website would be shut down and the message boards closed until further notice. Apparently it's illegal for federal employees to use government emails for correspondence during a shutdown. No more AFNI support; no more new AFNI materials; no more infamous Bob Cox insults, put-downs, and slams. All gone.

Which made me realize, God forbid, that AFNI won't be around forever. I doubt that even fMRI will be all that popular twenty, thirty years from now, as technology progresses and we find some new way to image the brain yet still get significant results no matter how badly we screw up. But the need for understanding the processes will still be there; people will always want easy, accessible introductions for learning new tools and new methods. So I will continue to do that, no matter how incomplete my understanding, no matter how many miles I run, no matter how many jars of Nutella I devour. And that's a campaign promise.

At least one researcher out there has offered to write about topics that I am either entirely ignorant of, or only have a limited grasp. Starting soon, I will begin to interleave some of those posts with what I write to make the blog more centralized for information relating to fMRI. In the meantime, if anyone reading wants to contribute, just let me know. We'll see how it works out.

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