Saturday, May 2, 2009

Calling out the impostor

If you are familiar with BCIs you probably have heard of the project I work on, called BrainGate. I'm a grad student in John Donoghue's lab, though the thoughts and opinions on DNI are entirely my own. I generally try to keep all things related to the 'project' at a very superficial level, due to the FDA/patient confidentiality/my generally responsible nature, and report on news items there as I do with any other project (when they hit the mainstream news agencies).

But, there was something brought to my attention the other day regarding our project that I think needs to be examined. Apparently, someone with no affiliation to the project, no interaction with anyone on the project, and obviously no scruples owns the top level domain (TLD) for the project's name. I'm not going to link to it, since this poser doesn't deserve any traffic, but I wanted to put out the word to the core BCI researchers, students, and labs that keep up with DNI, that is the ONLY official site for the project. (Yes, that is just a placeholder page with a few links, and the full launch will be mentioned here.)

The BrainFake site, as I will now refer to our charlatan friend, isn't particularly 'bad', I mean, at least he links to the real site under the clinical trials section, but essentially we have someone confusing people interested in the project, stealing attention, providing unverified information, and just generally passing themselves off as the real deal. This is probably one of those people that just went and registered so he could redirect traffic to his lucrative online natural Viagra website, so we're talking parasitic to the nth degree and not some scientist I just happen to disagree with.

Anyone have any ideas on how to deal with this type of situation? My usual inclination is to use 'hired thugs', but that route always seems to get voted down by others. (obviously kidding)

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